More and more is being revealed about the players and processes (or lack of them) that lay behind the Federal Government’s decision to close ANAM, and to redirect its funding to the University of Melbourne, and it is not edifying.

Now, in a circular to all staff, Glyn Davis, while protesting (too much) that the decision “took us all by surprise”, has revealed that the replacement body, AIMP, will involve close collaborations with Victoria Opera (which is also affiliated with the University) and its own School of Music. At a stroke, then, the University abolishes its only rival for serious music education in Melbourne, forcing all students to accept the “Melbourne Model”, and Victoria Opera gets, in effect, a Young Artists Programme paid for by Federal Government money.

None of this might be taken for more than idle gossip, of course, if the University of Melbourne, or Victoria Opera, could bring to the party a track record of high achievement in music education, but — as industry insiders know full well — they can’t. If the leadership of such organisations comes to control AIMP, which appears likely, it will be doomed from the outset.

And does the University of Melbourne seriously think AIMP will attract the best international students? The University needs to stop reading its own brochures and get on a plane and visit Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing–and see just how far behind best practice the AIMP is, even before it even opens. The only international students AIMP will attract will be the rich and mediocre.

When lawyer Paul Chadwick joined the growing throng of over-paid ABC executives (some of whom are get more than the prime minister thanks to Jonathan Shier’s push to elevate their status to that of private corporations) he decided the convoluted and contradictory editorial policies (‘ed-pols’ as the management geeks call them) were mostly rubbish, which is why they are being quietly rewritten.

Fairfax no longer has any shorthand trainers. Penny, the long-standing Sydney trainer, retired last year. And Jacqui, who was the trainer at The Age, was made redundant. These ladies trained both cadets coming through the traineeship as well as older journos who wanted refresher courses or who were never taught. Penny did both pitmans and teeline. Learning shorthand for 12 months during my cadetship was the most valuable thing I have done. It’s such a shame to lose it.

News Limited is offering redundancies, and quite a few of them, at The Australian. The whole thing is being done with a lot less bluster than at Fairfax, but the cuts are no less real. Among the first to go is training and recruitment manager Peter O’Brien. Needless to add, there will be no traineeships at The Australian this year.

I have heard that Ambulance Victoria purchases certain types of medical equipment, but requires officers from individual ambulance stations to fundraise a sum equal to the value of each item before it will be provided to them. In other words, using donations to effectively reimburse head office for the cost of standard issue equipment which has already been purchased by taxpayers.

Rudd initially indicated he would not stop ACT laws on gay and lesbian civil unions. Why did he subsequently change his mind? Was it when he discovered he may need the support of Fielding in the senate? In the analysis around his first anniversary as PM it’s been said Rudd has kept all his pre-election promises. Not this one.

Crikey/Media Monitors radio rumour watch reports:

  • Caller “Not So Hard Up” claims that despite the difficult economic times, a major bank will be taking 100 of its top achievers to China on an all expenses paid holiday next week. — 7:10am 3AW (Melbourne)
  • Caller “Cracker Jack” clams a physical dispute broke out between a competitor and an elderly umpire at an under-30s bowling tournament at a (Melbourne) eastern suburbs lawn bowls club on Sunday. Other members barricaded themselves inside. The police were called so the competitor threw a jack through the clubhouse window and then left. — 7:11am 3AW (Melbourne)
  • Caller “Yellow and Black Nissan” claims Nissan will announce a decision to resume its sponsorship of Richmond FC and it “may have something to do with the shorts.” — 7:12am 3AW (Melbourne)
  • Rapper Jay Z is rumoured to be the support act for Coldplay next year at overseas gigs, including their tour of Australia next year. — 8:03am NOVA 96.9 (Sydney)
  • Caller Michelle has heard schoolies has been fairly tame. Her daughter is at Lorne (in Victoria) for schoolies… — 9:41am ABC 774 (Melbourne)

Meanwhile — in Gotham City — will The Dark Knight die this week?!

  • There are rumours that Batman will be killed in the next issue of the comic published on Thursday. — NOVA 100.3 (Melbourne)

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey