Timing is everything. Yesterday, Prime Minister John Howard announced details of visits from five world leaders to tie in with APEC. US President George W Bush, Chinese President Hu Jintao, and Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Sydney in September, while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper will both address joint sittings of the federal parliament in Canberra on 11 and 12 September. If the polls hadn’t already done it, the PM announcement makes an August election utterly unlikely – but it also narrows the poll window. It appears to knock out all the Saturdays between 4 August and 13 October. There’s Christmas retail to worry about and the Indy Car Grand Prix on the Gold Coast – good Liberal territory – on 20 October. At the very, very most we seem to have eight possible election dates: 27 October, 3 November, 10 November, 17 November, 24 November, 1 December, 8 December and 15 December.
If it weren’t so serious it’d be funny. The Navy’s crack divers were key players in a stunt this morning with the Canberra Vikings rugby union team. The Vikings were supposed to be ferried across Lake Burley Griffin in one of the inflatable craft used by the Navy divers; Vikings attack across the water and win – geddit? Unfortunately what the awaiting media witnessed instead was a dead motor and a stranded crew – and the ACT Water Police boat coming to the rescue. The Army and the RAAF won’t let the Navy forget this one. Wonder if they’ve blown their audition for security cruises of Sydney Harbour during APEC?
Method acting. Spotted travelling to Canberra on Sunday night: Liberal Member for Bass Michael Ferguson, margin just 2.7% – wearing a Superman t-shirt. Poor lost leader Simon Crean was also slumming it down the back of the same Virgin flight.