A certain staffer of a certain Liberal Senator had one too many drinks at a popular terrace watering hole last Friday night. The staffer involved took great pleasure loudly informing his drinking buddies (and everyone else standing in a 10 metre vicinity at the pub) that the Senator “did not think much” of the Federal Member for O’Connor (Wilson Tuckey) and that the Senator thought Wilson was “a certifiable lunatic”. The Liberal Party really is running a tight ship at the moment.

Public and quango Boards are in a dither in Brisbane as a host of Labor-friendly company directors review their business and lobbying interests in the wake of Anna Bligh’s ultimatum for former pollies to choose whether they want to be Corporate Bigwigs of well-paid lobbyists. Given the weekend moves by former Brisbane Lord Mayor Jim Soorley and former Queensland Treasurer Terry Mackenroth, it seems lobbying is far more lucrative. Attention is now turning to some of the less obvious but nonetheless conflicting roles of other former pollies such as Gary Hardgrave, the former Liberal Member for Moreton, who is Liberal Lord Mayor Campbell Newman’s personal appointment to the handsomely remunerated Board of Brisbane Airport Corporation.

Vogue Magazine, now a flagship of the stuttering News Ltd magazine stable, continues to celebrate its 50th birthday, but the ghost of its long time driving force, Bernard Leser, would be spinning where ever it is after rumours about the party held on July 31 at Fox Studios in Sydney. Cate Blanchett was the star turn. She’s the queen of Sydney social royalty. Get her to attend and you’ve got the night, or the week’s PT crown. She left early, cold and complaining that she couldn’t afford to stay and risk the chance of catching a cold; her work commitments are too tight. Others who attended also left wanting for something to eat; the food and drink were slow, it was under catered and attendees couldn’t remember a major party being so poorly done. It seems that to save money in these tough times, News did the event planning in house, rather than hire an outside group. It’s something the likes of Deeta Colvin would have done stylishly and with nothing left to chance. Was it the biggest social disaster for News Ltd in Sydney since Rupert Murdoch got left behind at the Opening Night of the Sydney Olympics almost nine years ago?

It was late on Friday night and I was flicking around the channels in the briefest of lulls in an eventful middle session of the cricket, when I was sure I heard the ABC’s Economics Reporter say on Lateline that he was going to get his kit off. Did I imagine this? I checked the transcript Saturday morning to find I did not. The following exchange actually is transcribed:

STEPHEN LONG, ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT: 247,000 jobs lost in July, Leigh, which was a lot less than expected, a lot less in fact than in any month in the past year. And the unemployment rate in the US actually fell slightly from 9.5 per cent to 9.4 per cent. Now, after my firm protestations last week that it was over, perhaps I may have to meet your challenge and parade around in my underwear as penance. But I doubt it.

LEIGH SALES: Stephen, I’m begging you, on behalf of my viewers, please, keep your pants on.

STEPHEN LONG: I’ll do my best.

Guy Rundle reported a couple of weeks ago in Crikey that Long, who presents as the most staid of radio reporters, used the same spot to talk about Latvian prostitutes (another gem in the Lateline archives). What is going on at the ABC late Friday nights?

Optus charges a fee for being billed each month. I obtain my bill on the web and pay by BPAY, yet I am charged a fee. The only way they will not charge is if one has a direct debit.