09 March 2007

It has all the trappings of an amateur theatre production, beginning precariously with Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd accusing the Federal Government of discussing plans for Nuclear energy in Victoria with high-profile businessman Ron Walker. And it ends badly with one of Rudd’s right-hand men, Shadow Attorney-General Kelvin Thomson, resigning from the frontbench due to a past association with notorious underworld fugitive Tony Mokbel. Thomson, who was unaware of Mokbel’s profile at the time, was a referee for a liquor licence application made by Mokbel in 2000. Apparently Mokbel was "making a significant contribution to the community and employing a substantial number of people".

Everyone check your references!

Most Australians would agree with the Prime Minister that Federal MP Andrew Laming, who allegedly rorted $67,000 in allowances, is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Howard clearly demonstrates a good understanding of the constitution and of democracy at work.

A little disconcerting, however, is Howard’s democratic spirit in view of Guantanamo Bay's David Hicks.

Rudd’s claim that Hicks will not have a presumption of innocence under the military commissions was emphatically rejected by Howard. He pointed to a code in the legislation which states that the, "accused must be presumed to be innocent until his guilt is established by legal and competent evidence beyond reasonable doubt".

It's a bit hard to swallow given that Hicks has been incarcerated for 5 years.

David Hicks Andrew Laming

07 March 2007

The most recent Newspoll results show Labor in the lead with 57 per cent of the two-party preferred vote to the Coalition’s 43 per cent. Taken at the height of media scrutiny over the Brian Burke affair, Labor’s vote was up 3 per cent from the last Newspoll result to a record high of 14 percent. Both leaders fell in their approval ratings: Rudd from 68 per cent to 62 per cent, and Howard from 44 per cent to 42 per cent.