New beginnings, but for how long? The new government is looking to raise the tone in parliament, which sits for the first time since last year’s election next week.  ALP backbenchers report that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told MPs and ministers to avoid barbed replies or hubris during Question Time, partly to embarrass the previous government … How long will they be able to maintain a facade of civil behaviour?  I give it maybe a couple of weeks. — My Big World of Crap

Libs have no heart. I doubt anyone has stolen the hearts of Brendan Nelson and some his Liberal colleagues – they probably decided to separate themselves from their own hearts.  But separated or stolen, their hearts are obviously off in cold storage somewhere, because they’re clearly nowhere to be found at the moment. If ever there was a situation and a group of Australians who deserved just a tiny bit of generosity of spirit; just a brief pause in the waging of partisan ideological crusades, it is the Stolen Generations. But even that is beyond the modern-day federal ‘Liberal’ Party. — Senator Andrew Bartlett, The Bartlett Diaries

2020 controversy continues, by Andrew Bolt. Rudd claims he doesn’t just want a “talk fest” between the same-olds, and that his 1000 new advisers will all be chosen by “a panel of 10 experts (who will) have the job, arms’ length from government”. Oh, really? Consider: the only reason these 1000 people are being invited is precisely because the Government has indeed heard of them and their ideas. If it didn’t have their addresses, how would they be sent their invitations? Bolt blog

The Libs’ very own culture wars. In fact if the cultural war seems to be happening anywhere now it is within the Liberal party. It is as though the entire political spectrum has imploded and now resides just between the different groupings in the Liberal party. However, with no government role to bind them and no agenda on the other side to oppose, the Liberals are becoming just a collection of individuals whose personal views predominate. — The Piping Shrike

Brendan Nelson, just your average guitar-strumming biker . Thanks to Sasha,who gave me the heads up regarding Doc Nelson’s personal website. And my, ISN’T IT LOVELY AND RELAXED NOTHING TO SEE HERE JUST A REGULAR JOE. ‘Whilst my wife thinks I own two guitars, I actually own five! I have three Fender Stratocasters, Fender 60th Anniversary Stratocaster and a sixties facsimile Stratocaster. I also have a Yamaha XGV1212 with a sliding bridge and a Tanada acoustic I bought in 1981‘. Nelson, you wild dog. Keeping musical purchases from your wife? There will be blood, etc. — Reasons You Will Hate Me

Why haven’t the neo-cons disappeared? What I don’t understand is this. Now that the Howard government has been consigned to the dustbin of history by the culottes of the modern Australian Labor Party, why haven’t all these members of the neo-conservative chorus disappeared as quickly as mushrooms exposed to the hot mid-day sun? Why haven’t left wing commentators been rushed in to occupy the empty offices of the Grub Street crew, as surely as the new ministers moved in to recently vacated ministerial offices, pictures of Menzies still on the wall, in parliament house? Surely we only get such an army of right wing commentators when the conservatives are in power, don’t we? Or is their job now to criticise everything the Rudd government does and say “I told you so”? — The Watermelon Blog

Peter Fray

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