Barnaby gets hip. A lovely line from the Queensland Nat in The Australian today: “Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce said last night he would push for a redefinition of the diversity test that defines radio stations devoted to pop music as contributing to a diversity of opinion. ‘I just don’t think the Red Hot Chilli Peppers are going to change the election,’ he said.” A lovely line – and quite true, too. Joyce is hip – hip to the damage the Government’s proposals will do to media diversity and consumer choice in this country.

Political animals. “Predators, prey and threatened species will all be on display when Parliament resumes in Canberra today,” gushes a media release from Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt. Indeed, he’s promising to unveil “amazing wildlife” this morning when the opens a photographic display. Silly lad! He must be wet behind the ears. Predators, prey, threatened species and whole range of amazing wildlife – from big beasts to the crawling creatures one finds in manure – are on display in Parliament House any day.

Read the disclosure statement carefully. What advice will Michael Heffernan, market commentator , give on T3? Will it differ from the comments of Michael Heffernan, Liberal MP wannabe?

Re-education camp. Chairman Mao may not be influencing the school curricula, but at least one teacher seems keen on another tyrant. Crikey hears that the latest issue of the South Australian branch of the Australian Education Union’s journal carries a gushing letter from a member, praising Cuba for the quality of its education system and declaring that if Cuba is a dictatorship, “I’m ready to be dictated to.”

FOI follow-up. Courtesy of the ANU’s Democrat Audit of Australia: The UK government has helped fund an independent study by the Constitution Unit at University College London of whether the UK FOI Act has been effective in making government more accountable. UCL claims this is the first large-scale study  of the consequences of FOI anywhere in the world. Our own governments aren’t all that keen on FOI, as Crikey readers know – so keep an eye on the discussions at the “Knowledge is Power: Freedom of Information in NSW, why isn’t it working?” forum being held at Macquarie Street at 1.00pm on Wednesday by the NSW Greens.

Peter Fray

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