The Howes manifesto. Union boss Paul Howes, who rarely lacks chutzpah, has outdone himself today. The AWU national secretary has released a bold reform agenda to save the manufacturing industry — particularly steelmaking.

He wants the government to embrace the original, more comprehensive Resources Super Profits Tax, peg the Australian dollar to another currency and consider rewriting the Reserve Bank of Australia’s charter. Although he says it has become “heresy” in this country to criticise the RBA, Howes says the governors have “consistently got it wrong” this year by refusing to cut rates to put downwards pressure on the high Aussie dollar.

Howes missed out on a spot on our political powerbrokers list last year but is a shoo-in for our upcoming union leaders top 10. He’ll host an AWU meeting to discuss the proposals in Melbourne today.

John Howard no doctor doomsday. The gongs just keep rolling in for former prime minister John Howard. The Liberal hero can now send an honorary doctorate from Sydney’s Macquarie University “straight to the pool room” to sit alongside his Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth and US Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush.

Howard told university graduates yesterday that the rise of prosperity around the globe, particular in Asia, would define our age — not the global financial crisis (or “North Atlantic financial crisis” as he prefers to call it).

Ray Hadley lines up O’Farrell’s’s AG. NSW attorney-general Greg Smith had better watch out. When 2GB shock jock Ray Hadley gets fired up about someone or something — think Labor’s home insulation program or “registered halfwit” Rob Oakeshott – he will campaign until he gets his way.

Smith riled our No.3 Megaphone last year when he reportedly called Hadley’s listeners “rednecks” (a charge he denies). Now Hadley is applying the blowtorch to Smith over claims, aired on the ABC’s 7.30 last week, that he denigrated a woman who made s-xual assault allegations against his friend, a Sydney priest, as ”just trying to get $1 million from the church”.

Hadley raised the issue last week and continued his campaign yesterday by inviting Opposition Leader John Robertson on the show to bag Smith. We doubt that’ll be the end of it.