Everything that has been written about the Immigration Department in your “Tips and rumours” lately is true. There has been a lot of fear in the department – there is an extremely punitive attitude, despite comments to the contrary by the Secretary. That fear has included letting outsiders know the true extent of the debacle that is happening there. Death of Channel Nine? Nothing in comparison to Death of Immigration, and far more meaningful than Channel Nine since Immigration is integral to our border security. There was a lot of good will towards the new Secretary, who was genuinely liked and respected in the department. Despite talk of a culture of denial, the Alvarez/Rau horrors were at least seen as an opportunity in the department to get the necessary funds to get the training done and to improve the systems. All wasted, and for some reason the Secretary has been unable to rein in the psychopathic behaviour of the Dep Secs. Some good things have happened. However, the system’s functionality is probably now much worse and certainly nothing has been done that will prevent previous mistakes from happening again. New mistakes, in a high stress and high pressure environment, are now more likely to happen. Plus, the culture of fear now makes it even less likely that people will present mistakes to senior management (Alvarez was essentially about a cover up). Instead of fixing the basics in the systems, new show-pony complexities and unreasonable deadlines now make it more likely that systems will either a) fail altogether or b) fail to deliver what is required. Despite the rhetoric of supporting staff, bullying is rife and begins at the Dep Sec level. It’s a shame – there are many great people in the department who are passionate about the portfolio. Some of the new guard seem passionate only about their careers. Don’t believe the spin.

On Tuesday morning Gerry Harvey got on VirginBlue flight wedged in a middle seat in row 6 on a flight to the Gold Coast. Nice to see the company is frugal from the top down.

In Monday’s Telegraph site poll for the Liberal leadership, Malcolm Turnbull had 48% of the vote when I voted, with Nelson and Abbott divvying up the rest. I voted for Abbott, in the hope his leadership would render the Liberal Party irrelevant. At 3.20pm today, Tues, Turnbull has a massive 66%, with Nelson and Abbott both on 16%. Has someone(s) been orchestrating this, an admirer of Turnbull, for example? It looks suspicious, to say the least.

Re. French backpackers handing out how-to-votes for the Liberals. It seems the Libs can’t even hock up enough supporters to hand out a few pamphlets. My housemate — a Norweigan student– was also paid to hand out for Howard, despite having no knowledge of the party or Aussie politics. The couple of volunteers who did front up lost their previous enthusiasm over a free Liberal T-shirt when they realised she was getting $200 (AND the free shirt, which coincidentally makes a great car-buffer).

How much is the donkey vote really worth? I scrutineered a booth in Greenway, where perennial eccentric independent Ivor F drew 1, Labor drew 2 and Liberal drew 3. Of 2,900 of votes, Mr F got 25, with 5 of his preferences going to the Libs and 20 to Labor. Allowing that the 5 to the Libs went there by choice, you can infer 5 of the 20 Labor preferences were by choice, leaving only 15 donkey votes from 2,900.

Election night coverage. I’m amazed that no-one has commented on the ABC TV’s election coverage in Queensland. Most of it was in delay! That’s right, we were watching events unfold, one hour after they actually happened. I’m not sure when the penny dropped at the ABC but they had reverted to live coverage in time for Howard’s speech. It makes you wonder how much better the ABC’s coverage might have rated, had they actually screened the coverage live in Queensland.

Re. The Australian Idol finale. For viewers in the ACT at least on Sunday night Southern Cross Ten completely lost the feed and were running white snow for at least 30 minutes. Presumably some kind of dish fell off Telstra tower or someone tripped over the cord. In any case they managed to restore the feed just before the results were announced. This may have contributed to the lower viewer numbers.