Was Aunty missing in action? “ABC insiders” write: One of Australia’s great tragedies has been unfolding on Christmas Island. Dramatic footage and still pictures are playing out on the world’s media; shell-shocked eyewitnesses telling their stories across radio, TV and online. So what was ABC News 24 showing? A lengthy and whimsically wry feature story on a “turf war” between the local bowls and croquet clubs in Ballina on the NSW coast — as part of Stateline Summer NSW edition, a collection of the best of Stateline for 2010. We kid you not.

There is no excuse imaginable for the national broadcaster not to be broadcasting a national tragedy. In the last 90 minutes there seems as much time given to glossy chest-beating promos extolling the powerful resources of the ABC across the national and the world to actual air time on this  tragedy. Then on comes a round-up of magazine pieces — and old magazine pieces at that. Internally, there is already an ulcer of discontent about the News 24 bleeding dry the core output of ABC news. Now, when News 24 is needed most it is missing in action.

Falloon could show up at Ten. Once former Ten executive chairman Nick Falloon has time to freshen up after being levered off the board by James Packer, the questions will arise — where next? Chairman of Nine Entertainment perhaps? Or, more fascinating, CEO of Fairfax. He has form and an interest in Fairfax (Brian Powers, the former Hellman and Friedman CEO, is a friend). They were interested in Fairfax a while ago. Could it be a case of love a second time round?

WikiLeaks on the black list? I heard this week that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had proscribed access to WikiLeaks for all employees. Not sure if it extends to reading the newspapers …

Queensland Health cuts palliative-care beds. There will be a rally tomorrow at the Canossa Hospital in Oxley, Brisbane, regarding Queensland Health’s decision to cut funding of $1.5 million per year for public palliative-care beds at the Canossa Hospital, including a palliative-care training unit.

Peter Fray

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