A Crikey health warning. Don’t eat lunch if you’re going to listen to Parliament today. The humbug spoken in the Condolence Motions to mark the death of Don Chipp will be nauseating.

Feral in peril. “We need to change the perceptions of people who think the Greens are a bunch of feral tree-huggers who are not yet ready for Parliament,” a Greens election manual leaked to the Melbourne Herald-Sun says. It tells candidates to dress conservatively and lays down strict guidelines for campaign functions. But the party isn’t getting a full makeover. The manual also encourages candidates to meditate before television interviews to help them relax.

Dam shame. Haven’t those gun-toting nudists in the Molloy family done enough damage to the ALP – Ivan in the 2004 federal campaign and his Queensland state MP missus Cate going independent to protest the Traverston Dam project. Locals aren’t convinced. “Does Beattie now have two candidates in the seat of Noosa,” some are muttering.

Post-emptive strike. There are some odd bods out in Templestowe, a good middle-class Melbourne ‘burb (and, no, we don’t mean local lad Stephen Mayne). A vicious dirt sheet is doing the rounds on local Liberal MLC Bill Forwood. That’s retiring Liberal MLC Bill Forwood. Why smear a retiring MP? Odd.

Contractual obligation. Peter Costello may have held out an olive branch to his state Liberal colleagues on the weekend – but there’s talk that his factional friends who run the local party are tweaking the state director’s contract to make it too expensive to sack him, should they ever lose the numbers on the Admin Committee.

I fought the law and the law won. Maverick SA Democrat Sandra Kanck’s suicide speech last week was an even more foolish gesture than previously thought, going by these comments from former state attorney general Robert Lawson: “I should tell members exactly what the commonwealth legislation says. It is the Criminal Code Amendment (Suicide Related Materials Offences) Act 2005. That act prohibits the use of the internet or other electronic media for the purpose of disseminating, publishing or distributing material, directly or indirectly counselling or inciting committing (or attempting to commit) suicide and any purpose that promotes particular methods of committing suicide or provides instructions on a particular method of committing suicide which the person intends to be used for that purpose and promotion. I do not believe that anything the honourable member actually said yesterday in her speech would have contravened those provisions but, more importantly, that legislation says it does not apply at all to engaging in public discussion or debate about euthanasia or suicide or advocating reform of the law relating to euthanasia or suicide. If what the member was doing yesterday was engaging in public discussion or debate about euthanasia or suicide or advocating reform of the law relating to euthanasia or suicide, the law did not apply to her at all. However, in her press conference before parliament she suggested that she would actually be challenging the law, that she would be breaking the law in some way. That suggests that if she was right in that, what she was not doing was engaging in public discussion or advocating reform but rather promoting methods of committing suicide.”

Peter Fray

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