J K Rowling has let us know that we’ll learn whether Harry lives or dies when the last of her ever more tedious books appears at the start of July – but what will have happened to our very own bespectacled boy wizard by then?

Burkiegate has thrown up a range of perplexing questions. Why was Rudd stupid enough to meet with the man in the first place? Why wasn’t a single Caucus member bright enough to call a point of order to interrupt Peter Costello’s Question Time diatribe against their leader on Thursday?

Rudd’s media performance has been pathetic. He should have just come out last week and said he was wrong and apologised – and contrasted himself to the Prime Minister, who never admits errors, let alone says sorry.

Instead, he tried to bluff it out. Have a look at the absurd official transcript of his appearance on Friday’s Sunrise. Who was advising him that day? Stalin? Every comment by his Kokoda comrade Joe Hockey has been left blank.

It’s stating the bleeding obvious to say that this is Rudd’s biggest test since he became leader. But it mightn’t just be a test for the Labor leader. Things moved dramatically over the weekend. Is Ian Campbell’s departure from the frontbench going to be an own goal for the government? Has the PM unwittingly revived the Ministerial Code of Conduct?

This is all about Labor’s blunting poll momentum. We can expect the most dizzying spin tomorrow when the Newspoll figures come out – whatever they show.

This is also is a bigger issue for the media than the public. They don’t know the ins and outs and the details don’t lodge in their minds. If they think politicians are all bent, it confirms their suspicions. Otherwise, it’s all just a passing squall.

The Gallery know this. The Gallery know that politicians attend all sorts of functions where they cross paths with all sorts of people at all sorts of times. Sometimes, some of these people turn out to be dodgy. Philip Ruddock’s had some run-ins along these lines.

The Gallery know how the lobbying game works. (They also probably know much they could make if they wanted to swap sides.)

Kevin Rudd has certainly been guilty of woolly thinking, but why does that mean journalists should act like sheep?

Peter Fray

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