Nearly 100 days ago, the Abbott government was elected in a big and (for the Coalition) joyous landslide. Photo: Andrew Meares
A year ago, some good friends of mine were married in a large and joyous ceremony. It was a sparkling day in Sydney (the sort that makes you think there is no better place in the world). The bride was beautiful in a white dress; the groom handsome in a dark suit.
They made serious promises to each other and their families in the ceremony and then, afterwards, gave heartfelt speeches. The bar was generously stocked and we all partied to a headache-inducing hour.
Theirs had been a long engagement, the wedding planned for more than a year. There had been a certain inevitability about where things were headed. The two had been a couple for years.
Everyone expected them to end up married, sooner rather than later.
After the wedding, the newlyweds headed off to honeymoon in Europe, with all the romantic trimmings (Prague, Paris, Santorini). On the way to Europe, they stopped over in Hong Kong for a few days, where instead of gorging on dumplings and wedded bliss, they fought the entire time.
First it was a squabble about the hotel room (had a weird smell).
Then there was an unresolved debate over what to do first (sleep/find a bar). Then there was a continued barney about personality deficiencies (Why can't you just relax? Why don't you ever want to do anything just the tiniest bit fun?).
In short, things were bloody miserable, and they have since sworn never to return to Hong Kong. It has been ruined by association.
Nearly 100 days ago, the Abbott government was elected in a big and (for the Coalition) joyous landslide.
It was a beautiful spring day in Sydney when Tony Abbott cast his vote and the night was still warm when he took to the stage to declare victory. He wore a dark suit and his daughters turned out in a trio of white dresses.
At the Four Seasons Hotel, Abbott made serious promises to voters in a brief but heartfelt address. His would be a government of ''no surprises and no excuses''. Abbott said: ''I give you all this assurance - we will not let you down … I pledge myself to the service of our country.''
With that, Coalition supporters partied in gatherings large and small throughout the country. Abbott may have been well enough to go for his regular bike ride early the next morning, but others within conservative ranks were not feeling quite as sprightly.
In truth, everyone had expected Abbott to become Prime Minister. There had been a certain inevitability about the Coalition's return to power. Indeed, Labor had been so woefully behind in the polls for so long, I don't even need to tell you about it.
The Abbott team also had long-held and oft-stated plans for what it wanted to do when it hit government: Stop the boats, scrap the carbon tax, open the country for business once more and save the budget. Simple.
But the hugely victorious, years-in-the-making new Coalition government soon found that governing was qualitatively different (i.e. way trickier) than being in opposition. And one after the other, the crises, problems and dud moves started to pile up. Boat (and information) stopping assumed farcical proportions under Operation Sovereign Borders; an embarrassing entitlements scandal bobbed up and wouldn't bob away again; the relationship with Indonesia took a damaging detour through Offended Town; and key policies were blocked in the Senate.
In the first Fairfax Nielsen poll taken after the election (and released late last month), the government rather shockingly lagged behind Labor, 48 per cent to 52 per cent. How Hong Kong is that?
So as the government approaches the 100-day mark on December 16, the confetti and champagne have been replaced with question marks and whatever beverage goes with sombre reflection (whiskey? Kale juice?).
But while the doomsayers may predict this is it for the Abbott government, Bill Shorten (or Malcolm Turnbull for that matter) should not be prepping the victory speech just yet. This may be a nightmare honeymoon but it is still a honeymoon. It is such early days for the Coalition that everything can still be comfortably chalked up to experience.
Think back to the first year or two of the Howard government, when ministers ended up resigning for breaches. This is the same John Howard who is now touted as a gold standard for stable, sensible administration of the nation.
As for my newlywed mates? They travelled on to Europe, where they had an improved time of it (Prague will do that to a person). And one year on, they are still married. Something same-sex couples celebrating weddings in the ACT this weekend would no doubt tell them not to take for granted.
Judith Ireland is a Fairfax Media journalist.