Following the West Atlas disaster in the Timor Sea, there has been a near miss at BHP’s Pyrenees oil field development, offshore Exmouth within a stone’s throw of WA’s Ningaloo marine park.

Late on Thursday night the dive support vessel Toisa Proteus was deploying subsea equipment associated with the installation of oil and gas flowlines about 15 nautical miles north of North West Cape, Exmouth, when the ships heavy lift crane lost control of its load which swung violently into the hull fracturing the hull and opening a hole into the ship’s fuel tank.

An unknown quantity of fuel was spilt into the marine environment. The Toisa Proteus needed to abort installation works and is now in Dampier undergoing repairs. The Toisa Proteus is owned by British company Sealion, and is contracted to Acergy Energy to install subsea assets for BHP.

NSW Liberal party officials are now dubbing the Mitchell affair “Hawke-Gate”. Mark Neeham, Richard Shields and other people at the secretariat are concerned about the damage that was done to Alex Hawke and the party last week by people such as Alan Jones. Also worth noting is the fact that Alex Hawke recorded the entire Young Liberal meeting using tape recorders scattered throughout his office.

Hawke had apparently shown resistance in providing the tapes to the State secretariat, but was pressured by friend and mentor, Nick Campbell the party’s state president to do so, to avoid damaging the Liberal image further. Apparently Mr Hawke had made no secret of the fact that he had recorded the meetings proceedings telling numerous people close to him that he had done so. These people (who are disloyal) then told people in the Hard right about the tapes, who brought this to the media’s attention.

When quizzed whether the tapes did exist by journalists, Nick Campbell said he would find out, and if they did, would encourage Hawke to provide the tapes. Hawke then confirmed the existence, and the tapes have now been passed on to the State secretariat to investigate.

The once mighty Randwick Labor Party’s roll of the dice to regain control of Randwick City Council left them without their shirts by the end of last Tuesday night’s Extraordinary Council meeting.

The ALP caucus had nominated Cr. Tony Bowen, the son of former Deputy PM, Lionel, to be their mayoral candidate. Cr. Geoff Stevenson was nominated for the deputy mayoral position, much to the annoyance of The Greens deputy-mayoral candidate whose vote the ALP depended on to carry them over the line for the mayoralty. Both ALP councillors were elected to Council only last September, with the backing of Labor dinosaurs, ex-mayors Dominic Sullivan and Chris Bastic.

ALP Left-winger Cr. Paul Tracey, chief-of-staff to Coogee MP Paul Pearce, had masterminded the sub-caucus plot and a preference deal with The Greens, to the disgust of the remaining two senior caucus members, who promptly went-off and covertly stitched-up a deal with the out-going Liberal Mayor Cr. Bruce Notley-Smith, his five Liberals and two independents. Still believing to the last minute that the ALP could win, Cr. Bowen, who had both a concession and victory speeches prepared, declared to the crowded gallery that he was the only true ALP candidate. After the vote, The Greens sat in stunned silence, trying to fathom how their cross-party deal all went so terribly wrong. 74 year old veteran Cr. John Procopiadis was elected mayor, and is getting on with the job as an independent.

Sussex Street, meanwhile, is dwelling on what to do with the other caucus member who refused to vote as instructed by the likes of NSW police minister Michael Daley, ALP state secretary Matt Thistlewaite and Labor Club president Ken Murray, all of whom were lobbying up to the last minute. Liberal Robert Belleli was elected deputy-mayor.

RailCorp has been hit by the Conficker worm. RailCorp ICT believe that they have cleaned up all the infected machines on numerous networks — not just their business LAN, but other networks as well.

Did anyone see Richard Ackland’s opinion piece in the SMH on Friday 2 Oct? Talk about jumping the gun… The National Human Rights Consultation report was only handed to Government on Wed 30 Sept and its contents haven’t been released, but Ackland is already jumping up and down accusing the Committee of recommending against a bill of rights. On the strength of something the AG said a while back about a rumour he heard. And having a good crack at everyone who didn’t support the introduction of a bill of rights.

I think Ackland may find he’s gone off half-cocked on this one…the report is actually tipped to recommend, among a wide range of other things — including education and the use of the Senate committee system to scrutinise bills, the introduction of a bill of rights.

Can’t wait to see what Ackland has to say when the report is actually released.

And they know who they are: When an employer ignores its own redundancy policies and procedures and refuses to consider a staff member whose position has been made redundant for current internal vacancies for which they are clearly competent, one would normally recommend calling in the union. But when the employer involved IS a union, it gets a little bit trickier.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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