A source with connections to the Queensland Premiers Department has tipped that Premier Bligh will call an early election sometime around Australia Day (26 January 2009) or there abouts, clearing the way for a Saturday 21 February 2009 election. This would seem consistent with the ALP’s manoeuvering on water issues/Traveston Dam and its increased presence in the news. With its candidates starting to move about the electorate something maybe afoot allot earlier than some on the conservative side first thought. The next Queensland Election is sizing up as make or break for the LNP and with the dead weight candidates it has put in the field an early election from the ALP’s standpoint wouldn’t be such a bad idea as the Borg truly is unprepared for the onslaught that lies ahead. Then again stranger things have happened. i.e. Barnaby Joyce becoming Nat’s leader springs instantly to mind.

The Staff Dining Room at Federal Parliament House — which the public cannot access — is closed for renovations for three months. During this period our political leaders and their staff can still get their food taxpayer-subsidised via a parliamentary passholder’s discount at the public cafe. See here. The other day I almost got cheaper coffees, and then the shop assistant realised I didn’t work on the Hill. Joe public must earn more than the average pollie or staffer!

Rees Government, Dept of Housing and Office of Community Housing are allowing NSW community housing companies to raise pensioner rents this month by at least $100 per fortnight, even though they realise that anomalies in how rent assessments were produced means that many of these pensioners will be paying more than the guaranteed rent increase limit of $10 a week from their own pockets and, over Christmas/New Year will be forking out up to $79 dollars from their own pockets. At least one housing company NCCHC is telling tenants words to the effect of “like it or lump it”. Tenants have noticed that this particular round of rent rises comes just four days after many of them receive Rudd’s one-off lump sum payment and are wondering why Rees has decided it is alright to gouge in this way. NCCHC is telling media who ask that it will fix this up anomalies brought to its attention, but is very careful not to say this to complaining tenants thus far.

Crikey/Media Monitors radio rumour watch reports:

  • Presenter George says he thinks Channels Seven, Nine and Ten would have been “eyeing off” Enough Rope with Andrew Denton, hoping they could lure him from the ABC. — 6:38am 2UE (Sydney)
  • Presenters Andrew Maher, Tim Watson, and Billy Brownless note AFL club Port Adelaide “have lost” $1.4m this year. They note The Australian mentioned the club may be in danger of folding. — 6:39 SEN (Melbourne)
  • Caller “Father Christmas” says former Ansett employees are getting another little payout, and they still have not got their full entitlements yet, seven years after the airline’s demise. — 7:13am 3AW (Melbourne)
  • Presenter Ross Stevenson has heard a rumour that a former cricketer from Australia or New Zealand is to be named in match fixing allegations. — 7:14am 3AW (Melbourne)
  • Melbourne Symphony Orchestra MD Trevor Green confirms discussions are being held to bring Wagner’s Ring Cycle to Melbourne but it may not happen for another three years yet. — 7:24 ABC 774 (Melbourne)