How good is the Midwinter Ball!
The book on whether Prime Minister Scott Morrison would utter those words had been well and truly opened as political and business heavies began arriving in Parliament House's Marble Foyer on Wednesday night.
Telstra boss Andy Penn was the first to arrive, followed closely by former Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane and his wife, Sky News commentator Peta Credlin.
Liberal MP Katie Allen - the former Melbourne Girls Grammar chair who replaced Kelly O'Dwyer in the seat of Higgins - drifted by, looking for Rupert Murdoch lieutenant Siobhan McKenna.
She was happily ensconced inside, in the private cocktail party for the dinner's sponsors.
This year, the Canberra Press Gallery's gala event was on the record - as it has been ever since Malcolm Turnbull's now-famous speech lampooning President Donald Trump in 2017.
This turn of events clearly did not please Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who swept in alongside his frontbench colleague Penny Wong. "It's a shame," he said. "I just think it's unfortunate you can't host a function that's off the record."
They had just missed Morrison and his wife Jenny, who had come by moments earlier.
Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie - already making life tough for construction union boss John Setka - was set on confronting Qantas chief Alan Joyce on his momentous salary. "It's disgusting," she said. "No one deserves to earn that much, no matter what you do."
The Qantas boss was there, but Westpac managing director Brian Hartzer and Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman were no shows.
In Hartzer's place came Westpac consumer bank boss David Lindberg and corporate affairs chief Carolyn McCann.
Meanwhile, Telstra's outgoing chief lawyer Carmel Mulhern - who was poached by Commonwealth Bank last month - was still slated to be sat with her old boss Penn on a table with Education Minister Dan Tehan, Labor's communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland and ABC board director Joe Gersch.
Former Victorian senator turned Sky News presenter Derryn Hinch was also back in the building. "I walked past my old office coming in here," he said. "It's strange and it's a bit tough."
Also spotted: Nexus lobbyist and former Liberal operator Nick Campbell and Broadspectrum executive Ian Maxted with Labor's Chris Bowen. Nearby, Australia's High Commissioner in London George Brandis was on the same table as Foreign Minister Marise Payne.
And people filed in, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg posed for a photo with The Australian's editor-in-chief Christopher Dore.
"Winning the election was possible but not necessarily probable and I think we've started well, even in challenging economic times," Frydenberg said as he sailed by.
- SMH/The Age