Working families: singular as well as plural. It has been drawn to my attention that I have understated the importance of the Australian working family by only searching the House of Representatives Hansard for the plural form “working families”. The singular “working family” is also used in Labor Party rhetoric. Hence this update which includes the singular and the plural form. In 14 sitting days there have been 450 usages of “working family(ies)” in the House of Representatives. In nine sitting days Senators have racked up 124 usages.

This is the guilty man. The man most responsible for this tiresome repetition of working families is the American political consultant Vic Fingerhut who introduced the words into election campaigning in his home country and abroad. He should not be allowed to escape with anonymity!

A proper man and a proper response. It was reassuring to learn yesterday of a political appointee who acted with propriety when the government changed last year. Ziggy Switkowski was appointed chief of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation by John Howard and played a prominent role in the then government’s campaign to persuade Australians that nuclear energy must eventually become part of this country’s future. Inevitably Mr Switkowski had differences of opinion in public with Labor party members attempting to persuade Australians they were about to be lumbered with a nuclear power plant in their backyard. When Labor won office the ANSTO chairman promptly and properly offered his resignation to Innovation Minister Kim Carr who told the National Press Club yesterday that he did not accept it. “They’re not employed to agree with me personally on every issue,” Senator Carr said. “They’re employed to do a job for the statutory authority and work within the law. And I’ve got no reason to believe that Ziggy has done anything contrary to that.” Perhaps the new Minister actually means it when he says he wants to put an end to intimidation of researchers and that scientific dissent should flourish!

The Daily Reality Check

Things are getting seriously bad for the AFL – still no footy story on the most read list and the season kicks off this evening. Not much interest in politics either with only readers of The Australian website intrigued by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Chinese friends. As I wrote earlier this week, it takes a long time for allegations of political impropriety to get through to the ordinary voters. Normally they just don’t care.

The Pick of this Morning’s Political Coverage