Jones at home in Aunty’s bosom. Why was radio shock jock Alan Jones spotted twice at the ABC’s Ultimo HQ in the past two weeks? Being interviewed? Farewelling departing chairman and fellow climate change sceptic Maurice Newman? Angling for a board position? (A crazy idea, the latter, given the hostility between Jones and the government, but some ABC types reckon it’s not out of the question.)

Greening Australia under a Labor man. There was a bit of chatter around Greening Australia recently and its decision last month to appoint former Labor attorney-general Duncan Kerr as its national president. But the non-political body will remain fiercely bipartisan, CEO Brendan Foran assures us. Foran talked up his new president in a chat with Crikey last week, saying he’ll be a “fantastic asset to our organisation”. Kerr has been a member of the group for 20 years and hasn’t taken on any executive roles since he left politics.

Foran also dismissed talk we’d heard that the group may be in some financial trouble. While “some states are doing better than others”, a recent AGM confirmed all branches are solvent and the group is “incredibly well placed”. At least anonymous critics of the group say Kerr is an “erudite” leader, but he’s “going to have his hands full”.

Cutbacks at architecture firms. Which are the three big architecture firms in Melbourne that have made significant staff cutbacks or are closing their offices? That’s the word from one industry insider, who says “there are lots of big names going hungry at the moment”.

Locals want their shire back from ALP. The Queensland government forced the amalgamation of Douglas Shire in Far North Queensland with neighbouring Cairns. Some locals remain vocal opponents, and as one local reports:

“Up in the Far North, the Friends of Douglas Shire are holding a public meeting today in Mossman to present a financial plan to back their push for the de-amalgamation of their shire from Cairns Regional Council. Local ALP member for Cook, Jason O’Brien, has been invited to speak but has told the organisers ‘you can tell them I have chosen not to attend’. Given that the shadow minister for local government and the Australia Party candidate for Cook have accepted the invitation, O’Brien’s decision is hardly a robust defence of his government’s policy.”

Ho, ho, ho, how did your Christmas go? ‘Tis still the season to spill the beans on your corporate Christmas. We’ve had some great tips on how the top end of town is celebrating the festive season, but we want more. Drop us a line or use the anonymous form.

Peter Fray

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