Another one from that Liberal playbook. Forget the serious policy matters, give the mob stories of government waste of taxpayers’ money. That was the advice in that recent briefing note to Coalition press secretaries on election tactics and an example this morning of how it works a treat in practice as well as in the theory. More public housing units are being demolished than built under Kevin Rudd’s $42 billion economic stimulus package, designed to buoy the building industry was the line fed to The Australian.

More public housing units are being demolished than being built” was the headline describing how, as at two weeks ago, only 73 new houses had been completed under the $5.4bn spending package, announced in February, while hundreds of existing homes had been demolished to make way for new buildings. Good simple stuff that is completely irrelevant as it overlooks that old and uninhabitable housing gets knocked down first before new units can replace it.

Should NSW Government leadership stories be treated as news or labelled as fiction? I suppose if they keep being written every day, one day the story will prove to be right. Yet another episode in the Nathan Rees to go serial this morning from the Daily Tele‘s Simon Benson based on a couple of lunch time sightings.

Anxious to get started. The Victorian Liberal Party can be forgiven for wanting to get started with its state election campaigning early. It is a long way behind. But with polling day still a year away rolling out the ever familiar Laura this morning was surely a bit premature.

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Law and order is always a favourite policy subject for oppositions with the biggest problem these days being to come up with an original one. It is hard to think of something draconian that has not already been done short of bringing back capital punishment and/or the stocks so full marks to the Liberals who have devised the idea of letting juries nominate the punishment for the criminals they convict rather than letting those bleeding heart judges have a say.

Rank-and-file Liberals, the Melbourne Age informed us this morning, will urge the party’s state council meeting at the weekend to endorse the scheme, which, in the words of the Glen Huntly branch, “would ensure that the courts respect community views on crime and punishment”. A truly excellent proposal that suffers only from being announced so early that a Labor Government has ample time to steal it and make it law before Victorian votes are next cast on 27 November 2010.

31 defeats in a row. No wonder Australian governments are reluctant to introduce laws allowing same sex marriage. The record in the United States is that legalisation is extremely unpopular. On Tuesday voters in Maine voted Yes for the scrapping of a law passed by the state parliament earlier this year. Gay marriage law has now lost in the 31 states in which it has put to a popular vote.

Coming out in print. Barack Obama’s half brother has come out as an author. Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo has written a semi autobiographical novel dealing among other things with what he calls the abuse the father he shares with Barack inflicted upon his mother.

The new religion. I guess it just confirms what we already knew: belief in green is the new religion. The London Independent headlined this morning — “Green beliefs win legal protection: Landmark ruling means employees can sue for unfair dismissal“. Employees who raise concerns about their company’s environmental practices won the right to legal redress yesterday, the story said, after a judge ruled that green beliefs deserved the same protection in the workplace as religious convictions.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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