Pre-election largesse. Doing the rounds: rumours of a large cut in petrol excise, up to 10 cents per litre – a very nice pre-election gift from the government.

The unanswered Bob Collins questions. Sensational claims seem to have overshadowed the key Bob Collins issue – why was a state funeral offered at all? The sensitivities and political problems were well known beforehand. So what pencil pusher from protocol authorised the offer? What level are they? Did they run it past the PM’s office? That’s normal practice. If they did, who signed off on it there? And if the PM’s office authorised the offer, what changed? Why was it withdrawn? Who are the people in the PM’s office and his Department who have such poor political judgement? What consequences will they face for this atrociously managed process?

Consolation prize. Paul Green, the NSW Senate candidate for Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats who has compared Muslims to avian influenza, mightn’t ever make it to the House on the Hill, but his political career has received a significant boost. Sorta. He has been named Deputy Mayor of Shoalhaven after a tied vote led to his name being drawn out of a box.

Great Moments in Spin, Part 94. The government has accused Labor leader Kevin Rudd of arrogance in the wake of his pledge to have a greater say in the make-up of his frontbench. Traditionally, the Labor caucus nominates frontbench candidates, and then the party leader then allocates portfolios. Rudd says that if he wins the election, he will decide the make up of the ministry. “We all knew Kevin Rudd had big tickets on himself, but I don’t think any of us thought he was quite as full of himself as this,” Tony Abbott says. But what about the bloke who decided to end democracy in the Liberal Party? Senate leaders have traditionally been elected by the Senate party. What happened when deputy leader Richard Alston went? John Howard appointed someone to fill his place. When leader Robert Hill departed? John Howard appointed someone to fill his place. Did anyone know John Howard was quite as full of himself as this?

Campaign cash watch. The reports of good Liberal internal polling in the West earlier this week have generally been interpreted as a desperate attempt to scrounge some dosh from resources companies, but what about the other side of politics? Crikey understands that we’ve barely seen the beginning of union campaigning. The bruvvers, Crikey hears, are cashed and ready to spend, spend, spend. Business organisations, meanwhile, are hamstrung. The polls point to a Labor win, and business will have to work with whoever’s in power. The top end of town is hedging their bets. Donations to the Libs have dropped. More money is going to the ALP. And there are murmurings amongst the membership about some of the political posturing of the heads of the bosses’ unions.

Society is richer, thanks to the efforts of our shonks. NSW Taliban MP Marie Ficarra showered praise on the short-lived Liberal candidate for Cook, Michael Towke, in the Losers’ Lounge yesterday:

I speak today about a person of the utmost integrity and ethics who has given much time to those less fortunate in our society. He is Mr Michael Towke. Michael Towke grew up in Redfern and was one of eight children of Lebanese heritage. Michael’s parents came to Australia from Lebanon to embrace all that Australia has to offer: the rights of the individual to prosper, free enterprise, the concept of mateship and the fact that everyone is given a fair go…

It is clear that all his life Michael Towke has been committed to serving others…

Earlier this year Michael Towke was selected by a majority of Liberal Party preselectors to be the party’s candidate for the Federal Seat of Cook. Following that achievement Mr Towke was subjected to the most disgusting campaign of vilification that I have witnessed in my more than 26 years in politics. All allegations were unsubstantiated and false. I am alarmed by some media representatives’ blatant racism and by the fact that they accepted from dishonest, unethical and anonymous sources false information regarding Michael Towke…

Those with strong stomachs can read the rant in its entirety in Hansard.

Slugging it out. If you’re bored with Facebook, try this as an office time waster – the Yahoo7 Political Deathmatch.