Time and motion: The minor parties have criticised the
Government’s decision to cut Senate debate on anti-terror laws and
welfare to work reforms this morning. Both bills are expected to be
passed by the Senate tonight, with the Government planning to use its
numbers to guillotine the debate. According to AAP,
Australian Democrats leader Lyn Allison says the move is a disgrace,
while Greens leader Bob Brown said cutting short the terror law debate
is bad for democracy. This, of course, is the same Senate that
yesterday dedicated three whole hours to sanctimoniously droning away
in a condolence motion.

Trouble in paradise: “Manly
Liberals are mired in factional warfare because a deal made between the
party’s left and right fell through after the party lost the electorate
of Pittwater,” The Manly Daily reports today. “Manly Liberal councillor Richard Morrison told the Daily
the right was given free rein to choose candidate Paul Nicolaou for the
seat so long as Manly was promised to a left wing, or moderate,
candidate. However Mr Morrison said ‘all bets were off’ after the
Liberal’s loss to Alex McTaggart – ‘so there is going to be another bun
fight for the Manly seat’.” And, no doubt, still an independent member
in what should be blue ribbon territory after the next election.

Career boost:
“Paul Keating keeps insisting he is out of public life, but that
doesn’t stop him from exercising his influence whenever the occasion
arises,” The Australian’sStrewth
column reports day. “Kevin Rudd, the shadow foreign affairs minister
and would-be PM, was buttonholed by Keating after union heavy John
Ducker’s funeral last Friday and given a solid 30-minute lecture.
Keating’s extravagant hand gestures and unwavering gaze had some
observers suggesting it had something to do with the ALP leadership.”
Er… yes. It might be news to the Oz, but other people have known that Keating has been taking a keen interest in Heavy Kevvie for some time now.

Gone but not forgotten: How sweet! Former Victorian State Liberal MP Inga Peulich still has her website up and running as if she were never voted out of office!

Kind invitation:
On the desk of the Crikey Canberra bureau (Suite S2108 in the Gallery,
folks) yesterday morning was an invite to Christmas drinks with the
Greens and their “bevy of Senators and staff.” Bevy alright. There are
25 people in the picture of the team. Four Senators – and 21 staff?
Ordinary members and Senators normally get three staff each. Plenty of
job sharing going on. The invite also promos an appearance of “a
special guest in a flying revisit to Canberra – guess which one” with a
shot of Bob Brown’s former shadow Ben Oquist with Bill Clinton. Ironic,
really. If it wasn’t for Green Ralph Nader, Clinton’s VP Al Gore would
have succeeded him as president. Then again, Dubya’s been a wonderful
recruiting tool for the Greens. Conspiracy theory time?

The Crikey Christmas card list: Members of the House of Representatives most blatantly appearing to use
Question Time to get through the arduous task of signing all
their Christmas cards yesterday included (in alphabetical order):

  • Michael Danby, Labor, Melbourne Ports, Victoria (Hanukkah greetings, too, in Melbourne Ports – he’s busy)
  • Luke Hartsuyker, Nationals, Cowper, NSW
  • Kay Hull, Nationals, Riverina, NSW
  • Michael Keenan, Liberal, Stirling, WA
  • Catherine King, Labor, Ballarat, Victoria
  • Sussan Ley, Liberal, Farrer, NSW
  • Chris Pyne, Liberal, Sturt, SA
  • Bernie Ripoll, Labor, Oxley, Queensland
  • Rod Sawford, Labor, Port Adelaide, SA

Seasons greetings to you all, ladies and gentlemen.