Haneef could pocket plenty. The rumour around the Maurice Blackburn offices is that Dr Mohamed Haneef will leave Australia with around $10 million in his pocket in “go away” money from the government. Given the strength of the dollar, he is going to do alright back home

Langbroek on shaky ground. It has been more than nine weeks since the sacking of the shadow planning minister for speaking out and John-Paul Langbroek has been unable to appoint a new shadow minister for fear he will set off a domino effect in a cabinet reshuffle, which will ultimately cost him his leadership. He relies upon the right wing “happy clappers” to hold onto power. The word is that people who are going to be sacked in the cabinet reshuffle are not being told the bad news until after parliament rises for the year, in a bid to hold off any leadership challenges.

People most likely to go are Ray Hopper, Howard Hobbs, Vaughan Johnson, Rosemary Menkens and Ted Malone. There is also some speculation that the party president is pushing to see Glen Elmes and Ray Stevens demoted after their drinking binge in the parliament earlier this year got reported in the media. I’ve heard that Langbroek is becoming more and more right wing on issues being discussed in the party room, such as gay marriage and abortion in a bid to shore up the numbers for his leadership.

McBride making plans. After a private poll showed that in next year’s NSW state elections sitting member Grant McBride’s daughter Emma couldn’t win her father’s seat of the Entrance, McBride had to change plans. When baited in state parliament last year about his plans if he didn’t stand again (plan A), McBride forgot about Hansard writing it down and anointed his talented daughter Emma as his plan B.

The poll results made McBride realise his strategy needed revision. Inspired perhaps by the ABC program Bananas in Pyjamas, McBride decided he needed plans B1 and B2.  This has resulted in him putting up a recently activated sleeper in the area who just happens to be employed as a NSW ministerial staffer. McBride may have been anxious to push ‘his’ nominee into an un-winnable election to reserve the seat for a future election when Labor is less unpopular. Why else would McBride, who represents Entrance but actually lives in the seat of Wyong, have allowed his name to then be placed on the list of ‘eligible’ pre-selection voters drawn up by the ALP headquarters officials sent up to take over the running of the ballot.

In light of McBride’s recent oversight in failing to turn up for his highly paid job as ‘trainee’ speaker in the parliament, it’s possible McBride IS living in his electoral office nowadays.  The embarrassment of helping make NSW parliamentary history by allowing a National Party acting speaker to become the only opposition parliamentarian ever to declare parliament open couldn’t have been pleasant. Living in his office makes it less likely he’ll forget to be there when needed.

On another issue, you’ll remember the odd behaviour of Nathan Rees at the NSW Left ballot to choose its candidates for the Upper House.  Crikey ran a story re left delegates losing their votes, but an Indian rightwinger linked with the TWU, and the Della/Neal crew on the Central Coast being given a vote. At the time I couldn’t suggest any rational reason for Nathan lining up with Albanese in such a blatantly divisive rort.  Nathan even then must have been worried that having been imposed on Toongabbie by a Sussex Street intervention, four years as their local member, including a gloriously brief sojourn as Obeid’s choice of Premier, wasn’t an adequate period to win support locally.

Bullying in NSW hospitals. I thought I had a realistic view of the NSW health system as a last-year nursing student and a rare patient. But one thing is the tough demanding work, quite another the intimidation and straight out bullying coming from management, the DONs (directors of nursing) and, worst of all, from the health department itself. They are keeping records of people’s payroll numbers, have told us we could be fined or sent to court, some have been sent threatening letters to our homes, and that we students would fail our compulsory practical components.

I feel for the young guy who decided to wear a union badge while doing his end-of-year practical at Royal North Shore. Quite a few of my classmates are seriously considering their future in the profession and some of us at least thinking about moving interstate or the private sector.

My university is one of the small ones, but the large ones were approached to provide bulk numbers of nursing students to replace today’s striking nurses. It got so bad that UTS (one of the large ones) withdrew ALL its nursing students when they realised they were being forced to provide scab labour. And all this is being directed by health minister Carmel Tebbutt’s office and her personal best friend and Socialist Left number-cruncher, ex-LHMU head Annie Owens, nowadays a senior health bureaucrat.

The holes in the security net. I’ve worked at several major airports and seaports on the east and west cost and can categorically state that the only problem a person with malicious intent would have with security at an airport is if they were silly enough to go through the security checkpoints inside the terminal. At a seaport, the only problem they would have is if they were going through the front gate (and chose to stop, get out of their vehicle and walk over to the security hut) or were standing next to the admin building.

A Maritime Security Identification Card is available without question to anybody without a criminal record, and with a bit of bother if you do have one. An Irish guy I worked with spent time in prison (never charged) for his involvement with the IRA but still had an MSIC.

The one-sided story (cont). Following on from your tip yesterday on the Attorney-General’s department, officers in the Queensland government “super department” DEEDI are required to submit all briefings and attachments to briefings, for certain general managers and upward, on one-sided printed paper only, doubling the amount of paper used for documents usually not read.

Peter Fray

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