And just as Malcolm said ease up … Along comes the Australian Bureau of Statistics to remind us that everything is not always straight forward in this economics business. Malcolm Turnbull might have decided that the Government had overreacted to the world financial crisis which was never as bad as the Government said and was out saying as much this morning but Treasurer Wayne Swan keeps maintaining that we are not out of trouble yet. And the Treasurer’s caution looks a lot more sensible after these figures showing a drop in retail sales and weaker housing commitment figures.

Amazing what a bit of glamour can do. After she won at the World Athletic championships they were casting aspersions about South African runner Caster Semenya gender. There were claims that the only reason the 800 metre winner scored so easily was that she was more man than woman. Now that she has had a makeover at the hands of local magazine You the critics might like to think again:

A real small business worry. Political parties devote a lot of their time and energy to appeasing the small business community and with so many people now contract workers rather than wage slaves that is understandable but there are only two groups I can think of that really do have the power to influence the votes of people other than themselves and their employees. Pharmacists are one and news agents the other.

The lobbying skills of pharmacists are well known and Governments make changes to the payments system at their peril and in Australia are much too scared to remove the privileged position of individual operators by allowing chains stores to get into the prescription medicine business. With newsagents their power of persuasion is not tested as regularly but the government has ensured that at least some limited protection from the major chains remains despite recommendations otherwise from the competition body.

But now the New South Wales government is daring to risk the anger of those people who home deliver our papers by selling off the State lotteries — a process that will put t risk the major earn that newsagents get from selling those Lotto tickets and Scratchies. It is a process that will need to be handled with some care by the government.