EVER since Bob Hawke prepped for the prime ministership by giving up the grog, there has been political scrutiny of personal makeovers.
From John Howard's eyebrow trim to Kevin Rudd's spotlight on his family history, they have been credited as certain signs of a leadership bid.
We can today confidently say the monitoring of makeovers has reached peak absurdity with the rush to inject great significance into the fact Mathias Cormann and Peter Dutton jointly take morning walks.
Senator Cormann, the Finance Minister, and his Immigration Minister co-exerciser say they are just middle-aged blokes trying to lose weight. But others know better.
Are you serious? We've been doing morning exercise for months. Is that allowed? https://t.co/q5QfINDkbl— Mathias Cormann (@MathiasCormann) March 1, 2017
When cross-referenced with the fact Mr Dutton recently had a haircut producing a neat and shiny pate, the evidence was obvious.
It wasn't a matter of getting the weight off, but getting a leadership contest on.
Well, that was how it was presented to the pair in Canberra, and some might have been fooled by their stunned reaction but others believed they were strolling Lake Burley Griffin to talk a joint leadership putsch.
"Are you serious? We've been doing morning exercise for months. Is that allowed?" Senator Cormann replied on Twitter.
"Secret talks? Is this a joke? Only in Canberra will some interpret a longstanding early morning (public) exercise routine as a conspiracy."
As exciting as these developments have been fort some, Mr Dutton urges calm.
He today said he and Senator Cormann had been friends for some time, and that the senator had at one stage been his parliamentary secretary.
The Immigration Minister said he went to the gym to lose weight and apologised if that didn't show.
"But I do exercise a fair bit," Mr Dutton told a reporter.
"He (Senator Cormann), like me, wants to lose a fair bit of weight. I am not sure if that accords with your conspiracy theory.
"But two middle-aged blokes trying to lose weight … I am not sure you can speculate (about the leadership based) on that."
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