Trust Mike Carlton, writing his weekly column in the SMH, to expose the real goings-on at Kirribilli House:
"Such an event there never had been, nor ever could be again. It would be a grand winter ball, to which all the quality of the county and the officers of the regiment were invited. Oh, the clatter of hooves and the rumble of carriages in the long cobbled drive, the swirl of silken gowns and the bobbing of footmen's wigs beneath the portico and, within the great house, what gaiety of the orchestra, what a profusion of elegant decoration and plenitude of refreshments. Rainbows of light from a Baccarat chandelier twinkled upon the diamonds of the ladies, on ribbons and stars and orders, on the crimson pelisse of a dashing colonel of Hussars. The ballroom was a-whirl to the sprightly step of the quadrille, the gavotte, the schottische.
"And there is the Prime Minister!" cried Mrs Bennet, raising her lorgnettes to peer across the milling throng. "The Master of Kirribilli himself! Daughters, I shall beg Lord Downer or Mr Abbott to make us an introduction."
With some warmth, Elizabeth replied to her mother that she did not seek an audience with the Prime Minister, whether effected by Lord Downer or Mr Abbott or both gentlemen together.
"Lizzy, I should box your ears," hissed Mrs Bennet. "We have joined the Liberal Party to find you a husband, and a husband we shall find. It is indeed a privilege to mix with such company, an honour not lightly bestowed. The Howards have graciously bidden us to attend this soiree and I entreat you - no, I direct you - to behave with a decorum appropriate to the occasion."
"Screw decorum," said Elizabeth. "It's a bare-faced political fund-raiser, and if the poor bloody taxpayers ever find out they're being rorted and ripped off like this there'll be hell to pay."