As a former electorate office staffer caught in this situation (Re. “Staffers must be better protected from chair-sniffing MPs” Wednesday, item 12), thank God someone is at last taking notice. It’s a pity it’s a chair-sniffing episode that has prompted the scrutiny, though, rather than one of the more shocking and tragic outcomes I’ve witnessed. I am aware of cases of suicide associated with the office at which I worked, where the behaviour of the MP in question was at least a factor. The distressing reality for staff members who find themselves in this position (at least in some jurisdictions) is that there is simply NOWHERE TO TURN, particularly if you happen to work for a Labor MP. The employer (the MP), is not an option, the Premier’s senior staff took no action, the speaker’s office was mute, Parliamentary Services was impotent, the Union wandered around in circles making sympathetic noises and was eventually neutered. All the while, staff are living and having to tolerate MPs’ abhorrent behaviour, and living in fear of the behaviour being exposed publicly and not having a job at all. It is a disgraceful set of affairs, particularly for ALP Governments to allow to continue. Thank heavens I eventually found an opportunity for other employment and to move on – not so fortunate my former colleagues, two of whom are no longer with us, and at least three who are still living with the emotional baggage of the experience.

The happily boned. Gretel Killeen has got to be laughing. Big Brother is bombing since she left — and she’s got her new “anonymous” book coming out: Boned.

My copy of the Sunday Herald Sun on May 4 is a collector’s item. After page 1, came page 32. Yeah page 1 then the world page where page 2 usually is. I couldn’t find my lucky tattslotto numbers. Lo and behold, I found them on page 2 and it was placed where page 32 was meant to be. Unreal mate. Then down the back, page 89 was followed by 120. This is what my copy was like and me mates had similar copies. Check it out.

Underbelly: Price Uncut. It’s a crime big enough for Purana, well at least ACCC, the retail price of Underbelly: Uncut DVD-set released on Thursday varied from $34.87 at Big W, $54.80 at Sanity and $70.00 at ABC Shops.

I knew the Libs were living in the past a little, but here is some honest proof. I stumbled upon the “team” section on their national website. It still defiantly maintains that John W Howard is Prime Minister of Australia, and Member for Bennelong a good six months after their disastrous election defeat…

Qantas boss Geoff Dixon was very recently held over in Perth due to one of the old (over 20 years) 747-300 series aircraft having a technical fault. He rang head of engineering (David Cox) demanding the aircraft be put into the air, Cox rang the head of Aircraft Customer Service (Murray Harris) who contacted the line manager in Perth who said “I’m standing behind the guys working on the fault and they’re going flat out, it can’t be done any faster.” Needless to say the flight was held over. If you are still interested you can ask why VH-EBV is being pushed all around Mascot airport for days on end with apparently nowhere to go and no spare parts to fix it, bring on the A380.

Regarding Crikey’s story on the Australian Film Television and Radio School (“Our old-school film school is a waste of $20m” 29 April, item 18). Things are not good there. Two senior Directing teachers have just left, some say due to changes made by new head Sandra Levy.

Antony Lowenstein is probably already aware, but others may not, about this initiative by former Israeli soldiers who are struggling to deal with activities they were involved in in Hebron. It’s called breaking the silence and has had a bit of coverage here in the UK, not sure if it got any in Australia.

What is the CPSU going on about? It is no secret that the Commonwealth Public Service has grown exponentially under the Howard Government’s reign. During that time I have personally witnessed, and the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) State of Service report outlines, the degrading of skills in the EL1/EL2 and SES Band 1 levels. From my observations it is obvious that, as a general rule, most levels are operating a level lower than their substantive level. If the CPSU were half fair-dinkum they would focus on getting contractor and consultant positions abolished in favour of permanent positions. The CPSU (and yes I am a member) have no idea of the real issues facing the public sector and just want to have a whinge.

The departure of weekend sports reader Heath O’Loughlin to the North Melbourne Kangaroos takes the number of departures from the Channel Nine newsroom to around 30 in 18 months. When will the bosses at TCN start asking questions? Or is Michael Venus immune from scrutiny as long as the ratings of his bulletin hold up?