Walt Secord was shifted aside from his exalted position in Rudd’s office but trouble has followed as Chief of Staff for Justine Elliot, Minister for Ageing. Since Secord’s arrival Heather Witham – senior policy advisor – has resigned and another staff member has gone in the first Parliamentary sitting week. Elliot’s inexperience in the portfolio and in politics is not helping

Noticed the tip about Caroline Overington in Friday’s email. Well, she’d have to be still working for News to update her blog (the real surprise is it’s still there). From what I hear, Ms O was called in and shot about three weeks ago. The conspiracy theory goes that Rupe didn’t appreciate being ambushed at the News AGM over her snog-or-strangle emails to an aspiring politician.

Interest is mounting in the past of Victorian Liberal Senator-elect Scott Ryan, particularly his alleged involvement in preparing certain sensational correspondence back in early 1996, perhaps using the office resources of a factionally friendly prominent political personage.

All staff on Great Keppel Island have known since last week that they would be made redundant over the next 3-4 weeks, as the owners struggle to raise the finance to renovate the resort. But today, the 70 remaining staff were told they would not be required after tomorrow (Tuesday), but none have yet received any offers about their financial entitlements. Some staff have worked there for over 25 years.

Re. Future defence overruns: National Geographic TV showed Abrams Tanks that were so big that they can only be repaired at one location in the US. The one being worked on had a black Australian Army Kangaroo logo. Do we discover that after paying for them that our new Abrams Tanks can only be repaired in the US?

Whoops, Aunty… The ABC left its internet cricket broadcast going online long after it was supposed to turn off last night. Indeed, at the time of writing this email, 10.17pm, the “broadcast” has only just shut off, with background noise from the stadium comprising the last 10 minutes or so. Earlier, it was quite funny to hear one of the journo’s chatting to Ricky Ponting to set up his interview, conducting the interview, then talking to an external ABC studio and pre-recording his match report before shouting, in a most un-ABC-like manner, “BEER O’CLOCK! BEER O’CLOCK!” when he was done. I wonder who forgot to flick the off switch?

Crikey published this in regard to Mark Nicholas: “The smooth Englishman, who effortlessly segues between his various roles as commentator, anchor, go-to man on a wet day and tea-time interviewer, is the young Richie incarnate.” The boys who produce Channel Nine cricket might disagree with you though, they are constantly infuriated by the fact that Nicholas can’t listen to instructions through his headphones and commentate the cricket at the same time. This is something that Ritchie has always excelled at, and is deemed in commentary circles to be the difference between a capable anchor, and a great anchor.

Air Traffic Controller News 1: Between 2.30pm and 6pm and again from 9pm until midnight Friday there was only one air traffic controller on duty for Sydney Arrivals from Melbourne, known as GUN & BIK Sectors. Normally in this period 3 people are available. This resulted in significant delays to industry. During this time, no NOTAM (NOTice to Air Men) to pilots was published; was this to hide the truth? Meanwhile when morale is low, cock thing up again: This text was received from the union on Friday: “LEAVE AUDIT Airservices Remuneration Services have apparently conducted another internal audit of leave taken by ATS staff (see Flash 07-07 in April 2007). The email advises that errors occurred in the SAP system that has resulted in leave not being deducted correctly and penalties incorrectly paid whilst on leave. Once again, Airservices have taken deduction action without consultation or proper checking. i.e. one controller was docked for a day off in November 2003, this day turned out to be the Cup Day public holiday which was a rightful day off that the “Relationship Manager” did not recognise. No prior advice/consultation has been provided to Civil Air and we will again have to make representation to People and Change on this issue. Members are advised to copy any communication to [email protected]

Air Traffic Controller News 2: Launceston Tower was closed again early Saturday and then for over six hours on Sunday morning, outside the normal coverage hours.

Air Traffic Controller News 3: In order for the Sunday afternoon/evening staff to attend duty early Monday morning Launceston Tower closed early Sunday night. (Twice in the same day?) See the attached NOTAM : ATS C0763/08 LAUNCESTON CLASS D AND C AIRSPACE F125 AND BLW RECLASSIFIED CLASS G DUE NON AVAILABILITY OF ATS FIS AVBL MELBOURNE CENTRE 126.5 CTAF FREQ 118.7(R FROM 02 170945 TO 02 171045

Air Traffic Controller News 4: The “low” sectors between Melbourne and Sydney, including the sectors responsible for Canberra airport after the tower closes were closed for four hours on Saturday night.

Air Traffic Controller News 5: Brisbane Ocean Sector that feeds Sydney to the East was closed for just over six hours on Sunday night.

Peter Fray

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