Wendy Wedge is curious as to whether the unleashing of mad dog Bill Heffernan was a brilliant diversion or just another piece of Wayne Carey good luck for the PM.

With the naval type who knew most sinking the children overboard story once more; an Anglicare report on child poverty; and more on the Costello -Treasury disaster who would have thought that front pages would be full of extramarital and gay sex.

Now even Wendy’s hero can’t claim the Wayne Carey North Melbourne story as a deliberate strategy but it does fit into his extraordinary run of luck starting with September 11.

With Mr Justice Kirby we know he must have been involved simply because he’s denied he was. Indeed, he has admitted as much because he gave away a minor bit of crucial information about counselling his good friend, Mr Heffernan, on not abusing privilege.

But what is really interesting to Wendy is the connection with Republican strategies in the US of A.

Her hero pioneered the introduction to Australia of the wedge strategies Reagan and others had perfected. One of the more interesting parts of this in the US was to put sex gay or hetero into the political mainstream as a “character issue”. It also fits well with family values stuff campaigning marginalise gays, adulterers and others and pretend that these are the real moral issues rather than bagatelles such as lying, dodging Ministerial responsibility and beating up on refugees.

The only risk is that it further alienates the urban elites and the media but then this is vastly outweighed by the positive impact on rednecks and suburban Hansonites.

The media elites can always be further countered by rounding up the usual suspects from the right commentariat to take whatever position is necessary to support the PM and the Government.

In this respect Christopher Pearson’s piece in The Age was breathtaking in its capacity to take up the position defending Heffernan and suggesting that Kirby should step down while the allegations about judicial relations with young men were investigated. Wendy can only imagine that someone at The Age has a delicious sense of irony and is setting Pearson up by publishing the piece or that someone is extraordinarily stupid. Indeed, Wendy waits in exquisite anticipation for someone perhaps in the SA or Federal Parliament to drop the obvious bucket all over Mr Pearson.

The other problem with family values politics, of course, is that the practitioners keep getting caught from their own side. The sorry experience of John Major in urging back to basics while Tory MPs pranced around in gymslips in between being chastised by stern young women is the best example of this.

When it comes to immigrants and refugees a similar problem arises particularly for the Republicans in the US. While we haven’t had any re-runs of the US obsession with Cabinet Ministers employing “help” who turn our to be illegal immigrants, underpaid and generally exploited that could be next.

After all another Prime Ministerial favorite, Jackie Kelly, recently publicly announced that she had reduced arguments in her house by 75% by employing a housekeeper at $50 a week.

While we know the Government is in favor of flexible work practices it did also promise to crack down on the black economy.

One would love to know if Ms Kelly withheld contractor tax from the housekeeper she hired or whether she sighted a contractor exemption. Equally it would be fascinating to know what the rate of pay was, what the situation was with workers compensation etc and whether the housekeeper was like so many of the current breed refugees from somewhere or other.

, 05.and one can be absolutely confident, of course, that Ms Kelly ensured that the housekeeper was legal and entitled to be working in Australia.

On the subject of being absolutely gob-smacked crikey subscribers will be aware that Wendy is no great fan of Tony Abbott, the Mad Monk. As she has said before the Mad Monk is an historical illiterate who aspires to be a sort of Alan Clark intellectual bovver boy without the saving grace of Clark’s lucid writing style and fascinating private life.

But, appearing from the mists of medieval scholasticism from which the Monk normally approaches issues he actually defended Michael Kirby.

Now Wendy tries to never have a good word for anyone but has to admit that she is flabbergasted and feels quite warm towards the Monk for once.

But we’d love to know why he did it.

Peter Fray

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