I believe that red envelopes for journalists is common practice amongst many multinationals in China. Specifically, the automotive industry used this practice until quite recently to thank journalists for attending launches. I believe that Rio Tinto is being made a scapegoat for a common practice expected by Chinese media.

I think it should be known that any foreign organisation or business wanting to hold a media conference in China will be expected to pay the “expenses” of the attending media. In fact Chinese attendees frequently phone ahead to ask whether expenses will be paid. It should also be noted that the usual amount given in the “red envelopes” is about AUD $50. Whilst regrettable, it certainly doesn’t come within the area of “cash for comment”.

More cost cutting at the ever shrinking Age newspaper with Age subscribers being told that they will no longer receive a printed Saturday racing form guide. As a sop, readers are being offered two tickets admission to Caulfield racecourse. Hasn’t made any difference with The Age deluged with flood of complaints.

In a move to head off angry Age journos who are about to see the availability of car parking at The Age‘s new premises reduced by more than 50 per cent with the annual employee car parking fee escalating to an exorbitant $6000, Age employees have been informed that they are eligible for a 10% discount on yearly Metlink tickets via the Metlink Commuter Club program. Night shift subs and admin staff who do not travel by public transport will be forced to walk to their cars at Etihad stadium and other expensive car parks miles away. To take advantage of this “benefit” employees must take up the offer by 31 July.

Australian Unity has been laying off a heap of people this week.

The US p-rn industry has come up with a new X-rated best seller called Nailin Palin. As you might imagine it features a Sarah Palin look alike doing unmentionable things. Imagine the ruckus if an Aussie version using one of our female pollies look alike appeared. “Giving it to Gillard” would hardly be a best seller.