Ex-Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra was busy shopping in Sydney’s QVB last Thursday surrounded by minders and bodyguards. He was staying at the Park Hyatt and flew out to Singapore on Saturday.

Jane Halton, Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing, when attending a fund raising event at ANU, in 2005 declared that “Howard could not get her, she had too much on them”. Naturally all those present were stunned — some embarrassed — at the Secretary’s outburst. From an eyewitness …

Are the ATO ripping us off? As a 63-year-old and considering retirement and aware my super fund has diminished by some $80,000 in past six months, I enquired how I might claim for these losses on my tax return, bearing in mind how the ATO siphons off 15% when in the event of income is generated from these funds. However I was surprised when the ATO informed me there was no provision for claiming against losses. The ATO operator was sure of this as he was in the same boat and saw it as an anomaly that would only be overturned if those affected contact their local members to complain.

This is very strange. News Ltd are going carbon neutral? Why are they doing this? Does Andrew Bolt know?

What a waste of time checking SMH Online for the latest about the Victorian heatwave on Saturday evening. The story ran with an intro about “Australia’s second-largest city…” which only made sense when reading the footer at the bottom of the story which it turns out was from AFP: “This story is sourced direct from an overseas news agency as an additional service to readers. Spelling follows North American usage, along with foreign currency and measurement units.” An additional service to readers?

In Adelaide it seems to be only Two Degrees of Separation! The self-absorbed Matthew Abraham (presenter of Mornings 891 on ABC Adelaide with “Boy David” Bevan) is very prickly when it comes to ensuring that others are seen to be doing the right thing. In addition to his duties for the ABC, for some years he has written a column for the weekly freebie Eastern Courier, which until recently was edited by Megan Lloyd. Every Friday his program includes The Spin Cycle which until recently featured Megan Lloyd. She is now editor of the Murdoch Sunday Mail. Guess who has just been introduced as a feature writer? Yes, none other than Matthew Abraham. All a bit cosy, isn’t it?

In yesterday’s Sunday Age, Graham Currie, the Professor of Public Transport at Monash University, told Melburnians to stop complaining about train cancellations and just accept that nothing can be done. Apparently, we are the only city in the world with a rail system that wasn’t designed to operate in summer. A very convenient position for Connex and the government, but then, as the Sunday Age should have told us, Connex helps pay Professor Currie’s salary. His chair is jointly funded by Metlink (the marketing arm for Connex, Yarra Trams et al), the Bus Assoc of Vic (the industry rep for private bus operators) and the Department of Transport.

Peter Fray

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