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“A smile and an aggressive, involuntary handshake”: Jenny and Scott’s 7 tips for good manners

“As I said last night on 60 minutes, we don’t expect much when people come to visit us in our taxpayer-funded temporary home. But there are a few basic rules of etiquette that Scott and I would advise everyone to follow.

1. Smile: Grin, laugh, chuckle, smirk – whatever is right for you. But for God’s sake turn that frown upside down! Sure, sexual assault is a serious topic, but my husband has had to handle claims of sexual assault in Parliament House for most of his Prime Ministership, and you never see him scowling.  

2. Give a solid handshake: Pick up the other person’s arm, grab their hand and forcibly shake it if you need to. It’s basic good manners in Scott’s book.

3. Never turn your back when someone is talking to you: It’s etiquette 101. Unless of course they are a member of the opposition giving a passionate speech, in which case it’s fine to swing your chair around and look at your phone. Or leave the building altogether.

4. Think about the children: No not those ones in detention. No, not trans kids either, they’re just a tool to try and win an election, silly! No, our children. Think about our children.

5. Offer your seat to others: Unless it’s the federal seat of Cook and you’re trying to barge your way into politics, in which case, Scott suggests doing whatever it takes to grab the seat of other candidates.   

6. Be inquisitive: And the best way to do that is to set up an inquiry. Whether it’s to determine who knew about an alledged rape in your office, or just a political tool to delay accountability, it’s just basic manners.  

7. Take responsibility: For other people’s successes. If you’ve made an error yourself – botched a vaccine rollout in a pandemic for example – then have the courtesy to politely place the blame elsewhere.

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