Christian Kerr writes:


Kim Beazley and the marks of greatness. Watching
the Wafflemeister at work on The 7:30 Report last night, one was not struck by his dextrous deployment of the language – but rather his
resemblance to Sir Robert Menzies at the same age. That oh-so-imposing frame,
those eyebrows… only the hair colour is wrong.

That Beazley interview in full. “We’ve been in opposition
for 10 years, Kerry, and I’ve been leader for some seven years of that.
We do deserve to be considered as a credible alternative government.
I’ve still got a couple of election losses left in me.”

Newspoll nasties.
In the 28 Newspolls taken since 18-20 February last year when Kim
Beazley returned to the leadership, Labor has only led on two party
preferred terms on two occasions. Labor has only led in straight
primary terms three times. Today’s Newspoll is also the first time that “uncommitted” has a higher Preferred PM rating to the leader of the opposition.

Community cabinet.
Did Queensland Premier Peter Beattie really cancel yesterday’s Cabinet
meeting and instead send his ministers out to trouble spots? Hands on!

Preselection push. As foreshadowed in Crikey, the ABC reports
that Federal Member for Fraser Bob McMullan is the latest senior Labor
figure to be threatened by a preselection battle. McMullan describes
his challenger as a low-profile rank-and-file member he knows very
well. Does that rule in or rule out former Latham Chief of Staff
Michael Cooney?

Forest of dead wood goes unharvested
. The Sydney Morning Herald
today says seven federal Labor MPs in the state may be under threat –
and here’s some trivia for the wonks. The safe seats of Fowler,
Greenway, Throsby and Chifley were all established following the 1984
redistribution. None of them have ever had a frontbencher. Ever. Almost
100 years of representation between them without a frontbencher. A
beautiful set of numbers.

Freedom from information.
“Bureaucrats are deliberately stalling policy-related Freedom of
Information requests, a commonwealth Ombudsman’s investigation has
revealed,” The Australian’s freedom of information editor Michael McKinnon writes today.
“The report also shows FOI requests are not acknowledged properly, face
excessive delays and government decisions are poorly explained.”
McKinnon has some broader, excellent thoughts on this vital matter of
public interest in the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance magazine.
Unfortunately, it’s not available online. No ticket, no start.
Journalism is a misunderstood profession, but the bureaucrats of the
journos’ union seem to have a similar attitude to the bureaucrats when
it comes to sharing information.

Causing a Tink. The resignation of NSW Liberal frontbencher Andrew Tink
has got the dogs running. Sources say that rowing of the much
politicized M2 and F3 road link proved the final straw for the man who
was John Howard’s choice to replace John Brogden. Rumoured to be lining
up for the seat already are young left leader Tony Chappell and
Beecroft’s Ben Franklin. There are also intriguing reports of a late
night meeting at the home of MLC David Clarke where the Cherrybrook
branch came under discussion. Interest in Epping will reach the highest
levels of the party. The coming federal redistribution is expected to
place virtually all the seat within the boundaries of Bennelong.

AWB and dodgy regimes. Blogger Glenn Peters raises another possible source of static for the AWB. He refers to our link yesterday to Parade Magazines World’s 20 Worst Dictators list:

Check this list against the list of countries AWB sells wheat to, and you can only come to one conclusion. AWB are addicted to wheeling and dealing with violent and corrupt regimes.

In the past couple of years they’ve sold wheat to nine the world’s worst 20 dictatorships.

And
they’re ruled by: Omar al-Bashir, Sudan (ranked #1); Kim Jong-il, North
Korea (#2); Hu Jintao, China (#6); Seyed Ali Khamane’i, Iran (#9);
Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya (#11); Isayas Afewerki, Eritrea (#13); Pervez
Musharraf, Pakistan (#17); Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia (#18) and Duc Luong,
Vietnam (#20).

You just have to wonder how you do business with them and their cronies.

Someone doesn’t read the newspapers.
A spectacular whinge in the Grafton Daily Examiner. It looks as if someone reads the letters to the editor, but doesn’t read the rest of the newspapers:

Recipe of the Day. Here’s something that might be easier to get to rise than Kim Beazley’s poll figures: bittersweet chocolate souffle.

Send your snippets to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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