South Australian Libs downsize. The SA division of the Liberal Party is in dire financial straits. It is so cash poor that it is moving into a small office suite in the city. The current headquarters at 104 Greenhill Road is owned by the Liberal Club (an offshoot of the Party run by a grey-haired bunch of yesterday’s heroes and also-rans) and is near freehold. The move to the city has so far bypassed the division’s governing state council body and the executive too seem none the wiser.

The Boothby c-ck-up and the federal campaign as a whole racked up costs that were covered by the party and, while the March state campaign was quite costly, by contrast there was no considerable black hole come the end of it. The new premises are so small that there are no meeting or function areas or facilities for members. Where and how did things go so badly wrong? And so quickly?

Nats confused in Tamworth. There was a great deal of media coverage regarding last year’s Nationals community preselection process for the NSW seat of Tamworth, that ended up selecting the same candidate who contested the 2007 election against sitting independent MP Peter Draper. No wonder Kevin Anderson struggled at the last election and is clearly going to struggle again.

A quick visit to his website shows that it is “under construction”, but the fascinating thing is that Anderson has badged himself as the “Federal Candidate for Tamworth”. Surely if you were running for a political position you should know the difference between state and federal parliaments? If this is an indicator of what quality of representation is on offer from the Nationals, it is no wonder they have lost so much support in this district.

Has Vodafone fixed its IT loopholes? Day two in the ongoing over-hyped Vodafone privacy saga and it seems as though Vodafone still hasn’t closed or reset many of its backend passwords. As a former employee at a defunct store, the store-based password for The Source (Vodafone’s recently mothballed information portal) and Seibel (the real issue in blow-up) still function. If I was a telco exec, I’d be breathing a sigh of relief that it was Vodafone and not themselves in the firing line as many employ similar lacks security systems.

Metro staffer exposes company spin. A Metro spin doctor told The Age last week that: “Door warning systems on every Comeng train were now tested every time a new driver boarded a train.” It’s a complete lie. There is no way to do so. While the system itself allows monitoring, there is no option on the driver’s display unit to do so. We do not test the door systems during preservice safety checks, we do not test them during service running. Neither do we test the emergency back-up brake safety systems, by the way.

Memo to Metro mouthpiece: don’t tell a direct lie when there are more than a thousand of your employees — and many more thousands of retired rail workers and rail enthusiasts who can, as I have done now, expose your lie. We could do what you say, but  the former Public Transport Corporation, under the former Liberal Kennett government, decided it would cost too much. Metro could make it happen too; it’s only software — but it has not. It changed the software so that, if there is an open door, Comeng trains can’t move until 60 seconds have elapsed. The new trains meet international standards — they don’t move at all if a door is open on departure. The Comeng trains could match that — but Metro chose not to make that so.

Someone in Metro is spreading the rumour that the man’s foot was caught in the underfloor brake apparatus and that’s why the door alarm mechanism did not trigger. It’s bull — I have seen a train leave Flinders Street with the doors on one car open. The newer trains are fail-safe. The older ones can — but they don’t, because that would lead to delays. Pants on fire, Metro. And it has led to a huge hit in your credibility with your operational and maintenance employees.

How AFP uses Facebook. That government Facebook check in tips and rumours is rubbish. Facebook has a working arrangement with the AFP but to my understanding that is the only Australian agency it works with.  There was heaps of media on the working arrangements in June 2010 when Facebook’s security adviser, Mozelle Thompson, came out to participate in a parliamentary committee. He affirmed Facebook only shares information on users to the AFP on a case-by-case basis and a request for access is triaged based on its importance.

When I had my security checks when I worked in government a couple of years ago, they asked me to lower my privacy settings or add a particular user as my friend so they could view my page.  It’s standard practice and there are several good reasons for them doing this. A job offer in particular departments is contingent on passing a security clearance. It is legal and it is a condition of employment.

‘Fresh, multicultural, dashing, talented’: cricket’s new era. I’m a fan of T20 cricket alongside Test cricket but I suspect that the planned 2012 Big Bash League is going to be the end of the road for me and many others, if the survey just distributed by Cricket Australia/Cricket Victoria is a harbinger.  The questions also show the depths to which the organisation is under control of marketers and spin meisters at a time when it needs root-and-branch reform. For example:

We are currently creating two new Twenty20 teams based in Victoria. More teams may follow soon.

Below are some words explaining the spirit of each team.

Team A

This team will welcome the whole community of Victorian cricket fans, but it will, in particular, represent those areas that have historically been less affluent and are now undergoing an economic and cultural renewal.

Historically, these communities do not come from well-established cricket traditions — footy and soccer are generally their sports of choice — but the time has come to forge their own cricket team playing on the national stage. The new team will reflect the dynamism and energy of the people living in those areas of Melbourne and Victoria.

Fresh, multicultural, gutsy and hungry for success, nothing will stop it. The new team will be cricket’s new kid on the block. It will be the future of cricket!

Team B

This team will welcome the whole community of Victorian cricket fans, but it will, in particular, represent the community of fans who have cricket in their blood having played and watched it since they were kids.

This team will be inspired by the talent and style found in the most prestigious cricketing traditions, re-interpreted through the fast pace and irreverence of the Twenty20 format.

Dashing and talented, this new team will be the shining light in the new Big Bash League!

Peter Fray

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