It gets a bit hard writing news stories about leadership challenges when the politicians involved don’t want to talk ab out it. But never fear, there is another way of filling the front page – quote your own columnists.

The Sydney Morning Herald has introduced this innovative technique with its story this morning telling us that:

The normal trade union rent-a-mouths were available to make a comment on the record. Paul Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, and Bill Ludwig, its national president, insisted, said the Herald story, that the union will play an active role to shore up Julia Gillard’s leadership if necessary. But in the absence of someone prepared to take the attacking role it was over to Fairfax columnists.

The Ludwig-Howe “support is countered today by the Fairfax columnists Robert Manne and Mike Carlton who say Ms Gillard is leading Labor towards annihilation and must be replaced.”