Fairfax copyright lawyers are summoning all SMH and Sun-Herald section editors to a meeting tomorrow in the Sussex Street boardroom. From now on, contributors will have to go online and consent to the details of a new agreement whereby they sign over full world rights for their work to the publisher, and agree not to write freelance for competitors such as News and PBL. Section editors fear this will anger good contributors at a time when staff writers are thin on the ground. Already the Sussex Street legal cyber bullies have taken to task one Fairfax freelance blogger and demanded this person remove stories from a personal website, citing it stands as competition. Hopes the journalists’ union the MEAA can come riding to freelance hacks’ rescue is moot given Herald and Age staffs signed off long ago on all digital rights in exchange for a one-off payment, selling their freelance brethren not so much up the rivers of gold but the proverbial sh-t creek. 

The suggestion that Tasmanian Education Minister David Bartlett is being promoted to take over from Premier Paul Lennon has been a) written by an optimistic someone outside of the state Labor Party, and b) written by someone who does not know what they are talking about. Reasons: while bright, young, and bound to go a long way, Bartlett is relatively recently elected, and while education is his first portfolio, he is not factionally aligned, and that is a major disadvantage. While popular across factions, the truth remains that without factional support, no one gets anywhere. That is because there is always the suspicion that deals have been done quietly outside of factional control by anyone who is not paid up, or has not demonstrated factional loyalty. Two other pre-conditions would also need to be present: the current leader either wants to go, or for some reason has to go, (neither of which are the case), or, the power balance between the factions is critically close (also not the case). Paul Lennon is overwhelmingly in control of the right faction, and while at least numerically dominant several years ago, the left is now significantly fractured. Portions of the left, especially those directly connected with the forest industry, see Paul Lennon as their strongest advocate, and would expect concrete evidence of support before throwing their lot in with a trendy newcomer who they may suspect has green leanings … pull the other one!

I have heard that the Commonwealth Bank is selling off banking franchises of its various bank retail outlets in Melbourne. How can this happen with a publicly listed company? Is this common knowledge and I’ve missed something in the media? 

Richard Roxburgh is presenting his new film Romulus My Father at two Sydney “premieres” simultaneously next Tuesday, 29 May. One is at the Sydney Theatre Co in The Rocks and the other is at the Cremorne Orpheum. The tickets for both events have been sold at double the normal price — $30. It’s a “charity” event. The problem is that both have guaranteed in their advertising that Richard & his co-star Eric Bana will speak at the premieres. The traditional nature of these events is that the director gets up at the start of his film and says a few polite words, then the film is screened. Following the film, they all come on stage for a controlled Q & A session. This makes sense as we now have something to ask them — we’ve seen their film. Not in this case though: Richard and Eric will give the Sydney Theatre full house a bit of polite chat… and then pi-s off to Cremorne.