Business as usual for the WA Libs. “Enough is enough. Alan Carpenter must go to the people,” The West Australian shouts in a front page editorial today. And how are the local Libs reacting? Well, the editorial goes on to say that Colin Barnett – the Liberal leader behind the Kimberley to Perth canal idea – must be bought back to replace the current bloke, Paul Omodei. Informed sources tell us that federal Education Minister Julie Bishop has been involved in discussions. The same Julie Bishop who considered going state to save the WA Liberals from… Colin Barnett. Then there’s talk another former leader, Matt Birney, could come in as Barnett’s 2iC. Birney holds the seat of Kalgoorlie, is living in South Perth while waiting for the forthcoming redistribution. Some sources say Birney thinks he deserves the top job, not the number two – but either would be useful come preselection time.

Mouse trap. Are we mishearing Question Time or missing a private joke? It sounds as if Kevin Rudd has addressed David Hawker a couple of times this week as “Mr Squeaker”.

Punting on the PM. The first betting market on the seat of Bennelong since Maxine McHugh entered the field for Labor has John Howard favourite to hold his seat even though the odds on the election result overall continue to point to a Labor victory. The odds at Darwin based Sportingbet.com.au, after taking out the bookmaker’s margin, have a Howard victory in Bennelong a 61% chance with Labor at 35% and any other candidate rated at 4%. For the federal election overall, the Crikey Election Indicator, which now includes odds from Betfair along with Sportingbet, Centrebet and IASBet, has Labor forming government a 51.6% chance to 48.4% for the Coalition. The Crikey Indicator on the NSW State election continues to show Labor as a very probable winner – 84.3% to 15.7% for the Coalition. – Richard Farmer.

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Peter Fray

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