Cardboard magnate Richard Pratt is currently a patient of the Epworth Hospital’s Camberwell rehab campus. The cause of his stay is unknown, but the Camberwell hospital caters for rehabilitation after the following: stroke and other neurological events e.g. Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, orthopaedic surgery e.g. total hip/knee replacement/spinal surgery, sleep studies, pain syndromes and associated functional restoration, cardiac events, musculo-skeletal events, restorative, reconditioning and acquired brain injury. Take your pick.

It appears that while Julie Bishop’s staffers are far too busy to bother with pesky trivialities like footnotes, at least one of her office drones had time on Monday to send around a massive spam email asking for all her supporters to vote in a West Australian online poll, “Is Julie Bishop up to the job of Deputy Opposition Leader”. Well, that’s at least two votes in the Prada bag, isn’t that right Malcolm?

Now that the MCC elections are over, many in the inner suburban ALP are secretly relieved McMullin didn’t win and Kimberley Kitching didn’t get her plum job at Town Hall. Those more intelligent members of Labor Unity are not really scratching their heads as to what went wrong. Most have privately acknowledged the real reasons for the loss following half a million dollars of campaign expenditure on McMullin’s campaign.

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The reasons are:

  1. The candidate just wasn’t good enough. Putting up a Mayor from Geelong whose connection with the people of inner Melbourne is, for all practical intents and purposes, tenuous at best — who can remember him ever turning up to a local residents meeting or fighting for an issue? Any issue? And he is hardly Mr approachable. More like Mr Aloof.
  2. The preference deals were not done too well. But this may have partly been because the key players wanted to support him (apart from Wil who had to). And putting the Libs above the Greens was not a good look either. And there were considerable leakage away from the preference deals of other candidates ensuring McMullin and his Liberal sidekick were shoved further down the ticket.
  3. And speaking of Tonto the hard right Lib, most Labor leaning, thinking people of the inner suburbs (of which we are the majority), were infuriated by what was seen as ratting us out in putting Wilson as deputy so that McMullin could be Lord Mayor. Where would that get us and our values Peter? Nowhere fast.
  4. The negative campaign against the Greens and Catherine Ng gave them a big sympathy vote, especially Catherine.
  5. And of course McMullin had KK as his campaign director. Her idea of a campaign is throwing lots of money at it, saying what people will want to hear and attacking the opposition. Well KK, we think about things in the inner suburbs. After your less than stellar performance as a councillor, we won’t be fooled by that again.

If McMullin had not split the Labor vote, Wil Fowles may now have been our Lord Mayor. Although he may be a bit young for the job, we now have a Lib. Thanks Peter. Thanks a lot. We are not happy. Please don’t come again.

This comment was taken off an internal Airservices Australia Bulletin Board on Nov 15th. Jason (GM ATC):

Now I have seen it all! Tonight we have another TIBA (non controlled) in Fraser airspace. QF21 (BN-RJAA) has just flown south, then been vectored around the TIBA airspace, and will be passing abeam BN northbound after about an hours flight time.

To make the situation even more farcical, the TIBA airspace is being CRM monitored by an ALM (line manager). Until a few months ago, this very same ALM was an air traffic controller. Moreover, he was rated on the very sectors in which you no longer allow him to provide a service. Even Sir Humphrey Appleby would find it hard to explain this as “efficiency”!

What do you think this one isolated incident cost in fuel burn, carbon emissions, extra crew costs etc for our major customer? Please, let’s get serious about returning at least some of our operational capacity! Remember, it is entirely due to deliberate management decisions that the available staff (who were here tonight) are no longer allowed to do what they were trained for. It has nothing to do with “staff availability” or renegades or any other scapegoats.

Losing hope fast.

The death of the magazine industry continues apace. News Mag’s Glamour has folded before it’s even been launched.

Mass redundancies at ABC TV… The biggest job cuts will come as video editors are sacked and TV journalists are required to cut their own footage for broadcast stories. One editor is facing the sack after writing a letter to the Canberra Times on Friday complaining about what the change will mean to journalistic standards and broadcast quality at the ABC. Apparently Al Jazeera Arabic Network attempted to get all journalists to edit their own footage as a cost saving measure. But three months later they were forced to do a costly back flip hiring all the professional editors back.

Perhaps ABC will achieve what no other TV network in the world has? It’s doubtful, but the commercial networks will be studying the experiment closely to see if they can save a dollar or two.

If ABC Radio National listeners are curious about what they might be offered in the way of online “content” instead of the award-winning Street Stories feature show which has been dropped so producers can do for internet work, they need look (or listen) no further than Kerrie-Jean’s scatological blog which currently proclaims a rap track called Jesus I could do with a Root this Xmas — downloadable, of course.

K-J’s blog is advertised on RN’s (“world of ideas”) front page or it can be accessed directly at Could this be management’s idea of the future? Or is K-J, as she likes to be known, having a lend of them? It will be interesting to see how far she is prepared to go to test their patience.

It is a terrible pity that the “Tips and rumours” section of Crikey has to become the forum for a debate about ANAM, but of course it is precisely because the machinations between the University, Federal Government, Victoria Opera and AYO have been carried out in secret, without industry consultation, that causes industry figures to be genuinely fearful of making their views publicly known. The whole process has proved, if nothing else, how little influence musicians seem to have over their own futures.

The irony is that the administrative shortcomings of ANAM were generally recognised, and reform of the organisation would most likely have been widely applauded. What, then, really has people so upset about the prospect of a ménage à trois between Melb Uni, VO, and the speculative AIMP? It is simple. Neither VO nor Melb Uni can offer anything approaching the visionary leadership or international standing that Brett Dean had brought to ANAM.

Victoria Opera has been a mediocre foundation from inception — its only universal critical success has been — and fancy that! — a production held earlier this year using ANAM musicians. The Faculty of Music likewise cannot claim the confidence of the profession, made evident through its inability in recent years to attract and retain even national-standard performing staff to head its string and piano departments. How is it, then, that the Federal Government has in effect handed over the future of elite music training in the country to such lacklustre institutions?

Simple — because the key players, men like Glynn Davis, nor Peter Garrett sought to extend their circle of advisors beyond people of the ilk of Richard Gill and Warren Bebbington — who, despite their elevation to positions of power — have never attracted the confidence of the music business. Journalists should stop reading University brochures, and watching Spicks and Specks, and instead do their homework. Seek, and ye shall find! Anyone out there prepared to speak for the international academic credibility of Bebbington, or the international reputation of Gill as an opera conductor?

Rumours are growing that the Australian National Academy of Music are likely to get transition funding for at least part of next year to keep the institution going. I’ve also heard they’re exploring options to try and run more like a business and not rely on Government funding, but I think would never work.

Melbourne Uni’s Staff/Arts Renewal Strategy makes interesting reading. One can only admire the spirit of transparency in making these documents public. I wonder what prospective students make of 50% teaching overload as grounds for avoiding redundancy. Was impressed to learn (from the nifty redundancy benefit calculator) that the plural of formula is formula’s.

Macquarie sliced jobs in Sydney Melbourne on Monday. Don’t believe the hype when Macquarie report that the company typically hire in economic downturns. The axe went in Sydney and Melbourne particularly across Macquarie Securities Group… they have been picking people off by stealth and about 30 people lost jobs with more tipped to come. It is clearly a vote of “no confidence” given many of these roles are in Sales (and not back office etc).

Foster’s Group (FGL) makes 44 redundancies. More to come. 14 roles in IT have been made redundant, 3 more to come. A further 6 vacant roles will not be filled. There will be more to come in the following weeks.

Invitations have gone out from Major General David Chalmers, operational commander of the NT Emergency Response, inviting people — including media — to “an evening of cocktails” running for some two hours at the Strangers’ Dining Room at Parliament House Darwin tonight. This is, of course, at the behest of a military commander who was charged to stem “the rivers of grog”, with substantial legislative powers, troops and civilian police to back him up. The “cocktails”, which up here implies spirits will be available rather than the usual beer and wine supplied by the local wowsers in the Labor Government, are being held “to acknowledge support provided to the Northern Territory Emergency Response”.

Presumably that’s how Chalmers and his Taskforce saw the media that they have invited to this soiree — supporters and cheerleaders rather than dispassionate observers and recorders of fact. It is doubtful that any of the thousands of Aboriginal subjects of the Emergency Response who now have their income quarantined to prevent them buying grog will be invited to this free drinks knees up.The dress rules my preclude at least some from remote communities [Gentlemen: Long Trousers, Long Sleeve Shirt (Tie optional); Ladies: After Five].

Crikey/Media Monitors radio rumour watch reports:

  • Presenter Ross Stevenson says Centrelink is rumoured to have set aside emergency funds for expected defections by team members from foreign teams at the Homeless World Cup of Soccer in Melbourne, particularly those from African nations. — 3AW (Melbourne) 7:08am
  • Caller “Recycle” claims “a certain cardboard magnate” is due to retire soon. — 3AW (Melbourne) 7:14am
  • Actor Tom Cruise has hit back at claims he and Amazon conspired to have a book called The Complex which is critical of Scientology banned. Amazon still sells the controversial biography of Cruise by Andrew Morton. — Channel 7 Sunrise 7:49am
  • Caller “Bang For Your Buck” says he’s heard the Government has bought a 1000 hectare farm at Swan Reach for the storage of army ammunitions. He says they are starting the works on the property, erecting fences and so on. — Triple M (Adelaide) 8:10am
  • Peter Crisp, National Party Member for Mildura, could be stripped of his seat after newspaper claims he lives in NSW. Crisp has said he lives in Victoria. There are indications he will speak on the issue tomorrow. — ABC Central Victoria 9:05am

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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