Has the Royal Family of Dubai bailed out Emirates? In the recently released annual report of Emirates, page 105 (106 of the PDF) has got folk in the aviation business gossiping and mentioning the word, “bailout”. In note 34 (vi) in the accounts, “Related party transactions”, under the subhead of “Provision of letters of credit: Parent Company” it is costed as 5,887,819,000 AED — roughly $US1.6 billion.

There’s no explanation anywhere else in the annual report or accounts. But some in the aircraft leasing and financing business reckons it’s the Royal Family of Dubai effectively helping Emirates over a rough patch by providing off balance sheet financing for air craft purchases, leasing and fuel buying.

Michael Bodey’s article in The Australian on Monday notes that Screentime’s television adaptation of Cloud Street commissioned by the Premium Movie Partnership (PMP) for Foxtel has been rejected for Federal subsidy by Screen Australia management because PMP won’t pay the same licence fees as free to air broadcasters as required under its investment guidelines. He reports that PMP is lobbying Screen Australia’s chief executive and chairman for the rules to be changed, i.e. for PayTV to pay less. No reasons are given other than that the media landscape is now different and new rules must apply.

PayTV dramas are only available by subscription and are only programmed on top tier channels at a premium. One can only hope that Screen Australia does not capitulate. One could easily argue that there should be no Federal subsidy for Australian drama on PayTV on the basis that tax payers should not have to pay twice to see a drama they subsidised. So paying the same licence fee for a drama as a free to air broadcaster is more than fair. But perhaps Mr Bodey was not prepared to alienate his colleagues at Foxtel and the News Corporation stable.

But given 70% of Australian households do not subscribe to Pay television one can live in hope that this issue is canvassed by journalists elsewhere.

If anyone listened to 3AW at 9.50am this morning they would have heard Neil Mitchell claiming that he has never seen evidence of inequity between men and women in his 40 years in the business. Given that Mitchell works for a radio station that hasn’t employed a woman in a senior position this century it all a bit laughable really. There is no equal opportunity at 3AW. They won’t even let a woman fill in for a senior host taking a break during non-ratings periods.

It might be interesting to ask 3AW what percentage of all wages they pay goes to women and/or what the average salary of women compared to men at 3AW is. Mitchell has always done nothing more than pay scant lip service to the notion of equality of the sexes.

I went to the doctor yesterday in Sydney to try and get treated for the dreaded lurgie for the fifth time this winter and also hopefully get some tests run to see if something can be done to interrupt this lovely pattern. After being turned away by two surgeries for lack of doctors and too many patients, I went to one of the larger bulk billing medical centres that usually has four to five doctors on at any given time. With an estimated 90 minute wait, I settled and watched as patient after patient zipped in and out of the offices.

Getting out my phone stop watch to pass the time, I started timing the visits — the longest — three minutes, the shortest — 45 seconds. Two hours later, my number’s up and the doctor’s already printed the certificate before I sat down. Cough once and I get a prescription for antibiotics. When I ask for a blood test — or any test — to see what’s wrong with me in general, I’m told there’s no time… I’d have to go to a paid surgery to have that kind of consultation.

I read yesterday’s article regarding the University of Melbourne slush fund with interest. I was, until very recently, an employee at Unimelb and remain an employee as a casual tutor. The “Book of Dreams was completed by February of this year, the project was then shelved, after there was a major push for it to be completed in a matter of weeks, and now it’s back on. The marketing and communications division knew that the book was to promote donations to the university, but didn’t know the extent of this planned slush fund. As a casual employee, in a teaching position, I’m pretty p-ised off about this.

I’d also like to draw your attention to the incompetence of the HR division at the university, which regularly leaves casual employees including myself, and my colleagues unpaid for weeks, and sometimes months. Apparently once the entire group of casual physics staff were left unpaid because they were “forgotten”. If you ask anyone who has worked as a casual staff member, they will have a story of this incompetence, coupled with a lazy refusal to rectify any missed pay. Usually they won’t pay you for another fortnight, when it’s their error.

In addition to this, tutors in some faculties are given no training in teaching whatsoever. This is the second time I have been a tutor, but the first time, last year, my orientation consisted of a half hour in a room, where someone from the school’s administrative staff told us to “try not to sleep with our students” and to alert subject coordinators if we did. That was it. Subject coordinators (who are sometimes permanent lecturers and sometimes casuals themselves) are either lazy, overworked or both, and so tutors generally receive nothing by way of instruction or class plan information from them. We are making it up as we go along.

I just thought Melbourne’s elite would like to know who are teaching their little darlings; untrained, overworked post grad students who are paid $600-700 a fortnight, casually (i.e., without benefits or rights), if they are paid at all.

Crikey: In Crikey‘s “Tips and rumours” on 9 June 2009 we published this tip: “Which NSW minister is having an affair with a stripper? She lives in Newtown. He tried to pass her off as his niece when he took her to Parliament House.” Just saying…