After a matter of minutes, morale plummeted.
Bill Shorten was the first to break, retreating to the parliamentary bomb shelter and barring the locks, after snatching a magazine to read in his solitude. From a fleeting glance at the cover, it appeared as if its last reader may have suffered a paper cut.
Quickly realising they faced Lord of the Flies-style peril if the situation continued to deteriorate, Bronwyn Bishop took control of the situation and suggested a talent show to pass the time and keep spirits high. It would have the added bonus of helping our shyer politicians get to know their new playmates.
Tony Abbott took to the stage first, belting out a song he’d been working on with the help of US musician Pharrell Williams.
‘Because I’m (Reasonably) Happy‘, was certainly catchy, but failed to strike a chord with the audience given the gloomy weather outside.
The judges, Messrs Newspoll and Nielson, were not impressed. They awarded him an appropriately low score of minus-two.
Clive Palmer then clambered onto the stage to perform his world-renowned puppet show. He demonstrated incredible skill in the manipulation of his life-sized Al Gore marionette.
Without the slightest twitch of his lips, he deftly threw his voice, making it look as if the fierce environmental reform advocate was actually in the room, and actually praising the mining magnate for his plan to effectively scrap a price on carbon.
A hilarious routine, no doubt, but the judges were unimpressed, as they had seen Clive perform this trick before.
There was a hush as Scott Morrison the Magnificent appeared before the crowd. His magical disappearing boat trick had been discussed at almost every water cooler in the corridors of power this week.
Finally they would see this illusionist’s prowess at work.
With a flourish, Mr Morrison cast white sheet over two large boats, turned to the audience and bellowed – “There is nothing of importance to report” – before the sheet fell to the ground in an incredible puff of smoke.
Greens MPs were perhaps the most impressed by the dazzling display, and immediately leapt from their chairs to inspect the stage, searching for the secret behind this spectacular trick.
When they discovered the Sri Lankan naval personnelunder the stage dragging the boats away, they were most upset and began wailing uncontrollably.
Such was their dismay that Sarah Hanson-Young burst a tear duct.
An acne-covered teenage doctor wearing a Woolworths uniform attended the scene, but unfortunately the Greens Senator did not have the required $7 cash in her pocket to contribute to her treatment.
Due to the lack of medical attention, Ms Hanson-Young acquired a chronic eye injury and now cries uncontrollably at the mention of boats. Meanwhile, Mr Morrison was disqualified for cheating.
Next up was the debutante, Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator Ricky Muir. Noticeably nervous, he hesitantly approached the microphone and cleared his throat before delivering a spoken word version of a Beatles classic.
Baby you can drive my car
Yes I’m gonna be a star
Baby you can drive my car
And, ummm, maybe…
Oh no. Can I have a second?
With that, he retreated to the corner and began hyperventilating into a paper bag.
The next politician leapt onto the stage and immediately burst into song before he could be introduced.
“I’m, Jake, The, P–” was as far as this apparent impostor got before being tackled by a scrum of English Bobbies, who were apparently lurking in ambush backstage.
The judges decreed that all memory of this strange intruder should be erased from hansard.
Next up was Shadow Treasurer Obi Wan Chris Bowen, who claimed to be able to manipulate collective minds of the assembled parliamentarians.
“There is no budget emergency,” he muttered with a glare at the crowd and a wave of his hand, then proceeded to repeat this gesture several times.
When it became clear his mind control attempt had failed, he trudged off the stage past the disapproving glare of the judges.
Bill Shorten was next on the programme, but as he had previously retreated to the bunker, the judges were left to search for a replacement act.
A little known British troupe, apparently named after a pet snake, happened to be passing by and offered to perform a skit to fill the void.
And so the inaugural Federal Government Talent Quest came to an end.
With all performers receiving negative scores, Judges Nielson and Newspoll declared Bill Shorten the winner by a nose, with a score of zero.