From a publishing industry insider: I didn’t tell you this, but the Bookscan figure for Costello (first week) is 8k whereas it was 13k for Latham in the same time. Latham went on to sell around 60,000, but the experts believe his sales “built” whereas they think Costello’s are likely to flatten. Best estimates for Costello sales, based on this, but still wildly speculative, are 25-30k max (50,000 out there on release day).

Rudd solves poverty himself too… from this week’s internal bulletin from peak aid and development agency, ACFID:

ACFID’s Member e-bulletin provides analysis and commentary on current key issues for our members.

United Nations MDG event

This week is the halfway point to the target of 2015 which was set in 2000 by 180 national leaders to embark on the boldest campaign to date to reduce global poverty. Tomorrow, over 100 leaders will meet to review progress against the MDGs and decide what they are prepared to do to address the major gaps towards its fulfilment.

The UN Secretary-General and the President of the UN General Assembly will host the meeting which has three main roundtable discussion themes — Poverty and Hunger, Education and Health and Environmental Sustainability. A number of civil society representatives will also be addressing the leaders.

Prime Minister Rudd and Foreign Minister Smith are representing Australia and have announced a modest increase in Australian assistance for Africa in advance of the meeting. I will report in the next Bulletin on the summit outcomes and on significant Make Poverty History events at Parliament House and in Sydney. We have been particularly disappointed with the government’s responses to ACFID in the lead up to these events, coming as they do after a series of other instances during the year.

In this case, the Prime Minister declined our early request to include an ACFID representative in the Australian delegation to the UN summit or for him or his staff to meet with ACFID leaders prior to the summit. We were also surprised at the decision not to consult over the last five months about a major awareness-raising initiative on global poverty to be announced in New York tomorrow by the Foreign Minister.

Whatever the merits of this initiative by a private contractor, the political decision not to obtain any informal ACFID input on a matter of direct relevance to the sector is an aberration by any standards. It cuts across the outstanding work by Bob McMullan this year to develop the basis for a partnership with the sector.

The top-down, unilateral nature of this process also diminishes the prospect of gaining strong sector support for the new initiative.

So soon after our High Commissioner to Pakistan was given a slap on the wrist for breaching the rules in her dealings with the notorious company Firepower, more here, the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade’s Corporate Management Division has received the highest possible performance appraisal rating, “Excellent”. Under DFAT’s appraisal system fewer than 5% of staff receive this rating.

The thing about a paper like The Australian trotting out the “every so often” story on rural Australia, just to keep up its national image, is that it can present some specific terms — and big, big words that are hard to get right. Take the cattle breed, Brahman, for instance. Or as Paul Toohey prefers to write it, Brahmin. In Monday’s paper, Paul must have spent more time doing the Rural Story Checklist: Silhouette picture of a stockman? Check. Bloke with horse staring out to the wilderness? Check. Mob of cattle with a ringer on horseback? Check. Old Paul has trotted out “Brahmin” in his story on p5 and p12. Then again, he may just have a New Zealand accent.

Strong rumour circulating in London that Rupert is about to change the name of News International to “News London” — what could this mean, I wonder?

Peter Fray

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