Clive Palmer a one-man band? Guess who’s not coming to the Press Club mining debate this Wednesday? Is it the Liberals? Not likely, with their benefactor Clive Palmer on stage. Is it the union/ALP crowd? Not likely, as the ambitious Paul Howes knows how to stack an audience. Is it the miningĀ  industry? Bingo. Is Clive running his own race?

Kim Carr consults — in secret. You have got to love the changing etymology of the word ‘consultation’. On Monday Kim Carr’s Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research sent around an invitation to peak bodies and other usual suspect stakeholders, asking them for feedback on draft guidelines for a new element in the Co-operative Research Centres program — one of the most iconic R&D programmes in Australia.

As is increasingly common the time frame for this ‘consultation’ is a ludicrous one week. But in a new twist people have to sign a confidentiality agreement with the Commonwealth to even get a copy of the draft guidelines about which they are being consulted! Here is the letter dated May 31:

Dear Stakeholder

The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Branch of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research is currently designing a new element of the CRC Program called the Collaboration Development Program (CDP).

The CDP’s aim is to support the establishment of new collaborations between researchers and end-users in order to address significant end-user challenges. The CDP will target partnerships in new and emerging sectors, sectors that do not have a tradition of collaboration and in sectors identified as Australian Government priorities.

We would like to seek your feedback on the draft guidelines to ensure that this new element will achieve its intended outcomes. As the establishment of the CDP is yet to be agreed, we also seek your assurance that you are willing to be consulted on the draft guidelines and can give an undertaking that you will take all reasonable steps to ensure this information is kept confidential.

A confidentiality agreement is attached. If you are able to assist us please complete and return the agreement and we will send you the draft guidelines for comment.

We would like you feedback by Monday 7 June 2010. We value your input so if this date is problematic please let us know.

Please direct your response via email to ****@***.gov.au . Should you have any questions regarding the CDP or the draft guidelines, please contact Martin Dent, Acting Assistant Manager, CRC Selection Rounds Section on (02) **** or ***@***.gov.au.

Thank you for your assistance.

Stella Morahan
General Manager
CRC Program
Research Division
Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

Marr v Rudd. Standby for some overkill publicity on Kevin Rudd, courtesy of David Marr’s six-month look at the Ruddster. He’s at Gleebooks in Glebe in Sydney a week tomorrow talking to that other political ego trip Fran Kelly about the article, entitled Power Trip, The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd. Marr has penned his piece for the Quarterly Essay No 38.

Australian news censored in China. At the moment in China, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, pretty much all Fairfax’s news websites, plus ABC Online, are blocked. It’s been this way for about two days now, and neither my friends or I know why…

Fairfax delays on the iPad? There’s red faces all round at Fairfax Media. While CEO Bryan McCarthy was bunkered down pouring over budgets for his tiny suburban and regional newspapers last week, Fairfax missed an important deadline to get the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age‘s i-Pad application up and running. Stuck in a time warp, the focus was on the Cooks River Valley Times, South Western Rural and other local monopoly papers than the most revolutionary change to hit newspapers in decades.