Come in spinners (we have your details on the database). Crikey understands that public service PR people are already being taken on to sell the government bodgie big budget ID card proposal, the Access Card. No doubt their first market will be the government’s own backbench. They’ll come after civilians later. Nice to see that the Howard Government now also dips into the public purse to pay PR people to do what ministers and whips who already receiving hefty taxpayer funded salaries are supposed to do.

So what about a register of lobbyists, Minister? Special Minister of State Gary Nairn held a very boring doorstop yesterday – so Gallery journo Julian Fitzgerald, author of the book Lobbying in Australia, decided to liven things up. The audio is here and the doorstop comes alive after about three and bit minutes. Not that the minister responsible actually has anything to say, but that’s all part of the entertainment value.

Some new ministers are luckier than others, it appears. Or just know that teeny bit more. This is from Tuesday’s Hansard:

Mr PYNE (Sturt—Minister for Ageing) (3.20 pm)—Mr Speaker, on indulgence, it gives me great pleasure to table the report that I referred to in question time last Wednesday entitled Review of place allocation decision—2006 aged care approvals round— Queensland south coast region. The government is very happy to table the report for public consumption, for the opposition or anybody else because it has absolutely no reason to hide any of the facts from the House or from the public.

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr PYNE —I am speaking on indulgence.

Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The minister does not have leave to do this. We were not informed that this would occur. This is a serious issue.

The SPEAKER —The member will resume his seat and I will rule. The minister is certainly in order in tabling a document. He does not need to seek leave to table a document, but he does need to seek leave to make a statement. Is the minister seeking leave to make a statement?

Mr PYNE —Mr Speaker, on indulgence, I do not wish to give a long speech. I thought the public and the opposition would be interested to know the salient findings of the report.

The SPEAKER —The minister must seek leave to make a statement whether it is short or long. Is the minister seeking leave?

Mr PYNE —I seek leave to make a brief statement with respect to this report?

The SPEAKER —Is leave granted?

Mr Albanese —If he comes back in two hours, he can have it. Until then, no.

The SPEAKER —Leave is not granted.

And this is from yesterday:

Global Initiatives on Forests and Climate

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Minister for the Environment and Water Resources) (3.17 pm)—I ask leave of the House to make a ministerial statement relating to global initiatives on forests and climate.

The SPEAKER —Is leave granted?

Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, as I indicated to you, the minister failed to give the shadow minister and the opposition the courtesy of providing this statement two hours in advance, as is common practice. In fact, the document was only given after question time began. On this occasion we are prepared to be very generous to the minister and allow him to proceed, because he may well not have known, even though we rang his office at 10 am this morning asking for a copy. In future, the government is on notice that we will say no. We will not give leave unless those courtesies are followed. Leave granted.

You can go wash the blood off your hands now, Doctor. Ploughing through the dirt files on the death of Perth lawyer Penny Easton was possibly the most miserable task I ever undertook as a staffer. Neither side look good, but Carmen Lawrence came out the worse by far. Now, she’s finally doing what she should have done in a by-election back in 1995 – or at least at the 1998 poll – and going. Good riddance. But the politics of the preselection mean there should be plenty of Freo fun. A local mayor was apparently trailing her coat tails round the corridors of Canberra earlier this week. It gives Labor a good opportunity to tackle the WA sleaze factors that mean the party could actually go backwards at the election this year. And, most of all, it suggests a real ruthlessness in Rudd. There will be no more indulgence, no more sentimentality in the ALP. They want to win. Bring on the election campaign!

Chasing The Chaser. Steve Fielding, wild and crazy guy? It appears so. The Family First Senator thought it would be fun to go chasing The Chaser. So he did. The results of his run-in with the boys are now up on his video blog. They’re not bad at all – and the filmmaking technique will impress wannabe indie auteurs.

Premature celebrations? Wandering the corridors during the week – the Labor contenders for a few Liberal mega marginals. Has there been some kind of training school going on? Why haven’t they been back in their electorates taking advantage of the absence of their opponents in Canberra? Why have they been in Canberra themselves? And why did a few, it looked like, get a little carried away letting their hair down at the Kingston restaurant strip one night? The polls might be good – but it’s still way too early for any celebrations.

And finally … You’d struggle to find anything funnier than a rapping Karl Rove.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.