Canberra apocrypha: This morning’s wild rumour – Barnaby Joyce is thinking about leaving the Nats.

Lowball hardball: The Senate is finely calibrated, so is Labor playing hardball and refusing to give a pair to Government Whip Jeannie Ferris, currently undergoing medical treatment? The Libs played ball when Labor Senators Peter Cook and Steve Hutchins were ill. With Ferris gone and no pair, Barnaby Joyce has the whip hand. A tied vote in the Senate means the motion is lost. And, in the Senate each Bill must go into Committee, when each clause is then voted on separately with the motion being “that the clause stand as printed.” On a tied vote, the clause is removed from the final bill. We now have the bizarre situation where Joyce – or any other Government wobbler – doesn’t have the numbers to amend Bills, but have the power to delete all of its clauses.

Late to the story: Monday’s report by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters didn’t get much of a run from the media, until that bold attempt to establish a defence of insanity, Andrew Landeryou’s OC blog, carried some “comments” from “Sophie Panopoulos, future Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia,” provided “fictionally and exclusively.” Comments like: “You wait and see, those pushing the four year centralist agenda also happen to have supported Keating’s Republic, they’ve got form, you see” and “In any event, the idea of having that grub Bob Brown serve eight year terms and not six is laughable. Look at the Senate, if it’s not midgets and fat chicks, it’s unwashed leftists, deviates, political terrorists and hicks. It’s just not going to happen, not on my watch. Keating had one thing right I reckon, they are unrepresentative swill.” Some naughty soul circulated them in the Gallery yesterday where they attracted the attention of senior figures – until they were informed of the provenance.

Post-Pittwater: No one’s taking Bronwyn Bishop staffer Damien Jones as a serious contender to replace John Brogden, but what are his plans post-Pittwater? Bronwyn told The Manly Daily last weekend that she’s sticking around – but are we seeing a future federal member for Mackellar?

Greens don’t understand small business: Just what are The Greens? A political party or a lean, green, mean, money-making machine? Look at what’s up on the Victorian branch’s website: “The Greens No Sweat Hemp Sneakers – The Green’s Hemp Sneakers are now expected to arrive on October 15th. Our Supplier has just returned from the NO SWEAT factory in Indonesia and reports that difficulties with the supply of Hemp have been overcome and that production of our order is proceeding.” Heaven knows it must be difficult enough to run a 70s style head shop in the 21st century while remaining relevant to the chemical generation without having to compete with Community Aid Abroad stores – but now the Greens?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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