Seen at ALDI’s Tuggeranong store last night in Canberra, government employees buying over 10 laptops for government. The screws must be really tightening in Canberra, and I am sure the businesses on the AGIMO ICT multi-use list would be impressed to see government agencies ignoring it.

Overheard in a sandwich cafe near RBWH in Brisbane about people at Courier Mail getting retrenched, two men were talking about the cuts to up to 40 staff — not sure if it’s journalists or out of everyone. So it’s not only Fairfax after all.

David Curl’s brave article in yesterday’s Crikey is a view shared by many experienced practitioners in the independent production community. But with programme commissions hard to procure none are in a position to individually criticise the onerous terms of trade of the ABC, the complete lack of accountability of ABC commissioners and programmers, bloated middle management and a legal department which is large and inefficient.

Unfortunately none of these issues appear to have been confronted by the ABC Board which has no broadcasting expertise at all. At last the Labor government has appointed two new Board members who may know what to ask. Mark Scott, a Howard appointee with no experience in the medium of radio or television and a former employee of the rapidly failing Fairfax newspapers is yet to prove his worth.

The ABC remains a shadow of its former self not just because of the money but of its management.

I needed to buy a ticket from Tiger Airways over the counter in Canberra a couple of weeks ago and the attendant wasn’t able to get the payment to go through — she ended up charging me twice, once on Visa and once on my Mastercard. Her supervisor reassured me I would be reimbursed once I reached Melbourne.

As it happened the attendant in Melbourne (who is in charge of customer relations while she deals with constant two-way radio requests for toilet paper, passenger lists etc) said she had no authority to reimburse and that I had to call Tiger Airways only phone line (as other correspondents have indicated this number is usually engaged, and if you get through you are left on hold for ages before speaking to a plastic voice from goodness knows where).

Having phoned several times, to be told each time that my story would be “investigated” and that someone would phone back the following day — they never have — I am still left with two debits on my credit card statements and no reimbursement. I think the airline must have a strategy of working to drive people so crazy that they give up on all expectations of reasonable dealings.

The story of bikers at the CFMEU picket is fact. They are from the Geelong Rebels chapter which has long and deep relationships with CFMEU heavies.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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