Rudd to welcome Jessica home. Got it from a very good source high up in the NSW ministry of transport that Kevin Rudd is due on Saturday to shake hands with our youngest sailor superstar when she comes through the Sydney Heads, in a good attempt to grab smiles for the cameras and maybe votes. This could be a Bob Hawke “America’s Cup” moment for the TV crews and papers. Event is graded class one for a good reason — PM will be there. Count on it.

Great to work at DEEWR, if you still have a job. Timing and execution are not DEEWR’s strong points. The same post-Budget day that the union informed the DEEWR workforce that 525 people were going to lose their jobs, management launched a campaign talking up how wonderful it is to work for the department while failing to mention the job cuts at all (although briefing staff on cuts to disability employment and childcare programs). Management are living in a parallel universe where human values don’t exist.

Not-so-lucky they’re with AAMI? Suncorp, owner of the AAMI brand, has expressed its serious displeasure to the Melbourne and Olympic Park Trust about the many debacles surrounding the new rectangle stadium. Following weeks of negative press on the back of the Storm scandal and the dismal opening drenching, AAMI is now grappling with the reality that Melbourne is falling out of love with the Storm, which will mean lower attendances. AAMI is seeking to renegotiate its sponsorship, said to be costing more than $5 million over several years.

Seeking answers on home warranty insurance. When someone wants to build a house or renovate, the builder needs to get Home Warranty Insurance to carry out that work. Before Christmas the big insurers announced they were pulling out of the market. In Victoria, and I’m sure other states, the industry was hushed into a lovely restful slumber and told all would be OK. Then today when I had a client wanting to sign up and contacted my broker, she was almost having a nervous breakdown.

Apparently no one in the state office or any other, including the Building Commission, could seem to answer the one question we all want the answer to: where do we get insurance from? The state office is not returning any brokers’ calls and is apparently cracking under the pressure. There seems to be a purposeful quiet on this subject, but if no one can build or renovate after July 1 then the sh-t may well and truly hit the fan.

Circulation audits due — expect falls. There’s word going around newsrooms and media buyers that the March quarter newspaper and magazine circulation audits are very bad. Wonder who will gloat in their analysis pieces Friday morning, if at all? In the previous quarter the Australian Financial Review was down sharply. Not again …?

Peter Fray

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