The pollsters got it wrong, wrong, wrong in Ryan and will be struggling to extract their feet from their mouths for some time, says Hillary Bray.

Hillary is going to be brave and predict that the Libs will just hang on – but because virtually the entire Gallery decided that they were doomed Beazley won’t be savaged for failing to pull off a win. Everyone is just too embarrassed at getting it wrong. Not that it stopped them from running the stories they had already written. Saturday night and Sunday morning’s media coverage was execrable. Hillary’s been a journo and knows it’s nasty having to rewrite stories at that sort of time, but just because it wasn’t a re-run of Bass or Canberra there was no need to report it as such – leaving out the awkward fact that no-one actually knew the result.

Anyway, Ryan doesn’t really matter in the broader scheme of things. John Howard is going down. The claim that his intervention turned the result around is bollocks. If the Libs make it, it will be because Bob Tucker is an unpretentious bloke with a sound local track record who worked hard – in contrast to John Moore.

Honour amongst thieves

Ryan Liberals continued to brawl till the last days after Whinging Pom Michael Johnson suddenly went public about a “politically motivated” break in he suffered – six weeks after the event.

The reply came mid week – a yarn that claimed Bob Tucker’s campaign manager came across Johnson one night “collecting” Liberal posters in their home suburb of Jindalee.

Missing in action

Has anyone else been surprised by the low profile of prominent socialist Bob Katter over the past fortnight? Hillary hears that Mad Bob was pulled into a dark corner of Parliament House during the last sitting week and told that if he didn’t keep his mouth shut until Ryan was over, he’d be history.

Keeping the Democrats honest

Bizarre rumours fly as the Democrats’ leadership stoush continues, with the claim that charismatic Western Australian Senator Andrew “Street Fighting Man” Murray and Queenslander John Woodley will leave the party if Ah Satan beats Mystic Meg.

Whatever the outcome, the Dems appear to be in drastic need of someone to keep them honest. Murray told the Age last week that “stacking has been going on in the Democrats since Adam was a boy”, and Hillary hears that he happily sent out Lees campaign material in official envelopes put through the office franking machine. Um!

PS Ah Satan announced in the wake of the Ryan result that the Dems need new leadership and that she wants to go to the next election with an invigorated party and policies that voters will find exciting. She says that voters think the Democrats are too close to the government and that there’s voter concern that the Democrats did a deal on the Goods and Services Tax – which has surprised all the Dems who were convinced she would have backed the GST deal if books had been excluded.

Purple reign?

Why does Ah Satan appear to be wearing lilac almost every time you see her? Sisterhood lite? Hillary has been perplexed.

Hillary consulted a psychologist (no jokes, please), and was told “Pastel colours equal feminine sign of helplessness and vulnerability, so she’s showing that she can’t handle the pace. Else-wise she should be wearing strong ‘in control’ type colours like black and red”. That couldn’t be right.

Instead, Hillary checked some new age websites – much more the Democrats kind of thing – and discovered that magenta improves the emotional equilibrium and indigo brings wisdom, intuition and clarity. Indeed, indigo – the Sixth Chakra, apparently – can help the development of psychic abilities, intuitive attunement, spiritual growth and deeper understanding – all good virtues for a would be Democrat leader.

Readers might like to consider the following guide to the power of colours when they next see Ah Satan on TV:

Indigo – Sedative, pain relieving, arrests discharges and bleeding, astringent. Use for piles and varicose veins. Indigo improves the immune system during infections: use to irradiate swollen lymph glands; in whooping cough with fever and other acute lung disorders; for convulsions and nervous irritation. It stimulates the parathyroids and sedates the thyroid; use locally for goitre.

Violet – Relaxing and soothing. It also stimulates the spleen and builds white blood cells. Violet sedates heart and muscle activity, and calms hyperactive people. It is useful for overactive kidneys and bladder; bed-wetting; nerve disorders and overactive mental disorders; epilepsy; insomnia. It also suppresses appetite.

Purple – Dilates blood vessels and reduces blood pressure: slows the pulse as with palpitations (irradiate heart area). Purple lowers body temperature, and is excellent for high fevers; it stimulates the activity of veins; is a good sleep inducer for insomnia; decreases sexual desire and pain; is antimalarial; sedates the kidneys.

Magenta – Energising; improves and normalises the emotions, the aura and the sexual system. Magenta energises the adrenal glands and the heart muscle, normalises the heart and blood pressure, improves the circulation. It is diuretic; useful for kidney stones.

Now, what are the Incredible Bulk’s outfits trying to tell us

Ringing up a bill

After poor old Wreathie’s Telecard trouble, it would be reasonable to assume that MPs and staffers have been keeping an eye on their phone usage, wouldn’t it?

Er, no. Telephone audits are showing some fascinating results.

Personal phone calls are an accepted perk of politics – fairly, too, if kept reasonable, given the long hours and travel. However, it appears that some people have been getting a little extravagant.

Hillary has heard one staffer rang up $17,300 worth of mobile calls talking to a special friend over a 12 month period. Several others have been identified with personal phone bills of between $5,000 and $10,000.

If these digitally dexterous diallers worked anywhere else in the public service, they would be getting an invoice – or the sack – but being in politics means never having to say sorry.

Battening down

Polling data crosses Hillary desk. The Libs are stuffed in Queensland, holding up OK in New South Wales and South Australia – and facing catastrophe in Victoria.

On these figures, Wreathie will be back dealing with torts rather then rorts – and a lot of his colleagues will join him.

Even Federal Treasurer Peter Costello is battening down. At the Higgins electorate council AGM last week the post of campaign co-ordinator, usually awarded to the chair, was given to one Michael Kroger.

What gives?

Hillary hears that a former AQIS inspector has a High Court case coming up against our friend “Slippery Pete” Slipper.

Any details would be most appreciated.

Among the barbarians

Hillary can happily confirm that redneck radio ranter Stan Zemanek has been invited to speak to the Taliban of the Liberal Party, the Australian Liberal Students Federation, at their annual conference.

Sydney Morning Herald journalist Paul Sheehan has also been approached. Hillary would just like to warn him that if he attends, he will soon be wishing he was back with all those nice, moderate minded people from One Nation.

Comic relief

It’s tough out there, living and working on the land – but at Gunnedah, home town of John “The Cowardly Lion” Anderson, they can still smile.

Locals wits now say that if local state independent Tony Windsor runs for Gwydir, even poor old John’s missus will vote for him.

Internal exile

Hapless Victorian Liberal deputy leader Louise Asher struck a blow for the bush last week by suggesting the mooted State Revenue Office be located off in RARA land.

Hillary doesn’t think many economists or tax collectors were keen to live in Bendigo – but knows that we can expect more of this crap in the lead up to the Federal election.

You can see the headlines now – DFAT for Dubbo, Treasury for Townsville and Immigration for Woomera.

We love our audience

Crikey contributors, congratulations! The e-mail addresses you come up with are remarkable.

One reader distinguished themselves this week, however. Hillary was very amused to receive an e-mail from “Fake Name”. That’s going to be a hard one to trump – but keep ’em coming.

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]