Public servants grounded by bosses. Seems like public servants affected by the Qantas lockout will be spending Christmas at home. Staff are being reminded of their obligations under the code of conduct when it comes to Qantas’ offer of free flights. One example we were sent:

Sent: Tuesday, 8 November 2011
To: All SES Officers
Subject: Qantas Offers of Free Flights [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Colleagues

As many of you would be aware, Qantas is offering domestic and Australia-New Zealand return flights as part of a marketing campaign after the grounding of its fleet. These offers are being progressed by Qantas to individual travellers affected by the grounding and not through the department’s travel management provider at this point in time.

Staff who have been contacted by Qantas and offered free travel as a result of disrupted official work travel (that is, travel undertaken on behalf of the department) are reminded that such offers constitute gifts under the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct and the department’s Chief Executive Instructions. These offers should not be accepted.

The Travel Team are working with the Department of Finance and Deregulation (who manage the whole of government travel arrangements) to determine how Qantas can provide these free fares to departments affected by the fleet grounding through our travel management service providers. Staff communication on how this matter will be handled will be published once the answers are known.

In the meantime can I ask that you raise this issue with your staff. Any questions can be directed to the Travel Team by phone (02) xxxx xxxx or by email xxxxxxxxxxx.

Regards …

Labor Party run rumour King-hit. We’d heard News Limited hack turned ABC Local Radio Brisbane presenter Madonna King — who hung up her headphones from the mornings shift recently — was being sounded out for a run at politics with the Labor Party. We’d heard wrong, King assures us: “As I’ve said very publicly it has been suggested that I was replacing the ALP’s Paul Lucas in the seat of Lytton; running for the LNP against Kevin Rudd in Griffith; that One Nation had hoped I will stand in Ashgrove; where the Greens half-jokingly suggested I help with their campaign. Many others asked would I go as an independent or start my own party.”

But no. “I’d never join any political party, and never run for a political party. It’s much more fun reporting on them. Indeed, because I’m a working journalist, I don’t even vote.” King — wife of Courier-Mail editorial chief David Fagan — is now spruiking her talents as a speaker, facilitator and author. A new website includes an admirably shameless sales pitch to potential clients:

“I’ve received a string of accolades for my political, education and health reporting. Interviewing the prime minister or questioning a company executive has been my bread and butter for more than 20 years. Perhaps you’ve heard me present Mornings on ABC Radio, or perhaps you read my weekly newspaper column in Saturday’s Brisbane Courier Mail. There I try and give a voice to issues that risk being ignored. These journalistic and investigative skills, together with my own unique style, has led me into MCing, presenting, moderating and facilitating at events with great success. So if you’re interested in engaging with someone to MC your conference, function or event, provide an entertaining conference or after-dinner keynote, facilitate your workshop, run a hypothetical for your staff or at your conference or forum, perhaps mediate a debate, interview or host a panel discussion on anything from what makes us happy to the current political play. Or maybe you’re just after someone to cut through an issue and make sense of it. With these, I can help.”

Has Choice lost the plot?  The “independent” consumer group Choice has endorsed group buying service One Big Switch, in return for $250 for each customer who signs up to a mortgage through the company. One Big Switch has now moved into group buying of electricity, with Choice appearing in numerous media promoting this service. This week OBS released an offer targeted at NSW consumers offering a 12% discount “if bills are paid on time”. Interestingly in Choice’s campaign manager appearances re this offer no mention has been made of the need to pay on time and the associated risks. Completely at odds with his previous statements on this matter