Inevitably, in this era of cliches, it was dubbed PlateGate; though it might have been the Great Crockery Hunt, or two senatorial bulls in a china shop.
It was certainly the stunt of a very sleepy day in Parliament House.
Though it also had a serious message – Australian governments should buy Australian products as much as possible.
At issue was the foreign crockery in the Parliament House dining room.
Cross-bench senators Nick Xenophon and John Madigan found this outrageous and stumped up $11,000 to buy Australian crockery, which they presented to the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) in February.
Sadly the crockery, all boasting the Australian crest, hasn’t made it to the dining room.
So the two good senators called a news conference on Monday to advance the cause.
They turned up with posters – “MISSING: 750 pieces of Australian-made crockery” and torches.
The torches, it soon transpired, were to be taken to the building’s labyrinthine basement where the crockery has been stored.
First the two senators assured the assembled media that the disappearance of Australian manufacturing was a serious issue, that local procurement made good economic and moral sense and that Parliament House, of all places, should showcase Australian products.
A few posters were stuck up and everyone took a lift down to a well-lit basement where a couple of doors were peered into and a poster presented to a bemused trolley driver. The crockery wasn’t found.
But it’s there somewhere.
A spokeswoman said it was being stored while DPS looked at ways to use it.
The problem, she said, was that they had only 120 settings of the donated Australian crockery and the members’ dining room uses 350 settings.