You know when the economy is going bad when James Packer cancels the purchase of a $500,000 Aston Martin. I was looking on carsales.com.au on Wednesday 4th of February when I spied for sale a brand new Aston Martin DBS in onyx black. It seems it was a special order for a special customer who believes he looks like Daniel Craig. Photos of the car revealed the delivery plate on the door sill of the sports car “Hand built in England for Mr James Packer”.

Seems James’ sudden drop in wealth meant some one else will have to foot the bill for the car that now has a unique history to it.

Like Kerry Packer, word must have got back to Packer junior who promptly picked up the blower and yelled down the line a torrid of abuse to pull the car ad from public display for now it has been removed from the web site. Perhaps a quick call to Trivett Prestige in Sydney will reveal more clues as to what happened.

There will be 20 or so definite viewers of the first edition of the new Seven current affairs program, Sunday Night. Those souls at 60 Minutes have been told to watch it go to air, or get a copy to check it. Those that are in the country that is. Times are tough at 60 Minutes. The news and current affairs flagship of the Nine Network is now a very lonely outpost and that is being reflected in the cliques, in-fighting and lack of management from the top.

There are mad rewrites of all the stories, for little improvement. On the road, everyone is now limited to one bottle of wine, but the beer’s still plentiful and economy class is now mandatory. The late Richard Carleton wouldn’t stood for that; he always turned left on boarding an international flight. The crews and producers turned right.

Nine’s bean counters now have the program on a reduced budget of around $18 million a year, give or take a few hundred thousands dollars of over runs. Everyone thinks that’s too little, but those in other areas of the much reduced news department can only sigh with envy.

For the first time Seven is having a smart go at 60 Minutes, not with popular entertainment, or a high cost similar program in the same slot, but a similar program, done less expensively, live to air, an hour later.

Although everyone in finance is dealing with redundancies at the moment, Crikey might like to learn that State Super Financial Services (head office in Sydney) has undergone a stranger restructure than most. While other financial institutions are punting middle management and shoring up financial adviser support, SSFS has kept on all top and middle level managers (promoting one and going on a big celebratory lunch like it’s the 80s) and making redundant most of adviser support services, including the Training Manager and Training Coordinator. This last point has resulted in a complaint to ASIC because it clearly breaches RG146 and puts their financial services licence in danger. Too many bonuses, not enough sense…

On 12 January ex Immigration staffer reported (privately) that a boatload of 200 asylum seekers was expected on Christmas Island. This boat did not arrive. Where are they? Who are they? What did Immigration know about the boatloads of Rohingyas (Burmese) being pushed out to sea by the Thai Navy?

White Bay car terminal. NSW Government decision to close and re-direct ships to Wollongong. Cars then to be distributed direct to dealers. Not happening. Ships deliver cars to Wollongong as planned. Cars then transported by road back to White Bay for storage & distribution. Go figure!

And finally…

Moonato Zoo, a very high quality African Safari nature park east of Adelaide, has been closed 10 out of the last 14 days. Heat policy apparently — in an African Safari park.

Peter Fray

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