Eight months after the election, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith’s search for a permanent Chief of Staff continues. Since the quest began he has rejected two lists of candidates sent up by his Department.

With the current debate about whether Emission Trading Permits (ETP) are to be auctioned or given away, it needs to be remembered that all the “big” heavy-polluting corporates eg BHP, RIO, Bluescope, Alumina, Qantas etc all received a minimum $300 million each in 2003/04 courtesy of the Howard/Costello tax consolidation regime. Surely some of this money could be used to buy a few ETP permits and save the planet.

As submissions for the Eddington Inquiry into Melbourne’s East West Transport close, investment banking firms are backing away from interest in a long road tunnel. With petrol prices continuing to rise and an ETS almost certain to include transport the numbers stopped stacking up — especially now that federal funds are more likely to support the public transport option. Hence the backers of the tunnel including the RACV (in a major attempt to save face) are spinning their support for the rail tunnel as the first priority.

There is a big fight within NSW Maritime about the ship MV Cape Don — moored at the Old Coal Loader in Waverton. Maritime has given the ship a month to move to the graveyard for ships at Snails Bay in Balmain. The project will die there as there is no wharf. Tripodi is being briefed about the brawl.

A friend wearing a “Brendan Cowell is not Jesus” T-shirt was stopped and questioned by police yesterday while on her way to work. Unfortunately she happens to work close by the Darling Harbour Hungry Mile site. She was finally released from their clutches and allowed to roam free to annoy Brendan Cowell fans presumably.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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