The biennial ABC indigenous staff love-in is being held in Melbourne this week. But of the 50-odd indigenous staff, little more than half have turned up. Does the absenteeism have anything to do with the last gig? At least some of the attendees would remember the last event in Darwin — where a “team-building exercise”, in which indigenous staff were required to be bound in plastic chains and walk down the main drag, appalled many, and was boycotted by some.

This time around Ursula Groves, the boss of “People and Learning” — the wank title for “Personnel” —  sent an email to her co-members of the ABC leadership group, suggesting that it would be wonderful for the ABC executive to perform a “rap dance” (a “dance” presumably pronounced with a long a) at an official dinner being held on Thursday. The dinner is to be joined by the ABC board (Albrechtsen and Windschuttle in da house), which happens to be meeting in Bleak City on that day.

The “rap” in this case is apparently an acronym for the ABC’s “Reconciliation Action Plan”, and presumably the ABC leadership — from Mark Scott down — were being invited to perform something along the lines of a recent episode of Hey Hey it’s Saturday, albeit not in black face. Just a typically indigenous version of “rap”.

Crikey understands the idea has been quietly smothered at birth by others in the ABC leadership group. What sort of plans “People and Learning” will be presenting to arrest the continuing decline in indigenous employment at the ABC remains a mystery.

There has been quite a bit reported about the Victorian government’s limited success in persuading commercial radio and television stations to act as emergency broadcasters during the bushfire season. The ABC has earned considerable brownie points promoting the long-standing Memorandum of Understanding between emergency authorities and its local radio network.

However, I was surprised to read recent comments from ABC management that while the ABC in Victoria would love to also run emergency announcements on TV, it isn’t technically possible. That is, the ABC can’t split its national digital TV output to enable Victoria-specific announcements to be made.

As a former ABC staffer, I can assure you this is bollocks. The ABC has had the capacity to do that for quite some time.

Last weekend, I saw and heard confirmation that ABC TV could broadcast localised messaging, if it chose to … a promo for an upcoming national TV program that was targeted, specifically, for the Melbourne audience. Even the voiceover featured a localised reference to Melbourne. So, if the ABC has sufficient technical capacity to split its national signal to allow it to run a city-centric promo, why can’t it run life-saving bushfire announcements? Seems a reasonable question to me …

NSW — A state of chaos. If Premier Nathan Rees thinks he is going to throw an annual “bread and circuses” act by closing the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a picnic, then he’s more than a delusional fool than we all might believe. Hundreds of thousands of commuters were delayed for hours on Sunday because of the circus act on the bridge. What about using the very expensive Olympic Park complex that taxpayers funded not so long ago and that remains under-utilised? What have we done wrong to deserve this ship of fools?

Interesting to note that while the CPRS Bill won’t be back to the Senate for debate until November 13, applications for jobs with the new Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority (to be created by this Bill) close on November 5.