rumour department:
Is the federal Labor team really
looking around for a safe
seat for Queensland Premier Peter Beattie? Isn’t it a bit late? Another
rumour says a Philip Ruddock staffer is looking at knocking off Danna
Vale for the Liberal preselection in another southern Sydney seat,
Hughes. Do they think the Ruddock links will win the redneck vote?

Silent night, holy night:
Ah, the ACT
Legislative Assembly! Don’tcha luv ‘em? The ACT Government says it might need
to regulate the use of outdoor Christmas lights in suburban Canberra, the ABC
Labor MLA Mary Porter
says she has received numerous complaints from residents about some lights
remaining on until the early hours of the morning. She says while she supports
the concept of decorating homes with festive lights, they can be a distraction
for others: “Late at night with cars still driving up, doors banging, people
explaining how beautiful the lights are in very loud voices keeping them
awake,” she says. “I don’t think any of us want to be a killjoy, but it is a
problem for some neighbours.” You’re not a killjoy, Mary. Just an impossible
busybody with too much time on your hands.

Committee independence in question:
The independence of Senate committees has
been called into question after Senator Judith Troeth, chair of the Senate
Committee that inquired into the Government’s industrial relations legislation,
admitted that she discussed the findings of the Committee’s report with the
office of Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, before publication.
The revelation raises concerns about possible Government involvement in the
committee process, and, consequently, the independence of their conclusions,
according to the ANU’s wonderful Democratic Audit of Australia project.

The Prime Minister has intervened in an
attempt to end Liberal versus National wrestling in Queensland before the
stoush seriously infects the Coalition in Canberra, David Humphries writes in
The Sydney Morning Heraldtoday.
“John Howard convened a secret meeting with senior
state and federal figures from both parties last Wednesday – in the middle of
one of his Government’s most frenetic weeks of legislation – but failed to find
a solution.” The fighting isn’t just between the parties, but within them.
Barnyard keeps thinking out aloud about going to the crossbenches.
And after the revelation
that Liberal leader Bob Quinn had had a brain explosion and tried to woo a
former One Nation MP his chief of staff walked off to the Sunshine Coast – not
so much as a protest, insiders say, but as part of a bid for MHR Alex Somlyay’s
seat of Fairfax.

going nowhere:
We reported rumours last week that South Australian Liberal
Senators Robert Hill and Jeannie Ferris may retire in the new year – rumours
that have got many of the local Liberal and their Canberra colleagues very excited. But
Ferris ain’t going nowhere, or so she says. “Nothing could be further from the
truth and this type of speculation is mischievous and malicious,” she said in a
fax to Crikey. Yowsers!