Pollie Crackers

Last Friday’s column on the Scout and Guide hall has generated a bit of discussion, as intended. A little new information has since come to hand. The first is that there are reportedly old legal agreements stipulating that all proceeds from a future sale must remain in Grenfell. In the event of a sale; at least this would give the local organisations a head start with their funds. The second is that the original TAFE offer has not so much been withdrawn as reduced to an unacceptable amount, to the dismay of the Scouts and Guides. A heavy-handed government department seems to be flexing its muscle to benefit only itself. The third is that it is understood that council is now involved, but their purpose has not been made public. None of this changes the thrust of last week’s column: why does the new TAFE college have to be on that particular block, and why should Scouts and Guides have to relocate UNLESS it is in their own interests to do so? Most people would agree that it is far more important that the Scout and Guide hall be where it is, close to the Primary schools and the pool and with a park alongside, than it is for a TAFE college. Relocating the Scouts and Guides away from their central position would be a backward step in most eyes. At this time all the problems previously outlined remain still.

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No doubt the political brouhaha over the last few weeks has been interesting for some and totally boring for others. The end result is a new leader for the National Party who automatically becomes Deputy PM. Quite a quick elevation for our local Member for Riverina. The aspect that I find curious is the situation with the deputy leader of the Nationals, Bridget McKenzie. It was noticeable during the contest for a successor to Barnaby that her name was never in the mix. One would think that a duly elected deputy would be a strong contender for the vacant position. This is a situation not confined just to the Nationals. Labor has Tanya Plibersek but Bill Shorten’s successor is widely tipped to be Anthony Albanese. The Liberals have Julie Bishop who has been deputy for four leaders without getting the nod, and the favoured names here include Peter Dutton, Mathias Cormann, and even (unbelievably) Tony Abbott. But again, not the deputy. Only the Greens may be different. What does it say when the three major parties all have female deputies who are repetitively disregarded for the main job? None of these women could be called “token,” but you’ll have to draw your own conclusion.

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On the subject of deputy leaders, the Liberals’ Julie Bishop is in the news concerning her travel expenses. Perhaps it’s her surname?

The PM declined to charge Barnaby with a breach of the ministerial code of conduct for living with his former staffer on the grounds that they weren’t actually a couple. However, as one journalist pointed out, had they been strugglers on the dole, people that the Coalition often criticises, they would have been quickly categorised as a couple under the government’s Centrelink definitions. Very much an example of one rule for them and another for us.

Now it turns out that Julie has been able to avoid listing her long-term boyfriend’s assets on her declaration of interests because they both maintain separate houses and therefore are not a couple. However, she has been able to claim his travelling expenses when he accompanies her on her many long trips overseas and nationally. How’s that? Do they stay in separate hotel rooms as well?

Again, were they on the dole, would Centrelink accept their situation with the separate houses? I suspect there might be a little surreptitious checking on their movements to and fro.  So this week’s dedication is to Julie and is the somewhat ambiguous song “I Like it Both Ways” by the little known Australian group, Supernaut.

Feather Duster No 3 - 

T Lobb