Only if it’s pure. In Western Australia there is a campaign to have smoking cigarettes in the state’s jails totally banned while permission is given for the distribution of clean syringes. In Holland smoking cigarettes in the nation’s coffee houses will be banned from July 1 but lighting up a joint will still be permissible provided there is no tobacco mixed with the marijuana. It is a weird world.
Dictators take a risk. Kevin Rudd is prone to act like a dictator within the Labor Party in demanding and getting his own way. First he took away from Caucus members the right to elect the ministry and now he is asserting a power to unilaterally determine when a member is no longer suitable for further pre-selection as a candidate. It is a dangerous game to play. Belinda Neal does not have a huge number of mates within the Caucus but there is resentment within its membership at the way the Prime Minister felt compelled to jump on her because the Daily Telegraph demanded it. Surely there was nothing so urgent about Ms Neal’s indiscretions that made an immediate intervention by the Labor Leader essential. Only the continuing desire to totally manage the news cycle prompted a departure from the sensible policy of most travelling Prime Ministers to leave comments on domestic matters until their return. The price Mr Rudd will pay sometime in the future is that there will now be an influential component of the Labor Party machine that will be waiting for an opportunity to teach him a lesson. Even Gough Whitlam when Prime Minister learned that when you have a policy of crashing through the party sometimes just lets you crash.
A German version. I’m feeling a bit smug today. I have passed the test to become a Kraut. The Germans have followed the Australian example of a citizenship test questioning an applicants’ knowledge of the country’s history, politics and society. Unlike Australia which keeps the potential questions secret, Germany will make public the 300 from which 33 will be asked with 17 correct answers needed. Der Spiegel magazine has published the first sample of what migrants will need to know from September and the heritage of my great grandmother Georgina Schell must live on with six of seven correct answers!
Slackness at The Smage. The fanfare has been blown for the new Fairfax website in Perth and now it’s back to normal at The Age and Sydney Morning Herald websites. Not a mention this morning on either site of their new stable mate. The FairfaxDigital home page, along with the Brisbane Times — the newspaperless news site on which the WA site is based — give Perth a miss as well.
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