The secret to Rudd’s hair? According to his Comcar drivers it’s his liberal use of hairspray. The drivers hate this habit as the windows of C1 do not go down for security purposes. Thus, when Rudd is spraying his thinning locks liberally, the fumes cause a spate of coughing and a horrid smell. Think John Edwards without the charisma.

You’ve got a mix-up in your ABS job loss numbers. The ABS announced in March that they planned to cut 180 jobs over two years. Last month they declared 21 or 22 EL2 and SES “incapable of meeting the requirements of future broader roles” (that’s not an exact quote but close enough — they were told that while they were currently performing fine, they had been assessed by a new and different standard and apparently found lacking).

You can consider those 22 people essentially gone as the general consensus is that nobody would come back to an organisation that treats people as these people were treated, although the AIRC has ordered that these people be reinstated if they so desire. The AIRC has also ordered the ABS’s EL1 assessment and culling process be discontinued, and the rumour is that 60 positions were for the axe through that.

Fearless Leader is currently appealing AIRC’s orders out of what he says is a desire to resolve the issue quickly and put people out of the misery of uncertainty. Obviously, the generous and caring actions of a management team genuinely committed to the wellbeing and morale of staff. Information on the “future direction of the ABS” is as rare as hen’s teeth and staff are now in the habit of trawling the Canberra Times and ABC to find out exactly what the hell is going on in their workplace. Thank god for the union who at least has the courtesy to tell us what’s happening at their end.

On a different note: There has been no official ABS response to media since December last year, despite responding to all sorts of critical media articles last year. Staff at the ABS have also been kept in the dark about the organisation’s future. Senior management have been out discussing potential future changes (read: cuts) to the work program with other government data users.

Staff were not informed about the content of discussions until that consultation process was pretty much over, and then were treated to a watered down version released just before the news of the planned 180 over two years staff reduction.

Who says the Coalition aren’t climate sceptics? The LNP is providing publicity for Ian Plimer’s attack on climate science (a subject that, as a geologist, Plimer is well-credentialed to discuss). And calling them “populist opinions about global warming” might surprise environmentalists and scientists who’ve been labouring for decades to get the world to wake up to what’s happening. But it doesn’t mean the LNP isn’t green-minded. “Please consider the environment before printing this email”, the message concludes.

Dear LNP Members,

Please find a message below from our Federal Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull MP regarding his recent address — “The Power Balance in Asia: The Coalition Perspective”.

For those of you who live in Brisbane, we highly recommend you attend the attached book launch (12 noon and 7pm Tuesday 19th May) —Professor Ian Plimer’s “Heaven + Earth: Global Warming: The Mission Science” — he puts forward a very strong alternate view regarding the ‘populist’ opinions about Global warming!

Happy Mother’s Day to all our LNP Mums for this Sunday 10th May!

Kind regards,

Mary Carroll
State Party Secretary

Nine Network’s CVC bean counters are up to their old tricks again with contracts. Anyone at the Nine Network on a contract currently paying more than around $220,000 a year are being made an offer they can’t refuse: take a $55,000 a year pay cut. If the contract holder demurs, they are asked if they really want to work at Nine?

If serious newspapers overseas fail, Fairfax titles won’t last long judging by the fare they continue to lift from foreign sources. It’s getting worse: The Sydney Morning Herald weekend edition of May 9-10 handed over the major part of its “world” coverage to syndicated pieces from The New York Times (six articles) the Guardian (two), the UK Telegraph (one) and Agence France Presse (three) with staff writers represented by only three features from Matt Wade in New Delhi, Jason Koutsoukis in Beirut and John Garnaut in China.

Even the Arts and Entertainment (single) page had a centre piece from the Guardian, and Spectrum had reviews and interviews from the Guardian, the Telegraph and The New York Times. At least the restaurant reviews were local but for the second week running, several of the puffs for books and authors were promoting the Sydney Writers Festival (a Herald “event”).

The Financial Review‘s supplements have pioneered the practice, especially the Friday Review which relies on the NYT, the London Review of Books, Prospect, New Statesman and The Washington Post for most of its material. The Weekend Perspective section carries no book reviews written in Australia.

Clearly the stable is now totally dependent for content on sources which are no longer obscure to Australian readers, and are only marginally less cash strapped than Fairfax.

The Age is discounting full page ads in Saturday editions at one third of the normal cost: the offer was $10,000 to a client … and there’s also similar discounting going on for The Sunday Age.

NAPLAN testing is next week for Year 7 and 9 students in Maths and English. It seems that there may be a rise in student absenteeism on those days as certain schools suggest to their weaker students that it might be too stressful for them to attempt the tests. The side benefit is that they will not drag down the school’s performance. Surely not what Julia Gillard and co intended.

CMC, a Cairns based building company, has stopped work on 11 of its building sites. Eight sites in Cairns and three in Townsville. Potentially hundreds out of work.

Riviera — the Gold Coast luxury boat builder went into receivership on Friday morning — the remaining 250 workers obviously lost their jobs with all told to take the day off this morning and couriers being turned away at the gates. Riviera employed around 850 permanent employees at its height before it started shedding workers as the economy turned. It was going to fall over about two months ago — two weeks from state election day — but some desperate behind the scenes work by QLD Treasurer Andrew Frasier stopped it from becoming an issue in an election fought on jobs jobs jobs. Seems the reprieve didn’t last that long but long enough for Anna to be elected premier.

You can add VCA/University of Melbourne to your SackWatch list. Contracts are not being renewed. School of Film and TV has lost one position so far and there are 12 others gone in the rest of the College as I noticed you have reported in an article last week. I’m pretty sure there are more to come. Stay tuned.

It seems that the GFC has forced cost-cutting measures at Cadbury. The standard 250gm block is no more. The Top Deck block I bought yesterday was only 220gm and the Black Forest is now a measly 200gm. Of course the price hasn’t decreased despite the decrease in quantity. Cadbury have attempted to disguise the thinner blocks by substituting the paper wrapper for cardboard packaging.

I notice that although the CBA did not pass on the RBA’s 0.25% cut to lender’s cash rates last time around it DID pass it on to lenders (i.e. they get 0.25% less) Amazing and we still don’t loot and burn the bastards.

Health cutbacks in NSW: small though it is, what’s happening to the South West Sydney Area Health Service hospital at Balmain, in Sydney’s inner west (where the basket weavers used to live) is indicative of the ruthless thinking of the state’s bean counters. Balmain Hospital has a renowned specialist geriatric unit which, until now also operated a 24 hour emergency GP service for minor casualty and consultation and treatment by an on duty doctor. This will now cease to operate after 7pm.

All well and good you might think, since there is a large hospital nearby, but the even more stretched Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) tends to be overloaded with road accident victims, cardiac arrests and drug ODs. And what the NSW Health department hasn’t told anyone is that once the all-night GP service is cut at Balmain, there will be no doctor on call to attend emergencies on the geriatric wards. Until now the system worked well because the fact the on-duty GP attended to casualty patients and the wards.

Very efficient. Now there will be no-one except a phone number, probably at RPAH, if anyone has the time to answer.

Why has the Woolworths/Caltex service station on Cleveland Street, Surry Hills in Sydney, been totally out of unleaded fuel for the past week? The BP station up the road has plenty. Is Woolies unable to pay Caltex’s bills, or is there something wrong with the unleaded storage and pumping system at the station they are not revealing. Supplies of premium unleaded, LPG and diesel are not affected, but premium unleaded is more expensive than standard unleaded.

Peter Fray

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