Tatts tapes? Any truth to the rumour emanating from Victoria Police that a senior Victorian politician was recorded (without his knowledge) during meetings with Tattersall – and that the tapes have been subpoenaed by the Upper House committee reviewing at Victoria’s gambling licences?

Is there a big media deal being worked upon in Sydney? Word is there is with the ACCC’ s merger department involved. The best suggestion is that Telstra will sell its Sensis operation (Yellow and White Pages and all that) to the about to be formed Consolidated Media Holdings. CMH will be spun off from PBL, with James Packer owning 38%. But in return Telstra would get a controlling stake in CMH through the merger, 50% of Fox Sports and 75% of Foxtel, which will upset Rupert Murdoch and News Ltd considerably as they will not be able to do a thing except complain: or outbid Telstra.

Pre-caretaker mode . Commonwealth Public Service Departments are about to be advised they’re going into “pre-caretaker mode”. It seems to be based on a timetable three months before the last scheduled sitting day before an election can be called. Or something. No one is entirely clear. But it does mean that day-to-day business will be set aside in favour of answering queries from MPs – Government and Opposition.

Dissatisfaction . The recent staff survey within the Department of Immigration showed intense dissatisfaction with inept budgeting which has caused massive staffing shortages.

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The magical world of Disney . While I will confess to a degree of surprise at Kevin Rudd’s tipsy night out at a New York strip club (he was with Col Allan, after all), I can’t muster much shock at a rumour that Alexander Downer went on a VIP tour of Disneyland during his taxpayer-funded visit to the US in 2005.

Heffernan had made his mind . I was present during Senator Heffernan’s trip to Yuendumu in 2001. He didn’t need to come. He had already decided that sexual abuse was occurring. He blundered about asking everyone about it. I assume his comments in the Senate regarding Mt Theo are based on some misinterpretation of a conversation he had with someone. There are many people in Yuendumu associated with Mt Theo prepared to go on record to deny the accusation.

Car parking . It is an accurate assertion to suggest that many public service buildings in Canberra are already too small by the time they are built. The PM&C building, opened in February this year, whilst able to accommodate extra staff through converting some conference rooms into deskspace, has a staff carpark waiting list of around 100 new staff. However, with the high departmental turnover (average tenure is less than two years) it is thought that new staff should only have to wait 6 months for a carpark.

Good for the environment, but what about the disclosure! I reckon it is a bit deceitful that all the big car insurers have standing policies that all cars repaired under insurance beyond a certain age, and not an old age are to be repaired with 2nd hand parts. Good for the environment, but what about the disclosure! Shouldn’t what amounts to a key term of the contract like this actually be disclosed in a straightforward and honest way (rather than in very vague terms buried at the back of a PDS). And incidentally, shouldn’t an insurance PDS provide contact details for the relevant industry ombudsman?

Portfolio down-grade . Former Queensland Local Government Minister Desley Boyle was bumped out of the role to make way for Andrew Fraser, since Boyle wasn’t willing to go through with the amalgamation reform process. As a result, she was given a much lesser portfolio.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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