Our new, efficient IR system. We’ve had complaints about the complexities of WorkChoices – but here’s a new one. A subscriber writes: “I was delighted today when we received back the approval from the Office of the Employment Advocate for a new AWA we put in place for an employee that was lodged in February this year (seven months later). Unfortunately, the employee left us three months ago.”

Too many chiefs, not enough Indians. The heavies of the South Australian Liberal right like to call themselves “The Great Council of Chiefs”. It seems as if there’s too many chiefs and not enough Indians, however. Right powerbrokers including Senate leader Nick Minchin are trying to cannibalise one of their own, federal Member for Barker Pat Secker, in a preselection this weekend – but just don’t seem to be able to get the numbers.

Blue Mountains blues. The Electoral Commission has released the outcome of the deliberations on the boundaries and names for the 49 federal electoral divisions in New South Wales — so are we set to see a game of “Roll over, roll over”? Talk persists that Liberal Whip Kerry Bartlett won’t contest Macquarie at next year’s election, but that he will have a go in Louise Markus’s seat of Greenway. Her involvement with the Hillsong church is well known – and Crikey understands Bartlett and his missus have been spotted in the congregation from time to time. However, Hawkesbury City Council heavy Bart Bassett may still get in the way. The new Greenway and the new Mitchell – held by fossil Alan Cadman – will both be safe seats. But just because someone’s in the House on the Hill already, it doesn’t mean that they’ll win a preselection. PS. On the Labor side of things, former Macquarie candidate Mark Ptolemy is still the only name talked about. A bit of muscles from the National Union of Workers isn’t hurting, either.

The things that matter. What was the first thing that Peter Costello did when he arrived back from overseas last week? We’re told he headed off to a birthday bash for some junior MPs at Manuka. As Treasurer, he’s been handling beautiful sets of numbers for a while now. Is he finally learning the importance of the numbers within the parliamentary party, too?

Rupert loves Gordon. For now. “Gordon Brown is every bit as fixated on the Press as Tony Blair,” media commentator Stephen Glover has said in The Independent. “In the past couple of weeks, as his forces moved against Mr Blair, a problem arose. The Murdoch-owned Sun was not at all happy about the way Mr Brown’s allies were destabilising the Prime Minister. While its sister paper, The Times, seemed almost to enjoy Mr Blair’s predicament, The Sun remained loyal to its old hero, and was contemptuous of the Brownites’ behaviour.” How did the pretender tackle it? “Last Thursday he gave an interview to Kay Burley of Sky News, controlled by Mr Murdoch, in which he spoke affectingly of the loss of his baby daughter four years ago. The following day the Sun was the only national newspaper to splash with the story, under the headline ‘Baby died in my arms’.” And so the sucking up to the moguls continues.

Peter Fray

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