Heavy Kevvie goes soft? Who else has noticed just how quiet Kevin Rudd has been this week? Is this more of the Opposition Leader having “fun” playing with the PM’s mind?

Decline and fall? Discipline is crumbling in government ranks, with two separate reports to Crikey this week of indiscreet ministerial staff admitting to total strangers that they may not have their jobs for much longer. Crikey also hears of an individual in a peak body being approached about a job as a ministerial staffer who was told people were bailing faster than they could be replaced.

Après Bruce, le branch stack? There’s an interesting insight into the preselection process to find a replacement for the Liberal member for Cook, Bruce Baird, up on one of ABC Radio’s discussion boards. “Our branch has been joined by several hundred new faces,” claims “Miranda Q”.

How to get off the PM’s mailing list? A despairing Crikey reader writes:

I subscribed to Johnno’s media service a few months ago in the hope that I would learn more about what is going on at the top. Sadly, I was mistaken. All I did was get an increasing number of e-mails from Mr Howard telling me how good he and his team are and how bad Mrs Rein’s husband and his cronies are. I did the only thing a sensible person would do, I unsubscribed. And then unsubscribed again then sent an e-mail imploring them to unsubscribe me then sent an e-mail threatening them with breaches of the Privacy Act , all to no avail.

In my last card I told Johnno that I, Mrs H and our three sons of voting age would all support Mrs Rein’s hubby if I wasn’t unsubscribed. Given that this would constitute a major swing in SA, I thought that I had his measure. That was last week, and you guessed it: I still keep getting his e-mails in ever-increasing regularity. How do I get off?

Readers, over to you. Suggestions, please, to [email protected].

Coming next week: Is electricity a tool of Shaitan? Cultural relativists and apologists for Islamofascism may like to view this dispatch on the vexing moral issue of, er, should women be allowed to drive.

A public servant writes: “Nine months into my first executive-level public service job after 15 years of working in Canberra, and all I can say is that I am praying for a cull after the election. God knows we’re overdue for one. Looking around my own little patch I can honestly say I don’t know what most of these people do all day. The core business of the branch could be done with half as many people. Some of them administer a funding programme (the minister’s preferred spelling) which overlaps with at least three others, two of which are run by statutory authorities. A little bit of programme rationalisation and you could get rid of two-thirds of the staff in this branch, and I know this applies equally well across the whole department.”

Lookalike. A subscriber writes: “Have any of your readers noticed the similarities between Stephen Papas (AKA Tony Mokbel) and Mick Molloy? Could they by any chance be related?”