A lot of nervous people in the Labor Unity (old guard) faction in Queensland. The Queensland Crime Commission has recently announced a public hearing will start  next month into sports rorts allegations involving former ministerial adviser Simon Tutt. Other names anxious.

Professor Considine is a member of the ALP in Martin Ferguson’s electorate of Batman. He rarely if ever attends meetings of his branch, but he always votes in party internal elections for the Socialist Left, never mind that he acts at Melbourne University a little more like a right-wing Liberal.

The Greens have hired a senior press secretary to Senator Bob Brown who will apparently be on a six-figure per annum pay packet. Big bucks for a minor party that campaigns about politician’s perks. How does that compare to the salary of Steve Fielding’s press secretary? Or the PM’s? Or Bob Brown himself?

It was reported on Tuesday that MPs can no longer use their taxpayer-funded postal allowances to send out speeches made in Parliament that are critical of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his government. This issue should be headlined. It is of fundamental importance. It is the Opposition’s duty to be critical of the government, whether Rudd likes it or not. This attempt to stifle criticism strikes at the heart of democracy.  Rudd’s attempts to control and spin every issue should be contested, examined and reported on by every member of the political media in Australia. We need to look with confidence to the media to discharge this duty — to recognise its importance. If we do not uphold and defend our right to free and open speech, one day we will lose it.

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The Christmas bonuses of Woolworths managers are linked to how much money they save on staff costs. So if the lines are longer than they used to be, that may be why. So much for customer service.

After more than 20 years of headlines, Professor Allan Fels’ growing irrelevancy in Australian public life was never more evident in his Canberra media appearance yesterday when criticising the government’s decision to protect Australian authors by keeping up the taxes on foreign books. Fels claimed the latest Dan Brown opus was selling in Australia for $49.99, yet for only $33 in the UK. The good professor needs to get out more — just about every bookstore in Australia this week is flogging Brown’s book for $32.99 — $17 below what Fels claims is its cover price.

South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has taken to blogging on the Adelaide Now site about the proposed land swap of the beautiful St Clair Reserve in the heart of Woodville for a piece of contaminated industrial wasteland. He bizarrely admitted to checking up on fellow bloggers to see if they are in his electorate. His arguments are that the electrification of the rail line and the installation of a tram depends on this land swap, so that people in the new dense housing will be living right next to the rail line because they are too lazy to walk the 200 metres from the Actil site.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the railway station there is a derelict shopping precinct. In the Plan for Greater Adelaide this is exactly the kind of area described as ripe for renovation. And yet the government prefers the beautiful park to be trashed instead. David Winderlich, an independent member of the Upper House, has proposed that such decisions should be subjected to referendum or a meeting of the electors. Nick Xenophon put forward a similar Bill before the last election but it lapsed.

The guild heavying the Australian College of Pharmacy over John Menadue invite — is it heavying if you are the major stakeholder and control the board?

If ever there was an example of why Sky TV should not be allowed to run our international radio and TV services it’s this: Sky has sacked NZ rugby commentator Murray Mexted for criticising the NZ Rugby Union. From the NZ Herald: “The former All Black said that after criticising the New Zealand Rugby Union on air, he received a letter from Sky’s director of sport, Kevin Cameron, pointing out that the NZRU was a commercial partner of the network and that he should “refrain from being critical”.

Fall-out continuing following senior Age executive’s outrageous antics in South Melbourne pub after the Caulfield races. Colleagues say that executive was evicted from the premises — the third time this has happened at an Age client function.

The announcement by Fairfax yesterday seems to say all the resolutions were carried, including the appointment of the three independent nominees.

Despite the show’s brilliant ratings, cracks are appearing in the render at hit Seven dramedy Packed to the Rafters. Word from Bleak City is that the network’s shabby treatment of the stars is behind its exhausted drawcards Erik Thompson and Rebecca Gibney (both of whom have strong ties to the rival Nine network), and several of its newly discovered young talent, openly considering fresh projects in 2010.

A pissed-off cast and strange plot twists, combined with faltering production values, can’t help but flow on to ratings if they continue. Is the revelation from Tuesday limp episode — that Dave Rafter’s father may still be alive in rural Victoria — leading us towards a Neighbours-like scenario in which key characters can be packed off to the bush and replaced with an array of distant relatives? Can the show go on if Gibney and Thompson move out of the happy home?

Seven’s hopes for a 10-year run for Rafters may be dashed, with no suitable replacement programs ready.

Logica CMG Perth office flew in their HR director to sack about half their Perth office by PowerPoint yesterday morning — approximately 17 from my memory of the slide. Not a nice feeling in the room, that’s for sure.

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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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