Eleven people keeping IR reform alive. Tony Abbott, fearful of another election campaign being overshadowed by talk of a return to WorkChoices, would rather workplace relations disappear from the political agenda. Yet IR reform is shaping up as one of this year’s biggest issues — as Julia Gillard’s decision to appoint rising star Bill Shorten to the IR portfolio shows.

So, in the Liberals’ absence, who has kept the flame of workplace flexibility burning bright? — Matthew Knott (read the full story here)

Wilkie’s pokies reforms: dead or alive? We’re not long into 2012, but already the biggest political fight of the year is shaping up nicely. And depending on who you listen to, Andrew Wilkie’s controversial poker machine reforms are either dead and buried or very much alive.

It all kicked off again yesterday when independent Senator Nick Xenophon urged Wilkie to walk away from his support of the Gillard government if it did not deliver at least on $1 bet limits on pokies. It came as the Tasmanian MP was set to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard to discuss the future of the reforms. — The Power Index (read the full story here)

Power Play #6: don’t match a compliment. When it comes to compliments, powerful types know how to accept one. More importantly they don’t fall for the mistake of immediately returning one.

At best it comes off as disingenuous. At worst a defense mechanism employed to deflect praise and make the recipient of said compliment look humble (when they’re likely not). — Rose Herceg (read the full story here)