Could be more trouble brewing for the NRL. Just answered a market research survey which asked the following question: “Assuming Harvey Norman were to immediately withdraw their sponsorship of the NRL, because of the recent NRL headlines, would you be more likely, less likely or no different to considering buying at Harvey Norman in the near future?” Seems the out of control Rugby boys may be financially crippling their own game.

Lou Sigmund gave evidence at Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority this week (20th May). Near the end of his testimony, an accurate transcript of which is on the VBRC website, he complained about a combined debrief of CFA and DSE in relation to Black Saturday, at which no notes were taken, a “Ros Kelly” whiteboard was used, all participants were urged to “own” everything on the whiteboard, or “own” what they thought was their responsibility, then no record were made of any of that, and the whiteboard was erased, apparently in the presence of the participants.

Just now I see on the website that the upcoming conference has a presentation where some expert will present a report of how debriefings can “help” people to forget and become unhelpful witnesses in that they have more difficulty recalling key events than if the debrief had been withheld. Will you or I urgently call this to the attention of the admirable Jack Rush QC, counsel assisting the Royal Commission?

See here and click on the red button “Program” and see Stream2 at 11:35hrs “Post-Incident Debriefing Can Have Detrimental Effects on Memory for the Event.”

Did you know that Gail Kelly, Westpac’s $50-million CEO, has just ordered a wage freeze on all staff until 2011? Lucky she got in beforehand!

What the hell? Private enterprise has share schemes that government don’t have but then what happens when government minsters retire — we the tax payers from private enterprise pay them a hefty monthly income for the balance of their existence. Take a step back Mr Rudd and ponder taking your retirement salary away while you feel the need to take private companies incentives away.

Brazil Nuts supplied by a certain wholesaler were found to be contaminated with the Hepatitis A virus during the last third of 2008. Whether they continued to offload the contaminated batch/es to their unsuspecting buyers after this (or earlier), I don’t know.

We in Victoria need to be afraid, very afraid, of the Brumby Govt taking control of planning and development as it is reported as being about to do. I recently went to the Moorabbin Justice Centre (appearing for a client). It is a new building and apparently Swiss designed. Fine except for the fact that its two storey high sheet glass windows which face north are “protected” by shades which appear to be cosmetic in nature and effect. the interior is cooled not by air conditioning but by ceiling fans installed at the top of those two storeys. the building becomes so hot in summer that it has to be closed. Given the number of over 35 days we now have in Melbourne this is clearly a cause for concern to taxpayers and those who have to use the court system.

Rothwell, Toohey, Darwin etc. There’s a rare good story lurking in the background between these two major players: the reporter chosen to replace Toohey is Alexis Hall. Not only a new generation, at last, but also son of the late and fondly remembered Jim Hall of Oz and Bulletin fame. Go Lex.

I recently flew Jetstar to Japan for a short holiday only to learn the day after arriving my father had unexpectedly passed away. Of course I needed to return immediately and contacted Jetstar to arrange a switch of my return flight. I had read their terms and conditions and knew I would be up for a switching fee of $75. But they also insisted on charging me $556.50 extra just to board a flight home a few days early (the fight was a regular flight with dozens of empty seats).

I explained my situation and asked if they had any compassionate grounds policy to take into account these sort of situations. Both Emma and her supervisor Evan from the Melbourne call centre responded, to my amazement (and I was already going into shock), that they had “no compassionate grounds” for any situation. I had no choice but to pay.

The lack of compassion by Jetstar shows a level of ruthlessness that is a big worry for any potential customers. I wrote a complaint to them after the funeral and, to my amazement, the letter writer said Jetstar did have a compassionate policy. Yet my request for the refund of the full-fare fee I was charged (and I had already paid for my return flight) was declined.

Go figure…

Meanwhile, courtside: Never mind Brimbank City Council. Branch stacking is alive and well in the local XXXX Basketball Association. The XBA Executive also happens to be president of the XBA. Just a slight conflict of interest. His name is XXXX. He is a rude, uncommunicative and corrupt bastard to put it bluntly. He has the support of a small group of parents who are heavily involved in organising the competitive representative competition. XXXX runs the Association for himself and this small band of “ugly parents” who regularly abuse decent children and their parents who go to watch and support.

As a result, most parents of normal kids who play in the domestic competition hate his guts. XXXX was challenged for Presidency late last year and was virtually defeated, despite trying to keep the meeting a secret. However XXXX kept the meeting going until very late with all manner of excuses and lo and behold, just at the last minute a large group of referees turned up and voted him back in.

Funny that he just happens to be the one who pays these referees!!

Peter Fray

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