Health system is kind of dumb. So HealthSMART, the Myki iof Victoria’s health system, is facing the axe? About time — the system is clunky and dysfunctional and distracts staff from vital tasks. In our operating theatre, staff spend a considerable period of their time with their backs to the patient entering data (often multiple times due to system errors that keep occurring) and ignoring the patient. It is only a matter of time before a patient comes to serious harm because of this unnecessary and unsafe distraction.

The other rumour doing the rounds is that the Victorian government picked up the system for free after the NHS rejected it as being unsuitable and unusable. The story goes that the vendors are so desperate to be able to say that someone somewhere is using the system that we got it for nothing.

Does Giddings have a police problem? Will Lara Giddings clean up the disgusting abuses and corruption of the Tasmanian police force? An inquiry in the mould of the Fitzgerald Review in Queensland is desperately needed in Tasmania. Police are in with the local underbelly, refusing to help citizens that are physically and s-xually abused, stalked, threatened and extorted. Sources suggest that police leaked details of anonymous tips-offs — where good people saw crimes committed, provided information and have paid the price — including threats about their families, and who now live in constant fear. To some extent, the police are involved in the harassment.

The other NSW electricity dispute. While all of the attention in NSW on energy matters has been on the sale process, in the background Energy Australia is trying to stay out of an ugly dispute where 70-plus contractors working on a Port Botany cable laying project have not been paid following the cable laying company being kicked off the job by Energy Australia and its cable supplier. Many small NSW businesses are owed nearly $2 million.

Energy Australia replaced two 132kV high-voltage feeders connecting Bunnerong Sub Transmission Station with Canterbury STS with a new connection between Bunnerong and Kurnell across Botany Bay. This involved installing high-voltage cables between Kurnell and Bunnerong on land and across the Botany Bay seabed. Once laid, the cables have to be buried to prevent them being snagged by ships’ anchors or damaged by storms. Even though the cables are now live, they won’t be buried any time soon.

The unpaid sub-contractors want the Energy Australia to pay them directly. They’re asking the NSW government and Energy Australia why they let a $2 company lay cables across Botany Bay with its marine reserves and busy shipping lanes, and how the procurement processes broke down. These processes are meant to prevent contractors to government agencies from going broke and leaving government sub-contractors with unpaid bills.

Profit over postal services. Eva Cox’s commendable view of what services Australia Post should offer doesn’t fit with the current program at the corporation. Looks like mail is being separated from other parts of the business — profit being the mantra above all else. You don’t hear any complaints from the federal government or unions about how long-standing Post employees have been so ill-treated either.

Liquidation for IT firm. Which cloud computing firm based in Melbourne is about to go into liquidation? Investors in Australia and offshore are bailing and staff entitlements are missing.

Unfair to ask tradies to work for free. Is Sunrise doing a good thing with its call for electricians to help in flood-devastated areas? My former partner was an electrician and, like most, is a sole trader. I do think the wrong people are being called to the rescue. Is David Koch enlisting support from all his banker friends to pay for these guys (family men, too) to do this work for nothing? Are they reaching in their pockets for real donations … or do they “give at the office”?

Next thing you know they’ll be asking roadies to donate their time in some national concert tour … and then maybe primary producers. It’s never bankers or TV celebrities (who are paid and have their accommodation paid during their visits). Even though, of course, tradies are happy to take part and do what they can, others should lead with their own demonstrated loss of income in some small way. I don’t want to give my name as I deal with Sunrise, but the double standards irk me.

Mike Rann up to his boots. Word from a wag on the street in Adelaide who witnessed one too many moments of the moving love-in between South Australian Premier Mike Rann and retiring (in a Farnhamesque way) American cyclist Lance Armstrong is that the new nickname around town for Ranny is “Boots”. As in, his head is so far up Armstrong’s a-se that all you see are his boots.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey