Perhaps Gail Kelly would like to explain why it is that Westpac are continuing to make staff cuts from the marketing communications team while an ever increasing amount of work is begin outsourced to Lavender Creative. Is anyone benefiting from this realignment of work that is neither cost effective nor quality comparative to what was being done internally?

Labor’s Town Centre Plan for Kuringai is nothing more than standard Labor politics of revenge and envy, yet another example of a policy implemented solely to stick it to the “tories” who live there. One only had to read Latham’s diaries to know how much the ALP hates the North Shore. That the government can dedicate it’s time to this at time when NSW is in a slow but certain decay and that the media is not all over this demanding answers is an absolute disgrace. Of the two of them I don’t know which is more incompetent.

A pretty big week coming up next week for the aged care sector. Apparently both Four Corners and 60 Minutes are planning something about aged care. It’s not known at this stage if they will follow the typical single dimensional media line “aged care providers are all rotten bastards who rip off and neglect elderly residents” or something genuinely in-depth. The Department of Health and Ageing officials are in an absolute mindless tiz and have taken the extraordinary step of writing to hundreds of providers advising they are going to release information to Channel Nine — the phones to the lawyers are running hot. Could this be connected with the extraordinary bucketing the Department of Health and ageing received from a UNANIMOUS Senate report last month in its handling of information in the aged care sector?

Media releases from Shadow Immigration Minister Sharman Stone may well owe their extra grunt and bite to the arrival of ex-Ruddock adviser, Ms Ann Duffield onto the team. Dr Stones missives are now littered with the language of “floods “, “surges” and “queues”.

Talk about an awkward video interviewThe most interesting part is when the interview stopped and Will Ferrell asks what a ‘wog’ is.

Embattled Liberal MP Dennis Jensen has come up with a novel way of saving his pre-selection … telling jokes about r-pists on his Facebook site. Not sure that key backer Julie Bishop will see the funny side of this one. From Facebook:

Dennis Jensen: About six months ago, my son Liam, then 7, asked when in the car “Daddy, what’s Fyzio the r-pist”? I thought, “Gawd, what are these kids learning in school today”? But I thought I may have misheard, so I asked him to repeat it, which he did. I then asked “where did you get that Liam”? and he pointed out a sign (we were stopped at lights). It read “physiotherapist”!

As per page three of the AFR yesterday the airlines must now sell seats at the advertised price. Are the airlines following the rule? Two are outright not and one is creating a minefield to force customers to pay the credit card surcharges. Only Tiger is fully complying! Qantas: must book at least seven days in advance to avoid credit card charges otherwise BPAY Tiger: No charge for Australian issued MasterCard or Visa Jetstar: must book at least fourteen days in advance to avoid credit card charges otherwise BPAY Virgin Blue: must use their POLI software which is deliberately designed to discourage people from avoiding the credit card charges. Spent an hour last night trying to avoid $12 of credit card charges without success on Virgin Blue website.

The payment system requires downloading software (unlike Jetstar, Qantas and Tiger) which is fine if you have broadband but can time out if you have dialup. If you are trying to do this on your fast connection at work your firm will probably block you from downloading the software or create firewall/IP issues, as mine did. Then once you have the software loaded you need to complete the internet banking payment within a set time. Here I was timed out, it was not possible to complete the transaction in the time permitted with my at home dial up.

Why don’t they just own up and say most people will have to pay the credit card charges rather than pretending? Unlike their motto, I’m glad I don’t get Virgin Blue service everywhere.

I’m writing in response to the article about Jetstar in the “Tips and rumours” section on Monday. Jetstar say they have no compassionate grounds policy? Interesting! That’s not what they told the Court in a 2008 decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria: Jetstar Airways v Free [2008] VSC 539.

In that case Jetstar said they DO take into account “any special circumstances surrounding a customer’s need to change their travel plans, such as a death or illness in the family” (see para 6). That case was an appeal hearing of a claim that Jetstar’s Fare Rules were unfair, pursuant to the Fair Trading Act (Vic).

It was remitted to VCAT for re-hearing. Presumably this hasn’t happened yet as there is currently no further VCAT judgment available. the outcome of the re-hearing is undoubtedly topical, as is Jetstar’s claim that they do not take into account compassionate circumstances. Up until now Victoria was the only jurisdiction with ‘unfair contract terms’ legislation.

But now similar legislation relating to unfair contract terms is about to be introduced into Federal Parliament as part of the new Australian Consumer Law. Conduct of large businesses like Jetstar will be subject to greater scrutiny and a much broader range of consequences under the proposed new regime. So they’d better get their story straight on “compassionate grounds” quick smart.

Sydney bus drivers are getting sick and tired of being abused by frustrated passengers confused by the systems’ badly implemented pre-pay system. Since Mid May, all buses in key zones (Castlereagh St, Circular Quay etc) are compulsory pre-pay for most of the day. But there are also buses that are always and everywhere pre-pay. Other pre-pay areas (central station) aren’t mentioned in the pre-pays ads. And the stops that are pre-pay have small signs announcing the fact, unreadable from more than two metres away. In other words, Sydney public transport best practice.

Peter Fray

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