Ben Keneally gave his wife-to-be a Swiss Army knife when he proposed marriage on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. It was one of the ”family snaps” Kristina Keneally furnished ABC Radio’s Simon Marnie with when he visited her Pagewood home for the Sunday Brunch segment of his program. And no, the knife has not come in handy as a political weapon. Rather, the Premier said, her man was inspired by a Billy Bragg song that listed a wife’s three great attributes as intelligence, a Swiss army knife and charm. In what some might consider animal and child cruelty, Keneally’s dog, Barker, and 10-year-old son, Brendan, were pressed into service during the ABC visit. The dog remained mute, the boy spoke briefly about his reading habits before being hauled off stage so Keneally could name C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, David Malouf’s Ransom and David Sedarus’s When You Are Engulfed in Flames as her favourite books. She played favourite songs by the Indigo Girls, Bragg and Paul Kelly, said women Catholics should be priests and dropped an ideological bombshell: her father, John Kerscher, an American, has apparently seen the writing on the wall and become a registered Republican.

Can-do attitude

National Party leader Andrew Stoner was making big promises to make regional NSW No. 1 again at his campaign launch in Dubbo. Appreciative party supporters gave their cheers a rest and sat in wrapt silence as he waxed about new portfolios aimed at the bush. Suddenly a mobile phone erupted into life and the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre was turned into a French music hall as the sound of the can-can cut Stoner stone dead. He did not even try a high kick.