After listening to today's set piece in parliament I have to wonder why no-one wants to ask the basic question. It is now common ground that Iron Mark was briefed. The dispute is about the content of the briefing by the deputy secretary of the department of foreign affairs and others.
Howard contends the briefings did not cover Iraq and Afghanistan. latham contends they did.
Let us, for the sake of argument, assume Howard is being truthful. In that case it is a major scandal that the government is providing inadequate and misleading information to the alternative prime minister.
No doubt someone will ask it at some stage and no doubt the prime minister's staff will draft the customary denials for the customary signatures by various officials with high-sounding designations. This is a shadow play and a disgrace that exposes Howard as the constitutional radical he is.
The form of government the Man of Steel is creating is a Stalinate© in which the prime minister (in addition to his legitimate functions) serves as the effective head of state by appearing as the central figure at all national occasions and also replaces the bureaucracy by having various independent officials sign statements actually drafted by the prime ministerial staff.
Stuffing the briefings to the alternative prime minister for political advantage is really only par for the course.