But what if they just don’t like her? Former Premier Peter Beattie wants Julia Gillard to buy a house in Queensland. But what if Queenslanders actually don’t want her?

The thought that there might be a federal implication or two in Saturday’s result apparently is just too horrible for those who recently re-elected Julia Gillard to contemplate. So we are about to see another example of the propensity of politicians, faced with something that is not working, to increase the dose of what is not working.

As Craig Emerson is reported saying this morning:

“What we now need to do, given that there is a parliament break, is to continue to advocate those policies, but do it on the ground.

“You will see plenty of Julia Gillard in Queensland explaining that pensions have gone up … and that the benefits of the mining boom will be spread more broadly to Queenslanders.”

Dr Emerson said the more Queenslanders saw of Ms Gillard, the more they would like her.

“One thing that is clear with people’s views of the PM, when they meet her, is that she really is a terrific person, and very charming, and people are going to get the opportunity to meet Julia Gillard,” he said.

Disaster awaits. Let me go for the third party endorsement and quote my fellow old-time Labor campaigner Graham Richardson predicting this morning that Ms Gillard would face a loss similar to Ms Bligh’s defeat next year:

“I can’t see how she wins. She must lose and she will lose badly.

“All that yesterday did was re-emphasise how difficult it is for her. What Anna Bligh did is exactly what Julia Gillard is currently doing and that is this whole line of we will stay the course, things will turn around.

“Staying the course is utterly useless and unless and until federal Labor decide to do something radical, something different, something big, they’re not going to be listened to and they will head to a Bligh-like defeat.”

Pendulums swing.The consensus view on pendulums after Saturday night is a strange thing. Apparently they can swing a long way in one direction over three years but, to quote that one-time Queensland Labor Premier Peter Beattie, take “six, nine – maybe 15 years” to travel the same distance in the opposite direction.

If Tony, Joe and Ian have it right … Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and Liberal resources spokesman Ian Macfarlane have all said in recent times that the major miners have told them they will not be paying anything like the amount in mining tax that the government says it is expecting. If the trio are reporting accurately — and there is no reason for them not to — then the Minerals Resource Rent Tax is going to create even more political problems than it has already.

Even with the budgeted revenue from the new tax of $3.7 billion in 2012-13, producing the promised budget surplus will be a difficult feat given the promised reductions in company tax for small companies and the accompanying accelerated tax write offs.

If Alan Kohler’s recent piece in Business Spectator was anywhere near right it will be near impossible.

Just not interested. Almost complete disinterest by the mainstream media in the just released annual review by the World Meteorological Organisation of the world’s weather.

The Australian gave it a few pars on Saturday and I noticed a couple of brief references on television station websites but climate change clearly does not appeal much to news editors.

Here, then, are a few of the details considered too boring for Australians to be told of:

Temperatures averaged over the globe in 2011 were not as warm as the record-setting values seen in 2010 but were nevertheless well above the long-term average. Globally averaged temperatures in 2011 were estimated to be 0.40°C ± 0.09°C above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14°C. This makes 2011 nominally the eleventh warmest year on record in records dating back to 1880. The 2011 nominal value of +0.40°C1 is also the warmest ever to occur in a moderate or strong La Niña year. Data from the ECMWF Interim Reanalysis (ERA) were also consistent with the trends in surface datasets.

The 2002–2011 ten-year average of 0.46°C above the 1961–1990 mean matched 2001–2010 as the world’s warmest ten-year period on record. This was 0.21°C warmer than the warmest ten-year period of the twentieth century, 1991–2000. In turn, 1991–2000 was clearly warmer than previous decades, consistent with a long-term warming trend.

According to the United States National Climatic Data Center, globally averaged land surface precipitation was the second-highest on record in 2011, 46 mm above the 1961–1990 average, ranking only behind 2010 (52 mm above normal), but with marked contrasts between wet and dry regions. Major areas that experienced substantially above-normal rainfall included most of Australia, large parts of South-East Asia and the islands of the westernmost parts of the Pacific (Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia), southern Africa, substantial areas of Brazil, Colombia and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Pakistan and western India, the north-central and north-eastern United States, and the north-western fringe of Europe. Most of these regions experienced significant flooding at some point during the year.

Major areas of below-normal rainfall included the southern United States, especially Texas, and northern Mexico, large parts of Europe away from the far northwest, and much of southern China. Despite the extreme drought there for most of the year, heavy rains late in the year resulted in East Africa having annual totals for 2011 that were mostly close to average.

The quote of the weekend. From Tony Abbott:

“I suspect a lot of currently middle-aged Australian men will be better grandparents than they were parents.”

The problems of photo opportunities. From the just published diary of Lord Spicer describing when, as plain Michael Spicer and a deputy chairman of the Conservative Party he accompanied Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for a day on the hustings:


Bang on PM’s door [at hotel in Woodbridge, Suffolk] at 7am and carry her bags to the car. Set out for East Anglia at 8.10. (She and I alone in the back of the car.) At Felixstowe docks she climbs up an iron ladder. I go up behind her to prevent embarrassing pictures.

Leaving aside the fact that she would not meet a single voter on either the way up or the way down, forgetting for a moment the sheer physical hazard of climbing the vertical iron ladder, the immediate worry for her staff was that she was wearing a tight blue skirt and black stockings, with the world’s press waiting at the bottom of the ladder. My job, when her determination to ascend became irresistible, was to put myself between the Prime Minister and every one of the 50 or so camera and TV lenses waiting to record the obvious images for immediate and lucrative distribution around the globe.

Some news and views noted along the way.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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