Short man, short notice. Much excitement amongst politics tragics following this announcement this morning: “At short notice, Prime Minister John Howard will deliver a major speech to The Sydney Institute this coming Thursday – i.e. Thursday 11 October 2007. They really should know better. Probably all we can hope for is the discovery of something that requires urgent legislating and the return of Parliament next week.

Defeat is an orphan. Who noticed yesterday? When the PM went for his morning walk, he wasn’t wearing the wallabies trackie.

Media events and media revenge. The PM p-ssed off Tassie journos something terrible at his media event yesterday when he dropped by to announce some more pork for hospitals to kill off the Ben Quin story, but refused to take questions. One suggested that a commemorative garment be printed up to mark the occasion with the words “The PM came to Tassie and all I got was this f-cking t-shirt”. Lo and behold, today’s Launceston Examiner carries these lines:

If you wanted to be cynical about yesterday’s visit by Prime Minister John Howard you could take the approach that “the Prime Minister came to visit and all I got was this lousy T-shirt”.

Sounding hoarse after a chilly morning on the State’s North-West Coast, Mr Howard made himself known to a range of punters on the Launceston General Hospital’s Charles St entry level before heading to the day-surgery ward.

The usually hectic ward was strangely bereft of patients (where did they put most of them?).

Instead it was jam-packed with politicians and media…

Normally, you would expect to be able to ask questions of the Prime Minister after such announcements.

Not on your nelly.

Instead Mr Howard was ushered over to meet the hospital’s key agitator Professor Rob Fassett and his sidekick neurologist Dr Stan Siekja and then he was off.

If you blinked, or made a visit to the loo, you might have missed him.

Wild and crazy candidates. The election hasn’t been called yet. Which is lucky for a few candidates. They’ll have a bit more time to refine their pitches. Gary March, the Labor candidate for Flinders in Victoria, certainly needs to put a bit more time into his campaign. There are a few basics he needs to get right. Like how he spells his name. He’s put out a media release that reads: “Liberal MP Greg Hunt is misleading votes by implying he has been a central and long-standing influence in the move towards cleaning up Gunnamatta beach, according to Gary Mach…” Meanwhile, over in the West, Australian Democrats candidate Erica Lewin might just like to do a bit of fine-tuning, too. Her website says: “Having lived and worked in India, Perth, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Collie and Sydney, Erica understands the diverse needs of the people living in Western Australia.” Sydney? We all know how they react in the West to easterners. As for India, well, Sandgropers know that if you travel far enough, that’s east too.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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