From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Life as a public servant: I won’t miss it … or the ugly chicken. Not all of Campbell Newman’s 20,000 public servants made redundant will miss the work. A recent inhabitant of a Queensland government cubicle offers this amusing insight:
“My job was to write reports that I’m fairly sure no one read. One day I made 12 phone calls trying to get what seemed to be a piece of fairly simple information. Eventually I spoke to someone who told me what the other 11 public servants had not: she didn’t want to give me any information in case it was wrong and she got blamed.
“The guy behind me spent his days on Facebook and frankly, who wouldn’t? My boss used to disseminate crazy right-wing lunatic rants and wander around the office wondering aloud when the day would be over. Occasionally the tedium was interrupted by personal development courses. The last course I went to was on ‘environmental concerns’. I don’t think anyone genuinely cared about the environment, but they wanted us to use less electricity in order to save money. The precise words were: ‘If you don’t start turning off lights, we will have to start sacking people.’
“They had paid a consultant to come in and give us power saving tips. One suggestion was to place an ugly rubber chicken on the desk of someone who hadn’t turned off their computer monitor when they went out to lunch. The idea was that that person would then look out for other energy miscreants and pass on the ugly rubber chicken to humiliate them, and so it would go. The fact that money was actually paid to someone to come up with this idea possibly explains some of the problems facing my former employer.
“Anyway, someone must have put the rubber chicken in their drawer or the fridge because two weeks later when my contract ended, instead of extending it as had been done several times previously, it was suddenly time to pack my boxes and not come back. To be honest, I doubt anyone has noticed I am gone.”
NSW education cuts hit IT. With the savage cuts to education spending in NSW, some of the state’s geeks are nervous. One technology provider to more than 200 state schools in the Sydney region says the department is indicating the future of those contracts — most aren’t permanent — is up in the air.
Surprise for Abbott, who played a fair game. “I played rugby at university with Tony Abbott and never saw him throw a punch,” writes one Crikey contributor. Fair enough, then. But it was this anonymous and unsourced nugget we had to pass on — given the Liberal leader hates surprises from the past: ”There is a surprise lunch for Tony’s birthday on November 4 at St Patricks. The guest speaker is one John Howard.” Inside a cake, we hope.
The stock kid with split allegiances. This kid — from a campaign flyer last year — is clearly voting Green when he grows up:
Or is he? An eagle-eyed Crikey reader spotted the same toothy grin (with the image flipped) on the Australian government’s Department of Health and Ageing website:
Pick a side, kid. (And a note to government webmasters: use the Google image search function to make sure your stock pics aren’t being used by political rivals.)
There’s no other war like Myer. There wasn’t much good news for Myer in yesterday’s results announcement. Cue our mole at David Jones (we’re guessing) with the rap sheet insisting it’s the “clearest evidence yet that the business is going backwards” and sheeting home blame to CEO Bernie Brookes. We’ll spare you the financials for why that’s probably the case. DJs releases its full-year results next week — we await an assessment from Myer’s minders.
Sack Watch: Deakin University cuts. We hear a handful of academics are set to be made redundant at Deakin University, within the school of management and marketing and the faculty business infrastructure group mostly out of Geelong. Staff don’t know the full story but up to 11 jobs face the axe.