Macklin / Giddy rides on the media roundabout

“If Abbott hasn’t renounced the British element of his citizenship, as the law demands, then the roof will fall in on his prime ministership,” writes Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

OUR leaders leapt on to the media roundabout this past week, waving and shouting to the crowd but to decidedly mixed applause.

First off the blocks was Treasurer Joe Hockey who reckoned he had the perfect answer for young people seeking their first home in Sydney where the prices have just entered the stratosphere.

Robert Macklin.

Robert Macklin.

First, he said, get a “good job”. Oh, right, why didn’t we think of that?

Joe reckoned all this talk of a housing bubble there was so much hot air. That’s when Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens stepped in and called the housing prices “crazy”. But Joe should know – it turns out he and his wife have four between them.

Well, he certainly has a good job. But for how long, I wonder.

NEXT it was Bill Shorten’s turn in the spotlight as the Royal Commission into Trade Unions revealed that when he was AWU secretary, a Melbourne building company paid almost $40,000 in annual dues for his members. Then he “billed” them for the following year.

The effect was to give Bill a bigger say in Labor Party pre-selections and made him an even more influential operator behind the scenes. And we all saw how that played out in the Rudd-Gillard imbroglio.

BUT PM Tony Abbott then swung into view with another of his wild yodels, this time on those futuristic wind turbines we see decorating the hills beyond Bungendore as we head to the coast.

It turns out that Alan Jones doesn’t like them, so Tony hates them with a passion. Not only are they “visually awful” but they have “potential health hazards”. Indeed, Tony reckons the whole idea of a renewable energy target was a big mistake.

But an even bigger one, I reckon, was his non-denial/confirmation of paying people smugglers to turn back to Indonesia. That was a real barbecue-stopper, especially since Foreign Minister Julie Bishop flatly denied it.

AND for the first time, the rumbles about his dual nationality went from the social media into the mainstream. We’d passed it off as a beat-up. But if he hasn’t renounced the British element of his citizenship, as the law demands, then the roof will fall in on his prime ministership. To end the chatter he just has to produce the document – Form RN – that includes the renunciation. How hard is that?

ON the bright side, our own Lib Leader Jeremy Hanson swung into view warning that if he won the election the light rail contracts weren’t worth diddly squat. And when the Feds Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs protested, Jeremy and deputy Alistair Coe reckoned he should just butt out.

BUT even more gratifying was the arrival of our own “CityNews” as newsmaker. Last week’s cover story of the Christian couple, Nick and Sarah Jensen, who decided they would divorce if the parliament opted for gay marriage went viral worldwide. It even reached the “Time magazine website.

Nick appeared on TV and we were inundated with emails. Only one thing bothered me – if their God only created marriage for men and women then, by their reasoning, He also created divorce for them, too.

Now that was really thoughtful of Him (or Her).

robert@robertmacklin.com

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