Remember Meg Lees? John Howard certainly does, and fondly, for her role in shepherding the GST through the Senate. Lees consequently lost the Democrats’ leadership, and the party quickly fell into a shambles. Today, the usually reliable Inside Canberra e-newsletter editor Rob Chalmers reports that Howard may be poised to return the favour.

“John Howard is considering a government job for Senator Lees,” reports Chalmers. “It would be unsurprising if Howard gives her a job. He owes her a lot. For a start there would be no GST but for her support as Democrats’ Leader.”

Lees, who departs the red leather benches on June 30 having lost her seat in last October’s election, was also one of four independents who did the deal with Howard last year which enabled him to put forward the Medicare safety net as part of his election pitch. When Howard broke his promise on the safety net changes he also unilaterally dumped the deal with the four Senators.

There are plenty of jobs out there in the Government’s gift, and no doubt Lees is qualified for one of them. Maybe an appropriate position could be an independent legislative ombudswoman charged with keeping government’s accountable for their election promises?

Only joking.

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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