Maybe it’s time to tell us. Stories like this pair from today’s Sydney Telegraph and The Australian just keep bobbing up suggesting that the Prime Minister Julia Gillard somehow is being investigated by the Victorian Police over long-ago dealings when a solicitor.

The Prime Minister has not been interviewed by police, but the stories insist other people have been asked to provide formal statements, and the result is a virtual trial by innuendo. Given that this is about the reputation of the country’s leader, surely the time has come for Victoria Police to let us know whether there actually is an investigation into allegations that cast doubt on Gillard’s repeated denials of being improperly involved in alleged wrongdoing involving the Australian Workers’ Union.

Spending less on military matters. For the first time since 1998, military spending throughout the world declined last year. Figures calculated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a body dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament, show that global military expenditure fell in 2012 by 0.5% in real terms to $1753 billion. That’s equivalent to 2.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP).

“The small overall reduction is the result of falls in the West — spending fell in North America, in most of Western and Central Europe and in Australia — that were only partly offset by increases in much of the developing world and in Eastern Europe, especially Russia. This may indicate the beginning of a shift in the balance of world military spending away from the West, although it still accounts for a clear majority of global military spending.”

A misquote of the day. Enough of that Sydney Morning Herald compact nonsense, I say. Bring back the broadsheet journal of record. Just look what the new regime did to yesterday’s Chunky Bits quote of the day:

News and views noted along the way.

  • Marriage puts a nation asunder — “On April 23, France became the ninth European state to extend marriage and adoption rights to homos-xual couples. However, unlike other countries, the measures provoked fierce hostility from sections of the public.”
  • Two policy prescriptions for the global crisis — “One thing that experts know, and that non-experts do not, is that they know less than non-experts think they do. This much was evident at the just-completed Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group – three intense days of talks that brought together finance ministers, central bankers, and other policymakers.”
  • HSBC — the bank that likes to say ‘demising’ — “To the annals of business euphemisms for the painful process of cutting jobs, HSBC has added a new entry that critics say raises the stakes in obfuscation — demising’.” (Behind a limited paywall.)
  • Robot recruiters: How software helps firms hire workers more efficiently — “Some insights are counter-intuitive. For instance, firms routinely cull job candidates with a criminal record. Yet the data suggest that for certain jobs there is no correlation with work performance. Indeed, for customer-support calls, people with a criminal background actually perform a bit better.”
  • The changing face of the average Aussie
  • Samsung works on mind-control tablet — “The South Korean firm, along with US researchers, has demonstrated how people can launch an application and make selections on a Galaxy tablet by concentrating on a blinking icon.”
  • Gender equality and economic growth: A framework for policy analysis — “… gender policy is likely to produce tangible economic results, but only in the long term.”