Dear Christian: How in God’s name does a boofhead like Martin Ferguson survive on the front bench, and why hasn’t someone tapped him on the shoulder? And how did he ever get the numbers to get a front bench spot in the first place? And whose idea was it to give him immigration, given that his views on refugees are almost totally aligned to Howard’s?

Dear Nemo: Lyndon Johnson famously said of FBI Director J Edgar Hoover: “Better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in.” Given the trouble Mark Latham had finding people who would actually serve on a frontbench with him after last year’s disaster, it was simply a case of pissants in – as anyone would do.

Kim Beazley, has defended the quality of Labor’s team today, but the suggestion that the Democrats may let the Budget tax cuts through – despite all of Beazley’s piss and wind – shows the sooner some of them piss off, the better.

Under the current team, Labor is going to hell in a handbasin. The shadow ministry is a mutton bird round the party’s neck. And, yes, those, metaphors are mixed up – but nowhere as confused as the Australian Labor Party.
Dear Christian: I read the article in the Fairfax papers last weekend on how Victorian premier Henry Bolte, Sir Alexander Downer and other leading Liberals went seeking peerages, according to their former colleagues and G-G Paul Hasluck. I also seem to recall some talk that Andrew Peacock once promised Jim Killen a peerage in exchange for his support in a leadership tussle. Would a peerage preclude someone from also sitting in any of the Australian Houses of Parliament?

Dear Troy: May I refer you to the case of Sir John Forest, First Baron Forest of Bunbury, the first premier and colonial treasurer of Western Australia and later member of the House of Representatives who served in various portfolios under non-Labor administrations until his death – despite his title. Not that he had it for long. It was announced that he had been recommended for a baronetcy on 9 February 1918, while he died on 3 September of that year travelling to Britain and “something of an anachronism”, as The Penguin Macquarie Dictionary of Australian Politics notes. The Australian Dictionary of Biography states: “He had no intention of resigning from parliament, though he was hoping that when the legal formalities had been completed, he might sit for a time in the House of Lords as an elder statesman of the Empire.”

Bruce and Casey were both made Peers after they left Australian politics – Bruce was the prime minister who lost his own seat in the 1929 election and Casey was pushed out by Menzies but later made G-G.

A quick look at the relevant chapters of House of Representatives practice and the Senate equivalent, Odgers, suggest both are silent on the matter.