Learning from South Australia. Malcolm Turnbull is not the only Liberal leader to get himself into political trouble by an eagerness to embrace a “secret” document. The job of the Leader of the Opposition in South Australia, one Martin Hamilton-Smith, remains in jeopardy after he had to humiliatingly apology to Premier Mike Rann earlier this month. Mr Hamilton-Smith had attacked Mr Rann on the basis of “evidence” sent anonymously to his Parliament House office which turned out to be secret untruths. Even though it is only nine months to the next election in SA, the discontent over the Liberal leadership has reached the point where yet another change in leader is a distinct possibility.

A stupid Turnbull assurance. Of all the stupid assurances to have come from the mouth of a politician over this ute-gate business, I think the prize for the most stupid of all must go to Malcolm Turnbull who categorically told his audience that no member of the Liberal Party had anything to do with composing the non-existing email supposedly sent to a Treasury official by a member of the Prime Minister’s staff. Only if he knew there had never been such an email or he knew who wrote the make believe one, could this assurance about no Liberal involvement be given.

Gripping television. I didn’t think the day would ever come when a televised live hearing from a Senate committee was the most gripping show on television. But so it was on Friday when A-Span on the pay networks showed the treasury official Godwin Grech giving evidence. The man was so genuinely anguished at being put in the position of saying things that he knew would lead to politicians calling the Prime Minister a liar, it was impossible not to sympathise with him. Mr Grech clearly did not want to be in that position, but nor did he want to do other than tell of events as he recalled them.

If Kevin Rudd is a humane and Christian man, when this affair is over, he will invite Mr Grech over for a cup of tea at the Lodge and assure him that he acted in a very proper fashion.

Go stick your bull and that’s no bull. The good burghers of Markranstädt are taking a stand against the seemingly unstoppable forces that are turning sport in to nothing more than business. SSV Markranstädt, situated just outside Leipzig in the state of Saxony, currently plays in the fifth division of the German Bundesliga and in the season just ended finished a commendable sixth on the 16 team table. That was high enough to give the local village supporters hopes of better things to come in the years ahead, but in the boardroom of the emerging Red Bull soft drink empire grander plans were emerging. Flushed with the marketing success that has come from the Red Bull entry into formula one motor racing, the Austrian energy drink decided to emulate that success on the soccer pitch.

In the middle of last week, a new club called Rasen Ball Leipzig e.V. — RB Leipzig for short — had its name entered in the Saxony football club register while the management committee at Markranstädt were offered, and accepted, a big bundle or Euros to play under that name next season. But not all are happy about the big plans to elevate the club to greatness. The German magazine Der Spiegel reports loyal traditionalist fans have reacted with protest rallies and poured poison on to the pitch. The magazine predicts, though, that the big spenders will win and that this village team is off on its way to the top.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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