Venue: Foyer of Building R1, Russell Hill
Time: Last week after Senator the Hon John Faulkner appointed the new Defence Minister

Scene One, Act One:

Senator Faulkner arrives at Defence HQ, Bld R1 at Russell Offices. He is met and escorted to the foyer by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). There is no “official party” to meet him.

The Senator looks at the AFP officer as if he should let him pass through the security check-in turnstiles and give him building access, but the officer can’t do this under current protocols. Looks are exchanged. The contracted Serco security guard asks if there is someone he should call? Glances are exchanged between the parties!

This is not going well! Then all of a sudden, Angus Houston, the CDF, runs into the foyer and blames a broken lift for his tardiness. Not a good start and, fortunately for all parties, the press weren’t there to record it. It was a moment that will be much commented on in R1 and R2 for some time to come.

Did you guys know that outgoing Federal MP Bob Debus has named his successor on his seat of Macquarie? Tim Dixon of Rudd’s office. I’m one of the locals who are p-ssed off that Bob would so arrogantly annoint the next candidate while kicking local preselectors to the curb. Branchies in the Blue Mountains have backed Bob in both state and federal spheres and have never wavered in our loyalty. Now he does this. He is a disgrace.

The West Australian will begin calling for voluntary redundancies this week.

As an ABC insider perhaps the most pertinent question to ask is why ABC’s upper management is not prepared to defend The Chaser, give them a slap on the wrist and move on. To simply look to the failings of its policy of “upward referral” so the blame falls upon a talented but now hapless executive producer is an act of cowardice by her bosses.

And why has no question been asked of Courtney Gibson, her immediate superior whose job is to supervise creative content? Sadly the end result will be a loss for creative program makers at the ABC both in-house and independent, and a victory for upper management which will strive for dull and worthy programs as it protects its own position.

Andrew Denton as executive producer of The Gruen Transfer had his show censored just weeks ago for a mock commercial which any intelligent viewer would understand was parody. Now it is The Chaser‘s turn. ABC drama is already tainted with worthiness. Where to next? I’m sure Mark Scott will succeed in making ABC Television an even duller experience.

Peter Garret withdrew from the Solar Homes and Communities Plan rebate yesterday. This scheme was initially planned to continue until 30 June 2009. By withdrawing the rebate early Garret has stopped thousands of people from accessing solar power for their homes at no cost to themselves through the Solar Offer.

I noticed the new rebates under the new solar credits scheme will be less than the current $8000 offered under the current scheme. This was in an article that briefly appeared in the news online this afternoon and then disappeared. The government is saying that there are 63,000 rebates in the system. Did they get cold feet when they realised that Lend Lease and Diamond energy had 100,000 units on offer to applicants who qualified for the rebate? Do the sums.

They must have had a group heart attack when they did the sums themselves.

More on the stand down of emergency services at Melbourne Airport on 20 March afer Australia’s most serious non-fatal airliner accident involving an an Emirates A345 flying flight EK 407. This note lays the blame squarely on the Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting service at the airport, not the Melbourne Airport staff:

Regarding the Emirates near miss, what all of the “reports” fail to mention is that despite the stuff up of selecting the wrong aircraft weight for the computation of take-off date, it was skilled flying and experienced pilots that averted a major accident and crash. For this the pilots should be praised. The company’s method of only using one notebook computer instead of two independent computers should be reviewed as this practice would have caught the error before take-off. Perhaps the near miss was a wake up call to Emirates management that their methodology needs to be changed before something else happens that costs lives.

I note with interest your climate change/Senator Fielding story yesterday. This might be of interest:

Not only do NIB pay doctors sub standard rates but they are refusing to take on new private hospitals and offer them improved rebates too. One such hospital is a new private day surgery in Victoria. This lack of contract means NIB customers either have to pay a large out of pocket amount to have their treatment there or join the 18 month queue at the local public hospital.

Spotted in a bookshop on Hay Street, Perth — actor William McInnes dancing and whistling to himself to an Abba song being played over the shop stereo.