Joe Hockey is being courted by Jenny Craig. No joke.

Did the organisers of Make Poverty History approach the ALP offering to put the concerts in marginal electorates? Check out where it’s being held: Adelaide (Marginal Labor), Bendigo (Marginal Labor), Batemans Bay (Eden-Monaro, Marginal Liberal), Ballina (Marginal National)…that’s 4 out of 6 venues (way above the average for marginals). And will the personal details taken for the campaign make their way onto political databases? Is there a hidden political agenda behind the concerts?

The Department of Families, Communities and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA) has been madly ringing all government agencies and even non-government orgs to ascertain monies spent in the NT on anything to do with Indigenous Affairs (so the Commonwealth can beat up on the NT government presumably). They are asking agencies to come up with a figure of how many Australian Government dollars have been spent on Indigenous people in the NT over the last financial year. They are not saying why they want to know. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet are putting pressure on to find this info apparently. What a ridiculous use of people’s time in the midst of an “emergency”.

There has been quite a bit of speculation that Pat Purcell resigned his ministry yesterday due to pressure by Beattie. Purcell is strongly AWU alligned and rumours are he has been working the sidelines amongst right factioned ALP MPs trying to find an alternative Premier to Beattie-annointed Anna Bligh from the left for when Beattie retires.

The dysfunction in the Prime Minister’s Office is not invisible to outsiders at all! It’s been talked about for months by all sorts of people and organisations that are in regular contact with the office. The paperwork is slow to come out, staffers aren’t communicating with each other so the left hand doesn’t seem to know what the right hand is up to. Make no mistake, the post Sinodinos turmoil is clearly apparent.

With all the talk of Southern Cross’ radio stations going to Fairfax there has been no mention of what is happening with the other Macquarie: Macquarie Radio Network, owner of 2GB and 2CH, which has the largest talk, opinion, sport market share in Sydney by far (the biggest market in Oz by far). Its market price is low compared with the price Fairfax paid. Any bets on the likelihood of News running its eye over Macquarie Radio? The fit between 2GB and Telegraph is way better than 2UE and SMH.

Re. Yesterday’s yarn: “Has a Mac-deal been done on local radio content?” My understanding is that the new laws regarding local content do not change the status quo and only come into effect when a trigger event (ie. a sale) has occured. Which is why players like Grant Media were bitching because trigger event local content compliance would hamper their ability to sell their business at some point in the future. Macquarie also bitched like hell which is why Coonan dudded the Nats by including the “trigger event” requirement. Macquarie’s existing regional stations won’t be changing ownership in the Southern Cross deal and I don’t think the Nats are too concerned about local content on 2UE, 3AW, 4BC & 6PR. You should look closely to see if a deal has been done to “water down” the trigger event impact on old Southern Cross stations as they join the Macquarie rural and regional network.

Kevin Rudd addressed the elites at the Lowy Institute yesterday with the much hyped speech titled “Future Challenges in Foreign Policy”. Just about everyone there was expecting to here about the Islamic terrorism, Middle East policy, China/US relations but no, Rudd grovelled on for 45 mins about the poverty line in Nauru and the Fiji not meeting some UN Millenium Principles. What an underwhelming waste of time! The only thing he did say was that in Government they’d form the Office of National Security to work with these “failed states in the Pacific”: just another bureaucratic waste of time and money – but wait for it – to be headed by Bob Sercombe. Is this the same man who lost ALP preselection by being “Sercombe-cised” to make way for a certain union hack? Jobs for the boys! I really expected more from the great white hope that Rudd likes to portray of himself and the media would have us believe.

The real problem with the property investment collapses is not what ASIC is doing but what the ATO and its Minister is doing. Those that have already collapsed and some yet to come have been reviewed by ATO auditors in the last 3 years. Recommendations for action have been overruled/ignored by management as being too hard. Now the “houses” are crumbling!

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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