It’s the week for it, so let’s kick off with Qantas. Or not so much Qantas, but who-knew-what-when about the now infamous weekend grounding:

@marknewton Reporting on whether Abbott and Gillard knew about #qantas grounding, instead of the grounding itself. #sideshowalley

As our Canberra Correspondent Bernard Keane wrote yesterday, neither side of politics really covered themselves in glory on this one:

“That issue has been the subject of a wild beat-up from both sides, with the Coalition falsely claiming the government had been somehow warned that a grounding was on the cards, and the government wrongly suggesting senior opposition figures could have been in on the Qantas decision. Given the toxic nature of the public reaction to Alan Joyce’s decision, any Coalition involvement of any kind would be damning.

“There was no Coalition involvement, of course. There’s no substance to the government’s “who knew what and when” line. But it received a boost from Tony Abbott failing to answer questions about it clearly on Tuesday. That came at a doorstop in Canberra. Abbott does a lot of doorstops in Canberra and Queanbeyan, but is rather less enthusiastic about facing a full-blown media conference in Parliament House, where the press gallery can grill him for an extended period.

“Perhaps some more of those would sharpen him up and stop unforced errors like Tuesday’s. Joe Hockey didn’t help with his 7.30 appearance on Tuesday night, when he appeared to admit advance knowledge of the decision. Anthony Albanese gleefully seized on that in question time. “I can understand the sensitivity there,” Albanese said mockingly as the opposition used points of order and interjections to disrupt his answer.”

Then there was the opposition’s latest valiant attempt to assist in the Gillard v Rudd speculation, as nominated by @DbLRistretto: “just when I thought I had no #SideshowAlley, Pyne steps up & finds lame parallel b/ween Obama and Bush visits & ALP leadership.”

The Australian dutifully kicked it along:

“The Coalition has used the upcoming Barack Obama visit to score domestic political points, warning that the ‘shambolic’ Labor government could embarrass the US president by changing leaders on the eve of his visit.”

As did The Sydney Morning Herald:

“Mr Pyne welcomed the historic visit, but also moved into partisan territory.

“He said that when president George Bush left for his Australian visit at the end of 1991, he thought he would be seeing prime minister Bob Hawke.

“But when he arrived he found it was Paul Keating.

“Mr Pyne wondered if history might not repeat itself, with Mr Obama expecting to see Ms Gillard, but instead finding the prime minister was Stephen Smith, or perhaps Kevin Rudd.”

But the overwhelming winner according to you, the people, is Senator Ian Macdonald for his assertion that GetUp! is the Hitler Youth wing of the Greens political movement, nominated by, among others, Cindy Baxter:
“If everyone got so uptight about Monkton’s Garnaut Nazi slur (including PM and Abbott), then why should anyone get away with same slur on GetUp??”

Macdonald later rose in the Senate to admit to making the comparison and apologised … to the Jewish community.

”I want to take this opportunity to unreservedly apologise for any offence taken by the remarks to the Jewish community,” Senator Macdonald said.

Well that sorts that out, then.

Peter Fray

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