The new season of Australian Federal Parliament - aka Malcolm in the Middle (of the Factional Wings of the Coalition) - doesn't screen until tomorrow, but legislative fans can probably guess some of the continuing storylines that will feature from last year.
That's because Greens senator Larissa Waters has leaked the scripts sent to her by the PM's office including plans to try, yet again, to abolish the Renewable Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Climate Change Authority, just in case you were assuming that the mere fact they were working was any reason to not shut them down.
It comes at a convenient moment too, since new Chief Scientist Alan Finkel marked his first day on the job today by declaring "I think the obligation on us and every country in the world is to move as quickly as we can towards zero emissions electricity," which seems just a tiny weeny little bit off-message, surely?
Still, the government's largely ignored science (science!) for the past two-plus years so there's no reason they should be obliged to adhere to its evidence-based opinion now.
It's the Neighbours Bass Strait plane crash all over again!
And while we're talking about the 2016 season, rumours are still swirling about which characters are likely to be killed off.
It's been claimed that cult favourite Warren Truss - who has been playing the thankless role of "Leader of the National Party" for the past nine years - will be leaving the series, although his departure would appear to be delayed until March amid recognition that those currently auditioning for the role, such as his understudy Barnaby Joyce, have been testing badly with audiences.
Another character that might be written out is the controversial Tony Abbott, who has suffered from some genuinely terrible writing over the last few seasons.
He initially seemed like a well-rounded bad-boy anti-hero when introduced as Leader of the Opposition, but the character's behaviour since 2013 has been wildly implausible.
Who can forget the ludicrous storyline last year where he knighted Prince Philip - and that time he chomped down on a raw onion didn't make a lick of sense as far as recognisable human behaviour goes. Oh, and remember that episode with Leigh Sales where the writers lazily cut-and-pasted "the boats have stopped" over all of Abbott's dialogue? That was just terrible scripting!
The government looked set to be cancelled before producers hastily replaced Abbott with the far more popular supporting character Malcolm Turnbull, but the writers still don't appear to know what to do with Tony now he's not PM.
They've cast his character as everything from a vengeful xenophobe with no understanding of history to a genial seeker of bargain whitegoods before finally - and inexplicably, given the direction of history - settling on an anti-gay religious fundamentalist travelling overseas to gain support for his sinister domestic agenda. That's presumably intended an ironic callback to that plotline that had Abbott calling for the cancellation of passports for people doing that exact thing.
At least that spin-off album didn't get off the ground. The demos didn't sound promising.
The value of trust!
One person that is defending Abbott's awesome and absolutely-not-creating-problems-for-everyone-involved-down-the-track plan to continue in Parliament is his old pal Mathias Cormann.
"I don't agree at all that Tony Abbott is a destabilising force," he told ABC television with an impressively straight face. "I absolutely believe Tony Abbott will be true to his word and he is being true to his word. I don't believe Tony Abbott is ever a wrecker."
And Cormann makes a solid argument. Let's take as an example the 6th of September 2013, just before the Federal Election, when Abbott told SBS that under his government there'd be "No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS"? Those were clear, unambiguous promises upon which he banked his credibility as a man of his word.
And to his credit, he didn't quite get around to breaking the promise about the GST, although he did give it a red-hot go, and the health, education and pension cuts were mainly thwarted by the Senate crossbench despite the Abbott government's attempts to pass legislation to slash spending.
So if you consider "failing at attempts to successfully contradict an earlier declaration" as being the same as "consistently telling the truth", then Abbott is only what, 33 per cent untrustworthy? That's pretty good - right, Matty?
The Year of Cliving Dangerously
Another politician who is set to have some exciting character development this season is colourful businessman, Queensland-based jester and occasional MP for Fairfax, Clive Palmer.
The newly-released details of political donations during the 2014-15 financial year have revealed that he shovelled $9.6 million from his sputtering business empire into his sputtering political party.
It's unlikely to delight amd enchant the lawyers currently sizing up the administration of Queensland Nickel, which donated $5.9 million to PUP and subsequently sacked 237 people in January. There are serious doubts regarding whether they'll ever get their pay, super, or other entitlements estimated to amount to around $16 million.
There also appears to be evidence that Queensland Nickel was loaning money to Palmer's Coolum golf resort (the "resort" bit was shut down in March last year), which is unlikely to reassure his creditors.
Still, at least Clive has the unshakable legacy of a burnt-out metal skeleton of a pretend dinosaur to show for his efforts. No-one can take that away.
Well, except possibly the receivers.
The cocktail hour: taking off
As we promised in cavalier fashion yesterday, this week's cocktails hour is all about honouring the disturbingly high number of rock legends that have shuffled off this mortal coil over the last few weeks.
Today it's Paul Kantner, guitarist and co-founder of psychedelic rock heroes Jefferson Airplane and its subsequent incarnation Jefferson Starship (and, in a further sign of his awesomeness, not of the band's eventual death-in-life as the ghastly Starship). He was beamed up on January 28 at the age of 78 from complications following a heart attack.
By a sad coincidence his ex-bandmate Signe Toly Anderson - the original vocalist of Jefferson Airplane, later replaced by the better known Grace Slick - also passed away on the same day, at the age of 74. Presumably they're working on a reunion in the afterlife even as you read this.
Here's one of the tracks featuring both Anderson and Kantner fron their 1966 debut album, so turn it up, raise a glass to them both on this Parliament Eve, friends, and let's meet back here tomorrow. Cheers!
Andrew P Street's book The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott is out now, and available through Booktopia.
The top stories on smh.com.au on Monday:
- San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke opens up on why Jarryd Hayne was dropped
- Controversy as motor found inside bike at the world cyclo-cross championships
- Police operations at Sydney schools after threats
- Donald Trump, America's own Mussolini with double the vulgarity
- Supporters of anti-woman group Return of Kings to meet in Sydney