Make it harder to select and to depose. In the first century of its existence, the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party had only two elected leaders who served for less than five years — Billy Hughes who lasted just 13 months and Paul Keating who was in the job for just over four years. Since Simon Crean was passed the chalice in 2001, Kevin Rudd’s three years and six months is the longest.

In 11 years, five leaders — Simon Crean, Mark Latham, Kim Beazley, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Surely it must raise some questions about the selection process. Clearly caucus members are not much good at it. Time to expand the selectors to include rank-and-file party members in the same way as British Labour has.

Nothing faceless about this lot. On this occasion it is all too clear who has it in for Kevin Rudd. The time for hiding anonymously behind background briefings has gone as Labor ministers and backbenchers vent their spleen on television.

The consequences for Labor are sure to be disastrous whatever happens on Monday. Public regard for politicians will fall still further now that their true selfish bitchiness is exposed for us all to see. And Labor support will hit a new low point in the opinion polls from which it will be impossible to recover.

Scant concern about conflicts of interest. Have a quick red through this lot:

Bombardier Transportation Australia, AGL Energy Limited, Singleton Ogilvy & Mather Holdings, Free TV Australia, Australian Publishers Association, Etcom, Jim Simpson, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Medicines Australia, Urban Theatre Projects, Boehringer Ingelheim Pty Ltd, Westpac Banking Corporation, Aspen Medical, Australian Association on Developmental Disability Medicine, QR Limited, RUOK?, The Exodus Foundation, Association of Independent Schools of NSW, STW Group Ltd, Fred Hollows Foundation, UNSW Global, Raytheon Australia, Village Building Company, Telsoft, Heathgate Resources Pty Ltd, Cash Converters, Australian Communication Exchange, Canada Steamship Lines Australia Pty Ltd, Mediacom, Spark Solar Australia, Amgen Australia Pty Ltd, Oracle Corporation, NSW Council for Intellectual Disabilities, Genzyme Australasia Pty Ltd, Eastern Ranges GP Association, AARNet, Life Education Australia, The Big Issue in Australia Limited, National Council in Intellectual Disability, Harness Racing Australia, APA Group, Institute for Eye Research, Heartwell Foundation, University of Western Sydney, Pfizer Australia Ptd Ltd, Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), Bunnings, Capral Limited, Dialog Information Technology, Green Building Council of Australia, Peach Advertising, Officeworks, Crown Castle, Australian Primary Principal’s Association, HOED, J Walter Thompson (JWT), Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Quasar Resources Pty Ltd, Knauf Insulation, Adelaide Airport Limited, Macquarie Group Limited, TPG Capital, Pottinger, American Pork Export Trading Company, ZOO Group, amr interactive, Enova Financial trading as Dollars Direct, University of New South Wales, The Brand Agency, AMP Limited, Abbott Australasia Pty Ltd, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Pluton Resources Limited, Vietnamese Community in Australia, Public Interest Law Clearing House Inc, Babcock International Group PLC, Metgasco Limited, Navitas Limited, Cricket Victoria, Babcock Integrated Technology Australia, Project Management Institute of Australasia, Customer Service Institute of Australia, Global Green Plan Foundation, University of Newcastle, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Northern Territory Government, The Mantle Group, JointResearch Pty Ltd, Macquarie Medical Imaging, The Blackstone Group, Australian Hotels Association (Victorian Branch), Law Institute of Victoria, Victorian Bar Association, Yum Restaurants Australia, Silcar Pty Ltd, LEP Waste to Energy, Australian Private Hospitals Association, Save the Children Australia, Osteoporosis Australia, Vertical Australia Pty Ltd, Medibank Health Solutions, Global Vision Media, Air Pacific, LEAD Childcare, United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, CSC Australia Pty Ltd, Open Text Pty Ltd, Open Universities Australia Pty Ltd, Reclink Australia Inc., Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia, Omnilab Media, NIB Health Funds Ltd, Fujitsu Australia Pty Ltd, SAB Miller plc, Job Watch Inc, Eaton Place Pty Ltd, English Australia, University of Sydney,  Union Alumni & Friends Association, United Firefighters Union Victoria, Peres Centre for Peace (Australian Chapter), United Firefighters Union of Australia, Leighton Holdings, National Growth Areas Alliance, Kinect Australia, Alinta Energy, Soft Star Pty Ltd, Swisse Vitamins Pty Ltd, FinPa Australia, Specsavers, Planet Innovation, Adams Group, Lorne Sculpture, Hughes Network, Systems International Service Company, Direct Selling Association, Experian Hitwise, QLS (Vic) Pty Ltd, Motorola Australia, Coorong Property Group Ltd, Tailem Bend Motorsport Park Ltd, Kings Plains Station Partnership, Kimberley Land Council, BDS Marketing (Aust) Pty Ltd, David Walsh, Museum of Old and New Art, Clinical Trials Connect, The Adams Group, Crocodile Island Rangers, Domain Principal Group, The Alliance for Safe Children, Logica, Cure Our Kids, Experian, ChildFund International, World Expeditions Foundation, Jolimont Capital, Leighton Contractors Indonesia, Specialised Skills Institute, Contact Centres Australia.

That’s the client list of the lobbying firm Hawker Britton, as displayed on the Commonwealth government lobbyists register. That’s Hawker as in Bruce Hawker, the man with the moustache who has been out spruiking the virtues of Kevin Rudd as a Prime Minister.

Now Bruce Hawker is no longer listed on the firm’s staff list but the association with Labor governments is still boasted about on its website while the founder struggles to regain his power and influence in Canberra.

I wonder what the client list will look like when there are no Labor governments left in the nation? Or how much longer it will get if Kevin Rudd does become Prime Minister?

Giving up for Lent. From Holland comes the news that  the traditional fasting of yesteryear — for example children saying no to sweets while their parents keep wine bottles corked — is giving way to a new trend in abstinence.

Young members of the faithful are turning off their Twitter or Facebook pages to indulge in “social-media fasting”.

De Telegraaf thinks one Twitterer summed up the magnitude of this new kind of sacrifice when they called it a “temporary self-imposed social media death”.

Peter Fray

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