It’s tough enough running a small business, especially in the current economic climate. The last thing you want is the Federal Minister for Small Business backing changes to legislation that could be terminal for your business. Yet that’s exactly what NSW Labor’s Craig Emerson is doing by backing changes to the rules for parallel importation of books that have been recommended by the Productivity Commission.

Against the findings of an ALP Federal backbench committee that opposes any changes, Emerson is continuing to back a move that can only benefit large booksellers like Dymocks and discount stores, such as K-Mart and Big W, and which could be terminal for thousands of small bookshops around the country, especially in regional towns.

The axe drops at Foster’s. Approximately 100 Australian IT staff have been or are being notified they no longer have a job, and approximately 20 more are getting the axe across the globe. Periods of non-disclosure and termination dates range from four weeks out till February next year. This is ultimately reducing the head count by half over as it currently has just under 200 IT staff.

Wipro the Indian outsourcer is currently swarming all over Foster’s head quarters in Southbank as the soon to be axed Aussies have to transition their knowledge. Many insiders are saying Foster’s is about to lose its corporate memory as most of the long termers are replaced by enthusiastic Indians … very few Aussies are being taken up by Wipro although stay posted for the Foster’s spin.

The key player behind the redundancies is Morris Lieberman backed by CIO Andrew Leyden. Andrew Leyden as a prior CFO is relying on IT players like Morris (ex Cadbury Schweppes IT) to make the big decisions.

After the redundancies just taken place many hope they both fall on their own axes.

Trouble is brewing internally at the Electrical Trades Union in Queensland, with ETU Organiser Peter Ong announcing a challenge against the incumbent, anti privatization campaigner, Peter Simpson. Ong, a long term friend of Rockhampton knuckle man MP, Robert Schwarten, was seen out to drinks with the MP Monday night, the session went well into the night and involved other union powerbrokers, also known to be unhappy with Simpson and the ETU campaign against the Bligh Government’s privatization plans.

Ong apparently announced to crowd on Monday night that he will run against Simpson at the next election and that he will do so with the full support of Schwartern and the Bligh Government.

Does Crikey still have an ABC mole? I’m fascinated to know how Respectember is going. And of course next month should be a cracker if they’ve taken up First Dog on the Moon’s suggestions.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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