When Rolf Harris was inducted into ARIA’s Australian Music Hall of Fame in Melbourne last night, the presentation was made by former Labor leader Kim Beazley, a fellow West Australian. Beazley’s warm speech won him a thunderous response from the audience. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had been invited to do the honors but his cheerless advisers decided against him attending. By way of comparison, Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating would have broken a leg to be there.

The ever-vigilant Immigration Department has been preventing pilgrims from undesirable parts of the world from attending the Catholic World Youth Day in Sydney. One group of pilgrims who have been refused permission to travel to Royal Randwick for the papal mass are from the Maronite Christian village of Kfarsghab in north Lebanon. How ironic that World Youth Day’s director of communications, Jim Hanna, is a famous son of Kfarsghab. Another is George Street tailor to the rich and famous, Arthur Coorey, who makes splendid suits for Labor Cabinet ministers and the NSW Opposition leader Barry O’Farrell.

Buried in the Church’s spending for World Youth Day is a NEW HP 10GIG backbone network that accounts for about $2 million of their overall spending. This network will (after the event) be installed in the Sydney arch-dioceses as a network upgrade. Interesting?

Gunns 1. A good source tells me Hawker Britton also refused a lobbying contract with Gunns.

Gunns 2. ANZ’s internal environmental filters (UN PRI — principles for responsible investment, etc) sunk Gunns investment — maybe all these banking CSR agreements are starting to work?

Changes at News Ltd? The Australian staff is wondering what is happening on their business pages. Andrew Main is doing a very competent job running the desk each day and adding an occasional comment (he should be encouraged to write more) but News veteran, Phil Ayling has popped up in the past fortnight with no explanation. It’s thought he will take charge of the “heavy lifting” each day, freeing Main to do more strategy and a column. But what about Deputy to the Editor in Chief (Business), AKA Michael Stutchbury? The speculation is whether his role at The Australian will change. Announcements are expected soon. Watch the bottom of Page two of the paper, usually the weekend edition, for the announcement.

Despite only being hired for 12 months to write the Sun-Herald diary, Shelly Horton is now a permanent fixture while Annette Sharp — when she shortly returns from maternity leave — is taking over Miranda Devine’s column. Devine is leaving.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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