The baby who was found on the steps of a church in Haberfield (Sydney) last year is now under the care of DOCS, but she has been unable to get a Medicare number because the bureaucrats reckon they can’t be sure of her citizenship or immigration status.

The Workplace Authority is set to close several regional branches as part of the government’s so-called “razor gang”. Word has it that management in the Hobart office found about the closure from the cleaners who had been warned by the building owners to seek out new business opportunities ahead of the intended closure in June.

Have a look at Hardie Holdings Property Developers NSW. Great Lakes Council on the Mid North Coast are aiming to put through a re-zoning application at Green Point 2428 (a quiet little village 10k’s from Forster) The land will require 1,500 trucks of fill in order to build houses there, as it is near a wetland, and at sea level, on Wallis Lake which opens to the sea. Hardie Holdings have taken their proposed development off their web-site and won’t answer any calls, or enter into any correspondence. Another Wollongong? Hardie Holdings also are trying to develop unsuitable land in Dunoon near Lismore, AND in the Hunter Valley.

Just some quick advice of a situation occurring at Qantas with the load controllers. These guys are responsible for preparing the weight and balanced figures for take off and as such are responsible legally for accuracy of their work. In the past, the staff have fitted in small breaks around their flights rather than having the 30 minutes they are entitled to and actually obligated to for OH & S. Now with the implementation of a new weight and balance system created by Amadeus called FLIGHT MANAGEMENT (FM), management now need to get some return back in terms of productivity for their investment. With the introduction of a new roster many of the staff have realised that the increased workload will take away any of the gaps and have asked for meal breaks to be allocated as per their legal right. Rather than accept their rights and agree to allocate them time away from their computers the manager has seen fit to threaten to close the office and send the work to Melbourne or even offshore to the Hong Kong or Singapore office. The manager has offered the chance to get away between functions on their flights eat and rest. This will allow gaps of around 10 minutes at best whick is hardly time enough to freshen up. Many of the staff feel this is not only a breach of their rights but also a serious safety risk to passengers in the name of cost cutting.

A friend of mine was flying interstate with Qantas in the last week or so. The flight was cancelled, and passengers were scattered across a range of other flights including international ones. My friend found herself in the odd situation of leaving Australia for a couple of hours, and returning again, through customs, without a passport. Customs had no idea what to do with her, compounded by Qantas’ failure to let them know to expect domestic passengers who had not packed passports. And my friend’s toiletries all had to be unpacked and repacked in those clear plastic bags – again with Qantas staff at a loss because their colleagues had not warned them that domestic passengers were coming through.

Is this a case of deja vu? On February 18th, a Qantas Boeing 747-300 had problems with a “smell in the cabin” that they couldn’t fix, causing the cancellation of flight QF566 from Perth to Sydney. Exactly one week later, on February 25th, a Qantas Boeing 747-300 has a problem with a “smell in the cockpit” during approach to Sydney, causing an emergency to be declared. It was the same flight, QF566. Same aircraft, maybe? Same problem, maybe? Same smell? And, if it was the same plane, with the same smell, and the same problem — why didn’t the fix seven days ago work and the problem recur? And if it wasn’t the same plane, surely if you find a problem in one plane, you check the others for the same problem? Especially when it’s a gas or smell in the cabin which could affect the flight crew? What does that say about Qantas maintenance? Questions worth putting to Qantas, eh?

A few weeks ago, Arnott’s sent out a viral email survey offering respondents a free pack of original Tim Tams to be mailed to their home address (no deadline on delivery). The survey asked a few basic demographic and targeting questions requiring respondents sign up to the database to be eligible for the biscuit delivery (smart data capture). Of course, as you can see Arnott’s have run into a few difficulties:

  • Arnott’s failed to adequately monitor the respondents of their survey (this can be done with most surveys on an hourly basis – in real time!)
  • They also failed to remove the survey and replace it with an apology fast enough to ensure that respondents would not exceed supply of the biscuits (it only takes moments in most cases to remove a survey and format in an apology)
  • Apology emails did not use the database information Arnott’s captured for free to personalise the message (this generic email sent out so far after the event is beyond inept: “Thank you for entering the recent Arnott’s Tim Tam online survey. We had originally allocated 2,500 packets of stock to giveaway for this promotion but due to the overwhelming response, we’ve doubled that to 5,000. Unfortunately, your entry was not one of the first 5,000 submitted, so please accept our apologies. If you’d like your name and details removed from our database, please click here to unsubscribe. Thank you for participating in the survey and we hope to welcome you back to our website again in the future.”
  • In their apology email they have not provided what I would call an adequate solution (there is no win for the consumer – they have my information for free and I have nothing). This went around my entire office (99% female). The new Crush and original Tim Tams, I’m guessing target women?

The result is terrible word of mouth (I was told of the stuff up before I opened my hotmail account), and resolve not to cave into the temptation to buy any Tim Tams or Arnott’s biscuits for all eternity (or at least for a few months). I thought this was a particularly good example of how not to go about a viral email campaign.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey