A former legal advisor to DFAT, who in his time had an input into the original drafting of the Consular Agreement between Canberra and Beijing, has this advice for Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop: butt out. He told us he wasn’t at all easy with the clause which demanded we go along with the draconian Chinese legal system which actually prejudges guilt before a “trial” takes place.

He told us the current case of Mr Hu is being compromised by ill informed megaphone behaviour of the Opposition leaders. When agreements are being worked out with countries like China and the former Soviet Union, he says, all Canberra can do “is roll and have its tummy tickled”. Take it or leave is the attitude — there’s seldom room for compromise.

What is going on now is a face saving exercise and the end of the day each side will come out of the imbroglio if not wiser, then certainly better able to deal with similar situations which will undoubtedly arise in the future.

The return of long-time adviser Jake Smith to the office of Lawrence Springborg is generating tensions within the LNP, particularly with leader Jean-Paul Langbroek who regards him as “tainted goods” given his role in Springborg’s three losses. Smith also has a poisonous relationship with some journalists. Springborg, however, isn’t particularly interested in taking direction from Langbroek.

It hasn’t gone un-noticed in the West that yesterday’s “anonymous” Crikey rumour pushing a conspiracy theory about the Tangney preselection was very similarly worded to claims on the Facebook page of one of Dennis Jensen’s staffers. Surely they wouldn’t be that stupid?

Age sources are complaining that slowly but surely The Age brand name is being eradicated at Fairfax. Advertising managers have been instructed to call the organization they work for “Melbourne Publishing” from now on and other executives and managers are following suit. The head of The Age’s advertising department does not even refer to The Age in his title:

David Hoath
Sales and Marketing Director
Melbourne Publishing

Fairfax’s latest move is the equivalent of The Guardian or The New York Times calling themselves “London publishing” or “New York Publishing”.

David Koch, the Sunrise host on Seven, is now probably the busiest man in the Australian media. He had a column in the Fairfax Sun Herald on Sunday personal finance, and he and his wife were the faces of the launch of a new money section in the News Ltd tabloids on Monday. That’s the first project of a News Ltd-wide feature section from Al Oakley, the former editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.

The new money sections in the News Ltd tabloids (as evidenced by what was in the Telegraph in Sydney), is just more of the same old guff from the personal finance pages of countless other magazines and papers. It’s more about advertisers/cost controls and a common message across the tabloids, forgetting that readers in Queensland have very different requirements for personal finance that they do in Sydney or Melbourne.

For the busy David Koch, it’s another reminder that there’s life after Palamedia.

How desperate is News Ltd at the moment to move papers? The answer is very. Take this latest offer to a coffee shop in Sydney’s inner west via the local newsagent. Three Daily Teles and three Australians each day, Monday to Friday: that’s three x $1 for the Teles, or $3, and three x $1.50, or $4.50 a day. Total $7.50 a day times five days, or $37.50 worth of papers. And how much to the coffee shop operator? Just $10 a week or a discount of more than 70% from the cover price each day. That’s desperate.

Fairfax’s Domain website has recently launched a new “sold properties” feature where, surprisingly, you can search properties that have been sold. Problem is, for 90% of the results I get when I try it in Melbourne, the results come up with “price withheld”.

I know for a fact that plenty of these properties had their sale price published as an auction result at the time of sale, so why isn’t Domain publishing this data? It wouldn’t be because it’s not in the interests of their main advertisers (real estate agents) for potential buyers to actually be able to work out where the property market is at in a particular suburb and/or because buyers otherwise have to buy “property reports” that give this information would it?

In my experience, it’s hard enough for buyers to penetrate the spin and nonsense put out by real estate agents about particular properties, and the state of the market in general. Having the prices paid for properties in this Sold feature would be really useful for prospective buyers but of course if it benefits them, it might not be a benefit to someone else in the property game.

Incredibly frustrating as a prospective buyer nonetheless.