On the eve of the Ashes Test series in England, the psychological war games have started. The toffs of the MCC at Lords have just hung a giant portrait of Douglas Jardine in the Long Room to remind the visitors of the 1932-33 Bodyline series when England regained the Ashes during a controversy-ridden tour Down Under.

A little birdie told me the Governor has approved the appointment of Stephen Hall SC to the WA Supreme Court. Announcement expected soon.

Darren Holder, the former Chief of Staff to the NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendaal has been appointed as the Director of the Director General’s Unit for the Department of Arts Sport and Recreation.

Since everyone else who works at the ABC has submitted a tip about The Chaser, here’s mine. Check the credits of the show. There’s an “ABC Editorial Manager Kylie Burke”. If it isn’t her job to raise a red flag about the infamous sketch then what exactly is her job? Has anyone asked? Has anyone checked whether anyone’s asked or are the Editorial Police above suspicion when it comes time to put someone in the stocks for a public tomato pasting?

The successful Brisbane Extra program on the Nine Network has been axed. That will allow the new 4.30pm News lite program Nine plans to introduce next week, to run in Brisbane. Running it and then following it with Brisbane Extra would have provided a News overkill for Brisbane viewers, especially with the 6pm News following extra.

This way Hot Seat can run in Brisbane at 5.30pm and across the Nine Network at the same time. Nine’s News in Brisbane has lost viewers in the past month to the stronger rating Seven and Ten News. But it did deliver a good lead in audience for the News and Nine will be fooling themselves if they think Eddie McGuire will be a popular figure in Brisbane.

Your stories this week about Nine Director John Westacott omitted his most notorious: his contempt for TV viewers. He referred to them as “stringbags”, so they became “stringbags in the west” of Sydney and in Melbourne and anywhere, who would lap up the rubbish, the “glamour” and the “flirt” interviews on A Current Affair and 60 Minutes, because the “stringbags” had such boring and mundane lives. No audience research, no assessment of whether the stories in the News, ACA or 60 Minutes had any merit, just if they appealed to the “stringbags”. And all those lazy, uncomprehending producers on 60 Minutes fell in behind Westacott’s dictums and slavishly mouthed them to all in sundry at Nine and in the industry.

Check out the ATO phoning and intimidating companies which are claiming GST rebate because of reduced sales activity during the recession (sorry economic downtown). ATO staff are not inquiring about the GST rebate claim but are asking all manner of questions pointing to an audit of company books. According to a few accounting firms this is the practice being employed regularly by the ATO with SME companies at the moment. Maybe, it’s the Government way of keeping some funds, or what’s left, in the treasury. SME’s are finding it a bit tough at the moment and do not need the ATO breathing down neck while they try to keep people employed.

The current (as far as I know) Australian Government policy approach to international students is now buried here. A John Howard/Brendan Nelson classic. Contains bugger all about the welfare of international students … it’s all about the export dollar with a little bit of feel-good icing.

Mint Wireless fired a further five staff on Monday. This follows a series of rolling redundancies. They are now looking to appoint administrators. The company is gone. Add another one for the SackWatch.