Rivers of grog. Seems the NT CLP party were seen loading up their “rivers of grog” onto the plane on route to the Tiwi Islands restricted area by none other than the PM’s Northern Development Taskforce – will they come forward to make a police statement against the CLP MPs involved? Methinks not.

Victorian DHS Healthsmart over budget? How do you keep a program running when it is over budget, has delivered little and hospitals don’t have the money to use its systems? If you give the hospitals the money the cost will be allocated against the program. If you provide the systems the costs will be allocated against the program… but of you give the hospitals an interest free loan to pay for the systems that they are supposed to pay back in five years the costs can be hidden and who will be around then anyway?

A secret pitch. In mid-July, a MacBank and Transurban consortium made a secret pitch to (then) state Treasurer John Brumby for a $3-$4billion PPP to build and operate a tolled east-west tunnel linking Melbourne’s Eastern (and Eastlink feeder) freeways with CityLink in the wesret. However, as the consortium knows, there is only minimal traffic that actually moves west to east and vice-versa. So to make the project viable, they set the condition of the PPP that at least four and up to eight exit ramps to the Melbourne CBD be allowed.

S-xing up Melbourne University. Melbourne University plans to close the Educational Resource Centre (ERC) building for renovation in September. This is one of the main libraries at the universities and holds some of the finest research collections of any university library in Australia. After this, the entire ‘B’ collection will be removed from the Parkville and stored in Bundoora. The Bundoora store cannot be visited or browsed. The ‘B’ collection is the centrepiece of the university’s research holdings for the humanities. Many of the materials are rare, and are found in no other university collection in Australia. Meanwhile, part of the ERC building will be converted into a ‘learning hub’, with space for only 40% of the ‘B’ collection when it is completed in March. If this plan goes ahead, students will not have proper access to their research collection for the last few weeks before their theses are due. Furthermore, for those either currently undertaking or planning postgraduate study, 60% of research resources will be removed from immediate access for an indefinite period of time. The University has not announced a plan to build new or expand the existing libraries. Interestingly the planned ‘learning hubs’ which are to replace part of the ERC are reportedly planned to have the “atmosphere of a lounge or nightclub”. Given that the University of Melbourne prides itself on its reputation as a research institution, it is odd that it will be replacing its research collections with something akin to an airport waiting area. Methinks this is more about ‘s-xing up’ the image of the university to future fee paying students. What other explanation is there?

Anyone for a quickie? After an under-the-radar internal brawl overshadowed by the Cook debacle, the Liberal Party endorsed their candidate for Lindsay, Jackie Kelly-staffer Karen Chijoff, last Thursday night. At 9am the next day she opened a slickly-signwritten campaign office with Tony Abbott, neatly positioned between a tatoo parlour and a brothel. By 12 noon, the campaign office doors were shut tight and not a candidate to be seen. Now that’s what you call a quickie.

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