A curious case of assault. It seems rather strange to me that that the man taken away by police after assaulting the Premier of South Australia was freed on bail without even being taken before a court. Apparently the alleged assailant, a 55-year-old man from Burnside, has been charged with aggravated assault and will not appear in court until December 7. That is surely very lenient treatment for what an eye witness at the dinner where it occurred described as a “very, very nasty incident” where “real intent was being shown” as Premier Rann was hit around the head.

Apparently just before the alleged assault at the ALP fund raising dinner, the man charged spoke with Mr Rann. The Adelaide news media have not so far reported what was said but the version given to Crikey points to the complaint being of a private nature rather than a matter of government business. That perhaps explains the softly, softly approach that is so clearly being taken by the legal system.

As for himself, Premier Rann, a devoted Twitterer, reports “I’m fine”.

What news is of interest. The Australian media certainly have not underplayed the earthquakes in Sumatra and the South Pacific, giving them virtual blanket coverage. Yet strangely the public has not shown the same degree of interest. When I looked in the early hours of the morning none of the major newspaper websites had a disaster story at the head of their most read stories list At midday the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald had a piece about a second earthquake hitting Sumatra on top but it was still absent from the News Limited sites.

Retreat with honour. When you know in your heart that you are on a hiding to nothing the thought of beating a strategic retreat must seem appealing to Malcolm Turnbull. Perhaps that is just what the Opposition Leader is doing with his ultimatum to his Coalition colleagues about supporting him on emissions trading or he will quit. There is no way the Coalition is going to emerge intact on this issue. The National Party will see to that. What a perfect opportunity to take the high moral ground and to step down and let some other fool get the blame for the annihilation of the Liberals at the election to come. The big advantage for Malcolm Turnbull was that if he handles it properly he would still be in the running to try and reform the rump of a once great party

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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