Queensland political moves? Corridor whispers in Queensland say action may be on before the end of next week…

Drinks with the Labor heavies. Spotted enjoying many bevvies at Portia’s Place Chinese restaurant in Canberra on Monday night: AWU national secretary Paul Howes, ALP NSW general secretary Sam Dastyari and Wayne Swan’s chief of staff Jim Chalmers. Now what could they have possibly been talking about ?

Non-unionised union staff. Why are new staff at the ACTU not in a union? How can an organisation that aims to promote workers solidarity be employing staff without a basic unionised approach to their own work place?

Sibelco pushes Bligh on mining compo. Belgian mining giant Sibelco is running a long, expensive campaign of full-page advertisements in the Brisbane Courier Mail and other newspapers criticising Anna Bligh’s decision to end sand mining two years earlier than planned and declare a National Park on North Stradbroke Island near Brisbane. The island’s 2000 residents and property owners are also being targeted with direct mail-outs and t-shirts criticising local island conservation groups. Both white and black communities are in the grip of vicious public in-fighting.

But what is it really about for Sibelco? The latest ads and mail-outs mention the C-word — compensation. Could it be Sibelco doesn’t really care about the community as much as it claims it does, but does care about pushing the state government into paying compensation?

Hodgkinson and the flying foxes. It seems odd that flying foxes in Orange, in the NSW central west, are the “hottest issue” for Katrina Hodgkinson, the state’s new primary industries minister. It’s a problem that’s only affecting a handful of farmers, so surely there’s bigger problems facing her than that? Could the fact that one of the most vocal farmers is Peter Darley, Chair of NSW Farmer’s Horticulture Committee, be something that’s focusing her mind?

No doubt getting some quick runs on the board with NSW farmers will be high on her priorities and if the bats are the losers, so what? Given the dismantling of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, the body that was tasked with the protection of native species, it will be interesting to see whether the government’s actions in relation to the Orange problem give even the slightest consideration to the recovery of the grey-headed flying-fox, a species listed under NSW legislation as vulnerable to extinction.

McKinsey and the logging backlash. More very bad news for Labor favourites McKinsey & Co. Bloomberg reports that Greenpeace claims the firm is “helping rainforest nations such as Indonesia and Guyana safeguard their logging industry while gaining access to millions of dollars in funds intended to protect trees”.

Jetstar booking problems. Anyone thinking of booking a Jetstar flight online should, if my experience yesterday booking a one way Melbourne-Adelaide flight is any guide, be prepared to spend much more time than they usually do completing the transaction. BPay is not available for flights less than 14 days away (any good reason why?), the POLi system they use doesn’t work with my browser (Firefox 4)  and their site kept rejecting my first choice credit card, incorrectly claiming (I triple checked) that there were insufficient digits in the number. It eventually accepted another card.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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