Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a changed man and on Wednesday, which looks to have been the final parliamentary sitting for perhaps four months, that was on display.
Question Time, notoriously uproarious and muscular, a theatrical performance of hollering and desk-banging, insults, taunts and unfriendly jokes, was subdued, measured, quiet in tone and interjection free.
The only man who seemed to have missed the memorandum was Nationals Leader Michael McCormack.
McCormack had a gear change when Barnaby Joyce forced him to fight for his job during the wild leadership challenge of early February.
Having got the message that he needed to boost his profile and shout louder for the bush, he has been prominent doing just that in Question Time since. Even on Wednesday, when the Parliament came together to pass one of the most momentous spending packages in recent history designed to save the livelihoods of six million Australians and everyone else had decided the moment called for a much more sombre mood.
McCormack was in a lectern-thumping mood and in the mood to talk up Damian Drum, one of the Nationals who supported him in the Barnaby Joyce challenge, and straight after ignominiously lost the vote for deputy speakership with the Nationals split supporting Llew O'Brien instead. All that mayhem a mere eight weeks and a world ago.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg provided a few headslapping moments. Possibly exhausted by his headspinning spending and confused by the stranger-than-fiction measures that he was taking carriage of, he forgot that we don't shake hands any more and proffered his hand to Anthony Albanese. And marvelling at the complex name of his Job Seeker legislation with 7.30's Laura Tingle, he had another forgetful moment. "They'll be talking about this all night down at the pub," he said.
The Senate offered momentary madness when One Nation's Malcolm Roberts rose to speak as dinnertime approached.
Roberts was making some unusual sense on the need for more transparency on the modelling before he launched into his favourite subject, the United Nations conspiracy.
"This virus needs to be renamed the Chinese Communist Party UN virus," he declared to a quiet chamber.
On a sitting day, Parliament House swells to 5000 people. On this most unusual sitting day, the corridors were empty, the mood almost elegiac.
Morrison has led the coronavirus response with increasingly serious mood, a non-partisan approach, a willingness to be led by experts, compassion and, largely, decent transparency - the inadequate release of modelling an exception.
He opened the day by telling Parliament that Australia's very sovereignty was at stake.
"Above all, our sovereignty is sustained by what we believe as Australians, what we value, and hold most dear, our principles, our way of life, our way of doing things. We will never surrender this. "So make no mistake, today is not about ideologies. We checked those at the door. Today is about defending and protecting Australia's national sovereignty."
By Question Time, McCormack was channelling something less momentous: I call him "the Congupna kid", McCormack thundered about Damian Drum. Recruited from the little Victorian town to play footy for the Geelong Cats, "he played in an era when it was one in, all in".
"The coach would get the team before the game and he'd say 'when the fight's on today it's one in, all in'," McCormack yelled at the half-empty chamber where MPs sat in stillness, 100 of them absent, the remaining 50 separated by the requisite couple of metres.
"And we are up for the fight of our lives. And it is one in, all in for every single Australian. It is one in, all in because we are all in this together and it is a fight we will win."
But he wasn't finished. "There are many heroes at the moment," McCormack hollered. "Truckies, farmers, even sign-language experts. The one standing beside Mark McGowan the other day, I have to give her a shout out. How good was she?"
With Morrison finally eschewing slogans, it's the first "how good is" we've heard for some time. With the politicians expected to depart on Thursday on those rare Qantas flights and with that fleet of Air Force planes requisitioned for the task, it's likely to be a while before we hear another.
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