Race out the door at Herald Sun. The day after the Melbourne Cup, the Herald Sun has apparently told its sports department that two racing reporters will be made redundant. Managing editor Peter Blunden is a huge punter so you wonder if he would support it. Simon Pristel, meanwhile, hates racing and the fact the paper even runs a form guide. They recently tinkered with it and had so many complaints the reader helpline went into meltdown. Pristel doesn’t understand that as newspaper circulation declines there is one thing the punters will still pay for — a decent form guide.

A Radio National “insider” writes: What a lot of nonsense streamed from Andrew Crook’s pen about the RN online restructure yesterday. RN has to re-jig its online gig, no doubt about that. Content makers inside the place have been baying for this for a long time, and about time it’s come, too. I’m just praying ABC management don’t stuff it up.

That seven people have been made redundant is regrettable, but the place needs new skills and this baloney about hiring “young things” who don’t know about radio is risible. We all know that what we do these days is make content and it goes out on-air and online. The insider’s comments you have printed just show why the restructure is necessary. There’s no workers revolt down here about it.

An operatic build job. There was a crooked deal between lift companies at the Sydney Opera House, I’ve been told. There was an agreement that when the initial company had finished its maintenance lease for lifts, another would be allowed to successfully quote. Actually, there are a whole lot of other rip-off stories around the construction of the SOH.

Check out the original carpeting (something like a third disappeared, while one sail had to be re-concreted because too little cement was added to the mix). One industrial designer was retained and all he designed was the coat hangers in the men’s toilets. Also, the plastering contractor who disappeared the day he was paid and failed to pass on money to the sub-contractors who actually did the work.

Norfolk Island joins the mainstream. In response to calls from residents of Norfolk Island, the island’s government has agreed to minister Simon Crean’s directive that it join the mainstream Australian financial system. To date Norfolk Island has been income tax-free. This measure and a host of reforms to the system of government contained in the Territories Law Reform Bill 2009 currently before the parliament will ensure greater transparency and accountability of a government that has been plagued by conflicts of interest, nepotism and cronyism.

Peter Fray

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