The Victorian Liberal Party’s civil war that was started by the leaking of the dismissal of two errant bloggers is threatening to go nuclear. This started as an intra-factional conflict but the leakers did not realise the amount of explosive material held by those they targeted. There is talk of emails incriminating not merely Liberal staffers but Federal Liberals. State President David Kemp was today being warned off via some none-too-subtle online threats, but the players involved have been targeted for removal by senior forces tired of their disruptive tactics.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard caused a diplomatic incident on Sunday 4th May when she failed to turn up for a morning meet and greet with the Deputy Prime Minster of Vietnam and nor did she send an apology. Diplomatic protocol is that a visiting Deputy Prime Minister must be greeted by the equivalent i.e. Julia Gillard. The Vietnamese were here for a week of government meetings for discussions primarily on health and education and despite the snub, did greatly enjoy their Australian visit. And they still did not get to meet our Deputy PM before they departed. By the way, Julia Gillard was suffering from a bout of food poisoning, but still did not arrange for one of her minders to apologise on the Sunday morning.

Only months before the new management team join Coles, their advertising account has just been pitched to nearly every big Melbourne agency, including one who got themselves invited at the last minute. Why now? It seems silly timing. Could it be people trying to glue themselves to their seats or accumulate good karma elsewhere?

The latest tax loophole for Australia’s ultra-wealthy individuals is Prescribed Private Funds (PPF’s). Lets say you make a $100 million dollar capital gain in 2008 and can’t bear to pay any part of this to the government in income tax. Gosh, the government may use the money on the poor, uneducated, sick or infirmed – how common! So you donate a gift to your PPF of $100 million which is fully tax deductible to you. Capital gain fully eliminated – government gets nothing (heaven help the poor, uneducated, sick and infirmed). The government doesn’t know the best way to spend your money! Then as trustee for your PPF you and your children get the next 80 years or so to donate this money to whatever elitist high-living charity you like, be it the State Art Gallery, or the Australian Ballet or Opera Australia etc. No doubt they will later be able to pay that little bit more for those artworks you’re sick of or can obtain that world famous dancer that you are sure to enjoy many times.

The newsletter of the European Union delegation to Australia () makes for edifying reading. An article about on Canberra’s Balloon Spectacular on April 27 begins: “Hot air is not normally associated with the European Union”. Really?

Going on the best knowledge we had (that Labor would continue the Commercial Ready scheme), the small company (15 people) that I work for put in over 100 hours and spent thousands of dollars on a consultant working on a major grant application for a $2.5million young driver safety project under the Commercial Ready scheme. We had been working with the local AusIndustry office, who only sent us a letter accepting the final application for a final review meeting in Canberra only 2 days before the budget. The government obviously did not let any of this leak to their departments, meaning that many small businesses around the country have wasted time and effort on grant applications that the government knew full well would never even be reviewed. Not only has this left AusIndustry red-faced, but they have left small companies out of pocket and wishing they had spent their time on something worthwhile. We would always be taking a gamble on the time and effort on this application, but considering that applications from the Queensland AusIndustry office, once getting to the point that they are accepted for review (a long process) have been getting accepted around 90% of the time, I think we were in a good position. As a result of this, we will be forced to lay off up to 4 recently graduated Engineers and Software Developers.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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