To incite interest in the 2010 Australian of the Year (being the 50th Anniversary of the award), the National Australia Day Council currently has an overly cute television commercial with infants depicting previous winners by wearing the trappings associated with them: Dick Smith (geeky glasses and computer); Joan Sutherland (gown and tiara); etc etc. But did no-one at the ad agency or the Council think that it might be unbelievably offensive and insensitive to have a white infant in boxing gear portray Lionel Rose, Australian of the Year in 1968?

Foster’s feels the pinch as premium wine sales drop…. one of the sites pumping out premium wine is Karadoc… Here’s the official line from Foster’s: “Changes at Karadoc. Due to lower than forecast volumes being packaged at the site, our Karadoc team was last week advised that a number of positions will be made redundant.”

A speeding motorist took out one of Telstra’s street pillars in Red Hill ACT on 3 July. Technicians confused as to how to fix, no ETA on resolution. All phones and internet in the area (including several secure lines to Ambassador’s residencies) have been disconnected for almost 10 days now, several Embassies not happy!

Following the departure of Assistant State Secretary Terry Wood from QLD Labor Secretariat, expect some serious bombs to be thrown at high level QLD Labor members in a revenge move. Anna Bligh’s Chief of Staff Mike Kaiser will be directly targeted as will other known figures and the evidence dates back to the Shepherdson inquiry. As the Labor saying goes — Kaiser will be “rat f-cked” by those he thinks he can trust. There will be blood.

I hate to burst the ethics balloon, but paying journalists to attend press conferences is old news in Asia. It took some time to for me to get used to this practice when I ran a small PR firm in Indonesia some 10 years ago, but it was clear that the underpaid and under-resourced journos expected this courtesy as a gesture of good will from often large multinational organisations. It never guaranteed good coverage, but at least they turned up to cover your piece of fluff. Many Australian expats who run PR firms in Jakarta continue the practice to this day. I am confident this is also the case in most other Asian markets.

Had a couple of friends staying with me from January this year. He is UK resident while she is an Australian resident. While they were here she applied to Centrelink for Newstart Allowance. They both left the country for the UK in March. On July 9 — last week, the caring folk at Centrelink sent her a letter to my address stating that her allowance had been cancelled “because you are not in Australia”. This decision was based on information provided “by you and/or Australia’s immigration department”. Now, if Australia’s immigration department was that smart, do you think they might possibly have realised that she wouldn’t be reading their letter? Or am I being silly here?

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Age is now advertising sex toys in its Sunday Age “M” lift out (page seven) with accompanying pics. Journo wags asking whether this is Age CEO Don Churchill’s new strategy — a dildo-led recovery.