Budget
preparations.
You can tell it’s the last sitting week before the budget.
Parliament House has been thick with lobbyists. You see swarms of them,
strolling between offices, taking all the tables at Aussies, schmoozing away in
quiet corners of the courtyards… Scary!

Fiscal
equalization.
The Commonwealth and the States are meeting today to fight over
the GST cake, and if you were watching TV in Sydney last night and got luck you
would have seen ads in the same break placed by the state government on the
inequity of GST revenues collected in NSW going off to subsidise cheap petrol
in Queensland – and ads from the feds slamming the Iemma Government for its refusal
to abolish state taxes supposed to have gone under the 1999 GST agreement with
the states. Is that what they mean by fiscal equalisation?

Musical
chairs.
NSW is losing a federal electorate to Queensland, thanks to population drift. The
ALP submission suggests axing Laurie Ferguson’s seat of Reid .
The Coalition has gone for another Labor seat, Michael Hatton’s Blaxland.
Electoral boundaries will change, no matter what. The issue of which name will
remain, however, could make life easier for the sitting MP. And Ferguson seems to be in a better position
there. The electorate of Reid has existed since 1922 and it’s named after a
former prime minister.

New job
stress.
One new South Australian MP is unimpressed with the digs they’ve
inherited. Very unimpressed. Loudly unimpressed. And they seemed so nice on TV
on the night.

Australia Post for sale? Now that legislation to create a dedicated
Ombudsman
for the postal industry has been passed by the Parliament,
does that mean Australia post is up for sale?

Policy
makers.
Minister for Families and Community Services Mal Brough suggested in Question
Time
during the week
that opposition policy was being made in response to Alan Jones. Isn’t
parroting our feathered friend the Government’s job


Friends reunited?
Are the first two of the three new directors
appointed to run the busy National Communications Branch of DIMA
really old colleagues of some of the top brass?


The end of the public service as we know it.
“The days of ducking
outside for a quick cigarette during working hours are quickly coming
to an end for public servants under a new edict issued yesterday,”
according to The Canberra Times .


Your
choice.
What do you consider a worthy
cause? What’s money well spent? Now you can click and compare what happens with
donations to the Sussex Street machine or Oxfam.

State
polls.
Twelve months out from a state election, primary support for the NSW ALP
State Government has risen sharply to 43 per cent – up four points – while the
Coalition vote is down 1% to 40, according to the latest Morgan Poll.
And the Bracks Government in Victoria hasn’t got a Games bounce.
Their support is down two points to 35%, while the Libs have risen
three points to 35%, despite leadership instability. That still points
to a solid win at the polls later this year.

Recipes of the Day: Today’s recipe section is dedicated to our newest transcontinental fugitive, Tony Mokbel. Ratatouille on the Runis simple and easy to make (which we assume is now of some importance for Tony); and for dessert we couldn’t resist Coke Cake.

Send your
snippets to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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