New Premier Kristina Keneally has decided to wind back one of Nathan Rees’ first actions as Premier — the publication and archiving of all ministerial media releases on the NSW government website.  The decision was heralded at the time as a long overdue move towards more open and accountable government in NSW. However, instead of a link to a minister’s releases on their contact page, users are now directed to the Premier’s releases instead.

As a Nine employee, it is very interesting that Amanda Meade should be criticising Mr Dyer today, considering David Hurley is Amanda Meade’s biggest source. They are so close that some would argue that Amanda and David share the same role at Nine — chief spinner.

Those genius innovators at SBS left more than a couple of jaws hanging limp over their seared tuna canapés at Thursday night’s annual SBS Christmas party when they announced the five finalists of their staff pitching competition.

It’s easy to see why serious dramas and documentaries didn’t rate a guernsey against the other exciting fare that was on offer, such as two new cooking shows — wow! — and a busty teen vamp presenting horror movies with her finger puppet companion.

Looks like SBS will be seriously challenging Community Television for their audience next year if any of these groundbreaking, insightful and cultural relevant programs get the nod.

If your tipster thinks that delivering two Fire Ready Kits to one household is wasteful, imagine how cheesed off she’d be is she knew that the first print run was pulped when differences of opinion between CFA and the DoJ (and why are they involved?) resulted in a document so confused and contradictory that the evidence had to be destroyed.

Westpac has gone several bunches more bananas. You’d think this bank would be giving super attention to its remaining mortgage and home loan clients. In August I applied for an investment property loan secured by a mortgage on my house. I was given a certificate of pre-approval and told to go ahead and bid on properties and I’ve been the losing bidder at several auctions.

When Westpac hiked its interest rates I contacted the person I’d been dealing with at my local branch asking for revised calculations of monthly repayments. Many many phone calls (to the bank and her mobile) and emails got no response. On my final phone call to her mobile yesterday I got a message that she had gone on leave that day. I rang the bank and asked for the manager. No luck. Then a new home loans person rang apologetically and said she’d get straight on to it.

An hour later she rang back to say my loan application had been rejected in September. So all this time I’ve been within a whisker, several times, of buying properties without finance. My asset backing for the requested loan was completely solid and more than adequate. I’m off to another bank.

I recently received a court payment notice from NSW local courts this week (I missed a court date to appeal a traffic fine). In the envelope, I also received the payment notice for another person, charged with a serious offence, non-payment of which could result in a custodial sentence.

When I rang the court to pay my fine and informed them that they had enclosed someone else’s payment notice, I was told that it was the second or third time this week it had happened, and if I hadn’t torn the envelope up too much, could I please return to sender as soon as possible, as the person named in the payment notice would need to pay the fine by the date shown, and if they didn’t, they’d face further penalties or jail?

As I’d torn up the envelope when I opened it, I couldn’t, and was advised to use a paper knife in future, just in case. When I asked for the court’s reply paid address, I was told to get a stamp and lick it! Now, how much money does the NSW government spend on jails or getting tough on crime?

Of course, I’ve emailed the document to the person themselves, just in case it gets lost in the courts again. But it’s another appalling example of NSW government incompetence — and possibly grounds for several people to appeal their fines and sentences. Let alone an inquiry into how this has happened and to prevent it happening in future …

Why isn’t any media company picking up on the fact that Proctor and Gamble (owners of Gillette) are the biggest corporate advertisers in the US and highly, highly sensitive to the madness of fundamentalist Christians? It is that pressure and potential boycotts that forced P&G to drop Tiger Woods from its Gillette ads. We have no reason to fear grown men and women rooting whoever they so mutually choose. We have big reasons to fear fundamentalist Christians  in the US and here in Australia, increasingly foisting their moral hygiene agenda upon us.

Peter Fray

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