Strange Politics:
Strange Politics: "I'm not angry, just very disappointed". Malcolm Turnbull sends Mal Brough and Jamie Brigg to the backbench. Photo Digitally altered Digitally altered

Strange Politics: Liberal party-boy and Big Mal shafted

HE'S not the federal minister, he's a very naughty boy!

We have all been there.

Boozy nights out in Hong Kong when our grog-addled noggins trick us into acting inappropriately towards our female underlings... oh no, hang on.

But not one of us here can seriously claim we have never gotten absolutely cabbaged and busted a knee trying to crash tackle a prime minister or two.

Whoops. Slipped up again there.

There is probably only one bloke in this wide, brown, beer-swilling land who ticks both of those boxes.

He is the righteous dude who puts the party in Liberal Party, Jamie Briggs.

Malcolm Turnbull has played cane-wielding headmaster, albeit somewhat sneakily, and whipped two of his ministers' tender bottoms all the way to the back bench in a single day.

Well, technically they "resigned" but you can read between the lines.

The timing was a tad too convenient to be coincidence, but ultimately pointless.

Trying to slip the news through on one of the quietest news days of the year backfired miserably in the end.

So now the search is on to find replacements for Jamie Briggs and Mal Brough, who is finally copping some Cabinet-level fall-out for ending up the star of a Federal Police criminal investigation.

Poor Mal got a bit tongue-tied when 60 Minutes last year asked if he had asked a staffer to pinch former Speaker Peter Slipper's diary.

He seemed to admit he had done exactly that, only to categorically deny any such wicked mischief in later interviews.

Now the boys in blue are all up in his business, executing search warrants on his home and combing through his undies drawer and so forth.

The Prime Minister still has a soft spot for Big Mal, suggesting his decision to step aside was a selfless and heroic act that would allow the government to focus on turning Australia into an economic oasis in a barren desert of international strife.

Or something along those lines.

He was less forgiving over the Hong Kong affair.

Briggs appeared to suggest the incident was just some misinterpreted harmless flirting - a comment about his young staffer's "piercing eyes" and a kiss on her cheek.

He even shouted her dinner!

But the big boss seemed to dismiss that idea, calling it a "very serious matter" that was considered "very, very carefully".

Questions are being asked about why it took a month between the incident and Briggs getting shafted, although the government is understandably not too keen on talking in depth.

It is not the former junior minister's first boozed-up scandal this year.

Back when Tony Abbott was dumped, Briggs was wheeled through Parliament House in a wheelchair nursing a sore knee and a throbbing headache the day after a wild farewell party.

First he claimed it was a running injury.

Then he conceded it was the result of trying to put a rugby tackle on Abbott and getting his aim all skewiff.

Now the wait is on to see who Turnbull pushes up to the frontbench in his Cabinet reshuffle.

Conservative senator Eric Abetz reckons Tony Abbott is the man for the job.

And I reckon the Australian selectors should let me captain the next Ashes. - APN NEWSDESK

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