Covering the Federal Budget for Crikey

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Joy (I think). I’m part of Crikey‘s commentary team for Australia’s 2008 Federal Budget to be announced tonight at 7.30pm Sydney time. It’s the first budget for Chairman Rudd’s Labor government, and the first for treasurer Wayne Swan, so it’s bound to interesting.

My role — at least as I understand it, ‘cos I haven’t actually spoken with my editor yet — is to look at it from a geek perspective. That’ll include, I imagine, issues I’ve previously covered for Crikey: Internet censorship, the ABC’s move into Internet TV, social media, the national broadband network…

But what else should I look out for?

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Latham calls Swan “insipid”: a good tactic?

So former Labor leader Mark Latham reckons Treasurer Wayne Swan is insipid, insecure and a try-hard

In a column in the Financial Review, Mr Latham says Mr Swan has had more than a decade to develop his speaking style, but he is still struggling.

He says his body language is cramped, his delivery too rapid — and all up, he tries too hard.

Claiming that Rudd won’t wait any longer for Swan to improve, Latham reckons Rudd’s likely to name Julia Gillard as Treasurer.

I was alerted to this story by Noel Kelly, who said “With friend[s] like Mark Latham… Should we make him the federal opposition leader?” But I actually think it’s a tactic which works in Chairman Rudd’s favour.

Latham floats the idea of tipping Swan to see how the numbers lie — both in the party room and in the commentariat. Rudd can then choose to agree with him and sack Swan, or just say that Latham’s a crank and support Swan, as the situation demands.