News Ltd executives are currently having the email and phone records of staff checked to find excuses to get rid of people. This comes after editors from Melbourne recently flew to Sydney with a plan to fight against job cuts. But they returned later that same day with tails between legs after being told there would be no discussion and that numbers had to be cut.

The phone and email check has staff worried after a Herald Sun journalist was sacked last year over their expenses while overseas. Given that News Ltd doesn’t do advance expenses and the journalist was overseas for six weeks, the amount of money they were confronted over is believed to be relatively minuscule. Frightening times.

Myer’s efforts to push its high fashion credentials (Autumn Winter 09 parade tonight) are falling flat with industry whispers that not one major international fashion house wants to set up shop in the redeveloped Myer Melbourne. Myer has been hawking the new store design to the likes of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior etc to set up concept stores (hey — just like DJs) in prime ground floor space and the response has been thanks but no thanks. Seems the downmarket spiral continues at Myer.

Stirrings of a strike at the ABC with regards to the new automated system, staff working conditions and poor management.

Regarding the Crikey article, “LNP’s Queensland stories are not true“. The advertisements in question were actually filmed at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) where I work. The University has a history of stifling political activity on campus.

During the 2004 Federal Election campaign Senator Claire Moore and the ALP candidate for the local seat of Fisher were escorted off campus for handing out “Save Medicare” balloons and identifying themselves as representatives of the ALP. Up until the introduction of VSU, USC was the only campus in Australia not to have political representation on campus.

“The student union” was conceived as an apolitical institution known as the Student Guild, at the insistence of the Vice Chancellor Paul Thomas, with political party representation by students and staff frowned upon at every opportunity.

Given this history something is a miss with these advertisements. Either the LNP have strolled on to campus and begun filming these advertisements without clearance from the University, (in which case all participants could face disciplinary action for breaching security protocol) or perhaps the University administration are in cahoots with the LNP?

Either way the days of the University being “apolitical” are long gone.

I was present at Friday night’s “Meet the Candidates Forum” organised and hosted by Redland Chamber of Commerce and Redlands Institute and was amazed to see the general ambivalence towards the major parties and enthusiasm towards ds4seq (Daylight Saving for South East Queensland).

Very interesting considering the lack of mainstream media coverage — could they come from left field to seriously rock the boat next Saturday?

Check out Alan Stockdale’s speech at Saturday’s Liberal Party Federal Council meeting. He lauds Costello … but only mentions leader Malcolm Turnbull ONCE in his speech and when he does, it is to say Malcolm does a great job of using social networking tools on his website! Oh dear. The media have been fueling the Turnbull-Costello leadership controversy… this internal party meeting was a chance to move forward. I think Turnbull tried to get Stockdale removed as Federal President … so this is some sort of revenge? When will Liberals realise they will never get back in to power — never mind transform the party for the 21st century — if they don’t stop these internal school-boy games?

I heard that Prime Television are asking their Sales Reps to go part time in an effort to cost cut and save jobs.

It was reported overseas (but not here?) that Telstra sat on its “new” 100mbps broadband for years, waiting for a time when it was in its best commercial interests to roll this technology out.

In what looks like a desperate attempt to quell dissent in its ranks Quest Newspapers management has reviewed its workplace harassment and grievance resolution policies and told staff to brush up on them. The move follows a witch hunt to find the source of a recent post in Crikey’s “Tips and rumours” about the poor treatment of some staff. The airing the company’s dirty laundry in public should come as no surprise to management who have repeatedly been asked to address bullying issues and be more considerate of staff’s personal circumstances, but seem to have done nothing.

The poor state of staff morale at Quest was measured by News Limited’s own employee engagement survey in mid-2008. In the survey just 37% of staff agreed with the statement: “This organisation inspires me to do my best work every day.” In some offices the score was in the mid 20’s. To the proposition: “This company delivers on the promises it makes to its employees” — just 25% agreed. More than one office scored less than 20%. Just 38% said they “rarely think about leaving this organization to work somewhere else”.

Staff had to endure the spectacle of Quest general manager Dennis Watt visiting each office, presenting the findings with a glum look then expressing disbelief at how people could be so disillusioned. It was like he had been living on another planet. Staff could hardly hide their disbelief.

And this was a survey of all employees. The results would have been even worse if it had been limited to editorial staff.

Rumours out of Westpac that the current round of job cuts (and there are many) are not only being driven by Gail’s St George buddies taking care of their own but also a calculated attempt by the bank to reduce the number of staff employed under costly pre-1998 remuneration packages. Lawyers and unions are apparently on standby.

So Jack Johnson is a pensioner who got $15,000 for his Pauline Hansen pics. Looks like he will lose about half of it because this is an income and if you make $15k its going to eat into your pension. What he did lacks integrity — and I hope Centrelink and the ATO follow this one up.