Get that trigger ready. I know the psephologists have a lot of wonderful arguments as to why Labor should not contemplate a double dissolution election, but there is one very good reason to ignore that advice and have a trigger ready that will allow one to be called: There is absolutely no point in being the government if you are not allowed to govern and the Liberal and National Parties currently are talking themselves into the mood where they will try and thwart the Rudd Government at every turn. The Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey at the weekend said the Coalition was prepared to block parts of next month’s budget. “If there is waste, mismanagement we will oppose it”, is how he put it. Yet what is waste and mismanagement to the Coalition is the economic stimulus which Labor believes is necessary to soften the recessionary blow on the country.

Interest rate reduction a slight favourite. The Crikey Interest Rate Indicator gives a 60% probability of the Reserve Bank lowering rates at its meeting tomorrow. Opinion is divided between whether a 0.25% or a 0.5% cut is likely with both assessed as 27% chances with an even greater cut rates only a 6% chance. That the Bank will decide to leave rates where they are is put at a 40% chance.

Waiting for the Sam Kekovich ad. I rather hope that Sam Kekovich is a staunch Liberal voter because I would love to see the promoter of red meat have a few words to say about Kevin Rudd the fish and white meat eater. I hope as well that every time the Prime Ministerial spinner Lachlan Harris denies something that journalists remind their readers that the denial was made by the man who pretended that the incident where his boss reduced a female stewardess to tears had never happened.

Afghan anti-women law update. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has described a new law signed by Afghanistan’s President Karzai earlier this month “extraordinary, reprehensible and reminiscent of the decrees made by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the 1990s.” The new law denies Afghan Shi’a women the right to leave their homes except for “legitimate” purposes; forbids women from working or receiving education without their husbands’ express permission; explicitly permits marital r-pe; diminishes the right of mothers to be their children’s guardians in the event of a divorce; and makes it impossible for wives to inherit houses and land from their husbands — even though husbands may inherit immoveable property from their wives.

US President Barack Obama at the weekend called the law “abhorrent” telling a press conference in Strasbourg “we think that it is very important for us to be sensitive to local culture, but we also think that there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle”. But when it comes to the crunch President Obama is putting more weight on sensitivity to local culture than the freedom of women, as he prepares to send even more troops to Afghanistan.

Monday sporting round-up. I remember in my youth they used to introduce the weekly footy show on Hobart radio with a ditty about how “you’ve got to be a football hero, to get along with the beautiful girls.” These days I’m not so sure about that getting along bit. Last season rugby league had a bout of bad publicity when one of that game’s stars faced allegations of assaulting his girlfriend. Without waiting for the matter to come to a criminal trial, the National Rugby League stepped in to have the player banned from the competition. Now it is the turn of the Australian Football League to let its fans know what it thinks of them cheering a “hero” facing charges of assaulting a girlfriend. The only surprise so far about the allegations against Adelaide Crows player Nathan Bock is how the southern states papers have downplayed the story compared with how those north of the Victorian border treated the rugby league incident last year.

A deadly golfing one in hole. The dangers of sporting activity were brought home to me when I read in the Mainichi Daily News that a woman golfer died after falling six meters into a hidden hole on Hokkaido course. Takae Gassho, a 38-year-old housewife was playing golf with three family members at the le Petaw golf course in Abira, Hokkaido, at around 2.20pm last Thursday when a patch of turf 2-3 meters in diameter gave way beneath her and Gassho fell some 5-6 meters to the bottom of the hole. “She was walking on the course when she suddenly disappeared,” said another golfer. Police said that the hole was probably hollowed out by the subterranean flow of melt water, hidden by the patch of turf that Gassho had the misfortune to walk on and fall through.

You be the judge. News this morning that researchers have proved it is possible to match a person to their dog just by their appearance. The study conducted at Britain’s Bath Spa University suggests a possible reason — people are drawn to pets with similar physical attributes. Men and women shown pictures of dog owners and asked to guess whether they had a labrador, poodle or staffordshire bull terrier fared almost twice as well as would be expected by chance. In these pictures of this author and his dog Paunchy the author is the one at the bottom.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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