Bridget McKenzie (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Booket McReadie Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie has penned a book on Country Party luminary and briefest of PMs John McEwen (“highly readable” says Paul Kelly in The Australian).

We know all of this, because of press releases sent out by her staff. And look, it won’t break the top 20 worst misuses of public money this year, but still, is it a proper use of ministerial staff to flog your book?

C’mon Cormann Prime Minister Scott Morrison was apparently weirdly reticent about using the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s 60th anniversary bash to directly campaign for Mathias Cormann, Australia’s former finance minister and pick to run the place. The final par of an Australian Financial Review piece gave us a possible clue as to why:

In his campaign pitches to other OECD members, Mr Cormann has reportedly highlighted the need for the OECD to support a rapid transition to a net-zero carbon economic model.

Even if we take the “reportedly” caveat out, this is a stronger version of a statement buried on Cormann’s publicly funded website, and puts him at odds with government policy on this. Or at least it would if they had one.

I R not caring Still with the AFR, we couldn’t help but be amused by the raft of anonymous Liberal party sources pushing for the Coalition to drop its godawful plan to remove the “better off overall test” from employment agreements.

The piece divides its sources up into those who are “passionate about industrial relations” and those who aren’t, leading to magnificent attributions likes the following “One Liberal who was indifferent towards IR said…”

It leads us to imagine journalist Phil Coorey hammering a reticent politician until he cracks: “Fine, I’ll comment, but only if you make it clear I don’t really give a shit about this topic…”

Reliving 2020 (for some reason) For those of you unable to join me and my colleague Amber Schultz for Crikey’s end-of-year round up last week, don’t think you’re getting away that easy. This week, Tips and Murmurs looks back over this most relentless of years:

By March, COVID-19 had spread across the globe via planes and those nautical Typhoid Marys known as cruise ships. Australia’s lockdown — mirroring those in other countries — was in full swing. 

The pandemic exposed Australia’s increasingly casualised workforce and our shamefully limited social security safety net with workers either laid off en masse, or spreading the virus because they couldn’t afford to stop working.

Scott Morrison, slightly misreading the impacts of supply, demand and, oh, a global recession, told the thousands of Australians looking for work “if you’re good at your job you’ll get a job”. Which must be very reassuring to his apparently unfireable frontbench.

The government quietly admitted they knew Newstart had never been enough and introduced JobSeeker for unemployed Australians and JobKeeper for businesses. 

JobKeeper, for all its flaws, was one of the better things to happen in Australia this year. But in times of crisis there’s a metric tonne of public money lying around, and a lot of companies that are happy to take advantage of that. Businessman Solly Lew in particular saw profits skyrocket at Premier Investments while sales dipped, thanks to a little magic pudding.

In April cardinal George Pell had his conviction for child sex abuse overturned. His media cheer squad rejoiced, while the rest of us rushed off to delete some now highly defamatory tweets.  

He later sodded off back to Italy. The Australian government allowed him to leave without a travel exemption in the middle of a pandemic, making him our second most toxic export — behind our recycling.

Christmas Cards Crikey — via visual satirist Tom Red — has intercepted a cache of secret Christmas cards from our political class, and we’ll be sharing them with you one at a time over the week.

This week: ah, a nice family pic from News Corp.