Just a small point of amusement. A lot of the photos from Brendy Nelson’s listening tour are of decent enough quality. But you’ll notice a couple of shockers from his visit to a primary school. I’m sure this will be because of the age-old problem facing political staffers – release forms for children. No political flyer is complete without a token primary school photo, yet no talent is more notoriously elusive to legitimately use (as release forms need to be signed by parents, and very few schools are willing to consult parents at the behest of a political party). The result is almost always the-backs-of-kids-heads. However Brendan and co. offer a different solution: Brendan’s head in lieu of the children.

Email correspondence relating to complaints to management of the planning process of Bathurst Hospital, dating back many months has been erased from the inboxes of several senior clinicians with @GWAHS.health.nsw.gov.au addresses, without explanation. Doctors are worried the Areas Health Service has jumped the gun with the new Federal laws relating to email surveillance.

Staff at Quest Newspapers in Brisbane are livid. It’s also the people on Workplace Agreements that are being let down. Mileage rates getting lower and lower while petrol goes up and up (currently way less than ATO rates), and they are also being told they may have to work Good Friday and Christmas Day with no penalties. Casuals are also missing out on allowances, and being told that allowances are for full-time staff only. As long as News Limited shareholders are happy…

Despite the protests from many within his own ranks, George Pell steamed ahead with his wish to change the name of the various Centacares to Catholic Care. He wants the Church identified as such, even if it means driving away potential punters. And given that the City office of Centacare Sydney is losing all of its customers (a problem set to get much worse when RA sets up shop in town mid year), and its psychologists and social workers are marching out the door in unprecedented numbers, what can justify the continued payment of buckets of government money for the top rate, per square metre office space?

What is happening at 60 minutes? First there was the non-story about Sam Newman – promoting The Footy Show. Than there was the non-story about Lisa McCune – heavily promoting Sea Patrol. Last night there was a non-story about Richard Attenborough – followed by ads promoting a new series starring – guess who? Is it a current affairs show or a show to promote all the other shows on Channel Nine? Who at Channel Nine is authorising this? Is there a code of ethics for these “journalists”?

I caught up with some old colleagues from Fairfax. Nothing too unusual here – a little gossip, too many ales and the occasional lie. However, there was a common thread that reared its head quite late that evening, which related to the tale of the vanishing audience. My Fairfax colleague stated that traffic to My Career, Domain.com.au and RSVP, has heavily declined. Fairfax lieutenants were attempting to resolve the traffic dilemma but have had no success in their endeavours of digital wizardry, nor do the text books offer explanation – apparently this is a first. However, the sales guys aren’t complaining, online revenues are in record territory.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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