Up the Mersey without a paddle. Tasmania’s Health Minister Lara Giddings says she will study the Commonwealth’s Heads of Agreement document on the Mersey Hospital before formally responding to the proposal. Says. While trying to keep a straight face. The Burnie Advocate has been attacking the Mersey takeover as a potential threat to the upgrade of Burnie Hospital. Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has even managed to get into a slanging match with Burnie Council over whether they had asked him to take over the Burnie Hospital as well. The state government is now very cleverly going about using the money saved on Mersey Hospital to shore up the Launceston General Hospital. All of which will leave the Federal Government stuck somewhere without a paddle if the whole Mersey deal falls over. Which just goes to show why health planning should be done in an organised process, not with pre-dawn YouTube announcements followed by publicity stunts.

Printergate and the polls. Queensland Libs are complaining about the pace of justice in the Printergate case. More than six months have passed since the Brisbane offices of Andrew Laming, Gary Hardgrave and another Ross Vasta were raided by the federal flatfoots. The feds say the primary investigations were was finalised on June 29 and that they are now trying to nut things out with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP says its office is dealing with the matters as “quickly as possible”. Queensland Libs believe matters of timing could be vital now – that there could well be an announcement after an election is called (so it is lost in all the poll hullabaloo) but before nominations close (so no seat need not have a Liberal candidate).

Wentworth comes to Melbourne. The Victorian ALP fears they will lose the gentrified inner-city electorate of Albert Park, recently vacated by former deputy premier John Thwaites, at next week’s by-election to the Greens. Nigel Strauss, a local medico and one of the Gunns 20 is running in the race, in addition to an official Greens candidate, John Middleton. Strauss is a former Liberal for Forests candidate who hopes to benefit from the decision of the local Libs not to stick their heads up above the parapets. An extensive and wide ranging campaign on environmental matters is being waged and Middleton may well win on preferences – which will not improve the already tense relations between the bruvvers and the shrubhuggers in the garden state.