On dead chooks and anti-carbon tax TV ads. We’ll run this one straight from the tipster’s mouth as they clearly have a way with the English language:

“One of the Australian Trade and Industry Alliance’s anti-carbon tax TV ads features a young mother at a picnic bench with her young children purporting to be a hard-done-by ‘forgotten family’ member, complaining she is far from wealthy and would receive no compensation. Oh the horror! She is actually part of a husband and wife team that run two liquor stores on Sydney’s North Shore, at West Pymble and North Turramurra. The duo have three children under four years old and I’ll walk n-ked down George Street with a dead chook up my bum if they aren’t already the recipients of massive amounts of Howard-era middle class welfare. Just more deceptive spin from the rent seekers.”

Inside the PM’s post box. Following on from our tip regarding the process around correspondence sent to the Prime Minister’s email account, here’s some helpful insight from a former bureaucrat on how correspondence to the PM’s office works:

“Regarding the tips and rumours piece about emails being sent to the Prime Minister’s email account, having worked in the ministerial and parliamentary liaison section of a government department I can confirm that there are in fact several people who monitor the email account and have responsibility for forwarding the email on to the relevant Minister’s office that should deal with the topic or topics of the email. As to whether you will actually get a response is dependent upon many of the rules outlines in Bernard Keane’s how to get a response from a minister piece. Blatantly rude or crazy emails will be marked “for information” and then binned. Emails about a particularly long running or controversial issues that prompt dozens of emails each day are also unlikely to get a response. For example it is unlikely for you to ever receive a response from the climate change minister if you write to the Prime Minister’s email either in support or opposition to the carbon price. The Department just won’t have the people or time to prepare a response for everyone, even if it is just a pro forma.”

No spam thanks, we’re vegan. And a handy how-to from another helpful reader about how to avoid your own crazy emails, or at least unwanted political spam: “Rather than setting your spam filter to trash the offending emails, it is far better to set a filtering rule to forward the email back to the sender. It is highly likely you will be removed from the mailing list, once they get the server going again, due to the infinite loop it can create.”

Say cheese. Some choice pics from yesterday’s anti carbon tax rally care of an anonymous snapper:

Smokin’. Meanwhile an eagle-eyed Parliament House dibber dobber has told Crikey, “the Member for Canberra obviously isn’t impressed with the non-smoking zones around Parliament House — she’s been spotted smoking on an upstairs balcony,  blatantly disregarding the signage.”

Some thoughts on why Sydney Uni has slipped down the ranks. Yesterday we gave a shout out to anyone at Sydney University who could add some thoughts or anecdotes to why the university’s ranking has slipped — we received this suggestion this morning: “The reason the Uni of Sydney has slipped in the rankings is simple. We do too much teaching, and this leaves precious little time for research. We also spend days on end sitting in committees to see how we can change things. But nothing ever changes, so we’d be better off giving the committees a miss and staying in the lab doing research and raising our ranking!”

And more from a mature aged masters student, who, for background, says they have “a well-paid full-time job in the field of my enrolment and previous undergraduate and masters degrees”:

“My observations are as follows : Groupwork is the norm and there is no process to confirm each group member has actually participated in the submission. Issued documents — assignment briefs etc. are frequently grammatically incorrect. More than 80% of students are overseas students of non-English-speaking background. Those with English as their primary language are encouraged to be group team leaders and as a consequence write the group submission. Typical lectures have 70 students in a room to seat 30. Lecturers use previous student contributions as their main course content. Lecturers like to boast about the high social standing of the University of Sydney but do not follow up by producing quality lectures. Students are treated as passive receptors. Subjects are repetitive.  Customer service is below Telstra standard for expensive courses.  International students observe the poor quality but are disempowered to complain.”

One more disgruntled student writes: “1. Crappy, archaic library service — why does a university require separate, faculty-specific libraries that seem to feel kilometres apart when you’re studying an area with multi-disciplinary contributions. 2. Crappy enrolment services — every time I enrol I get a migraine from the experience. 3. Buggy web interface for online learning (blackboard e-learning site). 4. Web security violation earlier this year — couldn’t believe that they didn’t hash user-ids in the very least. 5. Lecturers and tutors are OK.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey