You ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie, brother! Dr Brendan on Sunday yesterday on the Liberal loss: “In the end it’s about the party, the organisation of the party, making sure that we don’t have any so-called factional arrangements dominate sensible thinking.”

Make or break time. A neat analysis from Ross Fitzgerald in The Australian this morning: “Iemma’s reign had begun 18 months ago and that was all he was prepared to take responsibility for. His ‘more to do’ slogan, much derided by commentators, hit the mark. It’s the sort of thing premiers say when they are seeking election for a second term. And indeed he was…” But there’s a but: “With a full term and his own mandate it will be fascinating to watch if he can convert his good intentions to real service improvements for long-suffering Sydney public transport commuters in particular.” Unless, of course, the Liberals are happy to let Labor win. Yet again.

Stay of execution. The Liberals’ better than feared result in NSW will save Peter Debnam’s neck – for the short term, anyway. Party president Jeff Selig and director Graham Jaeschke are copping the immediate blame. And as the Liberals nurse their sore heads, it seems as if Barry O’Farrell really only has support at the moment from Malcolm Kerr. The moderates don’t trust him, the soft right doesn’t want him and the hard right – David Clark and his acolytes – will only let him take the leadership over their dead bodies.

Bring on the Sussex Street speakeasy! “A powerful lobbying and public relations firm run by one of Steve Bracks’s closest friends has taken its trade to a new level by setting up a bar called Cabinet for ministers, staff and journalists to exchange gossip,” The Australian reports today. “The bar – set up by the head of CPR Communications Adam Kilgour – is in a secluded laneway in the central business district of Melbourne.” Will we soon see a bar somewhere in Sydney named Hawker’s Hideaway?

Peter Fray

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