First and last. Senator Steve Fielding is becoming predictably more frenetic as his moment of truth approaches. The sole Family First Party representative is in the Senate because of a stupid Labor Party preference allocation that will not be repeated. And unless something quite extraordinary happens again, Senator Fielding will return to obscurity on 30 June next year.

In the meantime the man is making a desperate attempt to get his name in the media with yesterday’s claim that women of a certain character would rort the planned paid parental leave bill with late term abortions being but the latest example. He will not be missed.

A sensible Abbott. Tony Abbott is taking the sensible course at the moment of not overdoing the publicity thing. The Government is having quite enough trouble handling the mining industry without the Opposition Leader having to get in the way. Just letting Kevin do all the talking is clearly the right policy.

Something to thank Getup! for. Not that there is anything wrong with an occasional photo opportunity and the activist group Getup will provide Tony Abbott with an excellent one after winning the Press Gallery ball auction of surfing lessons from the budgie smuggler himself. Getup sending along a refugee will just guarantee better coverage.

Anything you can do. Aussie Rules has its clowns who flirt with racist remarks just like rugby league but at least the chief executive of the AFL Andrew Demetriou had the good sense to quickly disassociate himself from them.  At least the Parramatta rugby league club is about to show some spine with a decision to get rid of Andrew Johns from its coaching staff following his recent racist remarks.

Just tell them no. The New Zealand subsidiaries of Australian banks are apparently about to raise money in a way that they are prohibited from doing here at home. The s0-called “covered bonds” are backed by assets such as mortgages that stay on the lender’s balance sheet and that can be sold in a default. Bloomberg reports that the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, or APRA, bans covered notes because they are not “consistent with depositor preference provisions set out in the Banking Act,” according to its website.

No backflip there. The attempt by the Opposition to present the decision not to establish the National Funding Authority to oversee the transfer of money to local hospital networks as another Labor policy back flip is unlikely to cause any electoral damage. If there is any electoral mileage to be gained it will come from eliminating an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.

Peter Fray

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