Packer to swing the axe at Ten. A senior Channel Ten news executive mentioned to me today that the Packer/Murdoch buy-in will mean “200 job losses over the next two years”.

Paying the rent at the ABC. It’s great to see ABC spin doctor Michael Millett tweaking it better than Shane Warne when it comes to planned changes and cuts to ABC bureaus. You quote him as saying “sharing offices is nothing new — the Tokyo bureau works out of local broadcaster NHK”. That’s true. But unlike the APTN plan being forced up ABC bureaus, the ABC in Tokyo pays to rent office space from NHK. NHK has no right to enter that office, nor can it use any equipment or facilities in that office. There is NO sharing. It’s simply renting office space. The ABC remains totally independent of NHK. This is a lot different to what the ABC is proposing with APTN. Michael has stepped way over the line and has just bowled a no ball.

Forewarning from Downer EDI. Downer EDI executives met with RailCorp CEO Rob Mason before the Downer AGM to ensure no additional adverse news regarding the poorly performing Reliance Rail made it to the public domain before the AGM. I overheard a city-based employee discussing as it was going to take up their whole day yesterday.

Why didn’t Walters speak out? Speaking as a lawyer, I am completely baffled as to why Brian Walters did not refer the matter of accepting the brief from Downer EDI to the ethics committee? Rule 96(p) of the Bar Rules states that a barrister may refuse a brief in circumstances permitted by the Bar Ethics Committee. If Walters feels so strongly about burning coal, why didn’t he seek a ruling from the ethics committee to the effect that the cab rank principle does not apply where a person has an ethical conflict? This would have greatly assisted other free-minded and progressive barristers in the community.

Netbank gremlins for the Commonwealth. No wonder the CBA needs more money from housing loans. Currently it is trailing new Netbank software in Tasmania and it is beset with problems. The first was that customers could not download transactions — this is ongoing, but now the system will allow funds to be transferred out of Netbank but the funds are not debited against Netbank. In my case, I have successfully transferred funds into another account from Netbank without a debit against Netbank. This morning CBA were seemingly unaware of this major problem, which has the potential to open the bank to serious fraud and to customers being penalised for unwittingly overdrawing their accounts.

Peter Fray

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