They’re not a happy bunch at Fairfax’s Bendigo Advertiser. Recently, the MEAA announced it had discovered reporters had not been paid penalty rates for evening and weekend shifts for the past few years. General Manager Peter Dehnert’s response: “We must have overlooked it”. But it’s not just non-editorial management… recently appointed editor Peter Kennedy (three-time Liberal Party candidate) recently forced changes on a story about local Labor funding and added comments from his friends within the Libs. Circulation is also down on the same time last year, with the usual influx of visitors at Easter not meaning more sales as it normally does. And then there’s the staff exodus – four editorial staff are considering their future and one has already tendered their resignation. This wouldn’t be unusual for the paper but eight staff left between December and February, including the editor, news editor and two senior sub-editors. It’s long been known that Dehnert and his superiors are more interested in the advertising side of the business and almost no funds are given to editorial, which doesn’t help in recruiting senior journalists, because the salary’s not at all attractive. Maybe someone needs to tap him on the shoulder.

It’s intriguing to note that two in the following line-up are actually employees of the Federal Government and the conference is being held on the last two days of the first year since the announcement of the Northern Territory Emergency Response. Usually Commonwealth Government employees are bound by a confidentiality clause. Does it mean Chalmers and Gordon are likely to be out of jobs? Advance Notice:

2008 Bennelong Society Conference “The NT Emergency Response: appraisal and future”
Venue: The Windsor Hotel Spring St, Melbourne
Date: 19-20 June 2008
Costs: Two-day conference, including luncheon, and Thursday evening medal presentation dinner is $300 ($200 for members). Conference only is $200 ($100 for members).
Speakers include: Dr Sue Gordon Major General, Dave Chalmers, Hon Mal Brough, Warren Mundine, Dr Gary Johns, Simon Kearney, Miriam-Rose Baumann, Mavis Malbunka, John Stone, Mike Lane.
A Provisional programme will be added to the website in the near future. Click here for a Conference 2008 registration form. For bookings and further details, please contact Andy Poon at [email protected]

Lachlan Murdoch and Babcock & Brown to put deal on the table for CMH.

Virgin Blue Embraer flights are in chaos. My miserable experience was as follows: Cancelled DJ903 CBR SYD 20-03-08 0645; Cancelled DJ909 CBR SYD 20-03-08 0815; Cancelled DJ920 SYD CBR 30-03-08 1330; Cancelled DJ924 SYD CBR 30-03-08 1530 (Last one aircraft VH-ZHA with passengers already seated on board.) Virgin says that it is all due to a plane damaged by an aerobridge, but the cancellations shown clearly involve at least two planes. As well, attempts to transfer passengers already seated on board the 30-03-08 DJ924 flight to another Embraer aircraft sitting nearby amounted to nothing. After promising a ten minute transfer, we finally flew off on a 737 two hours later. I’ll spare you all the sordid details, but the impression gained at least by this passenger was of disgruntled pilots without good management systems. Sydney-Canberra travellers have long been treated as second class by both the airlines and airports.

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