This picture, taken at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, adorned the front page (above the fold!) of Friday’s Australian (03-JUN-05):
The various smirks and poker faces of the other State leaders does make one wonder if they’re having a joke at our Chief Minister’s expense. Certainly Mr. Stanhope appears to have been caught at an uncomfortable and surprising moment.
Crikey’s Daily contained the following theorising [Disclosure: I was partially involved in the creative process that lead to this piece]:
9. Who’s Australia’s lowest paid political leader?
Hugo Kelly reports:
Despite appearances on the front page of today’s Australian, ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope has reason to be pleased as he joins his fellow Labor leaders at COAG: he’s secured himself a $25,000 pay rise.
It appears ACT pollies have made off with a larger motza than their federal colleagues, who recently received a relatively modest rise, courtesy of the rumeration tribunal. The Toytown pollies have received a pay rise of around 20%, brought to our attention by political blogger Mr Grumpy.
Which makes the government’s support of Greens MLA Deb Foskey retaining her public housing unit even more of a sick joke. Not that you’d discern it from this glum media release put out yesterday by the ACT government.
Chief Minister Stanhope complains his salary is “still significantly below the basic salary rates of parliamentarians in most other Australian states and territories.” He whinges: “The salary of the ACT Chief Minister is still lower than that of every other state and territory leader bar one.”
Which raises the question: who is now Australia’s lowest paid political leader â€“ and how does he feel about it? For a clue, study the COAG photo on the front page of The Australian, and check out who appears to be giving Stanhope an old-fashioned wedgie. Can you see Paul Lennon’s hand? Neither can we.
Is it a wedgie? Does anyone else have any other theories or explanations?