Crikey first past the post by a full length — again! As tipped 5 September former NSW Deputy Premier John Watkins’ go-to man Andrew Heslop has shocked ministerial staffers by announcing yesterday he’s leaving the Deputy Premier’s Office and the government this Friday. Heslop is the last man standing from the highly regarded Watkins regime, having minded the freshly minted Carmel Tebbutt over the past months. According to sources within the Rees-Tebbutt government headquarters in the luxurious Governor Macquarie Tower the popular Heslop has confided he has no firm options, or offers, come Monday. Friday night’s drinks at the Opera Bar may bring more sorrow than celebration.

Geoffrey Cousins, rich businessman and friend of John Howard pursues local doctor for legal costs because she dared to appeal against his proposed subdivision. Cousins stands to make up to $3million out of the deal.

More fiddling with the balance sheet at Fairfax. Glenn Burge is requiring us to take half our leave before Christmas … apparently, they can only direct us to take leave on three public holidays and the rest must be by agreement:

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As part of FBM’s plan to control costs in FY09, all staff will be required to take at least 17 days of their 08/09 annual leave entitlement before December 31. It is FBM’s goal to exceed the overall leave target. Some staff may be required to take additional leave, especially those already with accruals in excess of their annual leave entitlement.

In the lead-up to the Christmas/New Year period, rosters are being worked on by editorial managers to run down leave from the week beginning Monday 15th December. In addition, FBM will only require skeleton staffing in the lead up to the Bumper editions.

Only staff essential to producing the pre-Christmas Monday daily edition and the Bumper Edition will be required on Sunday December 21 and Monday 22. The first Bumper edition will be published on Tuesday 23.

Only key Bumper edition production staff will be required on Monday December 29 & Tuesday 30. Only staff by exception are required on Wednesday December 31, Thursday January 1, Friday January 2 and Sunday January 4.

The AFR resumes more normal production on Monday January 5 Production and leave rosters for FBM magazines during the shut down period are also being compiled. In addition to ensuring FBM editorial meets its December half leave targets, FBM editorial will be aiming to ensure that the targets for the second half of the financial year are met through continuing a leave run-down in January during what is usually a quieter news flow period.

Editorial managers will be working on the implementation of this leave plan to a deadline of Friday 5pm October 17. I’m sure all staff will appreciate that the current operating environment remains challenging. This means the usual flexibility surrounding the timing of annual leave is more restricted for the remainder of the FY09 financial year.

Glenn Burge

Jetstar yesterday cancelled two international flights for myself and my partner, quoting “operational reasons” — no probs we’ll give you a refund … in about eight weeks time! Jetstar have had our not insignificant fares since May 4th which had to be paid instantly with the booking, but Jetstar can’t manage an electronic refund in less than eight weeks when they want out of the deal. Not to mention the cost to us in forfeited domestic flights with other carriers and wasted ground content in Thailand. Would be interesting to know just how many customers Jetstar are screwing over.

Ahhh the irony… While reading an article on The Age about Channel Ten’s pop-up advertising during the ARIAs and how bad it is —  an internet ad pops up viciously in my face obscuring my view of the story. Can ACMA investigate The Age?

So is this a sign of things to come? This picture is a screen shot of what I saw when trying to log into my CommSec share trading account this morning — can’t even do a run on the market it seems!

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Peter Fray
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