Simon who? Don’t say that Simon Crean is already being forgotten in the
Victorian Labor preselection spectacular?
The Caucus Room spokesperson was asked in the briefing if Crean had been
present (He wasn’t). And if anyone had commented (They hadn’t).

Three coins in a fountain.

Remember the dramas from Senate Estimates last year about how a child who joins in the long-held tradition of tossing a
coin into Parliament House’s reflective pool and making a wish is contributing
to the government coffers?
This deep matter has been under consideration in Estimates again this week.
Now it seems that all the money will go to UNICEF. Once all the paperwork and
process can be sorted out. “We are still working through with the Department of
Finance and Administration the legal implications of how we go about giving
away money that is covered by the FMA Act. The current plan is that we will be
setting up a special trust account where the Australian currency will go, and
then, once a year, we will clean that out and get the foreign coins and hand
them both over to the UNICEF people,” Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary
Services Hillary Penfold explained. How hard can giving to charity be?

Thrills and spills. Peter Costello
had the laffs coming thick and fast with gags about Kim Beazley’s support for
Simon Crean (not) in Question Time yesterday – gags and a curious paraphrase
of Glenn Milne’s Monday column
which the Treasurer claimed described the Bomber as “a gutless hitbag”
think there’s an “s” missing). Such a pity Cossie’s predecessor as
Member for Higgins, Roger Shipton, isn’t still around to tell us
how the Treasurer got preselection – and how much support he received
from the then
Liberal leader, one J Howard.

Good help
is hard to find.
The personal staff of Ron Boswell, the Nationals leader in the
Senate, went up from three to ten last year after the Government took control of
the upper house, Estimates heard yesterday. “All up, the government front bench
has 430 staffers,” The Fin reports today. Which reminds us of that old joke
about the posh undergraduate at Oxford who, when asked why he
had two servants replied, “One to cook my food and one to bring it to me”.

Hard facts. Eros Foundation guru Robbie Swan, we presume, just can’t help
himself from buying into the RU486 debate. “Abortion pill safer than Viagra,” a
headline in the latest issue of their magazine reads.

The greenhouse mafia. Did one of the academics who complained about being muzzled on Monday’s Four Corners
write a CSIRO-published book which canvassed all the usual greenhouse
issues, strayed into policy, and got facts wrong from time to time?
More here.

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