They either can’t be bothered turning up or they’re exploiting their proximity to high office for personal gain. Something is deeply rotten in the state of the federal opposition, and acting-leader Brendan Nelson needs to exert whatever authority is commanded by his single digit popularity to cleanse his ranks of timeservers and opportunists.

Mark Vaile takes “personal leave” — which is to say goes away on public salary — to do a little business in the middle east; Alexander Downer, who can’t be fagged turning up to parliament if lunch or golf get in the way, says “go easy”, Vaile’s just trying to supplement his $127,000 salary; Peter Costello just slinks off to his bankbench bolthole with the job ads… 

Commenting on the Mark Vaile atrocity this morning, Nelson said that as MPs “our first priority is to service our constituents” and every farmer in Mark Vaile’s electorate with an eye to the breeding cycle will know exactly what he means.

Let’s be straight up about this … Vaile, Downer, Costello, McGauran, Ruddock and any other former luminary of the past government whose first loyalty is no longer to the people who elected them, should leave the Parliament at once. Get out. Stop wasting our money.