Much has been written about Jamie Briggs night out on the town in Hong Kong and the inappropriateness of his behaviour towards a female colleague but no-one seems particularly concerned that he had drunk so much that he had lost all sense of propriety.
Briggs was so pissed on the night Abbott got rolled that he tried to crash tackle him. Somehow a table got broken and Briggs ended up in a wheelchair but the result could have been much worse if someone had hit their head on that table as they were being thrown to the ground.
But he’s not alone with this behaviour.
In 2009, Tony Abbott slept right through the critical vote on the second GFC stimulus package because he was asleep in his office after having been observed drinking earlier in the evening.
Mr Abbott told then Chief Opposition Whip Alex Somlyay that he missed five divisions on the night of Thursday, February 12, because he fell asleep in his office.
His nap followed dinner in the Members’ Dining Room with Peter Costello, Kevin Andrews and Peter Dutton.
In a 2013 radio interview, Abbott told Nova FM that he’d “probably be too much of a grog-monster” to attend an Australia Day boat party run by their station.
In 2003, we learned that John Howard’s wine bill for Kirribilli house for the preceding three and a bit years was $120,000.
In 2013, NSW Finance Minister Greg Pearce was given a pair to leave parliament because he was “unwell” but actually he had been seen drinking at a Liberal Party fundraiser at parliament and appeared to be too drunk to continue.
When it was disclosed last year that Bronwyn Bishop was spending an extraordinary amount of money using private limousines to get around to private parties and cultural events, Barnaby Joyce sprung to her defence saying getting chauffeured there was part of doing her job and avoiding drink-driving.
“Obviously if you are at an event, there’s alcohol here, you do not want to be getting in a car to go home. That is part of life of a politician,” he said.
In 2012, Barnaby Joyce referred to National Party colleague Bridget McKenzie in Parliament as a “flash bit of kit”. Mr Joyce admitted to consuming alcohol beforehand but denied being drunk.
In response to the recent Brigss/Dutton debacle, Joyce has expressed concern that this political correctness may impinge on his ability to speak frankly.
“If you invite me out for a drink, you want me to speak frankly and freely rather than ring up 13 media advisers and get encrypted babble.”
Perhaps if we stopped paying for their alcohol and chauffeur driven cars, politicians might be a little more circumspect in their drinking habits.
Would it be too much to ask that Parliament House become an alcohol free zone like every other government workplace?