The Defence Association loves Hilly: Nick Minchin might be – allegedly
– stalking Robert Hill for his job, but it seems that one of his key
constituencies loves the Defence Minister. The latest issue of the
Australian Defence Association’s bulletin Defence Brief has some very kind words:

Speculation that the next cabinet reshuffle might involve Minister for
Defence, Senator Robert Hill, being replaced by Senator Nick Minchin
continues to grow,” it says. “Whatever the outcome, four things need to
be remembered.

First, Senator Hill has clearly been the most effective
Minister for Defence since the Howard Government assumed office, and
not just because of the continuity he has brought to what had become
the running bad joke of inflicting the ADF with three short-time
ministers on their terminal period in parliament…

A little further down there’s even this, too: “The two best Defence
ministers since the very early 1970s, Senators Ray and Hill, have both
also been Government Leaders in the Senate. A case of busy men doing
all their jobs properly (and being senior enough to minimise the
chances of being rolled in Cabinet too often).” Then the ADA lets
daylight in on the magic by adding: “Minchin fits the bill too.” Still,
better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. Or being
shipped of to New York, if you want to stay around, hey Minister?

Turnbull takes the ruff with the smooth: Earlier this week Crikey speculated that Malcolm Turnbull’s dog days on
the backbench may not be that long lived – and it seems we’re not alone. But dog days don’t seem all that bad in the Turnbull household, if the Member for Wentworth’s latest newsletter is anything to go by. “The dogs continue to update their blogs,
more often than I update my own I am ashamed to say,” Malcolm
confesses. The RSPCA has endorsed the site, too. “Claire Munro, the
Media Manager
at the RSPCA NSW said: ‘The RSPCA is delighted to be involved with
Malcolm Turnbull’s dog blogs and supports the positive animal welfare
message contained on the website. We encourage responsible pet
ownership and support the fun way the dogs are spreading the message of
the responsible care of our pets’.” Indeed, two of the RSPCA animals
have written
to the Turnbull dogs. One is Mr Bob, a brown Chihuahua and the second
is a 200 kg pig. Didn’t the pig join the local Liberal Party in the
lead up to the
Wentworth preselection? Oh, no. That was James Packer, not his dad.

Cheeky’s Confessions of a Ferret Salesman goes online:
Tassie Libs tremble – former leader Bob Cheek’s book is already being flogged online. It even beats Peter Walsh’s Confessions of a Failed Finance Minister and Richo’s Whatever it Takes in the title department. It’s called Cheeky: Confessions of a Ferret Salesman. Will the current opposition leader Rene Hidding’s threats against him turn into a reverse ferret?

Starting them young in the West: Interesting rumours seep from Western Australia in the wake of last
weekend’s Young Liberal annual general movement, which saw the kiddies
escape from the clutches of the Noel Crichton-Browne faction based in
Kalgoorlie and Tangney and into the loving arms of Senator Ian
Campbell. First, there’s the tale of the ballot papers – where one delegate
claimed to have lost his, then stormed out when new party state
director Mark Neeham pointed out rules prevented handing out more
ballot papers than people voting. Then there’s the story of the post-dated notices for various branch
AGMs that have been sent out in the wake of the weekend meeting. The
idea of holding the Kalgoorlie branch meeting in suburban Subiaco is an
interesting variation, too.

Talk proper and avoid bias:
More comment on Senator Santo Santoro’s
“them and us” remarks on the ABC and yesterday’s feedback: “While the
general point is well put, not to use personal pronouns in
journalism, at least two of the examples were unreasonable. When Ken
Begg reported ‘We’re back’, as in the broadcasting feed has
returned to ‘us’, and Mary Delahunty reported that ‘We (Victoria) have
lost another minister’, indeed possibly it is true that Liberals all
thought ‘we’ meant Labor. But the correct inference from that could
only be that all Liberals
are stupid, which is likely an overgeneralisation. Well, then again,
maybe not. What the ABC, and every other media outlet, should be
fighting for is the right to use English properly, rather than
conceding some fictitious requirement to use English so as not to
offend idiots.”

WorkChoices faces competition:
Who’s noticed that the WorkChoices ads have now been joined on TV by IR
spots from the Business Council of Australia, part of a reform agenda report they have prepared? It’s always good to see some detailed planning, research and reasoning
– but it’s also interesting to see where Australia measures up in some
of the league tables of competitiveness the BCA features. We’re ninth, according IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2005. The 2005-6 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum handbook has us at fourteenth. But look at some of the people above us – such freed-up (not) economies
as Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Now King Carl XVI Gustav has
been in town and we all love our Mary, but is the BCA saying we should
go all Scandinavian?