Our school in metro Melbourne has been awarded a $2 million building through BER. The template building has four rooms. We are quite excited about that. We have a large amount of land and there is plenty of room for four new classrooms. We have now been advised by the Department that the four new classrooms will put us over our allocation of classrooms. Therefore the department is going to demolish a perfectly good existing building containing four classrooms. Is that what governments do to spend $315 billion?

Following up on your ‘Crikey Work Experience Investigation’ into the movement of Michael Jackson merchandise in music stores after his death, here is the evidence to reassure First Dog that capitalism is alive and kicking.

The reason Cameron didn’t find any MJ merchandise on the Friday was because he was too late. The Melbourne Central Sanity store opens a bit before 8am each morning and upon hearing about MJ’s death, the Manager moved all the MJ stock to the front of the store (a whole 3 CDs and 2 DVDs) and they were sold out within an hour.

Once all the stores across the country had opened, an email directive was sent from Head Office telling the stores to move their merchandise as it would sell quickly. They were also advised to place an order for a new delivery of MJ stock to arrive on Monday and POS signage including posters, bins and new stands which said things like “King of Pop”, among others. This new stock and signage arrived in the stores on the following Monday and has been in place since. The stock is continually amongst the top sellers in the Melbourne Central store and you can now also ‘pre-order’ limited edition MJ t-shirts and the MJ Collection (which a huge amount of people are doing).

So rest assured that the entertainment industry in Australia is making plenty of money from MJ’s death.

Things we get used to which break laws and threaten our economy: price fixing of consumer goods. How many times has a salesman in a store told you, “Sorry, we can no longer discount more than 10 per cent below the recommended retail price on this brand, or the supplier will stop filling our orders”? The other day it was a Swiss brand of watch my girlfriend wanted; the time before that, a branded gift pen; the time before that, a popular clothing brand. And so on.

Correct me if I’m wrong, my understanding is that this widespread practice is price fixing under the Trade Practices Act. It results in consumers research what they want in shops, then walking out and ordering the goods online from overseas. In many cases the local shops could have supplied the goods for the cheaper price but feared being cut off if they did, so instead they lose market share, lay off workers, and sometimes go out of business. It’s all the same to the suppliers.

Maybe if Crikey readers can report enough examples, the ACCC can be roused from its lethargy to start a crackdown.

No doubt local TV folk will go mad with the news that David Lyle, a former Nine executive is returning to Australia to head up Fremantlemedia here, replacing the Fennessy brothers, Mark and Carl. Variety reported it this morning in the US. Even though he is a former senior North American exec. of Fremantle, Mr Lyle is staying put at Fox where he runs the Fox Reality Cable Network for Rupert Murdoch, which is a considerably more powerful job. Fremantle here said the Variety report wasn’t true. It must be wrong, because when you click on the link, then click on the story, the variety website tells you the story no longer exists. It only lasted eight hours.