Senator as hero. It made a bit of a change this morning: a politician being hailed as a hero by one of the tabloids instead of being castigated for rorting the parliamentary expenses.

Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion was given the hero’s role for stopping his taxi when he noticed a woman in distress on the Stuart Highway south of Katherine. Along with two fellow Senators travelling with him he gave chase to a man who the woman said had tried to rape her through the dense scrub for some time before losing him.

Down south politician praising was replaced by the more common politician bashing. The Sydney Telegraph found “secret frisbee funds” and the Melbourne Herald Sun had a supposed tax rort.

The travelling man. This Prime Minister Kevin Rudd continues to be a man in perpetual motion. He is never at home, as he flits around the country promoting his budget and announcing some good old fashioned pork barrel spending. Yesterday it was the turn of Geraldton in Western Australia with money for a port development. No wonder the Opposition is uneasy about the size of the budget deficit. It is providing campaign bribes on a scale the country has not seen before.

Tough times for comedians. That Monty Python man Michael Palin has been bemoaning the difficulties of making jokes about Al Qaeda. He told an interviewer from Der Spiegel this week that political correctness is intimidating people. “And I’m not just talking about terrorism,” said the comic. “Sometimes you get the impression that you’re not allowed to make jokes unless you’ve read the small print. But that’s not possible. Humor has to be spontaneous. Laughter is a kind of a libertarian thing. I hope it remains that way.”

Not much to laugh about. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown does not have much to laugh about. The headlines for him seem to just get worse. After a week of scandalous stories about MPs rorting their expenses, he has been confronted to a new twist in the global financial crisis saga. One of those dreaded ratings agencies is threating to take away the United Kingdom’s AAA credit rating and the coverage, like this from the finance pages of the London Daily Telegraph, is not a pleasant read.

The actress wins. The Gurkhas can stay in the UK. The officer’s daughter actress Joanne Lumley has done her Dad proud and toppled the British Defence bureaucrats who did not want to pay the bill to allow Gurkhas to settle in the country they had fought for. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, sounded the retreat, says The Times, only hours after the Prime Minister had outlined the new settlement rights proposal to the actress during a breakfast meeting at 10 Downing Street. Ms Smith told MPs that she expected the change would lead to up to 15,000 Gurkhas coming to Britain over the next two years. They will be allowed to bring their partners and any children under 18.