Mr Howard said he was acting even though he did not think MPs' overall income package was too generous. 'But people think the super's generous and rather than this thing drift on for months as the subject of a partisan political debate I've decided to act immediately to get it off the agenda.'
Mr Latham said he welcomed the Government's response to the initiative he had put forward 'to rebuild public trust and confidence in our democracy'.
'It been eight years in Opposition for the Labor Party and it's the first time we have changed the law from Opposition,' he said.
Mr Howard indicated earlier that he would not follow Mr Latham's example and reduce his loadings. 'I will take the entitlements I have under the existing scheme', as had every other prime minister, he said.
Short of a sudden invasion of the borders by anti-American sugar growers I think we can expect quite a lot of Howard backward double flips with pike and twist before the election.
In fact, he's written a sort of compressed history of his entire prime ministership:
'I think the policy is wrong, but if adopting it is what it takes to get re-elected then I will.'
Next: Latham on prime ministerial cellar reform...