Blake Dawson Cull begins — at least three people in Blake’s Melbourne Ofice received the news this morning with more to come throughout the day. All have been instructed to keep it confidential and to say they have “gone home sick”.

Federal Aged Care Minister Justine Elliot spoke at the annual “Tri-State” conference of aged care providers from throughout SA, Victoria and NSW in Albury yesterday. Her speech, on the use of IT in aged care, appeared to be aimed at a primary school audience, instead of industry professionals who’ve been routinely using technology in their work for years. She received such a hostile reception that the MC, Denise Drysdale, was forced to intercede to prevent further embarrassment.

The Oz ran a sniffy, disapproving Strewth item ticking off the Smage for use of the acronym ‘MILF’ in a headline. ”Vulgar and demeaning… (blah blah) possibly the first time the word has been printed in this country by a mainstream news organisation”. A moment’s actual research by DD mcN would have revealed extensive use of the term… 28 times in 1400 words… in an article in The Australian magazine in May 2007. Tim Blair, in another piece in The Oz, remarked that the Philippines group also acronymed MILF was the second funniest political acronym after FARC. Pot, kettle etc.

Malcolm Turnbull seen loitering alone in lobby of BHP Billiton building in Lonsdale St, Melbourne (about 1 week ago) Given the Chinalco/Rio situation, could it be that he was visiting Marius?

Which Australian telco employee was noticed behaving rather poorly at Government House on Friday night? It wasn’t that the gathered A-listers would have preferred to listen to the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s performance, than be interrupted by his occasional nodding off. And it wasn’t that, when not punching out the zzzzs, he insisted on tapping out the tune with his foot against the back of the seat in front in front of him. No, it was when his mobile phone rang during the performance and he made no attempt to silence it that eyebrows were finally raised. It seems he preferred instead to just let it ring out.

Guess which party is conducting talks with different veteran representatives and the RSL is NOT one!

My wife went to go shopping on Sunday only to find that her NAB ATM card had expired and NAB had not sent a new card. When she went to a Branch today, she was told (unofficially) that the delay has been due to NAB pushing out VISA debit cards. The staff were unable to say when a new ATM card would be issued, however if we wanted a new VISA debit card it would be done asap…

I was interested to see on the Australian Institute of Management’s seminar calendar the following entry: “Living up to its name, the highly popular Outstanding Women’s Series is back. With a line up of five unique, inspirational and highly successful women set to share their challenges, milestones and career highlights, the 2009 series is sure to be a sell out.” On May 15, the guest speaker is none other than (Pacific Brands CEO) Sue Morphet. I wonder what “challenges, milestones and career highlights” she will share.

Have you seen press articles recently (Australian Feb 20 and AFR Rear Window 24 February) suggesting that ANZ’s Institutional division may have to pay an executive up to $45 million? It is all true.

Apparently, there are peat moss fires burning towards the coal mines and power stations (Gippsland, Victoria). On the 18th Feb, I ordered water to be delivered by our local water carrier. Gippsland Water were giving the water to people who were on water tanks free 20,000 litres, but you had to pay for cartage… fair enough. Here I was thinking okay, we would have water in the next couple of days, great. My spirits started to soar… I could get back to my garden and we would also have water if there were any more fires.

On the Saturday we saw Dave (the water carrier and gas bottle person), he told us that his trucks had been commandeered to help put out the peat moss fires that were heading towards the coal mine and power station. He wouldn’t be able to deliver the water until later the following week. Well today is the 2nd of March and we still have not received our delivery of water. As of this morning we have two inches in the tank. I won’t go into the details of how we have been living, and watching any of what was left of my garden die, because of this.

What makes me angry is that, if you listen to the ABC or look on the CFA and DSE websites there is no listing or news on this. The peat moss fire is still burning, they are still using all available water trucks to deliver water and try and flood the peat moss before it reaches the coal… I can understand that because that would have become a huge problem, but so is our problem. We had a town meeting yesterday, and Christine Nixon was there in her new role. No-one in the town knew this was happening exept the CFA, the water carrier and us.

On Saturday night the Alumni of the University of Sydney and Sydney University Union honoured one of their own, the newly retired Justice Michael Kirby. Other than giving a personal insight on the bleeding obvious (no-one can conquer Afghanistan and he had driven up the Khyber pass by Kombi twice when he was living in the ’70s), there were two surprises. Towards the end of his speech Kirby stripped off his sober black dinner jacket and appeared resplendent in striking canary yellow. He proceeded to do a Q+A, cruising among the audience of dignitaries (past and present) a bit in the manner of a night club singer, with serious questions replacing the usual banter.

In his reminiscences of student life, Kirby spoke of a militant student with the unusual name of Bronwyn Setright, who campaigned for workers’ rights among the class of articled clerks. She later married and is better known as Bronwyn Bishop. Her views on workers appear to have changed with the years. Barry O’Farrell was the only man not wearing a dinner suit.

It seems communication between the Nationals and Liberals in Queensland is still the same old story. While Springborg had prior notice of a public sector jobs rally outside a business breakfast this morning and entered by car, he forgot to tell his treasury spokesman. A very unimpressed Tim Nicholls was forced to walk the gauntlet.

You have to love the zero production values in today’s “Good Living” liftout in the Sydney Morning Herald. Several of the stories are lifted from the wires and could easily have been read on internet over the past two months by anyone interested (Hattie Ellis on Ivan Day (Daily Telegraph) and Elaine Sciolino on Francois Simon (NY Times). Haven’t editors heard of this newfangled internet thing, or do they just want to save money by not paying contributors. The Francois Simon story ends mid-sentence in the middle of a quote, while an NSW wine section features adverts urging visits to Sydney Cellar Door — which was held on Sunday. Best of all, a recipe for Chocolate mousse torte comes with the warning: “Recipes are not tested by Good Living”. Why not?

Fairfax’s shedding of journalists and subs is reflected in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, which has only five pages of domestic news (a total of 20 stories plus briefs and fillers). There were two pages of world news and the rest of the paper consists of letters, opinion, arts, business, obits, sport, food and wine. Newspapers are clearly no longer in the news business.

Macquarie Bank is set to announce mass redundancies this Thursday.