Amanda goes PC: Champagne and community workers are an odd mix, but that was on the
menu when Amanda Vanstone launched the Immigration Legal Kit last night
at the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney. Elbow on the podium, true pub style, the minister opined: “If you’re not
a full blood, full blooded Aborigine, you are an immigrant. We all are.” A good go at PC, but try again Mandy.

A lot of hot air:
An expat writes: “Alexander Downer was on BBC
Radio 4 here this morning selling the virtues of the new Asia-Pacific
climate change accord. At one point Downer referred to ABARE, which to
my knowledge is the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource
Economics. Not to Alex, who after getting as far as ‘Australian Bureau
of Agricultural Research,’ paused, realised his mistake, but not
wanting to interrupt the flow added ‘And Energy.’ It’s pedantic I know
as it adds up to about the same thing, but if you’re going to cite
ABARE as a credible source, it might help to get its name right!”

A picture says a thousand words:
The
Queensland National Socialist Party are meeting, drawing up their
Telstra blackmail threats – but all other comment is superfluous after
the Kudelka pocket cartoon in The Australian
today. It has a little Barnaby Joyce saying “The bush needs cutting
edge technology to gain full access to services” – and the PM replying
“We call this technology cities.”

Family affair: “Two
central strands of Coalition thinking are now coming into conflict with
each other over the government’s mooted industrial relations
legislation,” The Sydney Morning Heraldeditorialises
today. Er… not quite. The state moved in ages ago. Incomes policy
under the Howard Government is driven by an incredibly complicated tax
credits system – a system that causes constant difficulties with over-
and under-estimated income. Perhaps the Herald’s leader writers – and a few policy makers – should re-read Michael Duffy’s column from last Saturday’s Herald
and its warning: “Despite its name, the welfare state’s main function
is not helping the poor but churning the income of ordinary employed
people. We lose an increasing proportion of our income in taxes and
receive most of it back in a variety of guises sanctioned by
government. In the process our freedom has been reduced at the expense
of the growing power of the political class.”

Dressed to kill: In
case you thought John Howard looked odd in his Rambo fatigues this
week, check the pictures of New Zealand PM Helen Clarke’s own Iraq
jaunt here.
We’re not surprised that the green-anorak-tied-round-the-waist look
never appeared on the runway. But, fashionistas, fear not. Condi shows
how it’s done here.

The Consulting Room

Dear Christian:
Why are many writers to the press so awfully pejorative when referring
to the prime minister (dork in shorts, little Johnny, funny hat, etc).
I don’t recall references to “Tiny Bob, Big fat Kim or a dork in Zegna
suits”?

Dear Derrick: You mean lines like Mungo MacCallum’s “Turd that won’t flush” in Run, Johnny, Run? Easy. Because there weren’t any conservatives at the Nation Review
who have to pretend that they’re still young, edgy and radical. But
don’t worry about the lack of pejoratives against the left. There’ll
have to be a Tim Blair book sooner or later.

Peter Fray

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