Not only do we seem to be years ahead of the Treasurer with our
reporting on major Liberal Party donors – and whether or not they’re
under consideration for spots on the federal executive of the party
he’s deputy leader of – but we also get to peep in to the Cabinet bag a
week ahead of Michelle Grattan.

This morning she writes:
“A government-funded pregnancy support package aimed at curbing the
abortion rate is due to be considered by senior ministers today… In the
package, cabinet has approved, in principle, making pregnancy
counselling a Medicare item and also setting up a hotline that women
can call for advice and help.”

Yawn. Last Monday we reported: “Crikey understands that Abbott has a
‘below the line’ item for Cabinet – a little something not formally on
the agenda. That little something has to do with abortion – additional
funding for pregnancy counselling…”

And while Michelle doesn’t bother to comment further, our remarks from last week still stand:

Women don’t just have responsibilities for nine months of
pregnancy. They have bonds and responsibilities for 18 years, until
their children become adults – and beyond.

Women have terminations because they don’t believe they live in the right environment to raise and care for a child.

And the government Abbott is such a prominent member of is making it
harder – particularly for more vulnerable women – to create that
environment, thanks to their welfare-to-work changes.

And talking about another yarn that Crikey broke ahead of the old, sclerotic players, the Sun-Heraldrevisited
Pittwater Independent Alex McTaggart’s Darlinghurst boarding house
yesterday – despite a media ban slapped on many outlets by the new MP
and his missus:

Despite denials by police and new state MP Alex McTaggart
that it existed, there is a document linking investigations into drug
dealing with Mr McTaggart’s Darlinghurst boarding house.

After closely watching 300 Palmer Street for the past week, The
Sun-Herald can reveal that at least one of Mr McTaggart’s tenants
continues to sell marijuana just metres from the residence on a daily
basis…

The Sun-Herald last week published allegations that police were
monitoring the 30-room boarding house as part of ongoing investigations
into the supply of illicit drugs in Sydney’s Kings Cross red-light
district…

But senior officers rejected the claims and Mr McTaggart described the story as ‘farcical’ and ‘a media beat-up’.

Neighbours said a clean-up” occurred when journalists were invited to
tour the premises the day after the story, but these allegations were
also denied as fast as they surfaced…

We’re still interested in the McTaggarts’ immediate response when we
first rang them about the property – even before we had raised any
issues – “It’s not a brothel”.

Peter Fray

72 hours only. 50% off a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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