Beazley telegraphs his punches: ABC still waiting for smoke signal

Beazley has finally got around to reshuffling his frontbench, including liberating Laurie Ferguson from the burden of the Shadow Ministry.

In a doorstop interview on Tuesday, there was this exchange:

JOURNALIST: Will you be giving any thought to improving that front bench line-up over the six week break?

BEAZLEY: There are always things you can do to improve a situation, but I've made comments on this in the past and I'll just simply refer you to them.

To anyone schooled in the basics of spin, this is a sure sign that a reshuffle is on the cards - as indeed it was.

Strangely, though,this is how Stephanie Kennedy reported it on PM that night:

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Mr Beazley insists Mr Ferguson retains his full confidence, and the Labor leader has said he'll maintain this frontbench up until the 2007 election.

Huh? Where did that come from? Beazley made no such assertion, and his actions today show that this was clearly not the sentiment coming from Beazley's office earlier in the week. Just where the ABC got its 'same frontbench until 2007' line from is a mystery.

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Let's wait to see the substance of the changes before passing comment. Here's hoping that we still have a Shadow Minister for Pacific Islands at the end of it all.

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