The Australian taxpayer will fork out $1700 to fund the installation of three new “reset” buttons in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet after the previous button was broken by excessive usage.
A senior cabinet minister from the Department of Communications and Broadband, who has asked to remain anonymous, told The (un)Australian that the damage was inflicted by the Prime Minister Abbott’s Chief of Staff Peta Credlin last Monday shortly after Mr Abbott began taking questions from the floor about his decision to award Sir Phillip Windsor (formerly Prince Phillip) a knighthood.
Michael Hird, who first installed the button in 1987, told The (un)Australian: “These things are meant to be used in extreme circumstances only. Every couple of years after an absolute crisis, but lately this government has been using it about once a week, they’re just not designed for that.”
According to a junior staffer in the Prime Minister’s office, Mr Abbott has lately taken to sitting down with his finger constantly resting on the button whenever George Brandis or Peter Dutton give press conferences.
Before 2015, the record for most uses of the button in one year was 2010 in which the button was pressed four times: twice by Kevin Rudd, once by Julia Gillard and once by the real Julia Gillard.
In his 11-and-a-half year premiership, John Howard used the button three times, Bob Hawke used it twice between 1987 and 1990 while the Rudd/Gillard Labor governments used it six times between 2007 and 2013. Paul Keating never used the button on account of his inability to believe he ever made any mistakes.