Today is the first sitting day of parliament for the year, but no-one seems remotely interested in discussing the business of government.
Following the publication of one very bad poll, the mainstream media has decided that it's time to renew speculation about a Rudd return, even attempting to count numbers for him.
The Opposition has claimed today that because we know the election date the government is 'in effect' in caretaker mode, and therefore should avoid making any major decisions, appointments or contractual arrangements without Coalition approval. Until September. (In fact the Caretaker Conventions only apply when parliament is dissolved - the principle being that it is parliament which holds a government to account.) This coming the day after Tony Abbott warned colleagues against hubris.
Julia Gillard's main message to her caucus colleagues was that party discipline was paramount, and that members needed to stop leaking to the press. Which they promptly leaked to the press.
Nick Feik Politicoz Editor
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Gillard Tells Labor MPs To Hold Nerve
"A defiant Julia Gillard told Labor MPs to rise above the pressure on the government and stop backgrounding journalists as she sought to instil discipline and rally the caucus for a difficult election year."
"According to Eddie Obeid, we've got him terribly wrong. Yes, he was a Labor powerbroker in 2008 but with no political sway over mineral resources minister Ian Macdonald, accused of conspiring to convey tens of millions of dollars' worth of windfall to the Obeid family."