In The Australian’s Strewth column today (page 10), it is revealed that the The Oz’s opinion editor Tom Switzer is set to become Opposition leader Brendan Nelson’s foreign policy adviser. It’s an interesting choice given that Switzer, despite his otherwise very right-wing views, opposed the Howard-Bush invasion of Iraq right from the start. See here, here and here. He has also supported a more moderate and less gung-ho approach towards the US-Australia alliance. See here and here. Could this be the beginning of the Coalition moving away from the discredited Howard-Downer policy of preemption and subservience to Uncle Sam?

Seen: Infamous criminal lawyer Chris Murphy discussing strategy with Ian Michael Fraser, the friend of Greens MP Sylvia Hale up on firearms charges at Bondi Junction Westfield on Saturday.

Worth digging on the proposal to have the state government take over planning in Geelong. Rumour has it that it is all part of a push to increase the profile of former Mayor Peter McMullin, who wants to chair the new planning “Taskforce”. McMullin missed out on ALP pre-selection for the Federal seat of Corangamite, which was won from the Libs by ALP left candidate Darren Cheeseman. McMullin is believed to be targeting the state seat of Ian Tresize, the last remaining ALP member not part of the right “push”. Non-Labor councillors, Stretch Kontelj and Barbara Abley, are apparently furious at the ALP takover of Council powers as part of an ALP faction fight.

In ATC news: Traffic was delayed on Sunday between Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney because of not enough controllers. “West Radar” the airspace surrounding the Perth Terminal Control Unit was closed for two hours Monday morning due lack of staff.

Peter Fray

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