Representative Democracy

Frame grab from mock election advertisement

Here’s a nice antidote to the Coalition TV advert trying to scare us about [gasp!] the Labor party having links to trade unions.

Interestingly, it’s another election-related video that doesn’t have “real” names and addresses at the end saying where it came from. I wonder whether the Australian Electoral Commission will be attempting to prosecute any of these folks for this apparent breach.

Who’ll be PM on Wednesday?

Cover of John Winston Howard: The Biography

It’s a good thing John Howard’s very bestest of best friends George W Bush left APEC a day early. Howard could avoid talking about yet another fall in the opinion polls.

On the cover of the recent Howard biography (left), the Man of Steel looks stern and concerned. Apt. If those poll figures are repeated on election day, even with the usual minor swing back to stability, it won’t just be a Labor victory. It’ll be a complete rout of the Liberal/National Coalition.

APEC won’t be the poll boost Howard was looking for. John’s Bestest Best Friend stumbled through his speech like a village idiot — you choose good friends, John! Kevin Rudd looked like a 21st century statesman, cracking jokes in Mandarin with the Chinese president.

Pretty much everybody is saying it’s time for Howard to go — as Annabel Crabb’s witty poem makes clear. But the Man of Steel is in his bunker, fighting to the end.

I do intend to contest [the election], I intend to contest it as leader. That question was settled last year.

In the SMH today, Peter Hartcher says the Coalition would be mad to switch leaders now. I disagree.

Continue reading “Who’ll be PM on Wednesday?”

Did the PM’s office edit out “Captain Smirk”?

“On the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog,” says a classic New Yorker cartoon. True, perhaps. But we do know who owns you and where your kennel is.

The Prime Minister’s office denies that one of their own edited the Wikipedia article about Peter Costello to remove the nickname “Captain Smirk”. But IP address belongs to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet — at least it did until the reference was changed a few days after the accusation.

If you dig through all IP addresses starting with 210.193.176 you find that most of them for which data is available are front ends for a pile of government agencies — everything from and to and Sitting right on is the PM’s very own website.

Assigning an IP address in the middle of this block to anyone but another government agency doesn’t make sense — from a network engineering or an administrative point of view. You reckon someone’s telling porkies?

Wikipedia has since nominated the Peter Costello article as their Australian Collaboration of the Fortnight. “Please help improve it to featured article standard,” they ask. Anyone at the PM’s office wanna lend a hand? Woof.

[A more detailed version of this article was originally published in Crikey a couple of days ago.]