Dear Crikey, I have just been contacted by an employee of the Liberal Party who can confirm that the election shall be called today or tomorrow. Employees are being instructed presently.

They’re not happy at Nine, Jan. Rumour is that, this year, Nine Network staff will not receive their Christmas hamper, an annual tradition that goes back to the mists of time. A big hamper highlight was choosing either a leg of ham or side of smoked salmon that then became the centrepiece of Christmas Day lunch. And, although the goodies in the hamper have shrunk somewhat in recent years, many staffers see the hamper as management’s thank you to staff for putting up with some of their more outrageous demands and behaviour during the course of a fraught and impossibly competitive television year. There will be repercussions. Is this Private Equity’s one bridge too far?

Attending my local Higgins pre-election forum on Human Rights, I didn’t expect too many troubles for our local member, the Hon Peter Costello. Unfortunately Pete couldn’t make it, but his “senior adviser”, Alan Anderson, who simultaneously holds down a job at Allens Arthur Robinson somehow, came instead. He certainly did not feel lonely. I counted at least four young Libs I recognised from my uni days, distributed casually around the crowd in freshly pressed suits. I didn’t know any of them to be local residents. At least two diligently asked very carefully worded questions to their mate – who was having a bit of a rough time, to say the least. You know it is bad when Libs are getting booed by septuagenarians in Higgins and they need their friends along to ask Dorothy Dixers. All that we really need in Higgins is a Maxine.

Culinary call-girl Jamie Oliver is heading to Australia to service Westpac executives.

The Film Finance Corporation used to publish weekly updates on the box office takings of any productions it has invested in. Suddenly, the relevant page has vanished from their website. Could it be missing because the performance of Oz films at the box office this year has been even worse than abysmal? The biggest failure Rolf De Heer’s Dr Plonk took less than $100k before it was yanked. A year or so ago when trumpeting yet another new direction in investments the FFC Chief Exec Brian Rosen muttered when pressed in a radio interview that if the crop failed this year he’d have to quit. No sign of that.

Rex the regional airline that provides services that the others won’t touch like Broken Hill, Lightning Ridge etc cancels an average of 5-6 flights per day because it does not have enough pilots to fly all its routes. Talk about a skills shortage, everytime Rex trains a new pilot, Qantas, Virgin Blue or an international carrier snaps them up.

The item on pilot fatigue made me recall the following: On a Jetstar flight to Bali, the stewardess said she would be flying back to Sydney the same night. Apparently there is no stopover in Bali for crew; they all, including captain pilot unload the plane, refuel and head back to sydney with another bunch of passengers. It was not always like this.

Hot off the press is the Tony Abbott MHR newsletter. And what a read it is! Past the front page fetching shot of said member – and ubiquitous shot of a Warringah Pelican,(the photo of said pelican is actually larger than Abbott’s head shot), is some hilarious text higlighting; 1) The Governments ability to annoy people, 2) The prevalence of an “Its Time” factor, and 3) Leadership tension within the Coalition. He actually says, “its not necessary for every member to be each other’s best friend”. C’mon Tony, whose side are you on?

I’ve just heard that Patricia Petersen is hoping to unseat Tony Abbott (seat of Warringah) at the next federal election (you remember the porn-pusher vs mad monk?). These two make for lively political viewing. He’s as far to the right as she is to the left. An interesting observation – Kevin Rudd wasn’t stood down as Leader of the Opposition for visiting a strip club, yet she was disendorsed as an ALP candidate at the last federal election for being pro-pornography. Double standards on the part of the ALP? Methinks so! Would make an interesting story! Wish someone would cover it!

Qantas has officially withdrawn its Life and Senior Life Qantas Club memberships. The new 4 year membership prices in comparison represent a massive increase. Not happy Jan.

Check out this link. This was the Daily Telegraph’s first article up last night about Howard’s announcement on the referendum. Click on the poll and look at the results. Mmmm, I wonder why there is now no link to the poll on the referendum article on the Tele home page and no link to this article… Stark contrast to the Tele trumpeting its poll results on the front page with regards to Reba Meagher.

My CDMA phone has worked perfectly for over 3 years until last week now I am having to ring faults every couple of days .Is it a coincidence that I am have been contacted by Telstra to change to the new 3 G (4 x in 2 weeks )as Cdma is closing down.