An old one but a damaging one. The Federal Opposition has been going on for months now about what a joke it was that Labor’s $900 spending bonus payment was going to dead people and people living overseas. It was a natural attempt to portray the Government as a spendthrift not fit to control the public purse, but while it got an occasional run in the media it failed to become a major talking point. The loot in the hand was a far greater influence on public opinion than concern about sending good money after dead bodies.

But just when Malcolm Turnbull and his team must have just about been ready to give up on this particular line of attack, along came Steve Lewis whose copy appears in all of the Murdoch tabloids which makes him potentially the most influential newspaper journo in the country and certainly the one with the biggest readership.

The Lewis report rediscovered the dead men paid angle with the aid of what he described as “confidential” tax office documents putting the cost of paying the $900 tax bonus to 16,000 dead people and 27,000 expats living overseas at $40 million. “Despite racking up more than $300 billion in debt,” he wrote, “the Government is sending about $25 million in bonus payments to people living overseas. Even non-Australians who worked here for at least six months — but then left — have received the cash payment.”

Interest rates to stay unchanged. That’s what the Crikey Interest Rate Indicator is suggesting. The market puts the probability of the Reserve Bank leaving the official rate where it is when it meets next Tuesday at 78%.

Getting the name in the paper. Give the media a survey and you are sure to get your company name in the paper. It has become rule number one for public relations hacks around the nation. Today we have a new one — a so-called Green Home and Motoring Index measuring the environmental practices of Australian households. Being a narky fellow I’m not giving a plug to the insurance company which no doubt has paid the PR people plenty but you will find details of some of the results in The Advertiser.