Little tension from migration surge. Australia has just had its largest annual migration intake in its history with very little fanfare and virtually no political problems. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures out this morning show net migration for the year ended December 2007 of 184,400. This was higher than the 172,900 recorded back in 1988.

Total population growth in 2007 was 1.6% (or 331,900 people), taking the nation’s total to 21,181,000 people.

Considering Peter Costello. If there are members of the business community out there who think that Peter Costello might be the saviour of the Liberal Party they should consider the meaning of this finding from the “Trends in Australian Political Opinion” published this week by the Australian National University.

The survey conducted after the last election by the ANU academics shows that the public rated the former Treasurer lower than Greens leader Bob Brown and well below even National Party Leader Mark Vaile. The only political leader to rate lower than the Costello 4.13 on the scale of 0 to 10 since this survey began 20 years ago was Paul Keating back in 1990 with a 4.0.

The whale battle. The ALP might well regret all its tough talk about stopping the killing of whales if the assessment of the BBC’s environment correspondent Richard Black about the likely course of the meeting in Chile this week of the International Whaling Commission is correct. In a preview of the meeting Black suggests that member governments have a choice: to continue what is likely to be a fruitless search for ultimate victory, or to find a compromise. That would involve doing away with the pretence of whaling for scientific research but approving the legal hunting of a reduced number of whales by countries such as Japan. Australia’s position remains in favour of no compromise and a complete ban on whaling — something which is unachievable under the IWC’s rules which require a 75% majority vote to make changes.

Richard Farmer’s “Pick of this Morning’s Political Coverage”, “The most read stories on Australian websites” and analysis on “Politics and economics on the international newspaper sites” are now available first thing every weekday morning on Crikey’s website.

So if you’re drowning in a sea of morning paper and too tired to trudge the web in search of the juiciest of the commentariat then Crikey is here to help with a daily serving of the best in Australian and International media.

Peter Fray

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