It pays to be Right in NSW Coalition. Recruiting for staffer positions in the newly-elected NSW Coalition government has been effectively hijacked by the NSW Liberal right-wing faction. Many moderates with excellent CVs and references have been granted interviews with what has been dubbed the “Star Chamber”, only to be told there are no positions for them. The “Star Chamber” is made up of right-wing members along with Barry’s inexperienced chief of staff.

What’s galling is that the moderate candidates are often well-qualified people with a mix of private sector, staffer and government experience who are suited to senior roles but once “interviewed” by the Chamber are being told they should apply for junior advisory roles. In one instance a senior media advisor role in a ministry which deals with community issues was awarded to a right-wing Young Liberal with no media experience, despite there being at least one former daily newspaper journalist interested in such a role.

Former Labor staffers are even being given roles over loyal moderates. Should be interesting once they experience their first crisis — Labor staffers were part of the mess created by the last government and the right-wing could not manage itself out of a wet paper bag, let alone a crisis.

Bligh’s rallying call goes limp. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh’s hubby Greg Withers was her main fan at the Queensland Labour Day dinner and dance over the weekend. After her long speech lecturing unionists about the eight-hour day and “united we stand divided we fall”, Withers rallied a bit over-enthusiastically for a standing ovation for his wife, whooping it up, but only around one-third of the room joined him. Most very reluctantly.

Which bank is charging fees when it shouldn’t? The Commonwealth Bank has charged thousands of people monthly account keeping fees in error today. I just called them and they admitted the mistake and said it will take a week to fix. They have charged me $5 on one account and $4 on another when I am exempt from fees due to the size of my home loan. There is nothing on their website about this at this stage. I am wondering whether their policy on not charging account fees to customers with a relationship balance of over $50,000 dollars is set to change and the computers have kicked in early?

Qantas not buttering up Aussie farmers. Qantas uses 10 gram packs of butter on its domestic flights. It’s branded “Lurpak”, and is sourced via a Leeds (UK) subsidiary of the Danish company, Arla Foods Amba. Arla Foods Amba is a recipient of farm subsidies in Denmark — since 2000 it’s received €951,731,484 in payments from the European Union. The Australian dairy industry must be overjoyed…

Taxing my not-so-luxurious car. I am curious about new car pricing. I just bought a new Mazda MX5 and I believe that it falls below the luxury car tax of $57,466. So why is the same car almost half price in the USA compared to here? Also, I had mud flaps fitted and the price in Australia was well over $500, while I could have bought a similar item in the USA for around $30 plus fitting. With the Australian dollar at around par, who is making a quick buck?