A very fair question. Prime Minister Julia Gillard knows how to ask a fair question. It’s a pity she doesn’t know how to answer it.

On ABC radio she claimed “I’ve explained of course to the Australian people that I never meant to mislead anybody during the last election campaign about carbon pricing” and said she has always thought the best way of putting a price on carbon was a cap and trade scheme:

“We’re going to get there through a path I didn’t expect during the election campaign of a fixed price period for around three to five years.

“So yes, the route to the objective is different.

“When I said those words in the election campaign I didn’t mean to mislead anybody and I understand that people heard those words and they look at what’s happening now and they perhaps say: ‘What’s going on? What did she mean then? What does she mean now’?”

Yes indeed. What did she mean then? What does she mean now? I for one have no idea except that if you cannot believe an apparently solemn promise made during an election campaign why should you believe anything she says ever?

Perhaps a truthful answer might be the best answer. Something along the lines of “Yes I broke an election promise and at the next election people will weigh up which they prefer: a leader acting in her own best self-interest by keeping a promise and doing nothing to combat global warming or putting the best interests of the country before self interest by breaking a promise and doing what I now think is the right thing?”

Strange goings on in the Liberal Party. In nearly 50 years of writing about federal politics I cannot recall the presidency of the Liberal Party ever being a subject of public discussion. For most of that time I have not even known the name of the incumbent let alone of a challenger.

The Liberals have always conducted any contest for the job with refined decorum. Which makes the current public spat between current President Alan Stockdale and the challenging Peter Reith a quite extraordinary event.

Just why efforts to influence the 100 members of the Party’s federal council are being discussed openly within earshot of the media is quite beyond me.

Oil prices fall further. Just a little update to my snippet earlier in the week on the easing of some inflationary pressures: crude oil futures overnight were lower in $US terms than they were at the end of March.

And despite a minor fall in the last few days the $A is still stronger against the $US than it was back at the end of March.

To my mind the result is an increasing likelihood that the next set of consumer price index figures will give the Reserve Bank no reason to tighten official interest rates.

No unity in Greece. The International Monetary Fund apparently believes that bipartisan support from all Greece’s major political parties — both government and opposition — is a prerequisite to handing over more loan dollars. The European Union does not quite go that far but says that while opposition support is not “a formal condition” of receiving aid, it believes that “for the success of the programme, we need as broad a political consensus as possible”.

In which case the bail-out of the staggering Greek financial system is in considerable danger whichever organisation’s view is accepted.

Overnight Antonis Samaras, leader of the conservative New Democracy party, told the Financial Times in an interview that his party will vote against the government’s latest round of austerity measures, dashing hopes that the nation’s political class will unite in a last-ditch effort to prevent a ­sovereign debt default.

The worst of this latest financial crisis is yet to come.

Sports fixing has no boundaries. The reports of rigged sports matches keep coming with two new examples this week. One from Greece and the other from Israel.

Peter Fray

A lot can happen in 3 months.

3 months is a long time in 2020. Join us to make sense of it all.

Get you first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12. Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

12 weeks for $12