From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Virgin says no. There’s no end in sight to discussions between Virgin Australia pilots and the bosses over the new EBA. Crikey hears pilots have just voted down the EBA’s proposed working conditions after a year of negotiations. “Is the good-feel vibe wearing off?” asks our mole. Another insider said the Virgin Independent Pilots Association was not happy with the proposed EBA as some issues were not addressed, some parts of the document were not complete, and there was a feeling that management had rushed through last-minute changes.
Apparently VIPA (which is, enticingly, pronounced “viper”) plans to go back to the pilots to outline these concerns and discuss where to go next. Know more about the pilots’ concerns? Drop us a line.
And while we’re about it, the existence of VIPER — obviously a case of Snakes on a Plane — has piqued our curiosity about well-named lobby groups. Know of any groups — or spokespeople — which are appropriately or amusingly named? Crikey always enjoyed ringing Muriel Watt, spokeswoman for the Australian Photovoltaic Association. And don’t forget Ken Burns from the Tasmania Fire Service. Or how about the executive director of Gays Australia, Oscar Queene? Keep your suggestions rolling here — best entry has the honour of seeing your contribution interpreted and immortalised by our very own First Dog on the Moon, who has embraced the contest and declared himself to be the judge.
Scrolling changes. A Crikey reader wants to know what happened to the mooted redesign of The Global Mail’s website, which includes the notorious and much-criticised left-to-right scrolling function. Our reader also reckons while The Global Mail — founded by philanthropist Graeme Wood, and edited by Monica Attard until she left in controversial circumstances in May — has some great talent, they don’t file often enough.
We asked new-ish editor Lauren Martin about the redesign, and she said it was still on — “we hope to have the first improvements released within the next month”. Martin said she looked forward to receiving feedback then. No word from Martin on whether the left-to-right screen will survive.
Sheridan v Campbell. Crikey ran a letter yesterday from ABC foreign correspondent Eric Campbell demanding The Australian’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan provide evidence for his assertion that ”many in the ABC support totalitarianism”. Campbell’s crusade rolls on: he rang Sheridan yesterday morning and left a voice message, but has yet to hear back. Surely Sheridan — whom Campbell slammed yesterday as a “seat-polishing Suharto apologist” — isn’t running scared from a debate?If the tête-à-tête eventuates, we’ll let you know. Campbell is documenting the stoush in real time on Twitter:
Bipolar. We’ve heard a claim that a senior — and successful — political figure has bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depression). As our source notes, that’s certainly no basis on which to criticise someone. The increasing willingness of political figures to speak out about their mental health problems — think Andrew Robb and former WA premier Geoff Gallop’s experiences with depression — goes some way towards greater understanding and acceptance of mental health issues.
Union changes. What’s this we hear about changes at the Queensland branch of the TWU? We’ve heard some staff were moved on with changes at the top, and more departures are rumoured.
Cuts not healthy?Crikey has been documenting the sweeping government spending cuts in Queensland, with health services hit hard. Apparently our tip yesterday that the microbiology labs at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital have already closed down is not right — another insider says microbiology services will continue at both sites, while other sites will lose their micro labs. Our insider says the consolidation means an increase of 50-75% in workload at the PA and the RBWH:
“Considering they are pushed for space/time to do the work as it is, and they aren’t likely to get many more, if any staff to compensate (from those that have been forced into redundancies around the state), most scientific staff within Pathology Queensland fail to see how it can possibly work … Also the idea that these redundancies are voluntary are BS. We (members of Pathology Queensland) have been advised by upper management to take the VER package as there is very little chance of being matched to a vacant position anywhere in the state.”
Here at Tips we’re far from being qualified medical experts, but we would have thought good microbiology services — and staff — would be needed?