Trips and rumours: Yesterday’s Tips and Rumours section of Crikey reported claims that the Australian Services Union has forced management at the troubled Bundaberg Base Hospital to ban volunteers working within the hospital, freeing up full-time staff. That’s more bad news on health for Peter Beattie. The health services section of the ASU is one of the last unions affiliated to his Old Guard faction of the Queensland ALP.

Pittwater porky: Did The Group’s contender for Pittwater, Paul Nicolau, really say just a few weeks ago that he was too busy to be in Parliament when he was asked about running for the Labor held seat of Ryde?

Disorder in the House: Will we see more personal explanations on The Latham Diaries? How many stoners are there in the Parliament and the Press Gallery? The University of Canberra student paper NowUC has been investigating.

Brotherly love:
Curious talk from Tassie in the wake of last week’s claims in The Australian that the Prime Minister won the support of timber workers for his vote-winning Tasmanian forests policy just three days before last year’s election with an agreement to pay $4 million to a union-controlled company. The words “Gunns”, “CFMEU”, “ALP” and “Howard” are being tossed very freely around – along with other words like “traitors”, “whore” and much, much worse as the knives get sharpened on all sides.

Two sides of terror: Two interesting takes on terror are now up on Tony Kevin’s website. Former diplomat Bruce Haigh warns of a loss a freedom: “John Howard plays his politics incrementally. He acquires power and influence bite by bite. He is a hoarder of power and influence against the day when he might need it.” Meanwhile, Australian Defence Association executive director Neil James argues “There should be no more wild claims that our civil liberties in general are seriously threatened by what are, in reality, quite narrowly targeted counter-terrorism measures featuring numerous checks and balances.”

Peter Fray

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