Which dead wood? Maverick senator Bill Heffernan put on a spectacular performance in the party room yesterday. His remarks on the judiciary were almost as good as some recent colourful comments about a certain senior diplomat. But it was what he had to say about dead wood MPs that caused the biggest stir. Heffernan proclaimed the need for generational change – but without specifying if it should take place at a state or federal level. Costello backers were most amused. The PM wasn’t.

New terror threat in Canberra. “Caution! Swooping bird,” warn signs on one of the House of Representatives courtyards.

Thanks but no thanks, Simon. “Over the next few days you will receive ballot papers in the mail for the election of ALP National President and Vice President,” nonentity deputy leader Jenny Macklin writes to the faithful. “For me there is one candidate who stands out – John Faulkner.” Those happy days of 2001 when she became deputy under another candidate, Simon Crean, are long, long ago.

What’s the story? Two successive AAP stories yesterday must have got subscribers thinking:

VIC: Rising petrol prices force rise in public transport

Tuesday, 5 Sep 2006 at 3:34pm; Category: Australian General News; Low priority; Story No. 4943.

Petrol Vic
MELBOURNE, Sept 5 AAP – Rising petrol prices are prompting Melburnians to abandon their cars in favour of public transport, according to new research…

Fed: Economist predicts pump price of $1.20 within fortnight

Tuesday, 5 Sep 2006 at 3:34pm; Category: Australian General News; Low priority; Story No. 4942.

Petrol James

CANBERRA, Sept 5 AAP – Australians should be enjoying petrol prices of $1.20 a litre within a fortnight, a prominent economist says…

Saturday night in Brisvegas. The schedules are out and only the ABC will be covering the Queensland election on Saturday night (interstate politics junkies can catch bits of the coverage on Sky News). Channel Nine is running the Broncos rugby league match. Given the polls and the fact that ABC election munchkin Antony Green has called the result before 7pm at the last two elections, Queenslanders should have a result in time to watch the game. Channel Ten is broadcasting the Swans/West Coast match from 7:30pm. That’s bound to be a ratings flop in Brisbane, but it might hurry up Antony – a Swans season ticket holder. Channel Seven has disinterred Julie Andrews and is broadcasting The Sound of Music. Which raises an interesting question – what is the most appropriate film to run on election night? Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah was an inspired choice for the 1984 NSW poll. Suggestions, please to [email protected]. Salo?

All those journos are getting to Barnaby. AAP got a nice rise out of Barnaby Joyce yesterday when they asked him if he’d support a Labor move to block the handily-timed increase in MPs printing allowances. “I can’t go crossing the floor on every bloody issue,” Barnyard said. “I’ve already gone out on a limb over Medibank – it’s not worth burning up my political capital on something like this.”