Harris back to business. Kevin Rudd’s former right-hand-man Lachlan Harris isn’t leaving the commentary game, as one tipster told us. But he is taking a break from The Sunday Telegraph to concentrate on his booming business interests.

A call to Harris found his belt business is indeed reaching its next notch — and a new online customer banking venture is gearing up — but his writing days are not yet over. “We’re about to make one big switch in the business,” he said, “so I’m just putting [the column] on pause for the next couple of weeks and concentrating on that.” Sunday Tele editor Neil Breen confirmed Harris “just wanted a breather”, assuring us he’d be back in three or four weeks.

Greens building their own database. “The Greens may say they support privacy laws being extended to cover political parties,” writes one Crikey reader, “but this hasn’t stopped them pursuing the development of their own voter database to parallel those of the major parties.” They reckon the Greens are exchanging data with lobby group GetUp! — and that some in the party are pursuing the matter. “At the most recent NSW Greens state council meeting national office staff and Lee Rhiannon’s advisers intervened to block debate on a motion to national conference to rule out the development of a voter database and prohibit the exchanging of contact data with other organisations.”

Union demands Mark Scott apology. ABC boss Mark Scott cited the quality of his own network’s broadcasts — community TV-like — for boning state football coverage in South Australia. Staff were a little offended, the union has let it be known …

Dear Mr Scott

I have been asked to write to you by our members in South Australia concerning comments that you made in an interview on 891 ABC on 13 September. In that interview you said:

‘we are broadcasting what looks and feels like community television rather than professional sports broadcasting’

Our members are offended by these comments that they view as a slur on their professional capacity and performance. If you had concerns about the performance of the production crew, it would have been more appropriate (and more respectful) to raise these concerns internally than to air them in a radio broadcast.

Our members have requested that you offer them an apology.

Yours sincerely,

Graeme Thomson
ABC Section Secretary

Emergency message needs a spell-check. As an industrial fire billowed out of control in Canberra this morning, emergency services were warning residents of the danger. Which was welcome, one local told us, even in muddled English: “I got a robocall at 3.30am on my home phone from ACT Emergency Services and an SMS message warning me of the fire. The SMS was ‘The ACT Fire Brigade responding to a chemical insadent [sic] in Mitchell. Resadents [sic] of Franklin, Crace, Harrison, Watson, Downer, Kaleen, Lyneham, Hackett stay indoors.’ Good job, though someone needs a spell-check.”

From the grassy knoll. No introduction necessary, really …

Attached to this email [not actually attached, sadly] is a document which should change the history of the nation. It is the first published by The Expendable Project, which will expose corruption at the heart of an Australian government.

The ‘Transit Report’ reveals not only that 5kg was inexplicably added to the recorded weight of Schapelle Corby’s boogie-board bag after check-in, but that the bag itself was the only one NOT SCANNED at Sydney Airport.

It shows that the government HAD THIS VITAL EVIDENCE, but that they WITHHELD it from her even when approached by her lawyer (Section 2.4).

Please just read it for yourself. Please read the whole document.

This is a serious scandal. It is essential that you report it … that Canberra is brought to account.

As with Watergate, for example, the role of the press is absolutely critical. The nation, the people of Australia, need a free press to ensure a free democracy, and to stop politicians from abusing power. This case is appalling, and stains the nation. Please do the right thing.

Peter Fray

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