From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Depression among Queensland public servants. We know things are pretty bad in public servant ranks in Queensland amid Campbell Newman’s job-cutting drive, but can it really be true that some staff remaining have been told to keep watch on colleagues in line for the chop and remove sharp objects from desks and block access to outside areas in high-rise buildings? That’s according to one George Street spy insisting they have it first-hand from one bureaucrat. Keep your chins up, folks (and get on to beyondblue or Lifeline — 131 114 — if you’re feeling down).
Nats unrest over Newman showing. Still up north, it seems National Party faithful aren’t happy about being shut out of Newman’s Liberal-National Party government. Writes one bushy:
“John Bjelke-Petersen running against Jeff Seeney and a flood of votes to the Katter Party next time around will make life interesting, especially if the ALP picks up their own heartland seats lost early this year. ALP on 30-plus, Katter 20-odd and Newman on around 40 might make life in Queensland even more interesting.”
Project Darwin for Qantas and News. Cameron Stewart’s terrific Weekend Australian piece on Saturday revealed the code-share deal hatched between Qantas and Emirates was dubbed “Project Darwin” by executives working on it (they met at a NSW homestead once visited by Charles Darwin, hence the name). We couldn’t help notice that was the same name News Limited gave its project to rebrand the Australian operations as “News Australia”, as we exclusively revealed last September.
It prompts the question: whatever happened to News’ “Project Darwin” and the rebranding exercise? The memos we reported said the switch — to be led by departed CEO John Hartigan and spinner Greg Baxter — was due to happen in February. The sales team has been rebadged News Australia Sales, but we’ve heard nothing about the rest of the company. We asked News Limited’s spokesperson this morning but haven’t heard back.
Flight from Fairfax: the list grows. Memo to staff at The Age: please get in touch with cartoonist Judy Horacek. As her Twitter feed shows, Horacek is mightily confused about whether she still has a gig at the paper or if, like Oslo Davies and Andrew Weldon, she’ll be relieved of pack page scribbling duties. Meanwhile, Crikey’s list of Fairfax departees continues to swell. Recent names added to the list include The Sydney Morning Herald’s Asia-Pacific guru Hamish McDonald, executive editor Peter Kerr, deputy editor Mark Coultan and deputy arts editor Wendy Frew.
Why don’t you go to the theatre? We had a terrific response to Ben Eltham’s story on Friday compiling attendance data for the country’s major performing arts organisations. There’s more empty seats than ever in theatres and concert halls around the country, and we wondered if that was about programming choices or the inflated prices of tickets. You had plenty to say and we’d love to hear more for a follow-up. Drop us a line or — if you work in the sector and have some insider goss — use the anonymous form.