Bernard Keane writes some drivel but he did, perhaps by accident, show some insight yesterday when he wrote, “the Government doesn’t trust its own bureaucrats”. How true. As a bureaucrat I can tell you unequivocally that is the case, the government does not trust us, it treats our advice (when they bother to seek it) with suspicion and I and many others get sick of being told what to do by spotty-faced, barely pubescent political hacks who have no understanding of the issues in their portfolio. It doesn’t matter where our political views lie, after all we can vote, therefore can form an opinion but we are bound by an ethical convention and we understand the difference between the parliament, which is elected, and the bureaucracy which is not. We are capable of providing frank and fearless advice despite what the Howard haters say and above all we do want to be treated with just the teensy weensiest amount of professional respect.

Starbucks 1. A day after Starbucks announced store closures and job cuts, their Australian website is still advertising job vacancies! As can be seen here. Seems PR spinners Edelman brought in to to manage the crisis haven’t got the issue under control just yet.

Starbucks 2. For PR spinners who claim to have expertise in crisis management and employee engagement (see their website), Edelman sure have bungled the Starbucks store closure announcement. First, the Australian Starbucks website is still advertising for jobs after announcing they were sacking hundreds of staff!? Second, the properties of the Word press release they sent out late yesterday afternoon reveals it was written by a Christina McPherson, Starbucks’ Global Director of Internal Communications and Media Management, in the USA. The Australian website still has PR flacks Porter Novelli as the media contacts here. The relevant trade unions had not been informed or briefed prior to the announcement. And as Edelman is not on the Federal Government’s lobbyist register they clearly had not briefed anyone in the Federal Government either about such mass sackings. Or did they against the Code of Conduct? You are left wondering what exactly did Edelman do?

Victorian Transport Minister Lynne Kosky, who heads up the over-worked, under-resourced transport system, copped an earful this morning. She decided to get a commuter-eye view and stepped on the 8:54am Craigieburn line for some honest feedback. Guided by her PA through the train she certainly looked uncomfortable. The carriage was so packed that Kosky couldn’t get to one woman who was trying to speak to her. No constructive feedback overheard by this eavesdropper, only a total whinge-fest. Commuters even started turning on each other by the end.

You’re being too kind to Mike Munro. His contract was coming up for renewal…and he was going to get a haircut… big time…

After the Olympics Peter Overton is to read Monday to Friday News at 6pm for Nine in Sydney, with Mark Ferguson shifted to weekends to replace the retiring Mike Munro. And what about Michael Usher, no gig on Sunday or Nightline? He’s at the Games for Nine. Would Nine risk pushing him into A Current Affair? Overton is spending eight months a year on the road, so he tells people at Nine and wants to stay at home to be with wife Jessica Rowe and their young child. Westacott and Overton are close. Remember at the back end of 2001 when Westie tried to take himself and Overton off to Seven, and threatened then PBL Media management (which included present Nine CEO, David Gyngell) that the pair would walk?

Following the recently disastrous decision by Telstra to try and send all of its IT offshore, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has decided on outsourcing its IT resources offshore to cheap India labour in a new project under the code name of Project Toukley. It is named Project Toukley after an executive weekend retreat taken by the CBA IT management at the NSW coastal resort town of Toukley, where the decision was apparently agreed upon.

How Wesfarmers faulted after the Coles takeover. The reason WES have had so little impact at Coles. After a promising start to their takeover activity — paying the Coles top execs to go — WES then didn’t know what to do next to fix things. This is where they made their fatal mistake whilst waiting to hire a new Coles MD — they asked the incumbent management team what to do and who to get rid of. When you ask an incumbent team who to fire and who to keep you get an obvious answer “keep us and get rid of those who challenge us” and that’s just what WES then spent six months doing — firing those who challenged the status quo and keeping the incumbent mediocrity. WES also managed to parachute in a few WES (or rather ex-Tubemakers) buddies of Richard Goyder, but none of them have ever worked in retail before so have spent most of their time being confused and misled by those they are relying on to advise them. Thankfully, new MD Ian McLeod is bringing his own team with him. He has already shaken things up by initiating open plan office arrangements for all (including himself) and even suggesting that reserved car parks for the already overpaid and under-worked General Managers should go — and believe me, they are already starting to squirm.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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