Nothing personal in News sub-hubs. Yesterday’s story on the shift of News Limited’s Sydney sub-editors to the central sub-hub at Holt Street highlights the problems with call centre subbing. At News’ Southbank headquarters in Melbourne, where the NewsCentral shift is complete, the centralised subs have been told that their dinner breaks will be only 20 minutes. In Sydney, News Central subs will be lined up in 13 rows as of Sunday. They’ve been told they will not be allowed any personal items whatsoever on their desks. Oh that it should come to this.

The wiki files on bank tax rorts. Regarding your blind item about the Tax Office going after one of the Aussie banks: I don’t know who the ATO consultant is but do I know one of the “financial engineers” who got booted in 2009 as I’ve done some legal work for him over the years. He reckons in his spare time he’s been working on a WikiLeaks-style document about his time at the bank. He got the idea from a series of articles that a British newspaper published about a big UK bank a couple of years ago based on some internal papers they got from a whistleblower. I asked him if he had any similarly incriminating memos — he just laughed but then he did say that the guy who sacked him was in for a nasty surprise.

Forget the report, Myki’s here to stay. Here’s a wild guess: the warts-and-all review of Victoria’s Myki public transport ticketing system by Deloitte’s will rehash the report by Ernst and Young and will recommend that Myki be kept and that the Victorian government has essentially been doing all it can to get Myki up and running. The cost to dump the system now will be prohibitive.

Clarifying departmental staff movements. The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs staff you referred to yesterday are not senior staff — they are mid-level junior policymaking staff. The senior staff start two levels above them in the Senior Executive Service (SES). In state offices of federal departments, EL1s manage programs and staff but not in Canberra.

As for the FaHCSIA staff member transferred to the NT Chief Minister’s office: this may be a political appointment or it could be a transfer of expertise. All federal government ministers have departmental staff in their offices in addition to their political staff. The departmental appointments are non-party political and are there to provide the minister with much-needed expertise on the portfolio.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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