Having stopped off for a quiet cold one at a bar well known for serving ALP staffers, I couldn’t help but overhear an excited conversation between a few staffers about their bosses’ problems in the bedroom. It seems that in the pitched battle for paid maternity leave, several Labor MPs wives are threatening to withhold s-x if it’s not put into the 2009/10 budget.

Robert Doyle has swept aside concerns about his “day” job as chairman of Melbourne Health by saying he can do it all in “one day a week”. He is being paid by a state (Labor) government $40,000 for one day a week — the mind boggles! Surely the opposition will ask a question about that.

The new Government CCMS childcare payment system is in a shambles, monies being paid to wrong accounts, one client’s claims being paid to another clients account. Parents not being able to receive accounts of what they owe for the next week even never mind the next month because the information required for these details are now being provided by CCMS in arrears, all operators changing over to the new system and those currently using it are in turmoil and the help desk at CCMS, when it is answered, which is next to never, mostly cannot explain what has gone wrong with payments and usually do not get back to the operators for well over a week in which time the next claim has been made creating a new set of problems.

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If this continues as is there will be a massive amount of centres running out of cash to keep their businesses going and the ABC problem will be small in comparison. The change over has been and is a shambles and is totally understaffed by unknowledgeable people, who obviously have not been trained properly and are being left to deal with centre operators who themselves have limited knowledge on how this new system is supposed to work.

I read your piece on Airservices Australia. You are not tough enough on Russell. He is simply hated by staff throughout the organisation. After several years of restructuring/restructuring and cutbacks the whole place is dysfunctional. ATCs numbers were reduced several years ago only for the idiots managing ASA to later realize that they were short. This was in part regulatory since CASA required ATCs in enroute centres to take more frequent breaks for safety reasons and very poor planning on ATC staffing. The Age profile of ATCs is such that the situation is not easily fixed and will take years. ASA is resorting to poaching Defence force personnel to work in air traffic control and the RAAF is seriously p-ssed.

Looks like the problems with Air Traffic Control are still in full-swing… I’m currently sitting in the Qantas Lounge (8.30am) at Sydney Domestic. QF510 (Sydney to Brisvegas) at 8:35am was cancelled and we were changed to QF512 scheduled for 9:05am. However the friendly Qantas voices from the sky have just announced that “due to lack of Air Traffic Control QF512 has been delayed by a further 50 minutes”. At least I have free coffee and wi-fi.

Next board meeting at Channel Ten may be CEO Grant Blackley’s last. Major shareholder Canwest is very, very unhappy with the financial outlook and losing their number one show of the last three years Thank God You’re Here is a bridge too far for Blackley.

Kirk’s not in trouble at Fairfax. Walker is. The instos hated his deal in radio to favour his mate. It stank. And that’s why they’re ranting about debt levels: code for Ron stuffed up. The big problem at Fairfax is the Ronald. He’s constantly involved, notably in Melbourne.

Riding the bus home on Friday afternoon, I overheard a conversation between some Mac Bank employees who were talking about their recent work Xmas party where Presets played and the budget was $100k…

Rumours of Richard Pratt’s impending retirement may not have been exaggerated:

Crikey/Media Monitors radio rumour watch reports:

  • Caller “Botox Redux” claims a TV host arriving back in Australia last month had her passport electronically scanned. The picture no longer matched her face due to cosmetic surgery. — 3AW (Melbourne) 7:11am
  • Caller “No Imagination” says TV ads promoting Melbourne featuring a giant imaginary friend were devised and filmed by a Sydney production company. — 3AW (Melbourne) 7:13am
  • Unnamed caller (AKA 5AA presenter Jon Blake) jokes a merger between 5AA and ABC is going ahead. He advises Breakfast Show presenters Tony Pilkington and Keith Conlon their show will be rebranded “The Old, Bald and Fat Brothers”. — 5AA 8:17am

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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