The Strategic Policy and Budget Cabinet Committee — Rudd, Swan, Tanner, Gillard — have been busy on immigration and 457 visa issues, possibly with the aim of better matching visa and immigration applications to demand for skills, encouraging academic qualifications over trades skills, and taking into account redundancies in particular regions. The aim is to head off anti-immigration sentiment as joblessness grows.

It is not just journos at Quest Community Newspapers that are disgusted with the direction of the company. Several long serving editors are ready to jump ship and set up their own papers due to the oppressive regime of EIC Scott Thompson and Group Managing Editor Gavin Lauman.

One editor was given a poor performance review because he forgot to fill out forms correctly while another was offered anger management classes because he was seen to slam a fridge door. Another was recently told that his only staff member was not being replaced. Instead a series of work experience kids and interns are doing the former staff member’s work. Another editor bought a house close to his office and shortly after was moved to whoop whoop.

Editors and senior staff are so concerned that they have met with former EIC Shane Rodgers (now GM at Queensland Newspapers) in a well known Brisbane coffee shop to discuss their grievances. Rodgers regime was known for being family friendly and he was respected but the same can not be said of the current hierarchy.

Instead of editors having autonomy over their own individual papers they are micromanaged and have to get their front pages past a virtual committe. A cosying up to advertisers has failed dismally with Quest now 33 per cent behind on advertising budget. Some papers flop by over 50 per cent on their budgets and morale is at an all time low. Some editors want to be more hard hitting but the stifling control allows for little room to move.

MEAA members at Quest are disgusted by the misinformation sent to staff by editor-in-chief Scott Thompson regarding the recent News Ltd community newspaper negotiations. Mr Thompson sent out an e-mail saying that the new EBA was “ready to be voted on” and the company expected “minor wording changes” to their claims. That was completely incorrect. Members voted to reject the offer from News Ltd and had major concerns with several company claims including an attempt to lower the minimum grade for casuals and a refusal to pay a 10 per cent higher duties allowance.

Passengers on QF9 travelling from Melbourne to Singapore and on to London on Monday were amazed that a section of the cabin (premium economy and front of economy – often populated by platinum flyers taking their families overseas on points) had no internal lights and entertainment system for the Melb-Sing sector.

The disinterested Cabin Service Supervisor gave this reason — on every flight at least 4% of passengers can’t see the eneterainment system, but it gets better when people fall asleep and then the units which weren’t working, do then work. There was no explanation for the lights.
I was amongst a coterie of frequent flyers who complained bitterly and asked for torches to read — we were upgraded to premium economy for the Sing-London sector. Guess what? Entertainment didn’t work — but we did have lights!

Message to Qantas engineering — please explain the 4%.

Monday Night 6.30pm Safeway in Carlton. Average queue length 12 people. Only 4 checkouts out of 14 possible open. Asked sweet young thing on checkout why — “guess they want to save money” — out of the mouths of babes.