Coming next: Howard’s hybrid? A building materials insider tells Crikey that the trade orders people at Bunnings took an order for a water tank at the end of last week — to be delivered to Kirribilli House.

I’m all right Jack. Here’s a little detail you might have missed when perusing the story of the Aussies who ended up in an Arab prison on all sorts of morals charges after a little turbulence on a flight with Etihad, the United Arab Emirates airline. The Sydney Morning Herald mentioned on the weekend that their fellow passengers included “two leading Sydney businessmen, a judge, a Canadian businessman, a company chairman, two mining executives, a union leader and his wife”. Fellow first class passengers. Including a union leader and his wife. Paying what the SMH says was a $9,500 fare. Who might they be? And were they travelling on official union business – or just singing “The working class can kiss my ar-e, I’ve got the foreman’s job at last”?

The hot new accessory for senior Coalition members? First we saw the PM sporting a leather jacket – and this morning; down in Aussie’s coffee shop in Parliament House, was wannabe Mal Brough in a stylish leather number of his own? Will Dr Brendan soon start rocking up to functions on his mid-life crisis Harley?

Bye-bye. Speculation is mounting that NSW State Director of the Liberal Party, Graeme Jaeschke, is a dead man walking. Senior Liberal sources say his woeful campaigning in the NSW elections coupled with his tag as a three times loser: losses in South Australia, Queensland and now New South Wales mean the sands are running out. A post federal election departure is being mooted. Expect an announcement before Christmas that he is off to greener pastures.

Poll wrap. We’ve all heard today’s Queensland results from Galaxy. Saturday’s West Australian claims the government is making ground there — bad news for Labor in Cowan and Swan — but there’s informed speculation from Tasmania that Labor could do a five-all sweep of the Apple Isle. Providing the countrywide polling shows Rudd at, say, 52 two party preferred or above on election eve, all five Tasmanian seats will return Labor candidates, Crikey is told. Despite what might be written about pulp mills; Harry Quick, Kevin Harkins and the ETU and Telstra job losses, there are no local issues or strong enough candidates from either side to buck a general mood to change government. Braddon is held by the Lib’s Mark Barker with a paper-thin 1.1%. With any swing to Labor, he will lose. Franklin, we’re told, remains a Labor win under almost any scenario. Labor’s Electrical Trades Union candidate, Kevin Harkins, may be a dill, but he is getting lots of publicity from his close links to the Labor black-listed Dean Mighell. The Liberal candidate, Vanessa Goodwin, has some profile from the state election where she just failed to get a seat, but does not garner broad support. Bass remains the most likely Liberal hold, but hard to see this happening if Rudd remains 52% of the two party preferred. Liberal member Michael Ferguson, Barker a beneficiary of Mark Latham’s forestry policy, has maintained a reasonably high profile, but Labor’s Jodie Campbell is equally well known as Launceston deputy mayor. Both Ferguson and Campbell are similar in that they tend to polarise opinion: people either like them or hate them, which should cancel things out. The Telstra call centre closure won’t help Ferguson, but people are still going to vote more for whether they want a change of government or not, rather than local issues. A general mood towards Rudd should push Campbell over the line, we’re told.

Pollies look to God. From the June 2007 Australian Christian Lobby Newsletter:

In an Australian first, the leaders of Australia’s two major political parties have agreed to speak live to Christians across the nation. To be held on the evening of Thursday August 9, in the lead up to the Federal election, the event is an opportunity for Christians to help shape how our nation is governed. To be entitled: ‘Federal Election 2007 – Make it Count: Howard and Rudd Address Christian Voters’, the event will run from 7.00pm – 9.30pm. Churches throughout Australia will have the opportunity to web stream the Howard and Rudd address live to their own congregations. It is a chance to gather together to pray for the upcoming election and ensure that we make the Christian vote count… This is a significant event for Christians throughout our nation. Please make sure your church takes part!

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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