The Australian’s Media Section is becoming part of the paper’s Business section from next month … part of a broader redesign. The Media section will start from the back page of Business.

Cop that Telstra: Sensis, as you may or may not know, is a subsidiary of Telstra. The 1234 number is replacing the Telstra 12456 directory assistance number, but this time with outrageous costs attached: 40c to call the number, then 4c A SECOND! By law, Telstra have to provide a FREE directory assistance number, because they are still majority owned by the government. They choose however not to pass this number on to the public. What’s the free number? 1223.

Qantas diaries 1: Qantas Frequent Flyer disloyalty … I have a friend who had been flying Qantas almost exclusively for the past 15 or so years. Some years he got “free” Qantas Club when he flew enough, some years he didn’t so he happily paid for Qantas Club access. Come this year, his flying has been reduced but still wanted to access the Qantas Club when he did fly. He got his “Welcome to Silver” letter from Qantas but thought nothing more of it. He phoned up and they told him, too bad, you can’t renew, you need to rejoin and therefore pay the exorbitant joining fee again. It doesn’t matter that they can see that he’s been a Qantas Club member for 15 years, he still has to pay to join again. Escalating up to the head of Qantas dis-loyalty acheived nothing. It seems that things are so great for the airline industry at the moment, that Qantas will happily burn a 15-year frequent flyer without a second thought. They expect customers to be loyal to Qantas, how about some loyalty in return.

Qantas diaries 2: Shock Horror! I returned on the weekend from a work trip that saw me fly Melbourne to London and back with Qantas (QF9 and QF10) with a great many Qantas affiliate flights in between. How does 10 legs and 8 different airports in 15 days sound? Well shock horror and hold onto your seats here, everything was just fine. All flights left on time or within 30 minutes of schedule, no lost bags, no missed connections, the food was mostly edible (I was in economy — damn that crisis!). The only thing that didn’t work was the Qantas entertainment system on the Singapore–London leg for about an hour while the attendant doggedly and ultimately successfully did everything she could do to fix it. How dare Qantas manage to meet expectations … now I have no stories to tell. To make matters worse, they even get me into Melbourne on the final and home leg 45 minutes early. I was worried my taxi guy wouldn’t be at the airport yet (he was).

Qantas diaries 3: Oh joy and thanks to Crikey … having been told by Qantas phone staff repeatedly each day last week that “no one else has reported any problems with the Qantas booking site” it is wonderful to know that a. I’m not paranoid, and b. the site really was down.

Tory ABC: As someone who was banned on air from ABC 612 talkback on the grounds that I was consistently critical of the Howard government, I can assure Peter Costello that if he thinks the ABC’s 612 leans to the left, he is dyslexic. Not suprising when soon after the Howard government came to power it appointed Chris Wordsworth, John Moore’s media officer, as ABC general manager. Wordsworth soon unfairly dismissed Andrew Carrol on the basis that Carrol was pro Labor. Then we had an ongoing campaign from Steve Austin to get rid of the Labor Brisbane City Council, and now we have the wife of the Courier Mail editor who interviewed Howard like a fawning puppy but is aggressive in her interviews of Labor politicians-to be expected from a News Ltd accessory. Tories in Queensland can sleep soundly-612 is their ABC.

Fawks gets the stumbles: Supporters and admirers of Sen. John Faulkner, minister of defence, might have been alarmed by his performance on Radio National’s breakfast show on Thursday at around 7.35am. The usually forthright and eloquent Faulkner was either up all night fretting or has been taking lessons from Bob Debus whose execrable style of stop-start enunciation was surely one of the reasons he decided to pack it in. Faulkner hardly made one sentence without pausing to reiterate meaningless modifiers, sometimes three or four times, and managed to bore Kelly into submission. What he actually said about the unconstitutionality of Howard’s military courts was barely worth half a minute but he ploughed on for at least six. Sad but true. The man has great qualities but she should refuse to do live interviews if he doesn’t feel up to it. And Kelly should jump in and hurry him up. Poor effort all round.

Meanwhile in the WA Liberal Party:

“THE state director of the Liberal Party, John Burston, has quit his position, effective from tomorrow.
President Sean Edwards said Mr Burston would take up another role within the party’s federal structure and had left to “pursue other interests”.
Former senator Grant Chapman has been appointed acting state director until a permanent appointment is made.”

Re the story above: the ones who suffer most from destabilisation are candidates for the next State and Federal Election. How come then that two North-eastern candidates knew days before the axe fell and said and did nothing, and which senator was whispering in their shell like ears? Libs couldn’t win a heart in a brothel at the moment and certainly can’t afford the 6 figure sum to pay out the victim. Sean Edwards has spectacularly led the SA Libs to total irrelevance.

Meanwhile on the grassy knoll: There is currently a case before the Supreme Court of Victoria between CBUS and David Marriner. Initially the room was filled with journalists and the case reported in some of the papers then suddenly all the journalists disappeared. It is rumoured that CBUS have waved their expensive advertising campaign and budget at the major newspapers who have consequently pulled their coverage of the case.

Peter Fray

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