Is Caroline Overington’s fall from grace finally complete? Yesterday, The Australian, which backed her so well at the start but has since gone quiet and apologised to readers for what they described as an “incident”, quietly removed her Blog. Overington, described by her employer variously as an investigative journalist or “colour writer”, used to have pride of place as one of The Oz’s main bloggers, alongside Phillip Adams and Janet Albrechtsen, and her blog was often pointed to off the the paper’s homepage. Now she has disappeared altogether.

The National Party knives are out for Peter McGauran the former Federal Minister for Agriculture despite being comfortably re-elected in his electorate of Gippsland after the speculation in last Saturday’s Age that the Honourable Member was heading towards Dubai in about 12 months to forge a new career in the thoroughbred racing industry. Actually for over a week it was common knowledge in his electorate and it hasn’t endeared him to the National Party membership after he made pre-election comments to the effect that he was there for the long haul. Local journalists had picked up on the rumours and tried to get responses from Peter McGauran on the issue but to no avail. Neither has there to date been any official denial of his intentions, and at a social gathering in Bairnsdale attended by local National Party heavyweights the vitriol directed at Peter reddened a few faces within earshot. If McGauran goes, the Nationals will be likely to retain Gippsland and the current speculation is that Darren Chester who in the past has been a favourite of the Nationals’ state party leader, Peter Ryan, would be a shoo-in. His main rival could be Chris Nixon, the son of the former member for Gippsland prior to McGauran, Peter Nixon. It is well known that Peter Ryan and Peter McGauran do not see eye to eye, and if McGauran goes, Peter Ryan’s influence in the National Party Gippsland branches will increase.

Dear Crikey, This is an email sent to ABC management on behalf of Media Monitors’ regional reporters:

I am writing to you on behalf of the 60+ Regional Reporters currently under contract to supply information to Media Monitors. We have all recently received a confidential memo from Peter Hinton, Media Monitors, regarding our current contractual arrangements with Media Monitors.

Mr Hinton advises Media Monitors has entered into a commercial agreement with ABC. This agreement involves placing Digital Capture Devices in every ABC radio station across regional Australia. Media Monitors advises once the roll out begins in 2008 our services as Regional Reporters will no longer be required. This news has been devastating to say the least. Most of us have provided loyal service to Media Monitors for many, many years.

That it results from a commercial arrangement between ABC and Media Monitors is particularly disturbing! I can only assume ABC staff were unaware of the impact this decision would have on Regional Reporters like myself. My goal is to put a human face to this terrible decision.

Firstly, to ABC staff with the hope of having the decision reversed. Secondly, to the wider media if my emails to ABC staff go unanswered. Why is ABC entering into a commercial agreement that will see so many people lose their work contracts? Why is ABC giving a commercial monopoly to Media Monitors?

We can all appreciate the ramifications so I eagerly await your response by return as soon as possible.