PIA AK­ER­MAN

The Australian - - INQUIRER - strewth@theaus­tralian.com.au

Rais­ing Lazarus

John Howard has re-emerged like Lazarus with a quadru­ple by­pass (well, we know he’s an ex­pert in all things ticker-re­lated) to add his voice to the No camp. His rather pointed crit­i­cisms of Mal­colm Turn­bull’s gov­ern­ment and call for it to swiftly re­veal how it will pro­tect free­dom of speech and re­li­gious free­doms in the event of a Yes vote are, nat­u­rally, a wel­come de­vel­op­ment for the PM who doesn’t have enough trou­ble of this va­ri­ety al­ready. Here you can get a taste of how thrilled he is to have the Man of Steel back in cir­cu­la­tion. Turn­bull: “I’m sure John can make an enor­mous con­tri­bu­tion. He didn’t make a sub­mis­sion to the Se­nate com­mit­tee but with his ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise I look for­ward to him do­ing that … We’re old and good friends … John’s wisdom is al­ways wel­come, par­tic­u­larly on our side of pol­i­tics.” Uh-huh.

Cana­van keeps it reel

As sur­vey en­velopes land in let­ter­boxes across the land (or not — there are reports of Aus­tralia Post’s ac­cu­racy rate), the Yes and No cam­paigns are both push­ing the line that this is the “one chance” Aus­tralians will get to have a say on the is­sue. Un­der pink and blue lights at the No cam­paign launch on Saturday, Matt Cana­van went a lit­tle bit Hol­ly­wood. “Ladies and gen­tle­men, this is our only hope,” he de­clared, sadly not clad in Princess Leia robes. “This is our Obi-Wan Kenobi ... If you vote Yes, it’s a bit like For­rest Gump: it’s a box of choco­lates. You have got no idea, no idea, no idea what you might get. I don’t like the nut ones, you might get a nut.” Well, nuts to that.

Bishop’s call wait­ing

There’s less than a week un­til the New Zealand elec­tion and it’s on a knife-edge. And while Barn­aby Joyce hit the “dump” but­ton on his Kiwi cit­i­zen­ship faster than you can say Jack Robin­son, it seems there’s still un­fin­ished busi­ness be­tween Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and Julie Bishop. Ardern yes­ter­day hit Aus­tralian air­waves to woo the size­able con­tin­gent of Kiwi vot­ers on this side of the ditch. She re­vealed she hasn’t spo­ken to Bishop fol­low­ing our For­eign Min­is­ter’s com­ment that it would be “very dif­fi­cult” to build trust with NZ Labour, de­spite of­fer­ing to have a chat. “To be fair to Ms Bishop, I’m not en­tirely clear she has my phone num­ber,” Ardern chuck­led. “If I’m in the role of prime min­is­ter — which of course I hope to be — I’m sure we’ll have a phone call. At that point we’ll have a chance to clear the air.”

Snelling out for fam­ily

Less than two weeks af­ter the last pa­tient moved from the old Royal Ade­laide Hos­pi­tal into a longde­layed new build­ing, the man who over­saw the ex­cru­ci­at­ingly painful de­liv­ery has stunned ob­servers by quit­ting pol­i­tics. South Aus­tralian Health Min­is­ter Jack Snelling, flanked by his wife and six kids, yes­ter­day an­nounced he was leav­ing af­ter 20 years for truly per­sonal rea­sons. “It has been ob­served that while those of us in pol­i­tics are vol­un­teers, our fam­i­lies are con­scripts, and this couldn’t be truer than for my fam­ily,” he said. “It is time for them to have a taste of life with a hus­band and fa­ther who is not a pub­lic fig­ure.” We give them grief — and quite of­ten they de­serve it — but our politi­cians and their fam­i­lies do make large sac­ri­fices for the job.

Clive now and zen

So young, so full of prom­ise. Clive Palmer tweeted this rather mistyeyed 2001 photo of him­self yes­ter­day, cap­tioned “In the fi­nal anal­y­sis in life, ma­te­ri­al­ism isn’t all that’s im­por­tant.” Which is pretty funny for a bloke who’s cur­rently fight­ing a liq­uida­tor’s bid to freeze $200 mil­lion of as­sets, in­clud­ing four golf cour­ses, so cred­i­tors might one day get some of the $300m they’re owed from Queens­land Nickel’s col­lapse. If Palmer doesn’t care for ma­te­rial pos­ses­sions, it could ex­plain why he trans­ferred a $1.75m Gold Coast home to a busi­ness as­so­ci­ate for no profit just two days be­fore he was to give ev­i­dence to the Fed­eral Court about his as­sets. Very Zen.

Har­bour­ing a grudge

We know Daniel An­drews has spent over $280,000 pro­mot­ing his Face­book page over the past two years, and this week­end it paid off with clicks and shares. With more than a grain of truth, An­drews (or his so­cial me­dia lack­eys) posted: “Syd­ney has a dis­tinct re­gional di­alect, with many unique phrases such as: ‘It’s 7pm — prob­a­bly get­ting a bit late for that drink.’ ‘5000 at­tend­ing the game. Must be some sort of record.’ ‘$900 a week, one bed­room, no win­dows — where do I sign?’”

STEVE TICKNER

Clive Palmer in 2001

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