NSW AHA boss Sally Fielke has had a rough introduction to the Emerald City. First she had to deal with outgoing maverick President John Thorpe who made it publicly clear he didn’t think much of Fielke or President Scott Leach. More recently the hotels have been given a flogging in the PR stakes by the clubs who have won huge concessions on trading hours as well as a removal of the cap on pokie numbers. The clubs have successfully played themselves as the good guys of the industry, leaving Fielke and Leach to defend the cowboy operators. With every passing day, rumours of yet another tax increase for hotel pokie operators gets stronger, while the clubs sit back comfortable in the knowledge the community wouldn’t cop a similar tax increase for them. Some wonder just how long it will be before new AHA recruit John Whelan moves to end the brief pub career of Fielke.

Macquarie’s banking group is well capitalised and funded, but parts of the non-banking group, basically investment banking and trading operations that account for something like half of Macquarie Group’s annual revenues, have been instructed to cease activities that would require significant capital. The banking group is prohibited by APRA from funding the non-banking group. Macquarie Group as a whole will survive and no companies are going under but staff in the non-banking part of the group are expecting large lay-offs soon.

While “Critto” has seized the day and put himself in the headlines about changes to Radio National there’s another little twist that won’t get so much publicity because it does not involve a “star presenter”. The documentary strand Radio Eye which has been winning Walkley awards and International gongs for fifteen years is also due to be scrapped from its hour long Saturday/Wednesday lunch time spot. Except that it isn’t. Its staff will be merged with Street Stories, another award-winning documentary strand run by the Social History Unit (which used to be where RN manager Dr Janes Connors worked).

In response to complaints by other program areas who felt Radio Eye was “too well resourced” Dr Connors began a campaign of de-stabilisation in which she told Street Stories staff (and others) she was going to dump Radio Eye. However it seems Radio Eye people were given a different story. Yes. Street Stories was for the chop. Now to be fair to both shows they very occasionally overlap their remits, (RE tends to be more cultural and even fictional while SS goes for fly on the wall stuff), and this was the lame excuse given by Connors’ team to “rationalise” documentary production and release staff to write blogs.

The result is that the one hour Radio Eye slot will stay, but it won’t be called Radio Eye any more. This is Connors’ way of trying to appease Street Stories staff who are mightily miffed that they were led up the garden path. Now RN management is faced with the ridiculous task of finding a new name for the same slot just because … well go figure.

From the time I joined the ABC as a Specialist Trainee in 1960 — when Moses was still GM — the ABC has always been facing cuts. Governments of both political persuasions seem to believe that as soon as they get into power, they have to have another “inquiry” into the ABC. Wrigley, Dibb I’ve quite forgotten all the studies undertaken. Some actually spoke to us workers and program-makers! Every time, the inquiry came out on the side of the ABC but every time there was a little more erosion of our independence until at last, in the 1980s, the “robber-barons” won!’These were often the smart arse people recruited from print journalism or commercial TV and radio. They cared nothing for the ABC’s cherished balance and fair reporting and it began to show. Suddenly there were clear cases of bias being turned up, even though they were very minor.

AT&T, one of the largest internet service providers in America treats our second largest carrier, Optus, with contempt. Emails from Optusnet get sent back with the message: “Error — Blocked for abuse”. And what is the advice from Optus? “Get a Hotmail account”. This is an actual email reply from their help desk:

Further to your enquiry, I have logged a request with AT&T to have the mail server Ip address removed from their blacklists. They have received the request and generally resolve restrictions within 48 hours. Please note however, the majority of third-party SPAM lists are dynamic, meaning that a removal today does not necessarily ensure email access tomorrow.

This has been an ongoing issue with AT&T for some time now, and we are currently negotiating with them to have our servers permanently unblocked, though it has been a slow process so far. In the mean time you can either continue attempting to send from the Optus network as you will eventually be routed through a server that is not currently blocked, or you can sign up for a free email account such a hotmail for the purpose of sending to these American addresses.

Kind Regards, Chris XXXX

Optus Broadband Technical Support Specialist
Customer Service: 13 39 37

The government’s grocery watch website is http://www.grocerychoice.gov.au but the casual websurfer will find the site www.grocerywatch.com.au in Google. Judging from the comments on this site, many people think this is the government’s site. I was certainly confused for awhile — it even has a promo for Woolies as a “story”. The whois and ASIC name search entries reveal that someone called Andy Meahan owns the site for a partnership which isn’t listed in ASIC. Who is Andy Meahan and what are his connections?