First on the list. Longevity in the lobbying business is clearly no impediment to speed. Stephen Carney set up his shingle on 1st February 1979 and has darted around the corridors of power for four years of Malcolm Fraser, 13 years of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, 12 with John Howard and the first six months of Kevin Rudd. And now he is the first (and so far the only) member of his trade to register under the rules of the Lobbyist Register and Code of Conduct announced on Tuesday by Special Minister of State Senator John Faulkner. The more tardy lobbyists have until 1st July to follow his example and declare who they are operating for.

The final details of the lobbyist registration procedures have been changed in a way that should see at least some of those working for legal and accounting firms having to register and the system will be all the better for that.

Judging the budget. This year we will not need an opinion pollster to tell us what people think of the Budget and the performance so far of a new government. The Gippsland by-election on 28 June will give us a real, live measure and Labor must be approaching it with some confidence. Back in November Peter McGauran won it for the Nationals with 55.91% of the two party preferred vote. Now that he has retired a swing to Labor of just under six percent looks quite achievable if the budget has done nothing to end the Kevin Rudd honeymoon as would appear to be the public reaction.

Problems with the net. Liberal politicians seem to be having more than their fair share of troubles with the internet. In Victoria Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu has been dealing with dissident Liberal Party staffers posting critical comments about him on a blog. Now the West Australian Opposition Leader Troy Buswell finds himself fending off an allegation which appeared on a blog back in January that he played football with a cuddly quokka. This internet scuttlebutt is getting as ridiculous as the weekly women’s magazines!

The Daily Reality Check

Day two and the budget had a few more readers although what interests them is not what the Labor politicians might want. The Sydney Daily Telegraph has discovered stay-at-home mums resent working mum’s getting all the give-away goodies. Envy is a wonderful thing!

The Pick of this Morning’s Political Coverage

What the world is reading on the net

Out of sigh, out of mind. People dying from an earthquake in China still have the attention of the world. People starving from the aftermath of a cyclone in Burma are quickly being forgotten. The suffering in both cases is similar but in China the world is seeing the sad pictures of suffering on their home television sets. In Burma there are few pictures and the power of words is not sufficient to influence editors let alone readers. Naturally enough the Chinese earthquake leads the site of the People’s Daily and the sympathy from Singapore’s predominantly Chinese population makes it no surprise that the story is the most read at The Straits Times. The international reputation of the London Times shows through too with a story about Chinese bloggers advancing conspiracy theories being most read. All of the nine international internet news sites in the Crikey survey report the earthquake prominently but only USA Today gives any real prominence to the tragedy still unfolding in Burma.

Quotes of the Day:

“A journalist’s twin points of references should be the real and the important. But for months the focus of the election coverage was on trivia. Every insignificant detail got blown out of proportion, with every chipmunk becoming a Godzilla. According to a report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, over 60 percent of election coverage by the US media has been focused on campaign strategies, tactics or personalities — but not on actual political content. Reporters focused the most attention on such pressing questions as whether Barack Obama was wearing an American flag lapel pin, whether John McCain had a mistress eight years ago or whether former first lady Hillary Clinton was incorrectly recalling her 1996 trip to Bosnia.” — Gabor Steingart writing in De Spiegel


“Get a real job, you f…… c…” — NSW Education Minister John Della Bosca sets children a good example while chatting with a photographer when riding his bike to work after losing his driving licence for speeding. See pictures of the bike riding minister here. It’s not a pretty sight.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey