Glenn Milne radio career thwarted. Did 2UE test Glenn Milne as a presenter for its ailing talk network? That’s the word out of the Fairfax-owned camp, where the search is on for an afternoons host to replace the finally terminated rabble-rouser Michael Smith. Milne — who like Smith had his own run-in with News Limited management over a column linking Julia Gillard to union thugs, and hasn’t appeared in The Australian since August (and was dumped from the ABC’s rotating Insiders panel) — apparently tested for the slot but didn’t make the cut.

Milne would have joined anti-government warriors Jason Morrison and David Oldfield at the station, which trails rival 2GB by some margin, where program director Peter Brennan has tried to rebuild the brand around a strong conservative bent. Smith has been wiped from the record, with former Channel Ten newsreader Tracey Spicer currently filling the slot with PR loud-mouth Prue MacSween. We left a message with Brennan but he’s yet to call back.

ABC search for Deb Cameron slot. Still in Sydney radio, there’s a whisper that a female ABC journalist who filled in for Deb Cameron on 702 mornings could get the gig in 2012.

Clean bill of health for News on hacking. As News Limited proudly reported today, its internal probe into spending to uncover any incidents of phone hacking and other dodgy news-gathering techniques, has come up empty. The assessor’s report from Bernard Teague and Frank Hollis Rivers Vincent — which was sent to Crikey yesterday — states:

“At no stage, was anything drawn to our attention either by News Limited or, importantly, by anyone outside the organisation that gave us reason for concern that there were any such matters that were not being pursued. All requests for additional information or clarification of the process were responded to promptly …

“In our view, it can reasonably be accepted that, properly conducted, the review as constructed certainly ought have brought to light any systemic issues with respect to the making of payments to third parties and any substantial amounts paid to individuals in respect of illegitimate activities …

“Given the findings of the review, the steps being taken in consequence, which are essentially designed to avoid the possible emergence of problems in the future, are, in our view, appropriate.”

A snap poll for Anna Bligh? Is Queensland heading to the polls before Christmas? No, we doubt it as well. But according to one tipster: “Word out of George Street is that with Anna Bligh riding high after the Gold Coast won the 2018 Commonwealth Games, she will call a snap poll this week for December 17. Might be the only way Labor can knock off Campbell Newman.” Perhaps, but how likely is it?

A $12 million ATO stuff-up? A Tax Officer insider writes: “The ATO recently made a mistake of accidentally refunding an untrackable trust fund in Hong Kong $12 million.” And yet they never “accidentally” top up our accounts …

Science cuts at Uni of Melbourne? Students and staff at the University of Melbourne are worried about proposed changes that could cut resources from the administrative arm of the science faculty. An insider tells us a review of academics will take place early next year. Following cuts to science at cross-town uni Monash, there’s much concern. We’re investigating …

Peter Fray

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