Australia under financial stain? Why is the Federal Government still purchasing uniforms overseas for a certain law enforcement departments?

It seems like Commonwealth Bank’s entire Netbank system is down, and the phone banking system is overloaded — “we would appreciate it if you could call back later”, the voice message says.

Mike Rann has just killed off all the parody twitter feeds of SA government ministers, including his own. His genuine feed has 20 followers, the parody has 12,800. Lachlan Parker says they “mysteriously disappeared” after some complaints in Question Time.

Spotted at Intermezzo restaurant in the Sydney GPO having lunch was Barry O’Farrell at one table and Morris Iemma at another. They exchanged smiles when Iemma was leaving but that was about it.

Nine Network’s practice of advertising shows at a certain hour and then running them over to thwart other channels’ programming is now entrenched with shows such as Underbelly starting and finishing over 10 minutes late. They all do it but is this a breach of ACMA rules or the Trade Practices Act (deceptive and misleading conduct)?

Production on the childrens’ television series Fairies, which airs on Channel Seven, has halted. The series is filmed in Adelaide, it follows the adventures of fairies Harmony, Rhapsody and their magical friends. It was meant to go back into production last week but when the producers got wind that the fairies wanted a union agreement production was halted. The fairies’ union is taking legal action.

Bunnings BBQ 1. Several weekends ago, members from the cult Kenja, posing as a charity, were running the fundraising barbeque stall at Bunnings in Mascot.

Bunnings BBQ 2. Your Rotarian who reported the refusal of Bunnings to allow hamburgers to be cooked on their barbeques may be interested to know that there may be other issues involved. A sporting group in western Sydney were told by Bunnings that they couldn’t sell bacon and egg rolls because it would compete with McDonald’s on the other side of the car park.

Why does Qantas only run two services direct Melbourne to Canberra on a Sunday? All other services (of which there are many) go via Sydney. So instead of one hour of airline fuel, my upcoming trip uses two — the first hour to Sydney (with a one hour wait), the second hour to Canberra. How can Qantas remain profitable and a responsible corporate citizen? How can it expect to be taken seriously as a national airline?

Virgin Blue has set up its new international operation as a no union work site. As a consequence it has only been able to attract 2 Virgin Blue pilots to the operation. It now hopes to use the stick of go to V Australia on lower pay and significantly worse conditions or face the sack. As an example of the condition busting strategy pilots whilst on a layover in LA are required to be on call for the entire duration of the layover thus not even allowing them to have a quite beer or a glass on wine with a meal.

They are also required to remain aviable for call in 24/7 — 365. That is they may be on a day off resting after duty or on an annual leave break and they must still be contactable and aviable to be called in. It is no surprise that the jobs at V Australia have attracted mostly South Africans and others form offshore willing to take any conditions to have an chance to live and work in Australia.

In choosing who to sack Godfrey also wants to recant on the pilots EBA by ignoring the time honoured last on first off principle.

Thursday’s Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette carries a survey which will not make happy reading for the Queensland Government. “No way back on slippery merger slope for Labor” tells what everyone up here in the former Douglas Shire has known for the past year — that the forced amalgamation of the Shire with Cairns would have a huge voter backlash.

In the survey of 300 local residents who said they intended to vote at the next State Government election, 69.7% said the LNP’s Craig Batchelor would get their vote followed by 14.3% opting for the Greens. 2.7% will vote One Nation and 3% for Independents. A further 100 voters are still to make up their mind. Just 10.3% said they would vote for Labor’s Jason O’Brien who has held this traditional Labor seat since 2004. Mr. O’Brien said he was “a little surprised”.

Douglas residents were still furious about amalgamation and acknowledged his unpopularity was due to the forced merger. More than 95% of the survey’s respondents believed the former Douglas Shire was worse off under CRC’s governance with more than 90% stating the amalgamation decision should be reversed. Which is exactly what the LNP is proposing to do should they get elected.

I went to the Telstra shop in Melbourne’s Camberwell today to buy a new phone. I was greeted by a man who produced a clipboard and asked for my name. I asked why I have to give my name to look at phones. He said he wanted my name so he could introduce me to someone who could help. I declined, he said no one would be able to help me unless I gave my name, I said “well p-ss off then” and walked out. Surely there are privacy issues being breached here. I’m sure I’ll enjoy Vodaphone more, and they didn’t even insist on taking my name before I could view their phones.

The commodification of happiness continues. Sydney Morning Herald readers received a flier with their paper on Thursday advertising the fourth annual “Happiness and its Causes” conference offering them “tools and techniques for a happier life”. What will make the organisers really happy is if they enrich them to the tune of $1525 for a gold pass (discounted if you book early) to the two day chuckle-fest at Sydney’s Darling Harbour Convention Centre in May. Dozens of smiling gurus are promised including psychologists, philosophers, marriage counsellors, Tibetan lamas, ABC “celebrities” and professional comedians in a packed program of self-help lectures and workshops.

Aside from the usual www and email address and a prodigious catalogue of corporate and institutional “endorsing bodies” (which includes the Dalai Lama’s support group in Australia) there is nothing to reveal the identity of the organisers — the Vajrayana Institute which promotes the teaching of Tibetan buddhism and is supported by the World Happiness Forum (in turn sponsored by Terrapinn, an South African based management training company).