Fair crack, Kevin. There were 36 sentences in Kevin Rudd’s Labor Day speech to the cheering thousands in Brisbane yesterday; 36 sentences in which he managed to fit “fair go” 18 times. Toss in a “plain fair”, a couple of “fairness” and an “unfair” and the fair total was 22. Quite a fair effort of repeating what is clearly a Labor Party election theme. We are fair while the unfair John Howard is tossing fairness out the back door – something the Prime Minister was accused of twice yesterday as he turned turtle on industrial relations laws while offering a “fake safety net, a fake safety net full of holes and a fake safety net full of holes to be enforced by a fake independent umpire.” Whatever else Kevin Rudd becomes this year he will clearly be king of the clichés.

Not a Happy Chappy. Treasurer Peter Costello does not seem to be a happy chappy at the thought of once again having to make a decision on a takeover of Qantas. The politics of a second attempt are all wrong for the Treasurer who knows there is considerable public disquiet about the national airline carrier becoming a play thing for faceless foreign money men. While Mr Costello felt able to give approval for the first attempt because it was six months before an election, he will not want to put in the same position on election eve. The case of the would-be-predators has become even more difficult because of the suggestion that the 50% foreign ownership restriction on Qantas was breached during the first attempt. The markets certainly should not take future foreign investment approval for granted.

A budget winning backbencher. The real role of government backbenchers in the House of Representatives is often not much more than turning up at a party meeting every now and again to vote on the party leadership so it is pleasing to see that the Liberal Member for Moore, Dr Mal Washer, appears to have broken through the ceiling of irrelevance. Dr Washer, a member since 1998, has been nagging away for several years about the importance of better dental care being provided to Australians. He has steadfastly refused to accept that the dispute between the federal and state governments over whose responsibility it is should be allowed to stand in the way of what is a considerable medical problem. Now it appears that tonight’s budget will go at least part of the way to providing adequate dental care at federal expense.

The Murdoch Watch. It was a man bites dog kind of story and that perhaps made it understandable that the Sydney Sunday Telegraph thought it worth reporting that Federal Labor MP Kelly Hoare allegedly s-xually harassed a Government car driver taking her home one night from Parliament House. What is not so easily explicable is the headline it appeared under on page one of the paper: “Rudd MP asked driver for s-x”. Not “Female MP asked” or even “Female Labor MP asked” yet surely either would have been titillating as well as accurate? No. What we got was the “Rudd MP asked driver for s-x” headline with its innuendo that the Labor Leader was somehow involved in a grubby kind of s-xual harassment. In truth the Labor MP involved was the woman MP that Kevin Rudd very ruthlessly sacked from her job by having the Party’s federal executive deny her Labor pre-selection for the next election. The biased and misleading treatment of this story is just another sign that the Murdoch empire does not yet believe Mr Rudd is assured of becoming Prime Minister.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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