Some juicy yarns doing the rounds of DFAT over the last week, as the PM gets ready to meet Obama for the first time. For starters, the PM’s office has been sweating the small stuff over arrangements for their White House media opportunity — whether it will be a full press conference in the Rose Garden, or a more low-key “photo spray” in the Oval Office where the media can get some pics and quick remarks if they are lucky. (The British press went nuts over the “snub” to Gordon Brown when their Rose Garden presser was cancelled due to weather.)

Apparently the cable traffic has been flying thick and fast on this point alone. Then, there is the PM’s apparent frustration that worthy American journals such as the Washington Post haven’t taken up his kind offer to extract his 7,700 word opus from The Monthly for their readers… 

Queensland election 1. The Algester state school polling booth was the scene of a physical confrontation on Saturday between Labor’s Karen Struthers and Family First’s Steve Christiansen over Family First flyers about Struthers’ stance on abortion. One is said to be considering pursuing the matter with police. 

Queensland election 2. If you look at the this link, there is something rather Orwellian. Next to several seats — all but two of which are non-Labor — “Incorrect Candidate Selected” appears instead of the results. The two ALP candidates where it appears next to each did something to upset HQ. Kiernan in Mt Isa came out in favour of uranium mining and Pitt in Mulgrave was parachuted in under a factional deal.

The front runner to take over from John Cameron as director of ABC News and Current Affairs is Kate Torney, who currently heads up Asian and Pacific News. She was the only person short listed to be interviewed twice.

Rumours are rife here at Fairfax that Sunday Life (the loss making colour magazine in the Sunday Age and Sun Herald) is next on the chopping block.

News exec Zdenka Vaughan made a recent flying visit to the Manly Daily and gathered staff for a 10 minute briefing to tell them more redundancies were on the way. They left feeling upset and intimidated.

For the last week, anyone buying anything in the food hall of Australia Square in Sydney’s CBD of a morning has received a copy of the SMH for free. So my $2.00 raisin toast gets me a side order of SMH, nominally worth $1.70. Yet another crappy way to increase circulation figures. Personally, it just further devalues the paper, why pay for something if they are so desperate for readers that they are giving it away?

Mid-level ISP People Telecom has started implementing the “guilt by allegation” process being pushed by the music and movie industries, cutting off customers after three allegations of copyright infringement. Allegations, not proof. Australia’s third-largest ISP iiNet refuses to implement this flawed process and is being sued by industry body AFACT in a case to be heard in October. Meanwhile in New Zealand, where the controversial section 92A of their Copyright Act requires ISPs to play this game, Google notes that 57% the takedown notices it receives under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act were bogus (businesses targeting their competitors) and 37% weren’t valid copyright claims. If the Australian figures are even remotely comparable, People Telecom looks set to cut off plenty of innocent customers.