Primrose backed by left and right. Amused ALP NSW right-wingers are enjoying the left’s most recent debacle. At a left meeting on the weekend leaders were so keen to ensure its upper house minister Peter Primrose would be re-elected at next year’s state election that they permitted a right-winger known to be associated with the Transport Workers Union to have a vote, because he could be relied on to back Primrose.

Crikey understands they also banned left wingers who couldn’t be trusted to vote for Anthony Albanese’s ticket, including a loyal supporter from Newcastle and an unpredictable left-winger from Gosford. One insider said: “I can understand why they’d be wary of him, but knocking back her and challenging others from further north makes you think they don’t trust anyone north of the harbour.” Questions have now been raised about why Primrose, who is believed to be on the point of retiring anyway, is so keen to be re-endorsed. Anyone out there know the answer to that?

JA’s geography lesson. Found in my letterbox today a Liberal pamphlet spruiking Tony Abbott and ‘Bennelong is my second choice’ Liberal Candidate John Alexander. The set photo shot has the two of them pointing at a map of the Bennelong electorate. Such a shame that the focus of both their attention is an area outside the electorate — if fact if you look closely enough the two of them seem to pointing at an area inside the seat of Bradfield. And yes, can it be? They seem to have spotted Wolseley Road in Lindfield — where I understand Alexander still resides, despite promises at his pre-selection that he would move into Bennelong.

5-07-2010 9-49-21 AM

DEEWR and the information vaccum. Your article on the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations on Friday was spot on. As a manager in the Application Systems Group, I can vouch for the accuracy of this information. There’s just one thing that was left out: we managers were kept just as much in the dark as everybody else about the contract renewal situation.

From the middle of May we continually asked the group manager what they planned to do about contract offers. The response was that they would get to it when they got to it, and wouldn’t be pressured into any decisions. They told us that if our contract staff asked us for information, they should “not tell them anything” — which wasn’t hard since we didn’t know anything to tell. When requested by the group manager, we managers provided the manager with forward estimates on the staff numbers we would need to cover the planned project work. At the manger’s request, we cut those numbers to the bone in order to “meet Gershon targets” (a catch-all term for a nebulous strategy with undefined goals).

When contract offers were finally issued, those bare-bones numbers had been further slashed by up to 70%, depending on the section. We were not consulted on this strategy in any way, nor were we given any reason for this decision. Now that the Department have been embarrassed, the group manager has been personally phoning contract houses to ask them which of their contractors were unceremoniously given the boot and has been personally calling some contractors to offer them their jobs back. The manager has once again failed to consult managers in doing so, with the result that we managers now have no idea what our staffing levels will be for this financial year.

In summary: nobody knows what their job will be tomorrow, if they’re lucky enough to have one. Morale is at an all-time low, and nobody knows whom to trust. It’s not just the contractors ‘lucky’ enough to have been re-engaged who’ll be looking for new jobs right now — it may well be the entire staff base of the Application Systems Group.

The end for Hamish and Andy? It looks like Austereo believe Hamish and Andy will be leaving the radio airwaves when their contract finishes at the end of the year. Several high-profile names have been sounded out about their willingness to fill the national drive slot in 2011.

MasterChef not on the clock. MasterChef should avoid outdoor shoots. All the hurry over only having 15 minutes left might pass as true inside, but when in Paris or Camden and the day not only goes from early morning to late afternoon in the space of a designated hour or two (and sometimes, as was the case with Camden, back to morning again) credibility goes out the window! Me thinks the super contrived timing of MasterChef will be its ratings downfall…

On a wing and a chequebook. Sydney media were surprised to learn captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger (he of landing the plane on the Hudson River fame) insisted on his keynote address to Friday’s wrap of the Lions International Convention in Sydney being ‘media free’ and his post convention access constrained by “pre-existing media commitments to promote his book” (insisting on a non-recording press briefing), despite the NFP having apparently footed the bill for his and his family’s flights to and from Australia, his accommodation and his speaking fee. Publisher Harper Collins anecdotally flickpassed newsroom calls for enhanced availability.

Peter Fray

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