The Courier Mail has the story today about an executive jet that tried to take off from a taxi-way beside Brisbane Airport’s main runway. But they’ve missed the real story — the passenger was Elton John “et entourage”.

ABC Radio Australia boss Hanh Tran quits: Staff at Radio Australia, the near-defunct international radio broadcasting service of the ABC, received this email today from its CEO announcing his departure:

From: Hanh Tran
Sent: Wednesday, 21 April 2010 1:04 PM
To: DG-Radio Australia All Staff
Cc: Murray Green
Subject: A new beginning

Dear all,

I have decided to step down as CEO of RA after May 21st  at the end of my current contract. I am keen to return to an editorial role and am in discussions with Director ABC International about my interest in getting back to direct editorial engagement.

It has been a very rewarding three years on the job. We can be proud of the achievements we’ve made together.

I thank you all for your support, professionalism and friendship.

I will stay dedicated to RA’s mission and look forward to working in a different  part of the team.

Regards,

Hanh

Any media analyst worth their salt knows that international radio broadcasting is a dying art, so the question is, under Mark  Scott’s vision of the digital age, what future for RA? With a staff of more than 100, broadcasting in six languages — including, believe it or not, French — and an ageing staff at that, the ABC is facing a critical decision. Can it afford to keep broadcasting to minority audiences in Asia and keep its critical radio broadcasts into the Pacific, where audiences are high and locals regard RA as vital?

Peter Garrett’s next bat problem is about to take flight. There were nearly 300 public submissions of comments on the draft public environment report that Botanic Gardens Trust produced late in 2009, which detailed their proposal to evict the flying-foxes (fruit bats) from Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens. That’s a lot of public interest. Garrett is due to announce his decision on the issue some time next week. He can reject the action, approve it as proposed by the trust or approve it with conditions. On balance, approval with conditions seems to be the most likely outcome. The EPBC Act allows for Garrett’s department to publish its draft decision for public comment before a final ruling is handed down. Why is it that the department is rejecting appeals by environmental groups that the draft be published for further public comment?

The failed candidate on the undemocratic Democrats: Jeanie Walker, the lead candidate for the Upper House in South Australia for the Australian Democrats, has resigned in anger from the party. She was unsuccessful in the election, winning only 0.9% of the vote — the Democrats’ worst-ever result in SA. Walker has blamed her poor showing upon the large number of other candidates, the low third party/independent vote, and David Winderlich — whom she accuses of “stealing” her seat.  She also blames individuals within the SA Democrats who did not support her as candidate. She has expressed her unwillingness to continue to work with certain individuals who are seeking constitutional reform within the Democrats — and has accused them of “spamming” her, verging upon “harassment”.

All up, more than 100,000 insurance claims across all insurers are still outstanding after the recent Victorian and West Australian storms. That’s in addition to normal claims faced by insurers. The Insurance Council has been playing down the numbers, but many thousands of storm victims  have still not had their claim assessed. In some cases, it could take up to a year to finalise all claims and repair the damage. Both the Victorian and WA governments have been “briefed” by the Insurance Council, but have not been given the full picture. Complaints are starting to roll in and a pattern is emerging, which shows the industry could be doing a lot more to settle claims more quickly.

Peter Fray

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