A billion here, a billion here… Just how unusual was the decision not to refer John Howard’s and Malcolm Turnbull’s $10 billion water plan to Cabinet? Well, let’s put it into context. If the health minister wants to make new medication available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and it’s going to cost more than $10 million a year, then they have to take it to Cabinet for approval. Ten million? Ten billion? Aw, what’s a few zeros between friends?

Malcolm’s as good as his master. Crikey gets a sneak preview of homespun wisdom, Malcolm Turnbull style, that’s going to appear in a profile this weekend. “You can’t do things unless you have a bit of brass,” the richest man in the parliament says. But Malcolm remains an egalitarian. “The ethic I find appealing is a fair go. ‘Jack’s as good as his master’ is a concept I like.”

Ranters make poor campaigners. Too many bloggers, for all their talk about the “MSM”, remain the high tech equivalent of those loons you see on the streets muttering to themselves rather than the next wave of media – as presidential hopeful John Edwards has discovered to his cost. He’s had to dump two bloggers, Andrea Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, from his campaign in the light of their past violent and vituperative postings against religious groups.

The Tourism Minister’s toilet talk. It’s generally believed that Fran Bailey is a crap minister. And to reinforce the point, she’s just issued a media release promoting the G’day Toronto Aussiefest, designed to lure our Canuck cousins down under. “A highlight of G’Day Toronto will be the Canadian premiere of Kenny,” she gushes. “Kenny has also been filmed setting up the toilets for G’Day Toronto.” Great promotion, saying Australia’s a sh-tty place.

Debate grounded? Crikey learns that only two people tuned up to a briefing organised by defence scientist and Liberal MP Dennis Jensen on the pressing issue of Australia’s airpower capacity – one backbench staffer and an adviser to Defence Minister and unequalled political harlot Dr Brendan, notebook in hand, ready to jot down evidence of heresy.

Lookalikes. A subscriber writes: Have any of your readers noticed the resemblance between six foot, lesbian, ex-Mormon, diabetic, comedian Sue-Ann Post and Labrador owning Anglo-Catholic opposition leader Kevin Rudd? Could they possibly be related?


Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey