Bomber moves to centre stage. For Kim Beazley all this speculation about US spy drones and Australian islands must be manna from heaven. Our man in Washington used to like nothing more than contemplating strategic matters when he was still a Canberra based politician.

The source of this quote in the Post story from a senior Australian official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the military talks is not known but the cap would fit Mr Beazley:

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“In terms of your overall influence in the Asia-Pacific zone, the strategic weight is shifting south.

“Australia didn’t look all that important during the Cold War. But Australia looks much more important if your fascination is really with the Southeast Asian archipelago.”

Memories of that birthday cake. It is as if only the name of the product has changed in the trip from Australia to Britain. John Hewson will surely have nightmares again as he reads of the problems UK Chancellor George Osborne is having with his “Cornish pasty tax”.

The problem results from a budget decision to impose value-added-tax on hot baked goods bought from supermarkets and bakers. After it emerged people could avoid paying VAT on hot baked goods if they wait for them to cool in the shop, the taxman has the problem of determining what temperature becomes hot enough to tax.

Memories of boat people being page one news. It happens with age I’m told but I could have sworn that increasing numbers of boat people were the subject of hysterical page one coverage in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

Apparently not because if it were so a paper of such balance surely would not have snuck away down near the bottom of page 11 the news that the number of asylum seekers coming to Australia has dropped in the last year?

I did notice, though, that that fine journalist Malcolm Farr, who used to add some sensible balance to the Terror before being banished to the website, wrote a full and fair report on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees figures. Not that most people would have noticed it, tucked away as it was in the very small print.

The profit in houses. You can take your pick of three different United States housing price indexes but they all tell a similar story: in real terms, all that house price appreciation in the ’00s — and more — is gone.

Some news and views noted along the way.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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