Ahem. It's official; former Foreign Minister, Howard man and sometime Coalition leader Alexander Downer is set to be replaced as the Member for Mayo by a 31-year-old called Jamie Briggs, who according to this morning's online Age is -- are you ready for this? -- 'John Howard's former WorkChoices adviser'.
Apart from anything else, if Howard was using people not yet out of their twenties to advise him at that level of seniority on anything apart from technology, yoof issues and popular culture, much less on something as contentious and as demanding of thorough knowledge about the history and theory of industrial relations as an, erm, industrial relations policy, then whatever happened to him serves him right in spades.
And so now we have an endorsed Liberal candidate for the upcoming Mayo by-election (which Labor is not contesting, much to the well-placed scorn of Bob Brown) who is younger than most of the offspring of most of the Liberal voters in Mayo and I should think, in many cases, than their grandchildren as well. Yep, that'll work.
From the report in this morning's online Advertiser, Briggs has started out in the true arrogant Liberal tradition by ignoring questions from the press, shepherded out of the room and protected from the naughty old journalists by SA federal senator and eminence
I saw Briggs on the teeve last night and he looks like a standard-issue boxed-set Liberal politician. It's a private-schoolboy look: bad haircut, smug simper, expensive suit, and plump pink chipmunk cheeks. They keep it till they're into their 50s, usually -- but compared to his predecessor Downer and his close runner-up Iain Evans, both of whom also have this look, Briggs really is barely out of school.