SBS is on the nose with the new government but Sean Brown still feels he has a few aces up his sleeve. He is angling to get Sandra Levy on board in a new top secret hush hush head programmer and star manager role as head of everything. Given the decimation of drama at Aunty under Levy this could push SBS from the fat into the fire.

It may be worth following Toowoomba in the coming Qld council elections. Toowoomba will be one of the merged super councils but very much in the news with water issues. It is one of the few places in the world that is scared to drink recycled water yet we live on top of a mountain range. This is partly because of the might and power of Clive Berghofer one of the state’s richest persons and he is publicly backing a CADS (citizens against drinking sewage) man for Mayor. Clive is a nice man but left school early and has told people that he has never read a book. He was a former Mayor and for a period was also a state member a number of years ago.

The Virgin Mary of the Plywood – where else but  eBay? Seriously…

St George Bank’s online system was off the air most of yesterday causing chaos for business. When you went to the site and tried to “Logon” a system failure occurred described as “temporary”.

The G’Day USA Australia Day Ball in New York. Re. “Tips and rumours” (30 January, item 8). See below an email from a friend of mine who was there at the ball as well – they saw it with a different perspective:

Well, this person obviously didn’t have a good time. Was the food and entertainment worth $280? No. Was the money raised regardless going to a good cause? Yes – the Royal Flying Doctors. If the idiot had bothered to read the menu it stated that there were set wines with every meal and the champagne was served with the dessert – which is why everyone received champagne. We had Dad’s Army serving us dinner and yes it was slack but we just went and grabbed all our own wine for the table from the serving station and never ran out. (Probably not the done thing but our table never ran dry!) The meal was average – although I must say that Neil’s raspberry marscapone dessert was to die for. I have earned a new respect for Shannon Noll who was really nice to talk to and performed really well. The Victorian and South Australian state government contingent were on a massive junket and I can’t believe they had the audacity to even fly over for the event and stay at the Waldorf all at taxpayers’ expense. Disgraceful. But, I had a great time. I met Hillary and Matilda, the 2 sheep who were sheared at the event, and the other celebrity attendees who were all very lovely, friendly and were more than obliging when asked for photos. The last writer into Crikey clearly forgot that this was a fundraiser.

Launceston Control Tower was closed basically for all of the last two days due to shortages of staff. Now sectors are being put under pressure, here is a list of the vacant shifts for the next few days in what we call “WEST RADAR” Group; remember no one has gone sick yet (yet if there are closures it will be the reason, I’m sure): 4/2 0600-1330, 0730-1530 5/2 0600-1330, 1300-2100, 2230-0600, 2330-0600 6/2 0900-1700, 1530-2330, 2230-0600 7/2 1500-2300, 1430-2200, 8/2 1430-2200, 9/2 1300-2000, 1500-2300, 2230-0600 10/2 0600-1330, 0800-1600, 2330-0615 11/2 2230-0600, 2330-0615 12/2 1400-2200, 2230-0600 13/2 0600-1330, 0730-1530, 1400-2200, 2330-0615 14/2 2230-0600, 2330-0615, 0730-1530, 1430-2200. This will undoubtedly result in closed airspace or at the very best extremely reduced throughput of traffic into and out of Perth. What is CASA doing? Nothing at all, of course they are only the safety regulator, right?