While one old mare was captivating the
nation yesterday, another was digging around Parliament for the next scoop.
It’s no surprise that Australia’s most politics-obsessed gallery denizen,
Michelle Grattan, scurried off for an interview with Kim Beazley while the focus
was on Flemington.

And the Opposition’s wheezing windbag – the
political equivalent of a draught horse in the Melbourne Cup – obliged with the
ridiculous remark that the government’s workplace laws were more of a threat to
civil liberties than the draconian terror laws.

Based, apparently, on Beazley’s assessment that in the land of the
long weekend, a few ratbags thrown into jail by the secret police can’t compare
with the threat to public holiday penalty rates. Big Kimbo revealed he’d had
intelligence briefings indicating Australia had a “definable threat.” Then he came
out with a motion to caucus supporting the laws that even Grattan dismissed as

Presumably, these threats to our national security are
more substantial than the American academic deported in September, or the two
Iraqi asylum seekers left behind today in the Nauru detention camp.

In the end, it comes down to politics over principle. With a
combination of Kim Beazley and Michelle Grattan writing the script, should
anyone be surprised?