The PM plays GG – again. Overlooked amid
the Dubya love-in has been the Prime Minister’s award of an honorary Order of
Australia to Harriet Fulbright, widow of Senator William Fulbright of Fulbright
Program fame. We’re back
on a subject Crikey first put on the agenda a long, long time ago – John
Howard’s fondness for taking over various parts of the Governor-General’s role. He now
seems to be investing people with the Order of Australia – a little outside his
brief. If he cannot award them with the substantive order, how can he invest
them with an “honorary” order? Naturally,
the GG was a good little major-general and signed off on the paperwork – but
that little detail is missing from the press release.

Electoral
funding jackpot.
As we prepare to push through legislation increasing the donation disclosure threshold from $1500 to
$10,000 and the tax deductibility of donations to political parties from $100
to $1500, the new Conservative government in Canada is moving in the opposite
direction. It has introduced amendments to the Canada Elections Act that will
introduce a limit of $1000 – as opposed to the previous $5000 – on the amount
an individual may contribute to a party or candidate in a given year and
totally banning contributions by corporations, trade unions or associations.
More from the ANU’s Democrat Audit of Australia.

What’s on
the agenda after VSU?
Senior Liberals have wondered out aloud if the Australian
Liberal Students Federation has lost its raison d’etre now that voluntary
student unionism is now law. Rest assured. The registration forms for its
federal council meeting in Sydney this July shows it still serves
some purpose: “ALSF Federal Council has led to many friendships, and the bonds
created often last a lifetime – especially including not just political
alliances and friendships, but relationships and even marriage!”

Political
game playing.
Can any parliament anywhere in the world measure up to the ACT
Legislative Assembly? Does any other parliament provide games on its website?
And how did poor old Brendan Smyth go when he tried them?

North Shore Liberals. High profile former
Ku-ring-gai mayor Adrienne Ryan is the latest starter in a field including
Hornsby Mayor Nick Berman and his deputy Felicity Findlay for the NSW Liberal
state seat of Epping following the resignation of incumbent Andrew Tink. Other
starters are expected to be the former Young Liberals state president Tony
Chappell, staffer Ben Franklin and local Libs Ian Woodward and Andrew Isaacs.
All the hopefuls are moderates, apart from Berman – from the right – and the
steadfastly non-aligned Ryan. Will she emerge as a compromise candidate?

We’re in
deficit.
Peter Costello might have a surplus, but total personal finance
commitments rose 4.2% to an adjusted $6.799 billion in March, according
to ABS figures out yesterday.

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