Santo succumbs. “In defeat, malice. In victory, revenge,” the Yes, Minister quote goes. Santo Santoro’s factional enemies in the Queensland Libs are certainly wasting no time trashing his legacy. Perhaps the most vicious email to drift our way says “You can’t take the Sicilian out of Sicily. Perhaps a third cold press is needed.”

Talking heads. What got into Tony Jones and Greg Jennett last night? There they were on Lateline, happily canvassing the prospect that with Santoro gone, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie could do a Joh and appoint a renegade to the casual vacancy and cost the government control of the Senate – unconstitutional, since a referendum only 30 years ago.

Oh Alex. It’s been a tough and clearly emotional week for Alexander Downer. It was quite the outburst on Radio National this morning when the conversation turned to the unseemly pursuit of Santo:

I mean he has resigned. What more can he do? Does the Labor Party want him to go out and do something even worse. Leave him alone now. He has resigned. Think about him as a human being.

I think it is about time there is a bit more of that from the Labor Party. Santo Santoro is a human being. Does he have to be whipped and chastised more and more and more. He has resigned and I think the Labor Party should now start talking about something of substance.

Do something worse than resign? Listen to the tear-stained audio here.

The Bennelong book. Our man in a pork pie hat in Ryde reports that yesterday afternoon the Centrebet book on Bennelong had the PM out to $1.37, Maxine McKew in to $3.50 and “any other” in to $7.50. Just what is moving the market this way? What are the PM’s plans?

Manly Libs – it’s all about them. The Manly Liberal Party aren’t the most outward looking types. Yes, they’ve got that way because what should be a safe seat has been independent for so long. And, yes, they’ve been so desperate that at one stage they considered David Oldfield as a potential saviour. But it’s unfair of them to claim the retiring MLC is trying to undermine their state campaign efforts with the yarns about him and his old boss. They’re not Oldfield’s fault. They’re all down to Pauline.

Why Aldred came back from the dead? Forget the conspiracy theories. It’s cock-ups that seem to have led to yampy former fed Ken Aldred winning Liberal preselection for the Victorian marginal seat of Holt. Or forget all the conspiracy theories bar one. The ultimate pollies’ perk is the gold travel pass, granted to MPs who serve twenty years or more. And look at Aldred’s record – Member for Henty from 1975 to 1980, Member for Bruce from 1983 until 1990 and Member for Deakin from then until 1996. Close, but no cigar.

Gloria sick in transit. The Parrot has been increasingly struck speechless at the progress of the NSW election campaign. Now it’s physical. He’s been off the air with laryngitis for the last three mornings. Perhaps it’s just as well. Ring-in Jason Morrison did his best Parrot rant impersonation this morning, criticising the Premier for declining to come on to Jones’ program and take half an hour of talkback. It looks like Labor is finally calling his bluff and knows there’s no point trying to get the bird fanciers on side.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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