Dear Christian: If he wants the job, why won’t Peter Costello challenge?

Dear Andrew: Bluffing’s so much better than bloodshed. Particularly when the blood would be your own.
Dear Christian: You made some, well, harsh comments about Peter Beattie earlier this
week. So how should have Pete, also known as the great Premier of the
greatest state of Australia blah blah blah, have handled the demise of
Sir Joh?

Dear Darlene:
I am so sick of spin. So is everyone. You can tell confectionary. It’s
sickly sweet. Three cheers for Joh for death duties, three cheers for
economic development – and three years would have been an appropriate
enough prison term for everything else. The bloke did good things – and
presided over a rotten state. One doesn’t negate the other. Why the
hell didn’t Peter Beattie just say that and let the family bury the
bugger rather than granting him a state funeral and pouring out the
oleaginous tributes? Or are corruption and intimidation now inseparable
from government in Queensland?
Dear Christian: Was the IVF story about proposed radical reductions in funded
treatments simply a way to get the Medicare Safety Net story off the
front page? Was the government really ever planning to radically reduce
the number of cycles funded or was it all a big “blow job” (pardon the
pun) to keep the media and the women’s groups off the real story of
Medicare wastage and other potential musings pre-budget?

Dear Sam: “Snow job”, surely? The IVF yarn seems to be another case of the Monk
being plagued with guilt. They seem to end messily. Since he took over
the portfolio, health has become less of an issue – but only because
his protect, the prime minister, has let him spend his way out of
trouble. Spend and spend and spend. That’s how they ended up with their
Medicare Safety Net embarrassment. The PM gave him a helping hand
there, too. He announced the backflip, rather than letting the Monk
take the blame. Abbott, in response, needed to find some sort of cut in
health spending – and came up with IVF. Great idea. It’s raised a whole
new set of questions about the government’s commitment to Medicare,
rationing of services and the creation of two different classes of
essential and non-essential medical services. That’s a great way to
keep a lid on one of the most sensitive portfolios. Abbott’s a bright
boy, but gee you’ve got to question his judgment. Costello might be
too much of a wimp to be prime minister, but Abbott knows his own mind
too much to want him in the job.
Dear Christian: There’s a rather odd story that’s been going around Sydney for some
time that Bob Carr has an aversion to shaking hands with people, based
on a Seinfeld-like fear of coming into contact with germs. Have you
heard such talk? Is there any truth to it?

Dear Rod: There are always odd stories going around about Bob Carr, but you do
notice a weird sense of otherness about him when you meet, don’t you?
Perhaps he’s a replicant who’s become aware. Bring on the Voigt-Kampff
eye test. I see lots of similarities between Hawker Britton and the
Tyrell Corporation.

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