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Abbott’s farewell rave probed by Senate

jamie briggs wheelchair
AAP
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A Senate estimates committee has confirmed a marble Cabinet table was broken at a party on the night Tony Abbott was dumped as Prime Minister.

Many tales had emerged about the damaged table, confirmed as broken by the Department of Parliamentary Services.

On Monday, the Finance and Public Administration Committee were trying to get to the bottom of why it broke.

Rumours started to circulate when the now Minister for Cities, Jamie Briggs, appeared in public in a wheelchair the day after Malcolm Turnbull’s victorious spill.

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However, Mr Briggs denied the rumours relating to a “wild post coup party”, according to Fairfax Media.

On Monday, Labor Senator Penny Wong brought the issue into Senate estimates, by asking Department of Parliamentary Services representative, John Ryan, about the alleged broken table.

Here’s how the exchange went:

John Ryan: We were told there were pieces of the table there.
Senator Wong: Pieces?  
John Ryan: Pieces, yes.
Senator Wong: How do you...what, pieces of the marble broke? 
John Ryan: Some of the pieces of marble were found by the cleaners, yes.
Senator Wong: Quite a party. 

He then left the hearing to reportedly brush up on what actually happened in the room, before reporting back to the Senators.

The committee was told that cleaners were allegedly barred from getting into the Prime Minister’s office for two days, being told there was a broken marble table inside.

But, Liberal Senators Cory Bernardi and Dean Smith began to squabble with Ms Wong over whether the table was “broken” or “smashed”.

“I’d say if the marble was in bits, I’d say it was smashed,” Ms Wong suggested. Mr Bernardi described the word “smashed” as “inflammatory language”.

The committee then addressed the topic of a missing set of crockery, believed to have been unaccounted for in Bronwyn Bishop’s office stocktake in August.

It was described as including “60 pieces of the Queen’s dining set”.

However, it was later confirmed the crockery was merely returned to storage.

Video of some of the exchange between Mr Bernardi, Ms Wong and Mr Ryan can be seen below.

– with ABC

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