Passing the buck to the EPA. There are some oil recycling facilities in the Rutherford Industrial Estate in Maitland NSW that are emitting putrid stenches and causing illness in locals. Despite repeated reports to the council (these facilities where vigorously objected to by locals in the development phase) and the EPA – nothing has been done. The residents haven’t even been granted the courtesy of a public meeting on the issue. It is always worse in winter and it seems to be the procedure for the council to pass the buck to the EPA who make sympathetic noises but do nothing of substance and wait till 1) people get fed up of complaining and 2) the weather changes, and then forget about it until it starts all over again next year.

Further signs of ageing? There were some forgettable moments during Prime Minister Howard’s trip to Darwin last week. At a public meeting at the Kalymnian Hall, Howard came up against a life size (near two metres) banner of local CLP House of Reps member, Dave Tollner. “Who’s he?” asked the PM. Later he claimed to have had “a good meeting with Jodie”. Jodie? He must have meant Jodeen Carney, local CLP opposition leader.

More election date speculation. Gnats Member for Page, Ian Causley’s “Community Newsletter” for Sept 07, inserted in last Thursday’s Northern Rivers Echo, has one interesting tidbit amongst the usual self-promotional, self-congratulatory dross. The headline article, written by ol’ mate himself, states that “In a few weeks time local residents will have to make a very important choice.” A few weeks time? Does he know something the rest of us are endlessly speculating about?

Horse flu watch. Just read your piece from Friday on equine flu. I live in the western suburbs of Brisbane and have 6 horses, none of which are sick… yet (a horse 1.5 km down the road from mine tested positive to the flu last week), but it seems the penny is not dropping for some people in my area. There are hundreds of horses and recreational riders in the western suburbs. The authorities have had a police monitor situated at a strategic intersection in neighbouring Kenmore since last Wednesday to watch for unauthorised movements of horses – and they’re catching some. Obviously some people think they’re bulletproof. Doesn’t bode well for the future eradication of this virus.

Acting the sport. It’s not only sportspeople involved in the consumption of illicit substances. Which Australian actress is currently the talk of local film crews for the amount of cocaine she consumes on set?

The APEC tip is nonsense. I am an EnergyAustralian (note that by marketeers’ decree EnergyAustralia is one word) who can assure you that Friday’s APEC tip is nonsense. All sleeping areas have been completely phased out forcing maintenance staff back into their vans for midday kips. And, not only are we all getting the APEC holiday but it also coincides with the bi-weekly Rostered Day Off so I’ll be away on Thursday too.

A case of anyone but Marles. Recently reported in the Geelong Advertiser is that the Liberals are having a raging in-fight over who they will give their preferences to. Insiders from the party have said that long time financial supporter of the Libs, Frank Costa has demanded that they go to the Labor Candidate, Richard Marles, who it appears is his puppet candidate for the seat of Corio. Costa, Marles and the ALP are increasingly worried that the current member, Gavin O’Connor, will stand as an Independent. His support base in the community is very strong and growing by the day with people calling on him to stand. What Costa’s intervention means is that we have a conservative Liberal businessman directing the Liberals to hand the seat to the ALP so that he can continue to run Geelong.

Meanwhile on the grassy knoll… Re. the “Bin Laden trades”. Could it be that George W Bush is really keen to embark on his stupidity into Iran.