Because of lost revenue caused by the drought Melbourne’s urban Water Authorities are to raise water rates by 20%. John Thwaites now has to sign off and he is not happy.

AusAID’s media-shy and risk-averse management is spitting chips at the story on the front page of Saturday’s Canberra Times showing they shafted our man in Dili, for refusing to break the law to cover up Downer’s petty and vindictive treatment of East Timorese NGOs. The way AusAID management uses posting and promotion decisions to reward or punish staff is a bloody disgrace. Clumsy handling of the whole matter by AusAID and DFAT has also exposed Downer’s glass jaw – he dishes abuse out in all directions, but uses a big stick to slam down anyone (like a tiny Timorese NGO) that offers even a mild rebuke in return, if they are within his power.

Enough already! Re. Coonan’s claim that the OECD figures on broadband are no good – what about the just released (16 May) International Telecomunications Union (ITU)/United Nations (UN) comprehensive detailed rankings, which also put Australia at No. 22 – does the Senator also “have concerns about the methodology adopted by” the ITU and the UN (as well as the OECD)?

Bill Shorten must be different to the ordinary union member, travels biz class and valet parking at Melbourne Airport last Thursday. That’s why union dues aren’t cheap, I guess.

Maybe Julia Gillard has been getting speech lessons from the same person who helped Marn Ferson become Martin Ferguson.

Peter Fray

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