Kevin Rudd’s elevation to the leadership of the Labor Party has produced a big bounce in the opinion polls.

“Voters have overwhelmingly endorsed Kevin Rudd as Kim Beazley’s replacement to head Labor, handing him the biggest boost in the polls for an Opposition leader in decades … On a two-party-preferred basis, the ALP has enjoyed an eight-point turnaround since the last election to hold a ten-point lead over the Coalition, 55% to 45%”.

As if it isn’t bad enough to face a new Labor leader enjoying a passionate honeymoon, the PM also has to put up with criticism from his right wing. Greg Lindsay, Barry Maley and Peter Saunders of the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) accuse the government of fostering a nanny state:

The Howard Government is spending record sums of taxpayers’ money providing for families who could provide for themselves if only it taxed them less. A pro-family policy does not necessitate a high-spending policy. We might have hoped a genuinely liberal government would understand this.

No doubt this is great theory, and bears repeating from time to time, but voters actually seem to prefer handouts to tax cuts.

If only Kevin Rudd climbed on the CIS bandwagon – that would put the cat among the pigeons.

And from the more traditional Labor side, Robert Manne adds his tuppence worth: “Howard’s party believes in individual liberty but, under the influence of Hayek, has jettisoned all belief in the other great value of modern politics, equality”.

It’s “game on” as the sports commentators like to say, but here the game is ideas.

Talking of sports, the seemingly endless parade of sportspeople being found guilty of using both recreational and performance-enhancing drugs has compelled Henry’s footy muse Luke Griffiths to continue his popular “Drugs in Sport” series. However, this time he finally received some replies from the powers that be – but they were hardly satisfactory:

“If testing began in 1990, as Demetriou asserts, this equates to 353 tests per year and assuming all clubs were tested on an even proportion, that works out at 22 tests per year per team, or roughly one player per team per round. This number just does not represent “rigorous monitoring of competitors”. “

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