First up, Rudd's ascention to the leadership has clearly resonanted with the electorate according to this story in today's Australian. Newspoll gives Labor a 10-point lead in primary votes over the Coalition. With a year to run, lots can change and Howard is an expert politician however this at least is some vindication for the leadership spill.
In related developments, Rudd also appears to have had genuine success selecting his front bench. Factions are notoriously powerful in state and federal Labor and frequently put up candidates for no other reason but that they're from this or that faction - tragic indictment on Labor frankly - however Rudd insisted on some new blood including Peter Garrett and appears to have won. Interestingly, Swan - a major backer of Beazley - has retained his shadow Treasurer's responsibility. This decision is being described as both a factional detente and a restoration of an old friendship between Rudd and Swan.
Howard's dog whistle politics are at full volume with the announcement of a revamped citizen test which includes an examination on Australian values and culture and an English language test.
Lastly, on more banal but nevertheless important issues, Sydney cabbies are in the news for charging huge fares, $150 - $200, to take people from Homebush to the city - a 20 minute drive - after the Robbie Williams concert. Sydney cabbies are shockers, many are thugs and thieves, some are flat-out psychos.
Changes introduced last year means that cabbies are not allowed to tout for business (as they were doing here), they must accept passengers/fares regardless of destination and not attempt to negotiate price. Yeah right. Mrs backin15 and I were out late Friday night and had exactly the same experience - cabbie pulls up, turns off his "availabe light", asks where we're going (not too far) and then decides that he's actually off duty. Bastard. Only redeeming feature of cabbies is this blog - Adrian's a top bloke (only wish I could find him when I need him).
5 days ago