Wayne Swan: world’s greatest treasurer? Could Australia have another “World’s Greatest Treasurer” on its hands with Wayne Swan? Don’t tell Paul Keating, but it seems the answer is “Yes”. Or so says political commentator, Laurie Oakes, who believes “the smart money is on Swan” to take out the “Finance Minister of the Year Award” from UK magazine Euromoney.

It must be said the choice this year is rather limited, with early race favourites Greece, Italy and Spain falling, and the US still struggling to avoid a double-dip recession. But there’s no doubt Australia is doing exceptionally well economically compared to the rest of the world. — Paul Barry (read the rest here)

More trees lost as Manne versus The Oz continues. The increasingly bitter stoush between left-wing public intellectual Robert Manne and the bigwigs at The Australian shows no sign of stopping.

Manne, who has written a damning 40,000-word essay on The Australian’s influence on public debate, will take on the broadsheet’s editor-at-large Paul Kelly in a public debate in Melbourne on Wednesday night. It’s sure to be a heated event, given the war of words between the pair over recent days. — Matthew Knott (read the rest here)

PM’s dept brainstorm fest teaches “emotional intelligence”. Bill Shorten recently called Julia Gillard the most “emotionally intelligent” person he knew. Perhaps, the $650,000 her department has reportedly spent on training workshops since the night of the long knives, might explain why.

According to The Australian, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet racked up nearly a third of the bill when Gillard was being coached before her recent carbon tax address and her speech to the NSW Labor conference. A consultancy called Brainpower Training, which specialises in coaching people’s “emotional intelligence”, was another big winner from the PMC brainstorm fest, having been paid $56,980 to provide a series of training courses. — Tom Cowie (read the rest here)

Peter Fray

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