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Visy boss Anthony Pratt and Piers Morgan attend Kentucky Derby

Pratt shared a snap of the advertisement on social media, taking care to tag Fowler and News Corp’s global chief executive, Robert Thomson.

But there was another thanks due to Beshear: I hosted Pratt and Fowler on race day.

BITTER NEWS

It’s the sleeper economic issue that has come to bite just in time for the election. And never has the creep of inflation been so close to home for federal politicians.

The skeleton staff still left at Parliament House received a rude awakening with the coffee order this week after a handful of outlets inside the building lifted their prices on cups of joe. A sign went up late last month inside the parliamentary cafeteria, known as “The Trough”, advising customers that the price of some cups of coffee had been raised by as much as 50¢.

“We haven’t increased our hot beverage prices for at least five years and we’re committed to maintaining our quality suppliers,” an apologetic sign posted by a cash register read.

Did someone say Nescafe? A new notice inside the Parliament House cafeteria.Credit:SMH

Since then, the trend has caught on at other refueling stops throughout the building. CBD parliamentary spies confirmed that the prices had also gone up at Aussies Cafe and at a popular coffee cart located next to the press gallery on the second floor of the Senate wing.

“It’s now $4.30 if you bring your own coffee cup, which gets you a discount … up from $3.80,” a caffeinated hack told CBD as they pondered a weary return to the office supply of International Roast.

Darkdays.

PURPLE HAZES

Social media followers started Monday with a reminder that polling booths had officially opened, thanks to a Facebook mention at the top of its website announcing early voting had gone live.

It was an interesting look for the US-owned tech giant, which is furiously attempting to convince users it’s a force for good rather than a high school-ex stalking machine occasionally seized upon by Russian bots during election time. A steep challenge, indeed.

But the latest caper caused no end of confusion among politicians given that the ad was printed in the Australian Electoral Commission’s official purple and white color scheme and didn’t carry any of the usual “authorized by” disclaimers.

Was it an official ad or Facebook trying to do good? Turns out, it was a bit of both.

An AEC spokesman told CBD that Meta, Facebook’s parent company, had worked with the commission on the banner.

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“This is something that Meta has provided as a free prompt to Australians to let them know that early voting has started and to direct people to the AEC website. Meta liaised with us about the content, including the colour,” the spokesman said.

“It is a fairly generic prompt to draw people’s attention to the start of the voting period in an election period where it is more important than ever to plan how you’ll vote according to your circumstances. We’re appreciative of Meta’s efforts.”

If only all political parties felt the same way.

Timing matters in elections. Voters are notorious for changing their votes in a campaign’s dying days. Early voting and encouragements to cast your vote ahead of polling day are a boon for the party that is ahead when pre-polls open and a hindrance for the party relying on the final two weeks of a campaign to change people’s minds.

On Monday, Newspoll figures said the federal opposition had increased its two-party preferred vote lead to its largest margin since the start of the campaign. Guess that made it a doubly good day for Labor, then.

END OF AN ERA

step away John Roskam and step forward Scott Hargreaves. The so-called free market think tank which is the Institute of Public Affairs has appointed Hargreaves as its new executive director.

He succeeds Roskam, best known to CBD readers as a Liberal preselection candidate and bill shortens Xavier College schoolmate, after more than 17 years for Roskam as head of the Liberal-ish think thank, which doubles as a libertarian support group. Hargreaves has edited the IPA’s in-house IPA Review quarterly for the past four years and before that was director of policy. Roskam will stay on as a research fellow.

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