Determination showed through. The thing that came across to me from last night’s Four Corners profile of Julia Gillard is just what a determined and dedicated player she is of the political game. She appeared as very much the political realist not bound by ideological hang-ups; someone quite prepared to abandon a view, even an apparently firmly held one, when circumstances change. That’s not a bad starting point for someone holding the job of Prime Minister.

There were two areas where the lady clearly is not for turning: a belief in the power of education to produce a fair society and a commitment to Israel. The program showed Ms Gillard has had consistent views on those subjects from her student politics days to the present.

Mondayising. New Zealanders celebrated Waitangi Day on Sunday which meant there was no extra public holiday. So what did Australian diplomats in the country do? They took yesterday off in lieu.

From Christchurch’s The Press this morning

It’s a tough life being a diplomat.

A different sporting culture. The US Superbowl yesterday proved there’s one difference between Australian and American political culture. While our Prime Minister would not dare miss out on being seen on the television attending the MCG on Aussie Rules grand final day, American presidents stay in the White House and watch on television. Not that Barack Obama missed out on the coverage.

The host network for American sport’s day of days precedes the football coverage with an interview of the President. Yesterday it was the turn of Murdoch Fox Television to bring people the game so President Obama had to front up to chat with the Fox News interviewer Democrats love to hate.

An interesting interview that I scored as a nil all draw really with the President escaping unscathed after being watched by what was probably a record television audience for a politician. The Superbowl itself attracted the nation’s highest ever ratings for a television show at 111 million.

It doesn’t really matter what Kristina Keneally promises. NSW Labor’s election promises will never be kept so there’s no point in wasting space analysing them. To put it simply, the incumbent government cannot win. The best Mrs Keneally can hope for with her extravagant bag of goodies is that there will be a person or two out there somewhere who might be silly enough to think that they might actually get what she promises.

When spies fall out. The case of the American being held in Pakistani custody after shooting two men on motorbikes dead in the middle of a Lahore street (see earlier stories in Crikey here and here ) gets more cloak-and-dagger by the day.

Overnight the wife of one of the dead men committed suicide and that has further inflamed anti-US sentiment in the country. And now it appears that the dead men were Pakistani intelligence operatives. The Express Tribune reports that the government’s reluctance to free Raymond Davis is attributed to the fact that the two killed in the Lahore shooting were believed to be the intelligence operatives.

“Yes, they belonged to the security establishment….they found the activities of the American official detrimental to our national security,” disclosed a security official.

He requested not to be identified since he was not authorised to speak to the media on record.

The official confirmed that the president, the prime minister and the chief of army staff (COAS) had discussed the issue in a meeting last week. The three thought it was advisable to resist the US pressure on the Raymond Davis issue and believed the detained American national should not be released at this stage, he said.

He said the government’s tough stance on the controversy was also its reaction to the attempts by certain elements in Washington to implicate the country’s top spy agency, the ISI, in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

“The government is very angry with the decision of an American court to summon top ISI officials in connections with the Mumbai attacks,” the official maintained.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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