Following Crikey‘s announcement of Kim Carr’s staffers leaving, global pharma company GSK Australia has announced Tim Murphy has been appointed as its  government lobbyist. This will test the application of the Lobbyists Code for Senior Advisers leaving portfolios into industries of direct relevance. Good luck Tim …

The Australian Communications Media Authority has forced David Evans to quit the Fairfax Board because of a conflict of interest with Village Roadshow. It’s a pity ACMA doesn’t bring the same laser-like sense of responsibility to the case of SBS board member Bob Cronin, who has also been editor-in-chief of The West Australian for a year.

ACMA ruled Evans’ conflict of interest rose from Fairfax and Village Roadshow having radio interests. Perhaps ACMA don’t know SBS is a television station and haven’t noticed that The West is effectively owned and controlled by Kerry Stokes’ Seven Network Limited, which is — surprise surprise — another television network. To argue that Cronin can work at arm’s length on The West defies his long history as one of Stokes’ right-hand men or that Stokes and fellow Seven director Peter Gammell sit on the WAN board or that a Seven managing director, Chris Wharton, is WAN’s CEO.

Unsurprisingly, Cronin’s biography on the SBS corporate website doesn’t mention his current job at The West and it’s also evident that Howard appointee Carla Zampatti will not do anything about Cronin while she remains chairman of SBS. It’s less clear whether her incoming replacement Joe Skrzynski is made of more principled cloth. But it shouldn’t be left to the whims of either the SBS or Seven boards. That’s what ACMA’s there for.

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Dead right on the ABC’s early summer holidays. As an outsider who contracts to the ABC, it is very hard not to disagree with everything he says. The ABC consistently cries poor with sub-contractors, its legal department proceeds at a snail’s pace on contracts and wants as many rights as possible, which they have no clue or commercial imperative as to how to exploit and then all go on holidays or RDOs or working from home and non-contactable.

Senior management enjoy long summer breaks and many have remained there for too many years knowing the real world is a lot less forgiving. Given the vagaries of the media business, they’re paid well, contracts are rarely not renewed, jobs not contested and there is a very low level of accountability and performance review.

But Mark Scott and Kim Dalton appear to have little interest in these demeaning management issues and little has changed. But the audience see it and are right to ask if they’re getting their money’s worth.

Our suspicions regarding airport security and the farce that it is have been confirmed. First, the officer watching the carry-on baggage X-ray screen at the screening checkpoint was pressing the button to make the conveyor belt move, but not actually looking at the screen. He was too busy chatting to a colleague. Then once we were passed security and on our way to the gate, we stopped at a chemist to buy some items. Lo and behold, there was a whole range of Gillette razors available for purchase.

“Surely”, I said to the salesperson, “we can’t bring these on the plane.”

“Of course,” she replied. “As long as you purchase them after you go through security checkpoint.”

Huh? And lastly, our 500ml water bottles were never checked, removed or even noticed. The whole “protecting our borders” spiel is an absolute joke. The government is not serious about protecting anything. It’s simply more concerned about appearing to do something.

I subscribe to Crikey because I believe in a free, open and independent media where news and opinions can be published that I can both agree with and be challenged by.

As a Crikey subscriber I always feel more informed and able to think more critically about issues and current affairs – even when they don’t always reflect my own political viewpoint or lived experience.


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