The Bennelong book. Betting on the winner of Bennelong has been up and running at Centrebet for the past few weeks. The odds of a victory by Maxine McKew have been very stable at around $4.25 (about a 25% chance allowing for the bookies’ margin). The interesting development has been a sharp narrowing in the odds of “Any other candidate” and a blowout in the odds for John Howard. The odds are for the individual, not the party. Could this be signal the PM is about to get out before the election and give a new Liberal candidate a chance?

What you can and can’t know in NSW. Election analyst Antony Green has a spit at the NSW electoral laws elsewhere today, but the idiocy of forcing how-to-votes to be registered but then keeping them secret is made even starker when you check the list of candidates on the NSW electoral commission website. Every candidate has been forced to sign a child related conduct declaration, stating whether they had ever been convicted of any form of child abuse or been charged with any under age s-x offences. The law has required every one of these four page forms for more than 800 candidates to be scanned and put up on the electoral commission’s website. But it seems to be too difficult to allow public access to registered how-to-vote material.

Not more interesting news from Queensland. If Santo Santoro gets dropped down the Senate ticket, local Liberals worry that this will result in the elevation of his acolyte Mark Powel – and fear what it may mean for the party.

More NSW government logic. Morris Iemma and his Treasurer, Michael Costa, have been decrying Peter Debnam’s proposed job cuts to the NSW public service. Is this the same Michael Costa who in 2005 suggested up to 20% of the state’s 340,000 public servants might be surplus to requirements?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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