The well-beaten path from the Australia Council to the University of New South Wales is about to be trodden again. First, there was Jennifer Bott, outgoing CEO of the Australia Council, who joined former Chair of the OzCo and UNSW Chancellor, David Gonski, as CEO of the UNSW Foundation in late 2005. Jenny was quickly joined by arts ‘refugees’ Sue Donnelly, Stergitza Zamagias, Cripin Rice and others to form the UNSW alumni and development teams. All were direct appointments — no advertising, no interviews. The latest rumoured to be joining the ranks is Cathy Brown-Watt, close friend and former 2IC to Jenny Bott. Cathy was sidelined and eventually “let go” by Cathy Keele, new CEO of the OzCo. Her new role at UNSW is Government Relations. Ben Strout, former Director of Arts Funding for the OzCo is also about to leave. It’s probably only a matter of time before a cushy job is found for him at Kensington. The sad thing is that NONE of these appointments brings with them any direct experience in either fundraising or alumni relations in a university context. They are ALL from the arts. Contrast this with Macquarie University which is mounting a public recruitment campaign to secure the very best and most experienced people to join its Advancement Team. Jenny Bott is repeating history — creating yet another powerful and redundant bureaucracy at UNSW with little input or contribution to either the arts or higher education. Watch out for the announcement about Cathy Brown-Watt.

Fairfax defo and prepub to JWS — if it’s gone to JWS then it’s gone to Mark O’Brien who’s the partner that does this work there. He’s the same guy that acted for Kerry Packer and Channel 9 for years at G+T. They’re going to get better advice for less than Freehills, because JWS o’heads are much lower and O’Brien’s king of this sector. They’ve done better, not worse.

Julia Gillard’s speech to the Press Club will not be well received in IR circles. The Government’s persistent cry that it has consulted widely on this is pure spin. The very few who have been consulted still haven’t seen a draft Bill. Yesterday’s exercise replete with information sheets is reminiscent of the Work Choices announcements and booklets released months before Howard’s fateful bill. Everyone is expecting Work Choices lite from Labor. No green paper, no public debate just a Bill presented as a fait accompli. When the tories screw workers they get angry. When Labor does it they just get sad.

Peter Fray

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