The Bangkok gossip mill is running a story at Sydney University’s expense, but which may give hope to those local applicants who missed out on their second round university entry. Seems that the daughter of fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra applied to the University of Sydney to undertake further study. The daughter, according to even her closest friends, isn’t the scholarly type. Despite her generously inflated Thai marks, she was initially rejected by the University of Sydney.

Given this was probably her first ever rejection for anything in her life, Thaksin’s daughter promptly resent her rejected application directly to the faculty she wanted to enter, along with a magazine cover of her father, with an attached note simply saying “THIS IS MY FATHER”.

According to the gossip, the faculty subsequently saw merit in the resubmitted application and Miss Shinawatra was promptly accepted. Fortunately for Sydney University, further embarrassment has been averted. The underperforming academic Miss Shinawatra was accepted into London’s Imperial College, which also offered her a place. But it was clear that the hallowed grounds of Sydney was almost her last desperate choice.

As they say when choosing a university in Thailand: “Old Money” goes to the UK, “New Money” goes to the US, and “No Money” goes to Australia.

There were 19 classes of trainee train drivers, each of about 12 in number, that went through the RailCorp school last year…that’s about 200 more NSW train drivers that will be out there sometime in 2009. Numbers are already about 300 more than necessary to run the system. The Epping-Chatswood link absorbs about 50 existing drivers from the pool, so where are the new drivers going? Will they sit around at Central waiting for a job?

Expect Eddie Maguire to pop up as the co-host of Nine’s new 5.30pm “news magazine” show. It’s the latest in a string of increasingly desperate measures to build an audience for the failing 6pm news in Melbourne (Sydney’s getting their own version, and they have bigger 6pm news audience issues there). They are a rehash of Melbourne Extra and Sydney Extra, which were tried and failed dismally in the 1990s. Or was it the 1980s?

Once again the union-hating CEO of Cochlear Australia is advertising for a Hd/Communications. This must be the third time in two years. What does he do, eat them? Anyone who takes on this gig would have to be to the right of Tony Abbott!

The band of golf courses that straddle the Yarra River from Yarra Bend in Fairfield to Warrandyte out east were all told they were to lose their Yarra River water rights about two years ago. Each course had a generous allocation that allowed them to water at will (and that they did). The announcement from the various water companies set off a spate of dam building on the courses. Well, the dams are built, and most now meet the needs of the courses (which still water at will — including grass around car parks etc). The only problem, courses now pump water from the Yarra into their dams, which they use to water their courses. Yep, someone backed down and the courses are still draining huge amounts from the Yarra. One course has built a pumping station to supply its dam. Melbourne Water and the State Government have a lot to answer for. 

Top heavy at Customs? What a surprise. The organisation is run by Michael Carmody. Have a look at the upside down structure he created and left in the ATO! Many locals have been questioning why Mike Baird’s media releases have been getting more hairy chested. Maybe it is because his new media person is Wendy Black — wife of Steve Price.

What is with the SMH health writers (and their subs) at the moment? Deborah Smith loudly proclaimed “TV, video games increase risk of depression in teens” yet if she had even bothered to read the abstract of the paper she was basing her article on she would have seen that it said “we did not find a consistent relationship between the development of depressive symptoms and exposure to… computer games”. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

The Logies last year in Melbourne? ACP’s TV Week has started advertising the voting for this year’s Logies. The awards night is scheduled for Crown. But the deal between TV and Crown and the Logies is believed to end this year. TV Week‘s circulation is weak and is struggling to stay above 200,000. ACP wants to keep the Logies association, because it means solid sales at this time of year for the faltering magazine. But Nine, Seven and Ten are not really fussed where the awards go. Queensland Events Corporation is angling to get the awards to the Gold Coast next year. They tried for this year but the deal with TV Week and Crown was too firm to be busted. The Networks have said they will look at next year in the light of “incentives”. Des Power at Queensland Events wants to be the Mr Big of East Coast events. Stay tuned.

REA Group (majority owned by News Limited) is looking to sell their UK operations (JV with News International) after three years of technology issues have left it unable to compete profitably in the UK market.

Peter Fray

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