Giving the power back to the minor parties. It was an interesting experiment by Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull to break the habits of a parliamentary lifetime and get the government party and the opposition party to join together to break the stranglehold minor parties hold on what bills pass through the Senate. I can not recall a previous occasion when there has been such a concerted effort to hammer out such an agreement. That it finally failed after a revolt in the Opposition Coalition was perhaps as much about the ingrained believe that Oppositions should oppose as it was about the nature of the emissions trading legislation itself. The legislation was, after all, pretty similar to what the Coalition had said it would introduce if it had been returned at the last election.

Now we are back to business as usual, with the blackmailing power returned to Greens, Family First and an Anti-Pokies maverick, I doubt that any Government in the near future will try the collaborative approach to decision making again.

Next time around, should there be a Labor Government, the wheeling and dealing will be with Bob Brown and Nick Xenophon who opposed this lot of legislation not because it went too far but because it did not go far enough. Concessions will be made to accommodate zealots not sceptics. I wonder what those rusted on Liberal Party supporters who bombarded their members with messages over the last week will think about that? There would surely be some faces spited.

Betting on a date. Only some very thin early markets up so far on when the next federal election will be but converting them to 100% probabilities gives the following:

  • Jan-10 – 3%
  • Feb-10 – 6%
  • Mar-10 – 10%
  • Apr-10  – 5%
  • Aug-10 – 10%
  • Sep-10 – 11%
  • Oct-10 – 23%
  • Nov-10 – 18%
  • Dec-10 – 2%
  • Any Other Month 14%

Expensive and distinguished journalists. As someone who earned $5.26 last month from advertising on his website I find it easy to agree with Rupert Murdoch that it’s hard to make a living writing for the internet. You need a lot of clicks on those Google links to get a decent earn and now the old media master is telling me that “the old business model, based on advertising only, is dead.” Heck – my model hasn’t even started!

The Murdoch view was repeated overnight when he gave a speech at a meeting at the American Federal Trade Commission. “We need to do a better job of persuading consumers that high-quality, reliable news and information do not come free,” he said. “Good journalism is an expensive commodity.”

“There are those who think they have a right to take our news content and use it for their own purposes without contributing a penny to its production. Some rewrite — at times without attribution — the news stories of expensive and distinguished journalists who invested days, weeks, or even months on their stories — all under the tattered veil of fair use.”

“Their almost wholesale misappropriation of our stories is not fair use — to be impolite, it’s theft.”

What’s that about a new Liberal leader? Somebody’s got a new leader or something. Have they really. But what about Fevola? Why didn’t Carlton replace him? Goodness me. There’s a teacher having a lesbian affair with a student! And how did Suellen die in Sydney? What about that idiot who chipped away at a mountain for 14 years with a hammer and chisel so he could park his truck? Well, we’re running out of water up here and a Mum smothered her baby while breastfeeding. Those were the most read news stories this morning they want us to pay for at News Limited sites. Get those politicians out of here. The silly season has begun.

Peter Fray

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