Christmas window construction horror: Myer’s famous Melbourne Christmas Windows are under threat this year, due to the renovation of the Bourke St building. The retailer has been quietly looking at ‘plan b’ options for the windows, which normally front the Bourke St mall. This could see the windows moved to the less appealing and smaller Lonsdale St windows. It has been reported that asbestos was the reason Myer suddenly moved almost all departments from Bourke Street to Lonsdale Street. The real reason relates to the structural integrity of the Bourke St building, with construction on upper levels seriously threatening the structural integrity of the building. A few months back, Childrenswear and Toys, on level 5, were suddenly and dramatically closed down and hastily relocated, following serious concerns the roof would collapse due to construction works above. There are doubts that the Christmas windows can be safely housed in Bourke Street at this early and uncertain phase in construction. Fingers are crossed, but contractors remain unsure about giving Myer the necessary access to Bourke Street to allow the windows to go ahead.

Keating speaks for all of us: Will Paul Keating’s unsolicited but sage advice to Kevin Rudd prompt a change in style and direction? The view among many Labor staffers and most of the ministry is hopeful. Prompted by Kerry O’Brien on The 7.30 Report, Keating took aim at the government’s lack of “narrative”, strategic direction and ability to work to a theme, a story. The PM’s speechwriters should take note. Keating also took aim at the propensity for “little press secretaries” to keep the PM captive to the 24-hour media cycle while ignoring the bigger picture and time to think. He also ridiculed the PM’s penchant for small-time micro-management, recalling Jimmy Carter’s control of the White House tennis court time sheet. It was a big call for Keating to give the PM a gentle slap in these areas, but he knows he can because he is being urged to by the many players in Canberra he is still in contact with. While the Government is travelling well, mostly due to Nelson’s poor performance, there are underlying signs of worry that Keating has picked up from the odd minister, staffer and party official. He speaks for all of us.

The great smallgoods scam: Do the South Australian smallgoods distibutors still hold Friday meetings with the National retailers who set wholesale prices to price retail competitors out of the market. The meetings have existed since the 1970s. Brown paper bags full of money would be given to buyers to ensure favours in return.

Peter Fray

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