Monday, December 22, 2008

A mixed bag

A really mixed bag of political news from which I wish to extract a theme.

First was the PM being asked to comment on the video released of a drunk Andrew O'Keefe. The PM responded "No one is perfect and most people stuff up". Which is a really good answer.

What made it particularly interesting was that he was asked the question while launcing policy on the homeless, and thus was standing by Tanya Plibersek. Her husband is the head of the NSW Education Department over whom so much noise was made when it was discovered that he is a former heroin addict.

Oh, if only more people could be so realistic. It is not as if O'Keefe engaged in any physical violence while drunk.

Meanwhile Malcolm Farr thinks Malcolm Turnbull will be in a good position over climate change. Farr's analysis seems to be that the Government will need to negotiate with the Liberals as they won't come up with an outcome that the Greens will support. Firstly, this is fanciful because in the end Bob Brown knows the ETS will be stronger if the Government reaches a deal with the Greens tha the Coalition - and Brown can make thunderous speeches in support of any legislation that condemn it. Secondly, it is hard to imagine any leader of the Opposition actually revelling in the idea that they have been reduced to the position of "balance of power" party.

Talking of revelling, we discover that the PM and the leader of the opposition will Christmas in Sydney, while both their deputies will holiday in Adelaide (where they both come from). What else do we learn from this amazing revelation of Christmas plans? Well, that pollies like to spend their Christmas much the same as the rest of it. Next year expect the headline Research shows politicians are people too.

Meanwhile the member of the coalition most pumped by the moderates as their hope for the future, Christopher Pyne, has chocolate on his mind. I must admit I've never seen the potential in Pyne that some have, but this is a thoughtful piece. He is higlighting th plight of child slaves in Africa, many of whom harvest cocoa for chocolate. He deals with the vexed problem that just deciding not to eat chocolare does more harm than good because you dry up national economies. His suggestion is a selective boycott by the Australian Government in its chocolate purchases.

"What chocolate purchases?" you might ask. Well, he means the chocolate in vending machines across the buildings occupied by public servants. There is only one flaw with this - the Government doesn't buy that chocolate/ Vending machines are usually run by small businesses that "place" them, and in many organisations the machine belongs to the staff club.

Does anyone have a better idea we can offer to Mr Pyne?

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