On Sunday I attended a lunch hosted by Tanya Plibersek at the Women’s World Cup cricket at North Sydney Oval. I walked in to collect my name tag and was prevailed upon to complete and sign an Acknowledgement and Consent, on a DFHCSIA letterhead, giving permission for any photographs in which I happen to appear to be used by the department or any other government department or agency.

I then go on to agree that if I receive a copy of a photo with me in it I can’t reproduce it or distribute it commercially. I am astonished at the nannifying political correctness of this behaviour by the department.

I assume it is so i can’t complain if they happen to catch a wardrobe malfunction or any other indiscretion or make money out of a pic of me and the minister at my next tilt at a federal seat.

WA voters should see this. The new WA State Government is trying to set the clock back, by changing local government voting to ‘First past the Post’. Before this goes any further, it should open its eyes to what is happening in more enlightened parts of the world.

ABC Drama tonight: the full ABC charm offensive on Canberra kicks in. Among the claims is more money for Aussie drama — instead, why doesn’t the government put it to open tender and let the independent sector, SBS and commercial networks competitively bid for the money too? Probably via Screen Australia — while this isn’t ideal but could be the least-worst option.

On Monday night 399,000 people watched The Cut and 2.23 million watched Underbelly an hour earlier. ABC Dramas of 2008 included such mediocrity like East Of Everything, Bed of Roses and Rain Shadow … yeah, all of those are “Australian stories demanding to be told”. Just why is it that these people should be given more money to make drama?

Having them as the conduit between the Australian people and storytellers (ie. the drama producers who actually make the things) isn’t really working out is it? If it was based on productivity, quality and audience appeal you’d probably suggest their budget should be cut.

I work there and I’d love to see more great Australian drama made — maybe even shown on the ABC. But most people inside would probably agree that throwing more money at the problem isn’t really the solution.

Tough day at ABC Southbank!:

From: Colin Denovan
To: radio_news
CC: tv_news
Sent: 6/03/2009 16:24:14

For some reason, the stand containing coats that smell and look as though they belonged to ABC journalists in the 1950s, has found its way to the radio production area.

In fact, it’s partially blocking access to Booth 1. Anyone entering Booth 1 risks a bad dose of clyptosporidium or meningococcal as they brush past.

There was a suggestion that this apparel be donated to the bushfire victims, but this might be seen as offensive.

Could someone please make a decision on this matter, with a dumpster or incineration being good options?

Regards, Colin.

It’s Wednesday 2am and I’m well into the fourth hour waiting for delayed flight QF10 to depart Singapore airport for Melbourne. I should start factoring this in as a business cost. An exasperated pilot has been despatched to confront angry passengers — it appears Qantas has resorted to scrounging for spare parts from rival airlines. Looks like a long night ahead…

While the media is rightly focusing on Pacific Brands’ shameful decision to stop manufacturing in Australia there are other ethical issues worth addressing at the lower end of the clothing market. On a discount shopping trip on the weekend I was horrified that Target was selling women’s coats “Made in North Korea” and that Dimmeys was selling men’s singlets “Made in Myanmar”. Is it time we asked all retailers to abide by ethical purchasing policies?

The Catholic Church has done a deal with Optus to erect a 33 metre tower and facility in a beautiful area of Mt Barker for $10,000 per annum. The land was bequeathed to them in an area zoned as Landscape, adjoining a Historic zoned area. It is to be put between Daddow Road and Paddy’s Hill road in a residential area between two High Schools with over 1,000 kids exposed.

The Head at the Catholic School gave approval without telling the Parents and Friends. The same school was involved in a successful protest against a tower at the Railway Station in 2000. There are other towers all over the place and the coverage has to be in that area without more towers.

The Council is considering the application. Help.

Woolworths has abandoned its policy of buying Australian-made vehicles. Dumped are the Australia-made Holdens (from Commodores for Store Managers through to the Berlina, Calais and Caprice models for Executives) for the Ford Mondeo and other imported vehicles. Given they have hundreds, if not thousands of vehicles, this must have some form of impact on the local car industry.

How many jobs will be lost at Holden for this decision?

I was lucky enough to travel first class on the A380 recently. Within a week of returning to Australia I received an invitation to take up a “special offer” from Macquarie Bank and become a Macquarie Bank visa platinum credit card holder. Coincidence? Or database marketing without consent? Needless to say I will not be taking up the offer.

Peter Fray

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