Not wanting to appear disloyal to the troops. Another three Australian soldiers dead in an Afghanistan war that the majority of Australians don’t think is worth fighting. And still no dissenting voices within the two major political parties. You particularly have to wonder where all the peaceniks within the Labor Party have gone to.

No one it seems wants to appear disloyal to the troops putting their lives at risk so all the political talk outside of the Greens is about saying the course for the great cause of combating terrorism. Politicians like Bob Brown who are prepared to say we should not be there at all are in short supply and will be until one of our leaders has the courage to tell our military that we were wrong to send them in the first place and more wrong to keep them there so long.

Right sentiment, wrong people. With an election to be fought in presidential style by two major party leaders who are failing to inspire the nation, the time is certainly right for a third party plumped around the centre on the major issues to gain some support. So the Queensland pair of former State Labor MP Peter Pyke and Graham Higgins, a former-media advisor to a Liberal Federal Minister, have got something going for them in founding their new Republican Democrats Party.

What they lack, however, is that extra something necessary to crash through in the way Don Chipp was able to do when he set up the Australian Democrats. What a pity it is for those who would like to see a non-leftie alternative to Liberal and Labor that Malcolm Turnbull is not available!

Bringing back the tick. The accusation that the Federal Opposition is a policy free zone is not something that can be levelled at National Party Leader and prospective Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. The staff of this campaigning dynamo have confirmed that a big change is afoot if and when the Coalition replaces Labor.

Out will go this pride and joy of the equally dynamic Labor Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese:

22-06-2010 nationbuilding

And back on road and rail projects around the country will come the Coalition’s very own creation that was replaced by the spoil-sport Albanese last year:

22-06-2010 auslink

Political affairs. A warning from Britain to all election candidates — there are repercussions when you campaign on family values and shortly after leave your marriage partner.

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While on the subject. Interested to see what the ABC left out of what it called its updated version of the Australian Story profile on Julia Gillard last night. Gone from the 2006 original was this section:

My relationship with Craig Emerson was a very important one to me. Being involved with a colleague has got its down side in the sense that drawing the line between what’s work and what’s not work becomes increasingly blurred.

Craig and I were staying together at a hotel and I’d managed to forget to pack my contact lens holder. So I was just storing the contact lenses at the bottom of a glass, which wasn’t exactly the smartest thing in the world to do. Er, so…in the bathroom, this glass with the contact lenses and a bit of solution in them. So, you know, during the course of the night, Craig gets up and thinking it’s water, grabs the glass and drinks it. So I was wandering around National Conference blind for the next morning.

I did have to give the Health Policy Report at the podium not basically able to see my notes or see the audience. Craig and I lived in different states in very demanding positions. And in the hurly-burly of the Labor world, ultimately it was just too difficult. I’m not involved in a relationship now, and you know, your, sort of, your life history rolls on.

Craig Emerson, Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy and  Minister Assisting the Finance Minister on Deregulation, had his own starring role last night on another ABC program — Q&A.

As a Minister he has certainly stepped up his public appearances in recent months. Perhaps somewhere down the track he too might be a leadership contender.

A warning sign for other codes? This morning the ABC website listed three of the day’s six most popular stories as being about soccer. For the last week soccer yarns occupied all six positions and over the last month it was four out of six. How would it be if the Socceroos were actually winning games?

Spare a thought for the sturgeon. While the nations of the world battle it out in Morocco to determine the fate of the world’s whales, spare a thought for another citizen of the sea — the sturgeon. Stocks in the Caspian Sea, home to 80 per cent of the sturgeon bearing the three most sought after varieties of caviar — Beluga, Osetra and Sevruga — have reportedly dwindled to the point where even a ban on exporting caviar would not allow the population to recover. With current prices around $12,000 a kilo, I just thought you’d like to know that.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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