The Peter McMullin campaign has been an interesting one with plenty of intrigue inside the ALP, especially for those inner suburban members who are not aligned to any particular faction. Some months ago, those ALP members who live within the MCC bounds voted almost unanimously to have a Labor supported candidate for Lord Mayor.

The right wing faction, of which John Brumby, Peter McMullin and Kimberley Kitching are members, overruled this democratic decision. Kimberly was a strident opponent of having an official candidate but she failed to mention that she had a significant self interest in a free for all election. Kimberly is now McMullin’s campaign director. Last I heard, Kimberley was still a ministerial advisor to the State Government.

Apart from those within the party being incredulous as to why Peter McMullin would appoint someone inexperienced and mediocre to such a role, no one has any issue with this, nor should they. However, the issue those within the party do have is that she is not confining all this work to out of hours. Indeed, only a little while ago Kimberley spent several days at ALP head office working on McMullin’s campaign. We can only hope she took appropriate annual leave to do so but if she didn’t, then there is a serious issue with someone on the public payroll undertaking such work during a time she should be working on what she is employed to do.

Secondly, head office should not be providing assistance for a campaign of someone who has not been officially supported by the party. Kimberley’s strong opposition to official support is therefore hypocritical as for all practical intents and purposes, the party is supporting McMullin at the expense of Wil Fowles who is far more popular in inner suburban ALP circles. Head office has even gone further in including ALP head office staffers in McMullin’s advertising brochures.

Two of the women in his photos work at head office. One is Jasmin, who is the receptionist and the other is Jackie Slater who is a researcher and one time advisor to John Lenders. Bill Shorten helped her get this role. Both women were directed to partake in the campaign by George Droutsas, ALP organiser and controversial councillor himself.

And finally, there are some pretty strong rumours going around that if McMullin wins, Kimberley will get a plum role at the Melbourne City Council, as is common for campaign directors. It could be chief of staff to McMullin or as head of marketing and events. This is all of course to mark time before Kimberley makes her move to stand for pre-selection for the state seat of Melbourne, a role she has coveted for many years — just ask her fellow councillors who served with her. She made little secret of her political aspirations.

Alas for Kimberley, given that she was unable to be elected as a delegate to state conference, she is unlikely to garner much support. And for the record, most ALP members in the inner suburbs, even some in the Right, have put McMullin way down on their voting card. He is simply not liked nor seen as someone who will champion the right of residents. And his choice of a Liberal Party running mate has infuriated most, even in the Right itself.

Tiger flight TT519 on 21 November flies Canberra to Melbourne despite a flight attendant fainting just prior to departure. The captain decided to fly rather than wait for medical assistance or a replacement air hostess in Canberra. The flight attendant then became ill halfway through the flight to Melbourne, forcing the plane to make a priority landing. Ambulance officers met the plane and boarded to take care of the attendant before passengers disembarked. The flight was not delayed and ran to schedule, but at what potential cost? Had the attendant’s fainting spell been indicative of a much larger problem the consequences could have been dire…

And the silly season for IT in the Victorian Government is upon us. Tender after tender after tender — it’s impossible to respond adequately to them all. I work for a large multinational and we don’t have the bandwidth — smaller organisations wouldn’t have a hope. But most worrying, the Department of Treasury and Finance Victoria has released a “State resource information management system” tender. The aim is for “SRIMS is to be an interactive and integrated IT system that supports the Victoria’s financial management framework and the effective management of the State’s fiscal resources as well as the management needs of DTF. SRIMS needs to enable DTF to provide Government with meaningful, accurate and timely financial and performance information to support strategic resource allocation decision-making”.

It sounds like it will do great things for our state. But, the briefing isn’t until the second week in December, and a detailed and complex response is due by Jan 8. It’s one thing for Government Departments to show disdain for IT vendors year after year when tender responses are invariably due a week or two after Christmas. After all, we don’t need to spend time with our families do we? We love working over Christmas while all these Government employees are taking their holidays (Even though we are tax payers too!).

But, presumably this project will be an important contribution to the financial success of the state. What quality of response is this Department going to get in such a short period of time? Unless, of course, they have already picked the successful vendor who has already commenced work on the response.

Sweeney Research are conducting a telephone survey on attitudes to occupational health and safety commissioned by WorkSafe Victoria. Unsurprising questions about one’s working conditions are followed by questions about whether WorkSafe should be responsible for the safety of the general public. Suggestions are remarkably wide-ranging, covering just about everything except transport accidents and include: plausible — people passing construction sites; doubtful — people engaged in mass physical activities like fun runs; potentially oppressive — people using hired power tools; and downright bizarre — people using ATMs. What is going on? Are WorkSafe in bed with the plaintiffs’ lawyers who already make a tidy sum out of the scheme? Is something going on with the public liability insurers? Or is this some sort of groping towards a comprehensive no-fault compensation scheme?

The Fairfax farce continues with Annette Sharp — one of the few gossip columnists who can give The Sunday Tele’s Ros Reines a run for her money — resigning on Tuesday after her returning from maternity leave and left sitting around the Fairfax offices for a few weeks twiddling her thumbs when those upstairs couldn’t find a suitable position for her. Now she’s been snapped up by the Daily Telegraph to beef up the Sydney Confidential pages, famed for their use of press releases with the new editor wanting the pages to take on the SMH Stay In Touch page and in particular, Andrew Hornery and his very popular PS page on Saturdays.

Roberta Williams talking to Tracy Grimshaw for ACA tonight. The cost $30,000 is between $40,000. Enough for a wreath or three for her former mother-in-law?

Peter Fray

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