Christian Kerr writes:

PM’s premature Cole verdict.
The Cole
inquiry hasn’t been in the headlines this week – but “what ifs” are dominating
discussion in political circles. We’ve already had the Prime Minister’s premature verdict that his
Foreign Affairs and his Trade Minister have done nothing wrong
– an, implicitly, that he has behaved above reproach. This has lead to further speculation. What if Commissioner Cole
recommends that AWB executives go to trial? What if, when they have their day
in court, their defence barristers call public servants and ministerial
advisers from Howard’s and Downer’s and Vaile’s offices? What if they even call
Howard, Downer and Vaile themselves for the cross examination that was not
allowed by Cole? What if –
because of natural justice – any immunity they had from cross examination at
the inquiry disappears? And what if some niggling discrepancy appears in their
story? What then?


Kooyong heats up.
“Tussling for the prized Liberal seat of Kooyong intensified last night
with three federal ministers swinging behind challenger Joshua
Frydenberg,” the Herald-Sunreports
breathlessly today. “Cabinet minister Ian Macfarlane joined
frontbench colleagues Peter Dutton and Santo Santoro in publicly
talking up Mr Frydenberg’s credentials.” Er… right. Local little old
ladies on the preselection college will
really be impressed by three Queenslanders telling them what to do.
We’ve spoken before about the provincialism of the Liberal Party. It
doesn’t just operate on a branch level. The Victorian party’s admin
committee met last night to get the ball rolling in the target federal
seats of Isaacs, Bendigo and Ballarat. It left one open – Chisholm.
Chisholm is next to Kooyong. It’s also where Josh Frydenberg has some
pretty strong ties. Victorian Libs don’t need Jeff Kennett to go on AM and make a lot of noise to get a message across.

Not retiring. We said so
on Wednesday. The Prime Minister had indicated on Perth radio that he’s planning to stick round – but he wasn’t very precise. On Brisbane radio yesterday with Madonna King, he
was:

KING … Currumbin Beach. Is that a place you’d consider
retiring?
PM: I’m not considering that, good try.
KING:
You’re not considering retiring full stop.

PM: I’m not considering retiring, no.

A good try
indeed from Madonna – and a clear response from the PM. The story is everywhere
today. And so the carnival moves on…

Come again,
Prime Minister?
The Prime Minister calls postmodernism
“gobbledegook”. As good scholars of English, we’ve had a look at our
Macquarie dictionaries and discovered a derivation for the word the PM may not have known …

Peter Fray

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