Back in February Nick Minchin declined when invited by Tony Jones to breach National Security Committee confidentiality in discussing defence purchasing. But appeared to readily do so yesterday when defending the Howard Government’s decision last year to prop up, Weekend At Bernie’s-style, the Seasprite contract. And nice of Minchin to add to the sense that Brendan Nelson lacks authority by spelling out how he was rolled on his proposal to junk them.

Wilson Tuckey is listed to appear in the Narrogin Magistrates’ Court to contest a speeding ticket today. However, Narrogin Courthouse advises that the Tuckey matter is set down for a mention only, for the setting of a trial date, and the defendant is not normally expected to attend.

Word is Tony Mokbel will cut a deal by naming his Sydney counterpart in drugs/brothels/gambling.

Melbourne’s movers and shakers were out in force on Sunday for the launch of the Fashion Festival at Government House. The National Gallery of Victoria was not to be outdone with a swanky night of its own. Seems two functions in one day was all too much for one senior Fairfax Victoria executive who ended up very tired and emotional, much to the embarassment of Gallery staff.

New Rudd staffers, upset that they didn’t get the benefit of Frequent Flyer points whilst in opposition (or working with MPs who don’t have a personal jet), are putting together a business case whereby they will be awarded a quarterly cash bonus in lieu of points…

It’s not only Victorian state school principals who have their nose in the performance bonus trough but also senior members of health management in Victorian public hospitals. When a physio or speech pathologist announces their intention to take maternity leave some months away, it is common practice to delay advertising the position until they day they actually finish. Hence a further three to four months of salary is saved while advertising, interviewing, appointing occurs. Funding for the position continues despite no service being provided and those funds are directed into the black hole of hospital revenue with a performance bonus to the line manager. The practice is easily hidden in large metropolitan hospitals with large numbers of allied health staff but becomes a devastating and immoral service reduction to the families serviced by smaller regional health services as many disabled children can be without those services for many months.

What’s happening in the SA Dept of Health? Three Hospital GMs have gone in the last month, Flinders, Royal Adelaide and the Womens and Childrens, senior Departmental Executives have gone and there are many more contemplating their futures.

Hot Copper was running a great competition sponsored by contributor “Athyrio” to help Andrew Peacock write his MFS Chair resignation letter (Prize: monogrammed MFS/Llysian pucks) but Hot Copper “moderated” – they pulled it!

All hell had broken loose at the Qantas valet park on Tuesday. Apprently staff told us that Qantas had recently put the valet service out to tender and the new operator is out to cut costs. When passengers arrived at the valet park most were told their cars were still in the long term car park and we would have to wait for the bus to take us there. You could imagine how happy that made everyone. In the end staff were ferrying passengers in their own cars to the long term car park as the bus couldn’t cope and delays were up to half an hour.

A temporary hangar is to be erected around aircraft in Darwin for duration of repairs. Long Beach repair crew (i.e., from Boeing USA) are scheduled to arrive on-site sometime around mid-March, the repair downtime is currently estimated at around 28 days. Quoted cost is a few million $USD.

In response to Andrew Maitland’s article about the Melbourne GP: Fiddling the ticket sales/attendance numbers comes as no surprise. In the early days of the Adelaide GP, the event organisers put a petting zoo in Rymill Park and the animals and their handlers were counted and also any and every worker doing the set up was included in the attendance count.

So pleased to see that karma really happens. Last night’s piece on Media Watch on the copy and paste activities of so called journalist David Richards was. The karma comes in the form of this link on YouTube. What’s interesting is that someone has created a YouTube account in David’s name and posted last light’s Media Watch story, they have then created a Gmail account ([email protected]) and sent the link out on Tuesday morning to many of Richards’ current advertisers.

My Foxtel’s buggered and I can’t get through to their Technical Support line. Customer Assistance said that a technician would be able to do a site visit to rectify the problem on the 11th of March. I’ll miss Foxtel’s possibly extensive coverage of Juddie’s debut for my beloved Navy Blues! Crisis!

Peter Fray

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