Re. Crikey’s story on ANZ’s magical mystical logo from 24th March, I believe this entire logo is to be replaced and all marketing material printed with this logo at a cost of millions of dollars. Perhaps more to be revealed at today’s half year results.

Here in glorious Perth the sole local daily newspaper relegated Swine Flu to page seven behind holiday shopping and serial drunk drivers.

The new NSW government logo is identical to that of Grace Bros the now defunct retail chain — it was badly run, with poor vision and lack of talent — ah the logo is perfect.

There would have been very few tears shed at SBS yesterday with the announcement that Paula Masselos is stepping down as Director of Radio after little more than two years in the job. Citing “personal reasons” for her sudden departure, a media release from SBS managing director Shaun Brown said Masselos will stay on in an “advisory role” till her contract runs out in November.

This irony is not lost on SBS staff who were unhappy from day one that Masselos had no broadcasting experience when she took over SBS Radio after the equally hurried departure of the previous incumbent, Quang Luu, who left his job of 15 years with only four days notice to staff.

The issue of Ms Masselos’s qualifications for the position was raised in Senate Estimates in October 2006, even before she took up the role, when Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells demanded to know how the former Queensland social worker and multicultural marketer was appointed to a position which was advertised as requiring ‘a strong record in leading and managing a large workforce engaged in Radio program production”.

SBS refused to explain how she was chosen. Her arrival at SBS’s Artarmon headquarters in November 2006 was followed by the departure of most of the senior managers in the Radio division, including veteran former foreign correspondent Diane Willman and noted journalism educator David Ingram, who coined the phrase “retired in protest” for his decision to.

In the two years which followed, SBS Radio has virtually disappeared from Australian public life after the high profile enjoyed under Luu’s tenure. Such is the state of confusion within SBS that Brown has issued an email that, pending advertising for a new Director of Radio, a triumvirate of managers will “accept collective responsibility” for leading the radio division.

Last week Brown issued an email to all SBS staff threatening widespread redundancies due to falling advertising revenue.

BDO Kendalls, auditors for Austcorp International Ltd, the ultimate holding company of ASX-listed Austcorp Towers Property Fund, have some sobering news for shareholders and creditors. Notes to the company’s accounts says there were “significant issues and uncertainties which have the potential to impact the company’s and the consolidated entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. The accounts, when they are finally lodged at ASIC, should be sent along to Treasurer Wayne Swan. He has been a staunch supporter of Austcorp’s proposed 79-storey Vision tower in Brisbane’s CBD and even suggested that it was “just the sort of project” which should received funds from the Federal Government’s Australian Business Investment Partnership, or “Rudd Bank”.

The company’s board of directors include chairman and CEO Trevor David Chappell (a director of Chappell Investments which holds 4,114,000 shares), Stephen Seng Hang Chen (whose Welknown Pty Ltd holds 854,420 shares), Edgar Yan Kal Hung (698,473), Gordon Lap Hon Chan (631,580), Stuart Seng Tek Chan (673,900), Charles Can Lum Chow (411,260), Tony Wai Kan Chu (675,320), David Chak Chuen Lau (631,580), Timothy Sim Chuan Teoh (648,240) and Marek Valentins Petrovs.

Austcorp is under intense pressure to refinance lending to support the Vision project following the collapse of one of its key backers, the Royal Bank of Scotland. It will be interesting to measure the performance of ASIC regulators and whether they emerge as watchdogs or slum dogs.

I’ve written advertising in Australia for 13 years. I have never EVER heard of ANY rules regarding the use of “ANZAC day” in ads. (Outside of general advertising rules regarding taste and decency.) We’re told at “election” and “Olympic” times what can and can’t be said — but there’s never been a single word suggesting “Anzac” is a no-go. If such a rule exists, nobody bothered to tell the relevant industries, nor the staff within them. I could send you a decade’s worth of “Anzac” ads I’ve written.

One of the security guards operating the boom gate at the highest rating maximum security prison at Goulburn in NSW, found in possession of a flick knife.

I went along to see W at the open air cinema earlier this year, and was presented with a shiny plastic bag emblazoned with SMH/Fairfax logos. Well, we all love a goodie bag … maybe something to nibble on during the movie? But inside was one item only … a copy of that day’s SMH. At 7pm! Surveying the demographics at Mrs Mac’s Chair … uber soft-shoe middle class compared with, say, the backpacker rabble who frequent the Centennial Park movies … you’d have been hard pressed to find a punter who hadn’t read the SMH over that morning’s muesli and skim. Apart from the questionable logic of such a promotional exercise, it seemed rather bizarre to be given an unnecessary bit of junk at a time when the paper running a pretty good weekly ‘Eco’ section.

It looked like Channel Nine’s Hot Seat started about seven or eight minutes early. I think it was Friday, or could have been Monday. Are Nine trying to fudge the shows ratings and use some of the audience figures for the program shown prior — no surely not — they’ve never done that before!

QF74 from San Francisco to Sydney on Friday 24 April arrived more than three hours late after being diverted via Brisbane. Passengers onboard were told the flight had been diverted because of “fog” at Sydney. Next time QF wants to fib to its passengers about delays or diversions, it might be an idea to confiscate mobile phones from those on board. Not surprisingly, some of the passengers onboard called their family and friends who were waiting for them at Sydney while they were on the ground at Brisbane.

“Fog? What fog? No fog here,” they were told. In fact, all other international flights were arriving on time from 6am, before and after the scheduled ETA for QF74.

When advised of Sydney’s fog-free status, some of the QF cabin crew made calls of their own and heard the same story. Then, the captain came on with a very convoluted story about needing to have enough fuel on board to cope with all weather contingencies, including the chance of fog in Sydney which might cause the flight to need to go around or divert.

Notwithstanding there was in fact, NO fog! Which would all suggest that QF74 left SFO with insufficient fuel to reach SYD with some gas left in the tank. Or it maybe, as some cabin crew were overheard talking about, the flight was so “chockas” with freight that the headwinds and turbulence en route drained the tanks more quickly than expected.

Either way, QF74 couldn’t make its destination without a refuelling stop en route. Just as well as it was clear blue day.

Folks are advised to fight back when it comes to “penalties” dished out by private car operators. After several letters threatening to take me to the Magistrates Court, private car park operator Care Park yesterday informed me that they would no longer pursue the “damages” they claimed had arisen when I did not put a ticket in my windscreen one day when I was shopping. These private operators have no statutory right to issue “fines” so they call their parking tickets “penalties” for breach of contract.

In my case they claimed that I entered into a contract with them when I drove in to their car park, and that the contract I agreed to involved putting a ticket in the window and paying damages in the event that I breached these terms. But “the contract” as I understood it was clearly explained by the huge bloody sign at the entrance to the car park that said “1 hour FREE Parking for IGA Customers”.

I am fortunate to have a couple of good friends who are also good lawyers, and who kindly offered (pro bono) to argue this point for me in no uncertain terms, or as they put it “your letter reads as a cack-handed attempt to bully me into paying an amount for which your client has no sound legal entitlement. I will not be bullied. I suggest you cease sending me threatening letters.” And they have.

Meanwhile on the grassy knoll: I am clairvoyant and a dream interpretationist with an open mind to receive information from beyond the normal way of concept frequencies. Back in 2006, a message came through that Utah, USA would be hit hard with some kind of virus. It wouldn’t make any difference how many hospitals you have in any location. Preparing carefully for changes is discipline for now up until 2012. Stay in harmony! Namaste.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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