Left rallies in Queensland ALP. After weeks of speculation the internal dramas in the Queensland Left faction of the ALP appear to be coming to a head. Former assistant ALP state secretary Terry Wood has nominated against current incumbent Jackie Trad in a ballot for who will get the Left’s top job at party HQ. It’s looking like it could shape up as an interesting ballot.

Wood previously stood aside under pressure as assistant secretary in 2009 to be replaced by Trad, also his former live-in partner of many years. Trad could be under the pump from Left branch members and unions who are said to be incensed after the recent ALP state conference delegates ballot where the Left lost significant numbers under her watch. Whatever happens you can bet the Right is sitting there licking its lips in anticipation of picking up the breadcrumbs …

The Wrights’ political quandaries. Life’s funny, “init”? The suddenly “unaligned”  George Wright is now ALP national secretary after a stint explaining why NAB customers couldn’t get money out of their accounts.  No doubt George’s overt Catholicism helped convince Joe De Bruyn to support him, but reportedly hasn’t impressed ex-Wright mentor Greg Combet. Nonetheless, with the knives apparently being sharpened for the ALP hacks embedded in the Victorian government, I wonder how comfortable the Liberals feel about having Mrs Wright as the chief negotiator for government wage deals working in Department of Treasury and Finance, which is run by ex-ALP Left up and comer Grant Hehir? Hard to see that as a sustainable option…

Jetstar may need a new frontman. Is Jetstar spinner Simon Westaway taking flight to Tourism Australia? (Crikey‘s asked him but we haven’t heard back …)

Graphic artists turn journalists. When are artists and designers not artists and designers? When The Age, in its current cost-cutting exercise, outsources creative work and makes them apply for “new” positions as “visual journalists”. Journalists!

Doctor dismay at climate-change inaction. As a doctor, I have been increasingly dismayed by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ lack of advocacy, almost amounting to neglect, on what is probably the most important public health issue that humanity is facing, or has ever faced. Crikey‘s report yesterday of the split at the college is just one part of the problem. Our professional bodies, including the Australian Medical Association and other peak specialist bodies, have been weak and cowardly in contrast to the stance of many similar bodies overseas.

The failure of our medical representatives to represent the current science in their policy, media statements and activity should prompt close scrutiny. The AMA does have a policy on climate change, but it does little to publicise this and by its actions — e.g. promoting overseas holiday conferences and ignoring general excess and over-consumption — is certainly not leading by example.

Know more about the RACP or want to comment on medical advocacy? Email us

Melbourne firm in trouble with Tax Office. I work for a digital consulting company in Melbourne, which has recently resolved several issues with the Tax Office. One issue they haven’t resolved is the lack of superannuation payments they are required to make to staff. Staff have not received our entitlements since September 2010. Management and payroll have been questioned repeatedly but all we receive is dead silence. Super companies have been informed yet their hands are tied to help their customers escalate this. We’re happy to report them to the ATO, but does this actually help get things moving?

US price gouging (cont). Ray-Ban sunglasses (RB3320) from EyeDirect.com for $91.59, less a 5% discount as an apology for being out of stock at the time of order, delivered to my desk via FedEx for an additional $20-odd. Ray-Ban sunglasses (RB3320, or, style 276606) from Sunglasses Hut for $259.95. A difference of more than 132%?!

US price gouging (cont). Dell is a great example. Its Inspiron Mini system is $100 more expensive in Australia than the US. The premium Inspiron 580 retails at $US469 but in Australia you pay $999. Considering the computers are assembled in Malaysia, I find this one particularly galling.

US price gouging (cont). The price rip-offs for musical instruments in this country are huge. As an example: the Egnater Rebel 20 Guitar Amplifier costs $549.99 at one US retailer but triple that — $1525.75 — at an Australian store. The Egnater amps have international transformers, so would only need a new kettle cord and maybe a different fuse; that’s the only difference. Electric guitars have similar price differentials. The price on some have dropped considerably just recently, but the difference still can’t be justified as guitar are universal — no special requirements for different countries.

US price gouging (cont). Whenever I go to the US I stock up on cosmetics. The most extreme example is Revlon lipsticks, which retail in supermarkets (they’re too cheap for the department stores) for between $5.99 and $7.99, compared with here, where the cheapest are in Big W at between $18 and $20.  All branded cosmetics such as Lancome, which I regularly buy, are at least half the Australian price.