It now seems that the discovery of a Federal Police operative working out of the office of the CFMEU Furnishing divisions is about to explode in the faces of those who employed him and why! Fireworks expected.

Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie blew his stack at the weekend over the resurfacing of allegations that he had an affair with former minister Merri Rose, describing them as “crap” and “false”. Now that the Crime and Misconduct Commission has decided not to investigate the allegations saying that it had already made an inquiry into a cover-up years ago and found nothing, Beattie will be able to calm down. If the CMC had taken the bait, its investigators would surely have talked to outgoing head of the Premier’s Department Dr Leo Keliher and the former Queensland Health director-general Uschi Schreiber. Ms Schreiber unexpectedly resigned last November 23, on the eve of the federal election, to take up a senior appointment with Ernst & Young in Sydney. She had occupied a trusted and highly valued role in the Beattie administration but decided to move on shortly after Anna Bligh became premier. Before running the health department she was deputy director-general, policy, in the Premier’s Department where she was Beattie’s key day-to-day policy adviser. Her evidence would have been critical to any inquiry. PS. Schreiber’s place has been taken by Mick Reid, the former boss of NSW Health, who briefly assisted Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon on her health reform agenda. He assumes his Brisbane appointment next Monday (June 23).

Today’s West Australian mentioned that a Senator and an MLC where bullying Hillarys MLA Rob Johnson with his endorsement if he didn’t shut up about Troy Buswell’s leadership. There’s a rumour going around that the people mentioned in this article are Liberal powerbroker wannabees Peter Collier MLC and Senator Matthias Corman. If the rumours are true, then these are the two that did the same to Trevor Sprigg (died of a heart attack while being forced out of his safe seat), Katie Hodson-Thomas (decided not to run again for her safe seat) and Sue Walker (took her safe seat and went independant). If these two keep their Noel Crichton-Brown imitation up, soon there wont be much of a Liberal Party left in the West.

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On October 23, 2006, the ABC’s Life Matters program devoted itself to a warm analysis of The Dore Program which was offering help to parents with children suffering attention deficit syndrome … at a price! It featured a lengthy interview with the program’s founder, owner and chief evangelist, Wynford Dore. The Life Matters website still carries this gushing blurb:

The Dore Program offers drug-free treatment for a range of learning problems. It’s based around exercises that stimulate the cerebellum – the part of the brain that controls eye-coordination, inner ear balance and motor skills.

The therapy is named after it’s (sic) backer and founder Wynford Dore, who struggled for many years to help his daughter cope with severe dyslexia.

He’s now calling for change in the way we manage and treat learning difficulties, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The program was presented by Richard Aedy, the producer was Amanda Armstrong and the story researcher and producer was Jackie May. Last year the ABC’s Four Corners took a more sceptical view of The Dore Program and last night The 7.30 Report comprehensively buried it with the news that the business is now in receivership leaving debts of more than $13 million. Parents have been left high and dry, some owing money while others are in debt. We eagerly await Life Matters follow-up story as well as its apology. Or doesn’t it matter?

Further to your article about law firm sweatshops that I read via Adelaide’s InDaily newsletter, I would think that there are the same type of cultural problems in some of the Big Four accounting firms. Yes, they also go-on about “work/life” balance, paid maternity leave, etc but at the end of the day if you’re a female and you wish to progress you career, you still have to convince “the boys” that you can work hard and achieve results despite wanting a family or a life. You only get noticed if you have high chargeable hours and high recovery.

Mal Brough has been quoted as saying that it only took the Howard Government 48 hours to develop the legislation for the NT Intervention. No wonder it’s so crap. If only they’d spent some of that time actually reading the Little Children are Sacred Report.

As you know there have been staffing troubles recently in Air Traffic Control; Launceston tower has been closed on multiple occasions, Sydney, Perth and Canberra Terminal Airspace have all had closures, various enroute sectors have seen a ten fold use of TIBA (no ATC service) in recent months. Airservices Australia implemented late last year, a procedure where non rated or endorsed controllers from other sections could provide breaks when short staffing was evident. This “SHORT BREAK PROCEDURE” was subject of much debate; this was primarily to minimise the use of TIBA (no ATC service). Civil Air the controllers union believes this procedure is contrary to the relevant legislation. Airservices claimed to have legal advice saying that it wasn’t. CASA said that as long as Airservices had subjected it to the “Safety Management System” that they were happy that the robust processes that Airservices use would be sufficient to ensure safety. Since that time Civil Air has not been provided with any copies of this so called legal advice. Neither CASA or Airservices have stated that it is legal nor why it isn’t illegal. Yesterday the Civil Air vice president, Blair Henderson, wrote to CASA to advise them of two direct breaks in the Airservices-imposed limitations to the procedure. Copied from the letter here:

The following two incidents happened within the last six weeks. I am aware of similar occurrences in Brisbane.

  1. 25 May 2008 – Canberra Approach (CB APP) had one rated controller for eight hours. This controller is provided with one break using the Short Break Procedure. The controller on break was required to return early due to Canberra Tower being unaware and giving start clearances to an aircraft. CB APP has continued to be staff critical and has used the procedure on a separate occasion.
  2. 27 April 2008 – Bight Group required multiple consoles to be open due to high traffic levels. The staff alerted the supervisor that they would need breaks and some contingency plan would need to be activated. One controller needed an urgent break and with no controllers available, the Short Break Procedure was used. The subsequent event report clearly states “High Traffic Levels”.

There are loud rumours abounding the ATC work environment that the so called “staff management plan” will deliver a negative staff impact over the next five years. Retirements and people departing for better money and conditions overseas will exceed any recruiting, so things are only going to get worse. The current agreement expires just before Christmas, anyone planning on Christmas air travel may be better advised to take the train or a bus; or at least put up with the inevitable delays that any breakdowns in negotiations will deliver; after all it’s not likely that last week’s Oz “headline figures” will be reached.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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