Roll up, roll up! The circus has come to town.

The circus, of course, is Australia’s political and public debate, which has become bogged down in silliness, celebrity, gaffes and personality clashes.

Buy a ticket to one tent, which features Julia Gillard v Kevin Rudd, shadow boxing for the right to take Labor to a likely election defeat. Tired of that three-year-old fight? Then enter the next tent, in which B-list public figures make stupid remarks about Gillard based on her gender.

Not your thing? No doubt someone who should know better will say something racist. Or Tony Abbott will change his tie. Did you know all male barbers are gay? Wait — someone’s thrown a sandwich at the PM! There’s always something going on at the circus.

Roll up, indeed.

Here at Crikey we have sometimes been guilty of writing about the latest silliness to pass for current affairs (and we couldn’t resist Grace Collier’s bizarre cleavage obsession today). But as federal Parliament resumes for its final sitting fortnight before the election, we’ve decided not to focus on the Labor leadership today. Yes, we’ll cover it if something changes. But we think you might like to hear about something else.

For example, policy. Parliament will be considering the Gonski education changes, some budget bills, tax changes and changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. We’ll take a look at the policy agenda and policy alternatives. Today we look at how NGOs use economic modelling to push their case, question the legacy of the late economist Helen Hughes, and ask where pro-Russian liftouts in Fairfax newspapers are coming from.

This may be a cry in the wilderness, but there’s so much more to life than Gillard v Rudd. Crikey will be happy to see the back of that circus.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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