White powder sweepings

Australia’s “white powder” scares been just that – scares? Far be it
for me to disagree with my colleague Hugo Kelly, let alone a veteran
observer like Inside Canberra‘s Rob Chalmers, but security sources say there have been hard facts behind the flaps.

a dozen cases have been potentially harmful – the most serious when an
envelope containing powder sent to a senior bureaucrat was opened in a
car. The spooks, it appears, prefer to play them down.

Coalition odds and sods

Liberal great and good meet the weekend after next for the party
federal council – but the prime minister doesn’t want any fringe
meetings. In a departure from usual practice, the election of the new
party federal executive has been scheduled for Friday night – upsetting
the plans for the traditional faction dinners.

Meanwhile, are
the Nats smoothing a path to Canberra for a new star? Queensland leader
Ross Springborg hasn’t been able to get his pineapple party off the
ground, a unified conservative force in state politics – so does he
have plans to replace the National veteran and former minister Bruce
Scott in the south-west federal seat of Maranoa?

Chris Ellison’s SIEV X slip

Was there an interesting admission in Justice Minister Chris Ellison’s media release on the Khaleed Daoed people smuggling verdict last week?

October 2001, the vessel known as Siev-X (Suspected Illegal Entry
Vessel – Unknown) sank en-route to Australia from Indonesia in
international waters, resulting in the death of 353 people,” it says.

interesting. The government’s been vague about where SIEV X went down
before. Writers such as David Marr and Marian Wilkinson and Tony Kevin
have all suggested that it sank in international waters south of
Indonesia. Now Ellison seems to agree.

Are they going to be a little more precise now about what else they knew about SIEV X?