It would seem that someone high up in one of the more public and visible organisations within Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian community might have some explaining to do about ten of thousands of dollars in superannuation money and wages owing to former employees.

So Harry Triguboff has yet again got his way with the weak as p-ss powers that be in Sydney City. His claims in Wednesday’s SMH that he needs to enclose the balconies at Meriton Tower in George Street as a “public safety issue” are absurd. He just wants to up the floor space and thus the value of the real estate. That his blocks are allowed to be built right up to the footpath created this problem in the first place. In fact, unlike other great cities, Sydney is littered with monstrous buildings that devour every square centimetre of their footprint. We need an INDEPENDENT planning authority!

At least some copies of Tuesday 24 February SMH (I think it would be 2nd or 3rd edition) have been distributed today — at least in the Wollongong area (I have a copy) with one half blank page, and two others torn off in ragged saw-tooth fashion half way down the page in the printing process (so that ony half a page of each remains) — and this in news pages around the editorial page. I have not seen this in 20 years of working with Fairfax. Perhaps emblematic of McCarthyite cost cutting? Quality control is now below cheap throwaways. Right up there with Robert Whitehead’s yellow post-it note advertising Darrell Lea, plastered across the masthead late last year!

Does Optus only respond to consumer complaints once they are elevated to the TIO? I disputed an entry on my mobile account. I sent an email through the Optus website which promised a 5 day response. No response. So I wrote a letter accompanying my cheque (less the disputed amount). No response. A second bill arrived. I sent a second email through the Optus website. After 5 days no response, so a second letter with the next monthly account informing Optus that I was referring the matter to the TIO. Finally, after 8 weeks of this, I got the matter sorted. Everyone I spoke to at Optus was very nice and helpful. But why did they keep me waiting for 8 weeks? The case manager had no knowledge of my two emails and two letters which “went to different departments.”

Telstra sent a large number of invitations to ALP types to attend David Quilty’s address to the Press Club on Tuesday 24 February 2009. Unsurprisingly few took up the offer, not afraid of the increasingly irrelevant Conroy but worried what Kevin Rudd might think. One senior ALP type was heard to comment in a Qantas lounge “Quilty was a Tory staffer, he replaced himself as head of Government affairs with a Tory staffer and everyone in Telstra Govt relations is an ex Tory staffer — they are worse than the big banks!”

Interesting that before today’s untelevised National Press Club address, the CEO was trying to drum up numbers for next Monday’s speaker, s-x therapist Bettina Arndt. Dr Arndt will be claiming that Australian women are responsible for their philandering husbands’ behaviour by not having s-x when they don’t feel like it! Looks like the (mostly male) Press Club Board and its CEO missed the mark in choosing this speaker…

I took a couple of overseas trips in the last six months and was amazed to discover that arriving and departing passengers at Max Moore Wilton airport (Sydney) are expected to walk through, not past, duty free stores. On arrival, tired or jet-lagged, you have to zig-zag through mounds of booze, perfume and the rest of the inventory, arranged as if the intention was to create an obstacle course around which there is no escape.

It is impossible now to avoid these alleged bargains and proceed in a straight line to immigration and customs. The same is true (after immigration) when you head for the departure gates. It’s worse than dodging stacks of Andre Rieu CDs when you try to buy stamps at a post office. Clearly, someone decided this is a good sales strategy, but no airports anywhere else in the world allow duty free vendors to waylay customers in this way. Are we ahead or behind on this one?

One of the major unions in Australia is fraught with a culture of bullying, intimidation and harassment of staff. Staff talk about working in a culture of silence where even conversations about work conditions don’t occur. Industrial staff are terrified to speak up and assert their rights over the most minor of issues. Some staff members have considered reporting the union to Workcover to expose the hypocrisy. An investigation into union culture in Australia is needed, workers who defend workers are under threat.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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