David Bradbury on the nose? What was David Bradbury thinking? Travelling 4,000 miles to Darwin to be seen on the deck of a patrol boat with the new PM, just to send a message that he is tough on refugees? Didn’t go down well with the electorate, let alone party figures, who have all but written-off Bradbury’s chances of holding the seat. If you needed any reason to doubt that, look no further than the high seas of Darwin earlier in the week. Party polling and Newspoll has shown that Bradbury is in dire straits. It is not only the refugee issue, it goes to his general standing in the electorate. Talk of the Liberals putting in Senator Marise Payne or even bringing back Jackie Kelly to see him off.

It’s the Joe and JA show. Strolling through a wet and windy Eastwood Mall yesterday I encountered Joe Hockey and John Alexander. JA was campaigning in the correct electorate, but Joe was a long way away from the home comforts of North Sydney. Most intriguing though was the fact that their poster frames had JA on one side and Hockey on the other. Where’s Tony Abbott? Is Tony already so on the nose in Bennelong that he won’t be seen in the electorate? Or has Joe forgotten that he didn’t win the Liberal Party’s last leadership ballot and likes to quietly masquerade as the Liberal leader?

John-Paul’s strange choices. Liberal-National Party members are despairing at the latest antics in the state leader’s office. John-Paul Langbroek’s new chief of staff — the third since March 2009 — is former adviser to Labor premier Peter Beattie, Ross Musgrove. Not only was Musgrove embroiled in the 2001 Shepherdson Inquiry into vote rorting by the ALP, but his brother Grant was one of the MPs expelled from the Labor Party after admitting to vote rigging and electoral fraud. The Queensland conservatives have made some strange staff appointments over the years, but a former Labor Party adviser, tainted by vote rorting, is the strangest yet. Do these guys enjoy being in opposition or something?

Xstrata still angry. An Xstrata official lecturing employees at toolbox meetings on mine sites about the mining super tax in Mount Isa told them: “You know how to vote.”

Les has a plane to catch. Apparently SBS will pre-record Sunday’s World Cup highlights show so all the staff based in Cape Town can fly to the final in Jo’burg.

The News features’ carve-up. When Fairfax’s Alan Oakley, a one-time Herald Sun editor, was appointed to the national features job he was tasked with carving up the existing sections — entertainment, TV, music, food, finance, etc. That has seen the TV section go to Melbourne along with music lift-out Hit, travel to Brisbane, food to Sydney and the money section to Adelaide. But insiders say the grand plan has been an unmitigated disaster.

The Melbourne Herald Sun-based personal finance editor Karina Barrymore — recruited by Malcolm Schmidtke as part of his business dream team and well across issues of superannuation and personal finance — was demoted and made an assistant to the much less experienced Anthony Keane based in Adelaide. David Koch and wife Libby, one-time former finance columnists for News Ltd who left some years ago, have been re-recruited. And while the money section started on a high it has languished. Journalists have been appointed in each state to write for it but it is a shadow of its former self. Nonetheless, in these times of budget cuts they still shell out for Koch and one-time Herald Sun business journo Bruce Brammall.

Fairfax cost-cutting extends to business registry? Regarding your tip on Fairfax failing to register the names of its re-badged mastheads: Fairfax do not register trademarks or business names for their titles, new or old, so I was informed by a bean counter for one of their profit centres when taking invoices to the accounts department for payment for the titles that I looked after. Rural Press always paid them, but since the take over, it appears not to happen. Was informed it was yet another cost-cutting venture.

…and holiday delays will cost them. Fairfax Community News woes continue with the apparent souring of their Mornington Peninsula and Bass Coast ‘holiday magazine’. Inherited when Fairfax purchased the Independent News Group, the Mornington Peninsula edition has always been highly profitable, whilst the Bass Coast edition has been a loss-maker. Fairfax’s decision to remedy the situation was to merge the titles in a move that some at Fairfax’s local office described as “chaining a sinking ship to a floating ship”. With the defection of sales staff, following previous editor Keith Platt to a rival company, the holiday magazine has failed to materialise on time. Delayed by a month, it will now appear on the streets … after the holidays. Local businesses depending on that advertising to take them through a traditionally quiet time may have cause to dispute their bill — and with approximately $70,000 on the line, it could be a costly delay for Fairfax.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey