Glenn Milne picks up the gossip wherever he can, and happily spreads it around:
But in the extraordinary circumstances that now grip the governance of Australia, the “Comcar” drivers as they are shorthanded, have been talking.
And the talk is that one of their passengers, Julia Gillard is now expecting all three country independents, Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott to plump for Labor when they announce their decision either Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Drum text messaged a senior National Party member of the Shadow Cabinet on Saturday night and asked where he thought the independents would go. The return reply as it whistled down the line was almost wistful: “Gone, Glenn, gone”.
Is his gossip right? We might find out today. But there’s one thing we can already be certain Milne has got wrong (my emphasis added):
Why wouldn’t someone like Alby Schultz, who, while technically a country Liberal is in fact virtually a bush independent, not consider positioning himself to get a cut of the pork barrel pie?
An example raised by Barrie Cassidy on the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday: Wilkie in his negotiations with Gillard wrangled $340 million for a new hospital in Hobart. Wagga Wagga in Schultz’s electorate of Hume was on the same hospital priority waiting list. It’s still waiting. If Schultz went to the cross benches and supported Labor it would likely see a windfall for Wagga. Such is the venal state of hung Parliament politics at the present moment.
And just to be clear, it wasn’t Barrie Cassidy who mentioned Alby Schultz on Insiders. He did raise Wagga Wagga Base Hospital in an interview with Nicola Roxon, but the mangling of electoral boundaries came from Milne, both on TV and in his article. He probably should just stick to reporting gossip.