So, the government's plans for public funding seem to be dead. I expected this - it was apparent two weeks ago when Winston effectively vetoed it - and while I support public funding as a way of getting a more level playing field in our democracy and reducing the rich's ability to buy themselves influence and power, if the votes aren't there, they're not there.
However, that doesn't mean we should just let the issue die. There's a good case to be made, and if the government can't make it in a highly politicised environment against the backdrop of its own misdeeds over pledge cards, it should look at using a more neutral forum. Some sort of public inquiry process, similar to the Royal Commission into the Electoral System, would be a perfect vehicle for doing this. Meanwhile, what's important is that they press on with the necessary reforms around transparency, third-party campaigning and enforcement and get a much tougher regime in place before the next election, so we don't see the sorts of abuses we saw in 2005.