The Australian had an interesting story this week suggesting that one reason Ziggy Switkowski’s chief of staff Bill Scales resigned was because of the arrival of Liberal Party journeyman John Short for the T3 process.

Short was apparently not popular at Telstra and Scales objected to him coming back, but chairman Donald McGauchie insisted, presumably because the government wanted another man inside the tent at an executive level.

This raises the question of whether Short took a Telstra redundancy package when he left in 2004 and then found himself conveniently parked for a few quiet contemplative months at AGL, a company chaired by the well-connected Macquarie Bank executive director, Mark “Fatty” Johnson.

Telstra has a policy of barring people who take a redundancy package from working directly or indirectly for the company for two years. Surely this is not a case of one rule for the ‘plebs’ and another for the government’s buddies?

Short had previously worked for Telstra, and before that had a long stint running government relations for Westpac. However, he’s also a Liberal Party staffer of long-standing and is very well-connected in government circles.

We’ve gleaned some of this information from press reports, but if you know more please email [email protected].

Peter Fray

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