Fings ain’t wot they used to be.
Budget nights aren’t that much fun nowadays. Government types all stay
at the House on the Hill for Dr Brendan’s posh do. Our most powerful
women go to Helen Coonan’s function.
And the various media outlets keep their hacks corralled in posh
restaurants so that when they get p*ssed and hit each other it’s all in
the family and easy to hush up. Which makes Budget dirt that much
harder to spread – but Crikey, of course, is different. Send it all to [email protected].

An odd choice of words.
Before Question Time yesterday, the Prime Minister and Kim Beazley made
brief statements, praising the courage of those who led the rescue
effort at Beaconsfield. But perhaps the PM could have used a different
expression to express his respect than “standing in awe”. Awe. Ore.
Geddit?

Open and accountable.
The Prime Minister told the
Government Party Room meeting yesterday morning that he expects the
Cole inquiry to report on 30 June. Handily, Parliament rises for the
winter
recess a week before – and doesn’t sit again until mid-August.

Low down type downunder. The racist British National Party made record gains in last week’s UN local government elections – and who is the commentator from Australia writing regularly on its website under the name of Mulga Bill?

The John Howard Presidential Library? Tucked away in the Budget fine print was $30.1 million to establish a new gallery of Australian democracy at Old Parliament House. Great. After the stoushes over the National Museum, imagine what the brawling ‘bout its board will be like. And will the Press Gallery choir, the House Howlers, get a grant from the Australia Council to compose suitable works for performance at the opening?

Performance based pay. Odd. We hear of a tradesperson offered work by their local Liberal MP – if they sign people up to his branches. We didn’t know that was part of Workchoices.

A beautiful story from Beaconsfield. There’s been a lovely ending to the Beaconsfield rescue – the discovery of true love between Across Australia radio show host and former 60 Minutes vet Charles Wooley and the AWU’s bruvver number one, Bill Shorten. Just have a dekko at this exchange:

SHORTEN: I think you are a good interviewer, Charles…I sort of got
into the politics more than I was intending to, today. Our focus is
families, it is the rescue, and it is the smooth flowing of information.

WOOLEY: OK, but it does give us ground for thought, doesn’t it?

SHORTEN: Absolutely, listen there are plenty of questions arising out of this…

WOOLEY: If we are congratulating one another, you too are a very
good interview subject. Thank you very much. And let’s talk again
tomorrow – about this time, if you can?

SHORTEN: Yes, alright, that would be great.

Recipe of the Day. In recognition of Cossie bringing home the bacon (for some, a cowardly and careful Budget): bacon-wrapped chicken.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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