All credit to the ANZ board for meeting at the Lakehouse Hotel at Daylesford. Yes, it meant that they had to take all 36 beds and close the restaurant to passing trade. Yes, it meant a team of debuggers had to come from Sydney to sweep the place. Yes, it meant flying in directors by helicopter. But it went a long way to cheering up the local producers of handcrafted organic pigs, carrots, etc. And one director apparently took the chance to pop into a local gay spa for a brisk rubdown and a few cheering words on the economy. That’s the way, ANZ.

The Peter McGauran/Peter Ryan feud goes well beyond the state borders and stems from alleged control freak Ryan trying to get his man Darren Chester the Senate nomination above Julian McGauran a few years ago. Ryan and Peter McGauran have not spoken since. Now Ryan is working feverishly to get Chester the Gippsland nomination and is very likely to succeed. The proposal for having Craig Ingram as a merged party candidate was not so much born out of the desire for a Libs/Nats merger, but an attempt to ensure the federally unpopular Ryan might not increase his style and influence into Canberra. The froth and snot from Ryan when the possible Ingram nomination was raised was very real.

The agent that has just sold my house in Sydney told me that auction clearance rates have been under 50% for weeks and that the market has dropped 5% in the past four weeks (that is, if you want a sale you need to accept about 5% less than a few months ago). They also told me that while there are exceptions where more bullish prices are being achieved they are few and far between and that the lack of stock does not seem to be keeping prices up (as it has done in the past). I think it is just all too much for people – interest rates/cost of food, fuel et. al, credit squeeze/margin calls, sub prime, economic outlook (except mining). At the coal face, it is tanking.

A Solomons Air plane was forced to return to Brisbane on Sunday night after one of its radios was “playing up”. Probably the best option as the weather coming into Honiara was very bad. Airline staff at the Brisbane end said the plane would not be leaving for Honiara until Tuesday at the earliest. Many people at the Honiara end were forced to spend Sunday night on the phone and internet trying to book tickets with alternative airlines, not to mention last-minute hotel accommodation, including one well known international academic who faced a very long trip back to the US, and who had no chance of keeping commitments he’d made at the other end.

BHP’s internal costings show that the excavation at the Roxby Downs expansion will require one million litres of diesel per day for four years. This quantity is required to simply to remove the overburden and reach the targeted ore body. This will bring an annual 5.5% increase in the total of 18Mt CO2-e produced from the combustion of all fossil fuels in South Australia. The public subsidise the cost of this diesel through tax concessions.

The 2020 Web Site registration and collaboration process is a complete disaster. The best and brightest (including computer savvy people like myself) are failing to work it out. Sites keep changing, information goes missing and no-one can follow the instructions.

Check out the photo in today’s Herald Sun , page 4, of the Victoria Police Special Operations Group in action. They are all decked out in their combat gear, looking very smart in their all-black uniforms, stealthily moving around some undergrowth no doubt on some important mission. Impressive stuff. Did anybody notice that their you-beaut Steyr assault rifles did not have any magazines in them? Nice juxtaposition with the headline below too…

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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