• The election is still surely Tony Abbott’s for the taking, but when the evening news starts talking about hubris, alarm bells should go off in the Liberal camp. There’s no hubris, but Abbott’s drastic cutback in his media appearances and his refusal to debate Gillard suggests he knows he’s in front and wants to sit on his lead. It’s the sort of frontrunner strategy that Labor was foolish to adopt at the outset of the campaign and the Liberals would be foolish to adopt now. With just over two weeks left, that’s 16 24-hour media cycles or, in less mathematical phrasing, an eternity.
  • Trains lose money. High speed trains lose money at high speed. But the best part is, you can waste tens of millions of dollars on them without ever building a single bit of track, which Labor proposes with its high speed rail study. So as a public service, I hereby make this offer to Anthony Albanese: while I swore that wild teams of locomotives would never drag me back to rail issues, I’m willing to do your high-speed rail feasibility study for free if you manage to get back into government. Yep, for absolutely nothing. You can save $20m. And it’ll be more rigorous than what you’ll get from your expensive hand-picked consultants – if it’s rigour you actually want.
  • Despite Kevin Rudd’s – by his recent standards – extravagant endorsement of the Gillard Government last night, his reappearance should be sufficient to ensure another day is spent by the Press Gallery interrogating the Rudd issue. Perhaps the Prime Minister can just start her press conferences by tossing a shiny thing into the midst of the hacks. It would have pretty much the same effect.
  • A nice get by a commenter at the Canberra blog The RiotACT, who spotted that the so-called “Alliance of Australian Retailers”, which is the front for a Big Tobacco push against plain-packaging laws and the ALP, has an awful lot in common with an astro-turfing effort in New Zealand where the “Association of Community Retailers” turned out to be funded by the tobacco industry.

There's more to Crikey than you think.

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

And now you get more from your membership than ever before.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
Get more and save 50%