Fairfax Media has recently been conducting its annual performance reviews. Despite appallingly bad results, led by a massive decline in profits at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, journos are standing by for performance “bonuses” for SMH CEO Lloyd Whish-Wilson and Age CEO Don Churchill. Fairfax CEO Bryan McCarthy says wages are frozen. Nothing about bonuses not being awarded to senior executives.

Thought you might find the attached agenda of the Queensland Public Sector Union (QPSU) Council meeting for September 1 interesting. Look at the last recommendation for agenda item four. The union is proposing for rule changes to be drafted to remove the requirement to have annual general meetings. Members of the QPSU are incredibly unhappy about this proposal. The reason given for removal of the AGM i.e. that regional members are unable to participate in the annual general meeting is seen as an excuse by the Senior Executive, particularly given a previous undertaking by the General Secretary, Alex Scott, to investigate video conferencing.

Big troubles with Qantas flights to and from London. QF 2 didn’t go last Thursday and finally left 24 hours later, Friday’s QF 9 from Melbourne left Saturday and Saturday’s QF 9 left on Sunday. That’s more than 1000 disgruntled travellers stuck in the wrong city (and they’re only the flights I know of). Apparently the Qantas booking system is “lit up like a Christmas tree” trying to get everyone to and from London. Great if you own an airport hotel.

The Victorian Government’s recent press release “A State of Preparation — Actions to be taken to be ready for 2009/10 fire season”, identifies highest risk areas for this fire season and refers to “enhanced township protection plans” but does not give further details on the nature and legislative power of those plans. One town is Cockatoo, all of which is covered by a Wildfire Management Overlay (WMO), which outlines fire mitigation objectives, recommended building materials etc. CFA has special input and is the referral authority for any planning applications in WMOs. Other towns named as highest risk areas include Blairgowrie and Rye St Andrews Beach on the southern Mornington Peninsula. Why then is Blairgowrie and Rye St Andrews Beach not covered by a WMO? Nor indeed any area in Mornington Peninsula Shire or Frankston City? The Victorian Government is so far behind the action on this issue it is terrifying.

Qantas staff have long been wary of their IT systems. Living with its shortcomings and failures has demoralised many. Not for nothing have they tagged it as “yesterday’s technology … tomorrow!”

As an ex-Australia Post employee of many years I can tell you that the “Great White Chief”, aka Graeme John, hates publicity of this kind. He’ll have some very choice words to say! John’s actually been a good leader for Post. His lieutenants on the other hand, are an eclectic bunch of odds and sods. I wouldn’t give you a bag of used stamps for some of them.

Funny you should bring up Joanna Gash. Our long-term local member conducts community consultations for electors in the local bus stops. This keeps the electoral allowance deeply in her own pocket despite being funded for all the trappings. So a visit to our member is completely public, fully exposed to the elements and lacking the trappings of modern life — like internet, reference materials, contacts. All she has is a pen and pad. There are plenty of halls in the Shoalhaven, but she’d have to pay.

From the Crikey Sightings desk:

Should have known something was brewing in Bradfield. There we were on Sunday enjoying all the delights Wahroonga Park has to offer on such a superb Sydney day — the sun was shining, the fresh burst of blossoming flowers heralding the arrival of spring were in full display and the good folk of the leafy upper north shore were mingling about as only they can.

But wait, what was the commotion spoiling this idyllic setting? Well there was a man and woman (he decked out in the bog standard conservative pollie in-waiting uniform of bone chinos and blue shirt, she in a suitably conservative frock) wandering around the park with camera crew in tow, joyfully holding hands as they wandered in and out of the rotunda, smiling cheesily at each other (and the cameras) as they stopped to smell the lavender, striking various poses as they sauntered through a stand of trees, laughing insouciantly at the birds chirping away above. All being recorded for the cameras.

Just another home video perhaps? I think not. It was none other than Bradfield aspirant Julian Leeser and Mrs Leeser no doubt preparing some sort of montage for the pre-selectors of Bradfield’s singing, dancing and voting pleasure.