RSPT implementation, minus the consultation. A fun day in Canberra tomorrow as members of the tax and accounting profession have been summoned to the house on the hill to discuss the Resources Super Profit Tax. Apparently this meeting is not to discuss the finer points of policy, but how the tax might be administered and operated.

Public service reform: step one — organise a proper meeting. Public service head honcho Terry Moran has kicked off his much-heralded public service reforms by inviting all public servants at executive level or above to attend a two-hour information seminar this Friday in Canberra. Despite giving invitees less than a week’s notice, those that responded to the invite were sent a torturous Rudd-speak email the next day advising that the event had “regrettably” been “over-subscribed” resulting in a second event being organised that had “regrettably” also been “over-subscribed”. While painful to read, it left many wondering where that left them. Would they eventually get to hear Terry’s vision for the future? Still, a vision guy such as Terry can’t be expected to concern himself with such trivialĀ  “implementation” issues …

Change is coming to Sydney dentistry school. Things may be coming to a head at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Dentistry as the new dean Christopher Peck takes the reins of an ageing and under-resourced institution groaning under the weight of an intransigent administration. The faculty has been run with an iron fist by certain senior members of staff who have not appreciated his attempts to drag the faculty, based in the Sydney Dental Hospital, kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Recent years have seen the departure of a number of respected members of staff, who became frustrated by the rigid and reactionary management style of the faculty. There have also been complaints made by members of staff about the bullying tactics of senior staff.

Students have also been in the firing line after a recent decision by senior academics to fail 10% of students in each year. The decision came after a debate in the ADA Journal about the quality of teaching in the faculty. Rather than addressing questions of funding, organisation, course structure and teaching practices, senior academics decided it was easier to fail students to show that academic standards had improved. There are also rumours of impending legal action against the university after a foreign full-fee-paying student was failed in questionable circumstances after repeating a year of study (for which the university pocketed $96,000).

Tales of newspaper giveaways 1: I am always flabbergasted at the number of Sydney Morning Heralds at my local Virgin gym. We all tend to read them over a coffee and some do take them home, but really, so many end up in recycling. I am only relieved that Richard Branson has not allowed the Murdoch empire to sully his operations …

Tales of newspaper giveaways 2: The same also applies to the Daily Telegraph in Sydney — where McDonald’s is giving its customers a ‘good news breakfast’. The radio ads say that the Tele is “included in the price of your meal”, so I guess that means it counts as a sale for circulation purposes.