Julia should sit in the outer. Methinks the Prime Minister spends too many of her hours at the football in the Bulldogs’ corporate box. If she spent just a little time in the outer with her club’s working-class supporters she might not make such ridiculous statements about the nature of their attitudes to race. A quick reminder from an afternoon of barracking that to many Australian Aborigines are boongs and weak black c-nts would surely stop her from pretending that this really is a wonderfully tolerant nation when it comes to matters of race.

In justifying her new policy on asylum seekers that panders to prejudice in the pursuit of votes, Julia Gillard might well argue that to win an election there is no option but to match the other lot — the coalition led by Tony Abbott that has been at the forefront of playing the race  card in election games. Well, Labor did not have to stoop this low to win last time and part of the skill of a really competent politician is to find other issues to blunt the impact of a negative.

She had better be quick. If the Timor option is to work then Gillard had better be quick. The body language of East Timorese president Jose Ramos-Horta on television was not that of a man convinced that providing a dumping ground for asylum seekers was really in his nation’s interest. An Australian election before the pressures mount on Ramos-Horta to eventually say no to the proposal would be in order if it is not to rebound on Labor in sensational fashion.

Not the big issue of the day. A baby’s been shot dead in central Queensland. Storms with heavy rain are on the way to Perth. Ben Cousins is demanding that the AFL give him a drug test and some singer or other called Lily Allen is worried that her life is pointless. An Adelaide woman spent $36 million on legal fees to get a divorce and the discovery of a man shot dead in a public car park was kept secret by police for five days. That’s a run down on the most-read stories of the day on the nation’s newspaper websites apart from The Australian where tough-talk Julia now has to walk the walk.

Bye bye bookmakers? The racing industry in New South Wales seems to have got itself into a nice old mess as it attempts to make up the revenue lost when competition from bookmakers ended its cosy little relationship with a monopoly TAB. The latest efforts to charge bookmakers a 1.5% turnover tax probably still has some way to go through the legal system before being finalised but the likelihood is that if and when successful the corporate bookmakers from outside the state will move to another country rather than pay the impost. That is exactly what has happened in the United Kingdom with Gibraltar now that country’s betting headquarters.

Knowing when to go. John Faulkner is a rare politician in that he knows when it is time to go. There will be some sadness at his announcement this morning that he will not be in any future Labor ministry but far better to leave when still of value than when past your prime.

Peter Fray

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