Writing history in a day. Education Minister Julie Bishop’s history
summit
got a serve in the party room yesterday. Bishop says the summit, to be held next
Thursday, will bring together “the sensible centre in the history wars”. Yet Victorian backbencher Sophie Mirabella
– a partisan fighter in the culture wars – warned of the impossibility of coming
up with a definitive history in a one-day meeting. The Prime Minister complained in his Australia
Day speech earlier this year that history in schools has been “replaced by a
fragmented stew of ‘themes’ and ‘issues’”.Yet it’s not known how he responded to
Mirabella’s suggestion that Australian scientists are as worthy of recognition as
Don Bradman.

An end to tax breaks for political charities? Environmental and other groups that run political
campaigns like The Wilderness Society could lose their
tax-deductible status. Queensland Liberal Senator Brett Mason
raised the issue in the Joint Party Room meeting yesterday. A Government spokesman said Environment
Minister Ian Campbell replied that he took the issue “seriously” and was
“working on it.” A number of Government MPs – including
former special minister of state Eric Abetz, then responsible for electoral
matters – have pushed for such a change.

Gruesome twosome.
Two Government MPs from
NSW – two of the Prime Minister’s favourites – haven’t formed a liaison, have
they?

Diplomatic incident. ACT Chief Minister Jon
Stanhope has picked another fight, this time over a 50% hike in rates
on embassy properties in Canberra. The commercial classification placed on
embassies could be in breach of the Vienna diplomatic convention, sources say.

Fill us in on the
detail, please
Census day wit or what from
the Treasurer in the House yesterday:
“There is enormous cooperation from Australian households and I thank
Australian households in advance for taking part in that. I will
certainly be
going back to my flat with my two flatmates and we will be disclosing
the
nature of our household—two married men with a single boarder sitting
in a
flat—which will no doubt add to the interest of the social composition
of
various family types in Australia. Who knows what the genealogists will
make
of our household in 99 years time—two married men with a single boarder
in Canberra on 8 August 2006. No doubt, there will be others in this
House who have even stranger family relationships, but I invite all
members of
the House to take part in the census.”

The ABC’s Canberra push.
Yesterday it was Donald McDonald in the ABC’s Press Gallery bureau. Today Mark Scott was down at Aussies. What gives?

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