Scandal, disaster, death and deception. Australian politics has it all at the moment, you'd never guess election season had begun.
Howard's on the back-foot on many fronts, but it's the misbehaviour of his Ministers that'll be most frustrating him. First it was three Queensland members, including one Minister, under investigation for allegedly misusing allowances now two Minister's have been forced to resign for dubious dealings. Ian Campbell's resignation was convenient; sure he'd met with disgraced former WA Premier, Burke, but only as part of a delegation, whereas Kevin Rudd had dined with Burke. Sadly for Johnny, Rudd's popularity has only increased and now a third Minister has been forced to resign, this time for failing to properly disclose his investments.
Perhaps its the problems at home that led him to speculate about increasing Australian troops in Afghanistan?
NSW voters get their chance next week and appear odds-on to re-elect Labor for a fourth term. The Liberal leader has all but conceded defeat in the hope he'll pick up a few more votes but I can't see it. Iemma's played the cleanskin well. After the 24th, he'll likely lead the largest party in parliament , but with train failures, cover-ups, and even feral senior civil servants, he's going to have to deal with an expanded number of independents as well as the radicals such as the fanatical Fred Nile. Fred's called for a moratorium on muslim immigration - always the moderate - fortunately states' exercise no power over immigration thus enabling both Lib and Labor leaders to sidestep this controversy.
On less banal matters, the plane crash that claimed five Australian lives hit home for me this week. I was in Canberra and attended a lunch at the National Press Club. It wasn't until the MC reminded us that a several of the Australian victims were regulars at the Club that I really thought about the tragedy. Many who lunched around me knew and worked with some of the people who'd been on the flight and were clearly distressed by their passing.
4 days ago