Is the Turnbull household about to go on the nuts and berries diet? First opposition lady Lucy Turnbull was last night at (s)wanky Surrey Hills eatery Sticky — you SMS them and they let you in the back — for the launch of “local live”, a plan by design/concept/something firm Digital Eskimo, and some serious inherited money, to encourage people to live locally, not merely for green miles, but to cure the apparent aching loneliness of the big city — a template they hope will be adopted, erm, nationally. Sticky’s proprietor had to explain that they had sourced food as locally as they could, the wine, e.g., coming only 500kms.

Never mind. Turnbull pal Blair Palase (husband is something in IT) will be “living locally for a week” it was announced to applause, and twittering about it. Any caveats? Well if she really needs to get on a plane, she’ll twitter about it, and “think about the reasons for doing so”. Fantastic. So I, by now drunk and angry, let fly at the very good friend who’d invited him to the effect that, as far as social change goes, this was pretty much on a par with Marie Antoinette building a farm on the gardens of Versailles and dressing as a milkmaid.

If it turns out that the whole thing is a Bolt/Albrechtsen front to hammer home the undoubted truth that too much of the green movement is a pseudo-religious personal virtue trip, I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Ms Turnbull left early, presumably to walk home.

You’ve gotta love it when junior government ministers reckon they know more about media management than the spin specialists.

Northern Territory Minister for Indigenous Policy, Alison Anderson, is a case in point. An old hand with the media, with well known close contacts inside the Murdoch stable, she decided that News Limited journos in Darwin should be given an exclusive on the Territory’s new policy on Aboriginal outstations. A select pair was invited: Nick Calacouras from the Northern Territory News and Paul Toohey from The Australian. Toohey has been one of the more insightful writers on the outstation movement over recent years.

The Anderson chook feeding was due yesterday morning, but was thwarted by yesterday’s report on the outstation policy in The Age, which appeared to pre-empt the exclusive. Toohey, not one to be f-cked around by politicians at best of times, refused to play, assuming The Age had got the inside run from the minister’s office. The exclusive was abandoned.

But it didn’t happen like that. Toohey’s friendly rival from The Age, Lindsay Murdoch, had gazumped everyone else the old fashioned way, presumably by making a few phone calls to contacts in Arnhem Land.

It all ended in tears, with chief minister Henderson’s announcement on home builders’ subsidies being overshadowed by questions on attempted media management from Anderson’s office. The policy will be released today.

Upon moving to Australia, my wife was forced to renounce her Malaysian Citizensip in order to collect her Malaysian superannuation. She was originally advised to contact the Malaysian consulate in Sydney which is open for that type of application for only three hours a week! After 12 months of endless phone calls, letters and visits I was ultimately forced to report to the AFP that the Malaysian Embassy had stolen a pile of my wife’s original personal documents including her original birth certificate — they just refused to return them. Strangely enough the documents appeared on our doorstep just 48 hours later in an express post bag sent from the Malaysian Embassy. She did eventually get the money from the Malaysians — but only because she flew to KL and pursued the various departments face to face.

Monash University sacks all its prominent and distinguished academics — its Professors — at age 65. While their union, NTEU, is preparing significant court action against Monash University it begs the question, once the new retirement age of 67 kicks in, what will the Professors be doing between 65 and 67?

Cuts at Gadens law firms rumoured.

Peter Fray

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