A demo too far. I’m sure it was a mistake for the Opposition Leader to associate himself with the blockading truck drivers around Canberra’s Parliament House this morning.

Angry demonstrators — even ones that Tony Abbott can describe as good, decent, hard working Australians — do not make for television pictures that appeal to good, decent, hard working Australians sitting in front of their televisions watching the evening news.

Aggro frightens normal people rather than persuades them as to the rightness of the cause being protested about.

A proper political demonstration. And it was really quite a pathetic turnout as such things go. Many voters might have turned off this Labor Government but there is no genuine feeling of outrage. Dislike and distrust? Yes. But really passionate hatred?

Well there’s certainly nothing to compare with what is happening in India at the moment where a government really is facing some public wrath over attempts to limit the scope of planned anti-corruption legislation.

An unlikely vegan. He is famous no more for a love of beef burgers and fries. Former President Bill Clinton has turned vegan. The man who used to work a stop at McDonald’s into his morning jog has renounced meat, dairy and eggs in an effort to reduce the risk posed by a family history of heart disease., saying in a recent interview that he’s dropped more than 20 pounds and is healthier than ever.

So much for the rank-and-file. So Labor’s machine men think they have found a way to stop same sex marriage being debated at the national party conference later this year. Reports this morning suggest that the Federal Executive will step in beforehand to declare the issue as a non-party one on which all members should be granted a conscience vote.

Such an action would make a mockery of all those state conference votes which have called for gay marriage being legalised and give people yet another reason not to bother to become — or stay — a Labor Party member.

Abbott and the ethics of the Reserve Bank. It was reassuring to hear over the weekend how Tony Abbott has discovered the importance of ethics in public life. The prime minister, the opposition leader told the Ten Network,  should stand the credit card man Craig Thomson aside from a parliamentary committee that considers financial matters.

“I think it’s very hard for someone who can’t answer questions about his own credit card to credibly ask questions of the governor of the Reserve Bank about the nation’s credit cards,” Mr Abbott told the Network.

“So I think this is a big issue and I think the short answer is no, he can’t really remain chairman of that committee.”

A very fair point perhaps  but I wonder whether the executives of the Reserve Bank are actually any better when it comes to questions that relate to corporate governance. A few comments by Mr Abbott about the suitability of those who were directors of the Bank’s subsidiaries involved in bribery would be even more welcome.

Mine is bigger than yours. A determined effort by the Northern Territory News this morning to reclaim the title of the crocodile paper of record. In a provocative move it has attacked its Murdoch owned stablemate The Cairns Post for wrongly claiming that Cassius — the 5.6m saltwater crocodile housed on Green Island off the Cairns coast — is North Queensland’s own. ”

The saltie they’ve laid claim to as their own record-holding captive beast is actually a Territorian,” the NT News reported this morning.

The newspaper combat has now taken a new turn with internet users being asked to take part in a poll to determine who is the Top of the Crocs — Far North Queensland or the NT.

Peter Fray

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