Parliament’s back – or the House of Representatives, anyway.

hasn’t impressed Coalition Senate staffers, who are missing the
Government Chrissie party on Wednesday night. (And, no, although I’ve
crashed in the past, I don’t think I’ll try this year.)

Senate, instead, is holding Estimates. John Faulkner has been in fine
form this morning, grilling representatives of the Parliamentary
Department – the folk who run the House on the Hill – about leaks.

official admitted that there was a problems with “leaking members.”
“The joint is springing leaks all over the place,” Faulkner said,
before making a gag about Caucus. All tres amusant – but they meant “member” as in “A structural unit, such as a beam or wall.”

Still, Caucus could well be interesting when it meets tomorrow. This morning’s received wisdom is that Kim Beazley well and truly overreached himself trying to appear tougher on terror than the PM over the weekend.

He must have expected the response – what Sam Maiden in The Australian
describes today as “an internal Labor Party revolt on two fronts today
over failing to argue against ‘draconian’ anti-terrorism legislation
and unveiling his own proposal to ban books that promote hate and

And why did he do it in the first place? He’s got
eight Labor Premiers and Chief Minister’s to run interference for him
on the terror laws – which they’ve been doing perfectly well.

As Patrick Walters comments in the Oz
today, Beazley’s “advocacy of tougher vilification laws risks blunting
what should be Labor’s clear political message to John Howard. The
fundamental task for Labor should be to secure full parliamentary
scrutiny for the anti-terror bill that will help ensure that proper
judicial review and legal safeguards are built into any new law.”

Prime Minister, John Howard, has given the states a new deadline of
tomorrow to agree on tough new anti-terrorism laws and remains hopeful
the measures will be introduced into Parliament before the end of the
week,” the SMH says today .

There’s some doubt now that that will actually happen – but the IR bills are still expected tomorrow.

certainly need “full parliamentary scrutiny” too – and they’re proving
to be such a dead weight for the government that even that Chihuahua Glenn Milne
has taken a big nip at the heels of the Coalition this morning, joking
at how its “obscene $40 million WorkChoices advertising campaign has
disappeared up its own fundamentals”.

Over at the Tele, his colleague Malcolm Farr uses IR as a basis to raise some good points about the competence – and entropy – of the Government.

Leadership appears to be back on the agenda,
too – although that’s probably the result of the PM being a little too
clever when he answered Laurie Oakes’ inevitable questions on the
subject on the Sunday program .

back to IR. It mightn’t be a winner for Kim Beazley’s personal poll
ratings, but it’s certainly causing a lot of worries for the
government, from the Cabinet down – and it’s definitely on the agenda
for this week.

Kimbo can’t win the security war, but he and his troops can do a lot of damage on the IR front.

Surely a military buff like him knows the importance of choosing to fight on the field that gives you the greatest advantage.