Come fly with me. How much did Dollar Sweetie’s little fighter frolic cost yesterday? Well, have a dekko at The Manual of Costing, Charging and Cost Recovery, produced by the Department of Defence. Page 33 gives the cost per hour for playing with an FA-18. It comes in at $81,961 per hour (that’s 2002 rates). Including GST.

Labor pains. “What makes it to the front page tends to stay on the front page,” Gerard Henderson says today, commenting on Robert Ray’s spray on the state of the ALP to the Fabian Society in Sydney last week. So does this mean the muttering that the Bomber’s bound to go – the sort of talk that’s only really been raised in public by disgruntled backbencher Harry Quick – will finally start to make the front pages too? Mark Latham’s Dictionary of Quotidian. The Canberra Times ran an edited version of the introduction to Mark Latham’s Book of Quotations yesterday. Edited, because two of the quotes he used, from Disraeli and John Russell, First Earl Russell, were wrong.

Hanging’s too good for them! The piously PC no doubt will be outraged when Andrew Bolt opens an exhibition of paintings by John Pasquarelli next Monday night in Melbourne.

Dodgy builders. Poor possums! Former Tasmanian health minister John White and former Queensland minister Glen Milliner have been left out in the cold after the Tassie state government announced yesterday it will take back control of the Tasmanian Compliance Corporation, the state builder’s accreditation scheme, at the end of next month. The scandal over the former ministers’ monopoly has already cost former deputy premier Bryan Green his job.

Latest immigration stuff up. Minister Mandy’s been sending out information packages that “highlight the important role that permanent skilled migrants play in building and sustaining our strong economy”. Not that they’re doing anything for the economy of the recipients. Her minions have only put $1.45 postage on them when they should have paid $3.70. Australia Post is hitting the lucky folk on Minister Mandy’s little list for $3.30 (including service fees) for the privilege of receiving this valuable form letter. Perhaps she can bring in someone from China who knows how to use scales and a franking machine.

Are NGOs becoming charity cases? Crikey readers won’t have missed the debate over when pushing causes becomes party political activity. They also shouldn’t miss the findings of a new survey produced by Edelman PR that says opinion leaders have lost trust in NGOs. Edelman has canvassed the responses of 140 leaders from government, business, media, NGOs and trade associations in an attempt to judge Australians’ level of trust in government, NGOs, business and media “to do what is right”. The study found trust in NGOs had dropped from 34% to 23% since last year’s report. “NGOs have traditionally been given the benefit of the doubt because of their motivation,” Edelman’s Asia-Pacific president Alan VanderMolen says. “However, as their influence has grown so has the expectation of how they manage their affairs and the scrutiny they have been put under.” And so it should be – given the substantial support that NGOs so often receive from taxpayers’ money.