Who’s still got a job in Canberra? As the 43rd Parliament fires up, federal advisers are still waiting anxiously to find out whether they still have a job after new Special Minister of State Gary Gray announced a two-week extension for ministerial appointments last week. The usual practice is to make all advisers redundant on the day the new cabinet is sworn in, with advisers allowed two weeks’ notice to find a new gig. But the 18-day wait for the rural independents, and the botched ministerial reshuffle pushed through by Gillard chief-of-staff Amanda Lampe, led to widespread confusion as Canberra veterans wondered if they’d still be able to put food on the table this Christmas.

Canberra insiders say the stuff-up recalls the farcical situation after the 2004 poll, when Labor advisers (in opposition) were sent a “tell us if you want to stay on” email but didn’t hear anything further for a month. The two-week grace period has meant interviews are still continuing in major portfolios — prime time you’d think, for the Coalition to launch some strategic strikes at adviser-free offices around Capital Hill.

The Chisels for the GF? The cultural event of the year, the Deniliquin Ute Muster, will this weekend feature Australia’s best-ever rock band Cold Chisel, which is reforming just for the muster. There is strong word around that the AFL, knowing this, will fly the Chisels to Melbourne to perform at the grand final, finally giving the punters something worth listening to in the pre-match entertainment. If this happens, is it too much for the AFL to insist that Khe Sanh replaces Advance Australia Fair? After all, we know which song is the real Aussie anthem…

Driving away from News Limited. Carsguide, News Limited’s new centralised motoring site for print and online, is crumbling. Editors are baulking at paying journos (one per site in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth) to write motoring stories. Carsguide, instigated by John Hartigan but now abandoned by him, has been prevented from sending journos to car launches because — in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph — the journo would be “missed”. The journo has to work part-time as a sub. The same applies to the motoring writer in Melbourne and Perth.

Last week the Sydney guy was prevented by his editor to travel to Paris to cover three car launches and the motor show. The event was hosted by the three car companies. Because the journo has been pulled, the three have to cough up the deposits on the plane and hotels plus miss out on Carsguide national coverage. Next time, said one, the bill goes to News Ltd.

More dramas also as people tire of the delays. Both the Sydney and Melbourne writers are new — the previous were very experienced but said they were sick of the indecision and “bullsh-t”. Another Carsguide member is also soon to leave. State-based editors have closed down the national idea purely to save money. They figure motoring is small fry compared with subbing as News Ltd embarks on a centralised subbing/layout.

Pity is that News Ltd is falling too far behind a very smart Drive.com outfit run by Fairfax and the ever-expanding Carsales.com (now with eight journos) and others including GoAuto.com and CarAdvice.com. This from a news organisation that proclaims journalism as its raft (Harto) and writers being the key to attracting paid online viewers.

The ad-free Fairfax mag. Fairfax’s Heidelberg Diamond Valley real estate giveaway is 32 pages long. It contains one real estate ad.