Hunt, Price and the press connection. Shadow climate minister Greg Hunt always seems to be doing interviews with Steve Price on the ailing MTR. Could the fact his press secretary Wendy Black is Steve Price’s wife have anything to do with it?

Jones was singing at the ABC. We’ve solved the mystery of why radio hothead Alan Jones was spending so much time at the ABC’s Sydney HQ — as a number of tipsters pointed out, it’s the rehearsal venue for a remount of the musical Annie. Jones is making his stage debut playing US Democrat Franklin Roosevelt. Given the ideology will be such a stretch to the conservative-minded player, he needs all the rehearsal he can get. The show opens at the Lyric Theatre on January 5.

Uni of Canberra dumps journalism degree. Students were shocked yesterday when the University of Canberra dumped its bachelor degree in journalism, citing staff not completing enough peer-reviewed academic work. A current campus student writes:

“Typically it was a journalist, the ABC’s Andrew Greene (himself a UC grad), who broke the news on Twitter, rather than the university letting students know that their course was going to be changed. Stories today in The Canberra Times and The Australian confirm that the course had been “reviewed” and that the name would be changed to a Bachelor of Communications in journalism, and 50% of the journalism units would be cut. The reason given was that staff had failed to produce enough research material over the past three years. However, instead of hiring more administrative staff to free up the academics time the university has decided the better path is to shaft students who came to uni expecting to get a Bachelor of Journalism.

The Canberra Times reported a spokesman saying that the proposal was still in its first stages and hadn’t been through the committee process, but privately staff say that the decision has already been made. Apparently the third-year advanced broadcast journalism units will be removed from the 2012 curriculum. The spokesman also said that the changes were intended to boost journalism graduates’ employability. He evidently didn’t explain how cutting half the journalism specific units from the course would improve the ability of graduates to find jobs in journalism.

“In a related note the Heart of the Nation demonstrated once again to journalism students how not to do journalism. It’s article on the story said that lecturer Julie Posetti, who was involved in defamation action from editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell, has not had any peer-reviewed journalism articles since 2008. As Posetti pointed out via Twitter, she has published two book chapters and had two internationally peer-reviewed articles published in 2010, and was on 18 months maternity leave in 2008-09. The Australian journalist relied upon an out-of-date website to get the inaccurate information.”

We asked Posetti to comment further but she told us she wasn’t able. But it seems staff dismiss the suggestion academic merits are the reason behind dumping the course …

Xmas party watch #1: $43b NBN Christmas. Good to see that NBN Co hasn’t had to stint on its Christmas festivities. Crikey understands the bar tab alone at last week’s North Sydney function exceeded $15,000. In addition there were rooms booked and spit roasts to be enjoyed. Our spy estimates a total cost in excess of $20,000 — but when you’ve got over $43 billion in the kitty it’s a drop in the ocean …

Xmas party watch #2: Leckie the Scrooge. You can almost hear the moaning from staff at Channel Seven who had their Christmas festivities cancelled. One staffer issues a passionate plea to boss David Leckie:

“Staff at Seven are still fuming about this year’s cancelled Christmas party. Forty consecutive weeks of ratings wins. Massive bonuses to high ranking executives. And, at the recent AGM, Stokes’ forecast of an underlying net profit in the range of $140-150 million for the six months to December. Nine’s staff gets one (with hampers). Seven’s don’t. Why, David, why?”

At least news and current affairs staff will enjoy a few cold ones — a hastily-arranged shindig at the NSW Leagues Club on Thursday for Martin Place staff will apparently be funded by on-air talent.

Xmas party watch #3: drinks with Howard. As Richard Farmer noted yesterday, 50 or more staffers from Canberra will descend on The Lodge this week for Christmas drinks with the prime minister. Not such a scandal when you consider John Howard’s Christmas spirit, remembers one Canberra spy: “You should be aware that Howard used to host the same function at Kirribilli. Guess who paid the airfares for his Canberra-based staff and spouses to fly to Sydney? I’ll give you a clue, it wasn’t them and it wasn’t him.”

Xmas party watch #4: ‘remember, booze dehydrates’. Talk about party pooping. IBM wishes its staff a safe and happy Christmas — with the emphasis on safe:

Safe and Sound Summer Season

Team,

As we approach the end of the year there is always a lot to do. We are often focussed on things like a successful finish to the year, the upcoming Christmas/New Year season, taking a break, and preparing for the new year ahead. I trust you all enjoy your Christmas and New Year and find the opportunity to book a well earned break.

It’s worth remembering a few things that can lead to a happier, healthier holiday season both in and out of the office.

A reminder of our responsibilities:

  • Identifying and reporting workplace hazards, incidents or accidents immediately, but always within 24 hours
  • Ensuring you are aware of the emergency procedures for your work location
  • Ensuring you have completed the annual on-line OHS training

Traditionally the school holiday period sees more children visiting the office. When you are hosting visitors, including kids, on IBM sites, don’t forget the following:

  • Escort and supervise your visitor at all times. Especially, ensure that younger children (under 10 years) are in your sight at all times
  • All visitors are required to be issued with a Security pass, (pick up from Reception)
  • Ensure visitors understand the local emergency and first aid requirements.

Everyone likes to celebrate at end-of-year functions especially. We all have responsibilities — both as hosts and guests. Before hosting or attending end-of-year functions, the following will be helpful to keep in mind:

  • Set clear start/finish times of functions and don’t serve alcohol outside these times.
  • Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks. Have plenty of water readily available.
  • Ensure you and your guests have a designated driver or some other means of safe transport home.
  • If you’re the event organiser, don’t forget to inspect the venue for hazards prior to booking (review the Event ,Transport and Venue Safety procedure).
  • Ensure a senior manager has overall responsibility for the event, ensuring any issues are dealt with promptly.

Enjoy the festive spirit in moderation.

Holidays are a time to relax, revive and reinvigorate . Some tips to keep safe these summer holidays:

  • Driver Fatigue: Some tips to avoid driver fatigue: Drinking and Driving — the message is simple — DON’T DO IT! Plan ahead. Have a designated driver or organise an alternative safe means of transport home.
  • Summer Parties — alcohol dehydrates you, so drink plenty of water and be a responsible host.
  • Water safety — take care at the beach while swimming, boating or fishing.
  • Be sun smart — slip, slop, slap and wrap.

Seasons greetings to you all!

Robert Orth
Director, Human Resources
IBM Australia & New Zealand

Bugger that, we say, and drink up. Then spill the beans on your corporate Christmas to us: drop us a line or use the completely-anonymous form.

Peter Fray

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