By pure chance I spoke to two different senior commonwealth public servants yesterday in Canberra, who work in different departments, both of whom without prompting complained at length about how bored they are at work because there is simply nothing to do. One of these people is on 6 figures, the other close. One even described a workaholic branch head also complaining about boredom. And this was in a department critical to the PM. So is the CPS in de-facto caretaker mode?

Word is that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is bringing in a bunch of foreign journalists to Australia the week starting 10 October. On the agenda is likely to be a visit to the Cape and Northern Territory. Media minder for the trip is said to be Noel Pearson’s minder and media guru, Lew Griffiths. Presumably this will be to set the minds of the international media at rest over the National Emergency Intervention which has been getting a bit of bad press lately. The gig is being organised by Matt Francis, Director, International Media & Expos, Images of Australia Branch in DFAT Canberra and the visit is being coordinated by Warwick Chuck at DFAT Sydney, who coordinates all DFAT international media visits. The visit is part of their International Media Visits program and they are bringing three journalists out – France (L’Express), Italy (ANSA), and Germany (Suddeutscher Zeitung) – from 12-21 October. A couple of them may be staying on independently to cover the election campaign.

Expect long overdue local council amalgamations on the agenda in 2008 in NSW after the Federal Election. In the plan, Rockdale, Hurstville and Kogarah under one St George City Council, an inner city council making up the old municipalities of Strathfield, Burwood, Canada Bay and expanding Parramatta to swallow Holroyd plus trimming back current super bureaucracies like Blacktown…

I don’t know if people already know, but: Territory Housing (NT government housing dept) are taking over from Indigenous Community Housing Organisations in the delivery and maintenance of housing in remote indigenous NT communities. This starts middle of next year but someone from the dept told me the federal govt is asking them to bring it in sooner. Carrot: new houses, upgraded houses Stick: 99 year leases in “some localities”. That’s on the Territory Housing website but I haven’t sen it in the papers. Note: only 7% of maintenance needs in in remote indigenous communities is for tenant damage, the bulk of the housing faults are because of inappropriate fittings etc being installed, or being installed incorrectly. Housing is a human right.

Publisher ACP recently bought EMAP. Sounds like lots of people are being made redundant at EMAP….no-one knows what is going on.

A former Victorian Premier is about to be offered a very comfortable sinecure in the Victorian public hospital system.

DFAT staff are disgruntled at a recent indication by Shadow Minister McClelland that he might retain Michael l’Estrange as Secretary after the election. Not only is l’Estrange a Howard loyalist from wayback, but in his time the department has had a mixed record that covers things like the recent revelations about the Merv Jenkins suicide, the muddle over Jake Kovco’s body, the failed attempt to sack Trent Smith etc. Of course it has had one outstanding success – the AWB coverup. Departmental optimists are hoping that the Shadow Minister is simply engaging in a little pre-election deception and that l’Estrange will exit right with golden handshake when the time comes. Current favourite for the Secretary’s job is Alan Gyngell, who is a former diplomat and current thinktanker.

Why has Peter Garrett expunged his involvement with Greenpeace from his official bio? On both his own website and the ALP’s there is no mention of the fact that he was elected for a 2 year term on the international board in 1993, yet copious mention of his other environmental connections and experience. Are they too radical, or just forgettable?

Stan Grant may be throwing a sickie from SBS so why did I see him in the Cafe at the ABC Ultimo looking tanned refreshed and happy having a very intimate chat with a “friend?” Paving the way for a jump to the left maybe? He spent the time I was in the cafe looking around all the time either to see if anyone recognised him or massaging his ego who knows?

Strong rumours doing the rounds of Myer’s Lonsdale St HQ that ex-Woolies boys B1 or B2 (Bill Wavish or Bernie Brookes)might be heading to Tooronga to help run the former mothership. Odds on Bill to head over at CFO, giving his hacking prowess at Myer. Bernie a long shot, as Wesfarmers were not hugely impressed with the anemic sales growth he delivered (less that 1% when concessions and the History Making Clearance of 06 are included in the figure). Lots of meetings and phone calls back and forth. Stay tuned….