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Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: game gets rough with Gillard called names

Maybe they forgot the delay button. Or maybe not. On the Alan Jones program this morning after a lengthy comment piece by the host and an interview with Mike Smith abou

Richard Farmer

Crikey political commentator

Maybe they forgot the delay button. Or maybe not. On the Alan Jones program this morning after a lengthy comment piece by the host and an interview with Mike Smith about the Gillard slush fund came a description of the Prime Minister by a phoning in listener as “a crooked lawyer.” The game is getting very rough indeed.

While the cat’s away. You would think Kevin was the acting Prime Minister while Julia was away playing foreign policy. He kept bobbing up everywhere talking on all kinds of subjects.

This morning it was Kevin Rudd reminding us that he was no foreign policy slouch either with his reassurance that China’s president in-waiting Xi Jinping has a good grasp of where Australia fits into the Asian region. As he reminded listeners to ABC radio, the president elect visited Australia just days before the Rudd/Gillard changeover.

Rudd, who has just returned from a trip to China, told us how Xi made the most of his visit to Australia two years ago, and was therefore no stranger to the country. The two leaders engaged in an “enormously in-depth exchange” over many hours of discussions about China, relations with the US and Australia’s place in Asia.

“I think therefore we have a good grasp of who Xi Jinpin is,” Rudd said. “I think he has a reasonable grasp of where we fit in the galaxy of stars as well.”

A cultural snapshot. The Australian Bureau of Statistics provides us this morning with a snapshot of how our governments — federal, state and local — spent a total of $6650.2 million on cultural activities in 2010-11. The federal government contributed one third ($2271.6 million), state and territory governments contributed nearly half (47% or $3118.9 million) and local government contributed $1259.9 million. The highest expenditure of Australian government funds was for radio and television services with $1209.2 million. At the state and territory government level, the highest expenditure of government funds was for environmental heritage, with $1306.5 million.

The sound of Mozart as Mozart heard it. A little more Friday culture, courtesy of the BBC. One of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s favourite pianos has been returned to Vienna, the city where he achieved fame as a composer and pianist. An intriguingly different sound to the modern version.

Is nothing sacred? Now here’s a story that will enable First Dog to get really indignant about the increasingly pervasive spread of the influence of bookmakers. His “mate” Tom might not have been caught in the sting, but betting scandal has spread to the Church of England.

The British bookies stopped betting on who will be the next Archbishop of Canterbury after a solid plunge on one candidate led them to conclude they were becoming victims of insider trading.

The BBC reported that Ladbrokes closed betting after a “very significant move” in favour of the Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby. William Hill followed suit saying it had cut the odds on Bishop Welby three times in an hour.

A panel has been considering who will replace Rowan Williams for months with the choice then still in the hands of the Crown Nominations Commission in preparation for an announcement today by the Prime Minister.

Before the flurry of betting activity Bishop Welby was the 13/8 second favourite. When the bookies called enough he was an odds on 4/6.

And this morning the London Evening Standard said it found that a number of people in south-west London opened online betting accounts this week specifically to wager on Bishop Welby. As bookmaking firm William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said: “Is nothing sacred? I don’t know the motives of those who opened a new account just to bet on the new Archbishop but I’ll be looking upwards to see how many churches get new roofs in the coming months.”

Surely a winning quote for the day. A US political journalist makes things clear with a comment on the election to the BBC last night:

“You cannot square the circle unless everyone is singing from the same sheet.”

Exactly. I have noted it down for future use.

News and views noted along the way.

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2 thoughts on “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: game gets rough with Gillard called names

  1. Gavin Moodie

    The snatch of Mozart’s piano was great thanx very much, but all too brief and interrupted by talk too many times.