WE HAVE many fine hospitals in Victoria, some doing first-rate research. Unfortunately not one of them is working to perfect the backbone transplant.
Our battle-shy Premier, Big Ted Baillieu, certainly needs one, as he has just passed up the opportunity for his party to contest the seat of Niddrie, recently vacated by former Attorney General Rob Hulls, a man who left more rubbish on the bench than any litterer who ever fouled the Flagstaff Gardens. Hulls held the seat by 6.9% at the last election -- a margin any popular Premier with even a modest record of achievement might have seen his candidate make up. Instead, it will be a competition between Labor and the Greens, with Team Ted sitting on its hands and denying electors a proper choice.
Ted really should think about stepping down. He has a one-seat majority and, unless he acquires a spine, a one-term future. Mind you, the good thing about a lack of backbone is that knives slide home without obstruction. Somewhere in the Liberal Party there must be someone looking at the polls and thinking about hauling out the whetstone, if only out of a sense of self-preservation.