Is FIFA holding serious discussions with Australian soccer reps to hold the 2010 World Cup? South Africa’s electricity supply is not up to scratch, and is not expected to be fixed in time for kick-off.

John Howard’s former chief of staff Tony Nutt is shaping up as a credible candidate for Bill Heffernan’s Senate spot.

Eddie McGuire was seen in serious discussions with John Cornell at the Brunswick Heads Hotel. Is Eddie looking to buy it?

Someone has hacked Leila McKinnon’s Wikipedia profile – have a read of the first and last paragraphs!

Party powerbrokers Cormann and Collier have managed to get their way, again, and have had leadership puppet Troy Buswell elected leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, with a little help from old enemies in the Noel Chrichton-Brown faction. On the same day, Carine MLA Katie Hodson-Thomas has resigned due to increasing pressure from Collier and Cormann’s Northern Alliance faction, opening the way for Collier to move in to the lower house. This will give him a chance to run for leader of the party if Buswell losses the next election. It looks like things are coming together for the Northern Alliance.

NSW ALP members have received a 16 page colour glossy brochure, Morris Iemma: A Labor Premier Delivering for NSW, with 30 (that’s right – 30!) colour pictures of President Morris saving the State. No mention of any other Ministers, Parliamentarians, a Labor team or public servants – President Dilemma does it all on his own! Protecting working families, investing in public schools, record spending on health and hospitals (huh?) – the list goes on an on, all thanks to caring, wonderful Morris and “his” Government. What a total waste of resources, both financial and environmental. And for what? There’s not an election for 3 years – why the rush? Why are my membership fees being wasted on the totally unnecessary glorification of one man to the party faithful? How many votes will this rubbish get us at any election? Never has a Cult of Personality been established for somebody with so little personality to start with. The sooner President Dilemma is replaced by Mr Shiny Shoes (or anybody, really) the better.’

From the day the new Government came to office, DEST has “turned off the tap” on WorkSkills, a program to educate the unemployed, over 25s. Check out what ACPET thinks. So much for the education revolution.

This is quite different to our experience with QF2. The staff were completely professional and we were ferried off to Rama Gardens (30+ mins from airport). We were constantly updated either by notice under the door or the notice board when you came from rooms to foyer. A lot of people were getting hot under the collar (especially those from the UK) however we quickly realised it was out of our control and to leave it up to them and went and relaxed by the pool whilst others skulked around yelling etc at staff. We received $1,000 compensation and didn’t yell, abuse or berate anyone and that is after a 24 hour delay. My suggestion is that maybe next time instead of “whining” at all and sundry, accept what has been dealt with and relax. Maybe then you may receive more than your $600

Notre Dame Australia – a Clayton’s Medical degree? Australia needs more doctors. When the shortage of GPs affected the metropolitan areas, governments took notice. They established more medical schools to train students as well as increasing student numbers at existing medical schools. A few years ago Notre Dame Australia (NDA) set up a graduate medical school in WA, offering a 4 year course to students who already had a degree. The first group of NDA medical students completed their 3rd year (of the 4 year course) in December 2007. Setting it apart from its public system counterparts, NDA proposed to teach medicine entirely within the private health system. It was hoped this broadening of resources for student teaching would alleviate pressure on the public system as the workhorse of medical education. External observers have watched while the medical school of NDA has changed from this original proposal, moving bit by bit into the public system. But this is not the only issue plaguing the NDA medical school. Staff appointments at NDA have been unusual – some with little background in medical school teaching.  Did all these appointments possess the necessary background including teaching, research and higher qualifications? It gets worse. The Australian Medical Council (AMC) inspected the NDA medical course late last year and gave it a ‘thumbs down’. This has left the NDA medical course in a mess as no AMC recognition means graduating students cannot work as doctors. As a quick fix NDA has had to approach WA’s other medical school at the University of Western Australia (UWA) for a solution to the sub-standard teaching. UWA is expected make up the lack of patient teaching for students to date, as well as planning for future students already enrolled in the NDA course, some of whom have paid substantial private fees. This additional load from NDA will place increased stress on UWA, which had previously expanded its own student numbers in response to the doctor shortage. What is left of the Notre Dame medical course? With a large part of the course now identical to that of UWA, it seems not much more than a name. What of the future? Perhaps Notre Dame should cease further enrolments in medicine until the situation has been sorted. That would be only fair – and logical. But don’t hold your breath.

Peter Fray

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