The political slip of the year.  Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey, last night, on Lateline:

On average, people on AWB are earning nearly twice as much as people who are on an award.

Only twice, Joe? AWBs pay very generously. Two hundred and ninety million bucks is a way better than average pay packet. Such a pity Saddam isn’t around any more to enjoy the benefits of Howard Government policy largesse, isn’t it, mate? — Christian Kerr

When I grow up I want to be … When Peter Costello was younger, we learned on Tuesday, he wanted to be an astronaut. Of course, he hasn’t yet grown up. Nowadays, he’s just a petulant kid who wants to be prime minister. But what about our other political leaders? We put that question to the Crikey Army yesterday. Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Jennifer: When John Howard was a kid he wanted to be a conservative old man.
  • Nigel: Julia Gillard wanted to be an air-raid siren; Anthony Albanese wanted to be a linguistics teacher but got stuck on “envirent”; Arch Bevis wanted to be a blackboard, but was too boring; Laurie Ferguson wanted to be Martin and Martin wanted to be Laurie.
  • Robert: Julia Gillard wanted to become a fashion designer.
  • Niall: Tony Abbott wanted to be pope; Mark Vaile wanted to be a farmer; Kevin Rudd wanted to be a missionary in the southern states and Julia Gillard wanted to be prime minister.

Nigel wins for his fun with the Ferguson’s. Flick your postage details over to [email protected], and I’ll send you a packet of our very own Budget bribes, Crikey’s Dollar Sweeties. — Christian Kerr

A new contest and a belated prize. There is no doubt about the astuteness of Crikey readers. In the New South Wales election earlier this year Labor won exactly the number of seats the collective wisdom of entrants in the Crikey election contest predicted – 52.

The only reason we have not gloated about this before is an unfortunate accident with the hard drive of yours truly got in the way of making the final calculations. One of those IT wizards has now recovered the data so Stephen Luntz will soon by receiving his case of a dozen Barossa Bragging Rights Red courtesy of . Ben Stevens, Denis Goodwin, Ashley Midalia, Nick Casmirri and Chris Berkeley as runners up will get a year’s subscription to the Crikey Daily email.

Never fear if you missed out in this Crikey contest. We will soon be giving our budding psephologists the chance to display their talents by predicting the course of the fortnightly Newspoll published in The Australian every second Tuesday until the federal election is held. We will be giving away a dozen of our Bragging Rights Red every two weeks.

And there is a serious purpose behind the Crikey contest. The contests we have conducted on the Queensland, Victorian and NSW elections have produced very reliable estimates of the final result. It will be interesting to see how skilful is the Crikey collective wisdom in predicting how the popularity of the parties and political leaders fluctuates over the next six months. Details in Crikey on Friday. — Richard Farmer