Elton ageing disgracefully on Nine. Nine’s new Ben Elton variety experiment may rate well on its debut next Tuesday, but any hopes of attracting a younger audience would have faded as executives watched a full rehearsal of the live comedy show in Melbourne last night. On a garishly lit set at the Docklands studios (Nine will film all its large-scale production here after abandoning its Richmond HQ for a city office tower), a crowd of 200-odd victims filled the bleachers for a two-and-a-half-hour run-through of stand-up and a good dozen sketch pieces starring a cast of mostly young performers (two make their TV debuts).

Presumably just a few skits will make the cut for the first Live From Planet Earth — Elton was already critiquing his own work (he reminded us numerous times he penned the skits) as the marathon run-through progressed. At least warm-up guy (and Rockwiz straight man) Brian Nankervis  gave out lollies…

What was most surprising about what we saw last night was how old-fashioned the whole thing was. Elton’s whole routine was grumpy old man shtick — kids these days, technology, bodily functions, prostate exams, etc — and the skits were all pretty juvenile. The appeal to younger viewers — one elaborate routine had Lilly Allen, Amy Winehouse, Beyoncé and Gaga in a share house — seemed token. While Hey Hey may have died (again), old-school variety will live on if Elton gets his way. Just don’t expect anyone under 50 to keep watching.

Got a message? Just call Rupert. Who needs media training? Yesterday in Melbourne many MP staffers attended a short course on media training. The mixed group from all parties was mainly from backbenchers’ offices. When the trainer asked what media was important in each staffer’s electorate, the general consensus was local papers. But not for the two “wunderkinder” from Josh Frydenberg’s office: “When we need to get the message out, Josh just calls Rupert.”

Vic ministers ‘almost house broken’. In a cafe underneath Victoria’s Justice Department HQ, obviously senior bureaucrats were discussing how well their new ministers were taking to their “training”: Robert Clark is “coming along nicely” and Michael O’Brien is “almost house broken”.

Clover needs your support — in cash. I got this in my inbox today. While I have subscribed to Clover Moore’s email newsletter, I have never agreed to receive information soliciting me for donations…

The NSW Election is two months away and Clover needs your urgent help and participation. Our volunteer fundraising team has organised a party on 19 February to raise much-needed funds to help keep the electorate of Sydney safe and independent.

Clover relies on the local community to fund and volunteer for her campaigns.

Join us for drinks, canapes, raffles and an auction, and show Clover your support:

Saturday 19 February at 6.30pm
The Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation
16-20 Goodhope Street
Paddington 2021
Note: parking is limited, buses, bikes or taxis are a thoughtful alternative.

Tickets are $110 each. For  $170 you can purchase gold ticket that includes the opportunity to take a photo with Clover which she will sign and we’ll post to you after the event.

Volunteers will serve food and drinks at the party, and Gene and Brian Sherman have generously donated use of the gallery for the evening…

Over the coming weeks we need to ensure communities and voters across Sydney know about Clover’s achievements, independence and representation. We’ll need to counter the negative politics we’ve come to expect from the parties.

Your donations will fund volunteer-distributed leaflets, a brand new website, and the campaign office for volunteers to work from. We need to make sure we reach everyone. Every ticket and donation helps!

Recent electoral funding reform limits election spending and individual donations, and provides for public funding of some expenses, well after the election. This means we need even more of the small donations from residents and community supporters that Clover has traditionally relied on. If you cannot attend on 19 February, please consider a donation using the RSVP form.

We look forward to seeing you on the 19th,

Leone, Peter, Kay and Sheba – the fundraising team

ANZ IT in leadership purge. NAB and Westpac aren’t lonely with their IT c-ck-ups. A year ago ANZ , much to the chagrin of local staff, head-hunted new IT leaders from the four corners of the globe. But it’s now all unravelling with resignations, low morale and much finger pointing over IT failures.

The one bright spot for ANZ has been its new IT platform in Asia — planned and executed by a largely Australian team. Still, international headhunters don’t earn those big bucks for nothing and have recently been siphoning off the best and the brightest of the acclaimed Asia team to other better-paying jobs with foreign banks. For most of them the decision to quit has been a no-brainer — more dollars and less managerial idiocy.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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