Vic public service policy-free zone? Apparently Ted Baillieu’s public sector purge will particularly target roles bearing the title “policy”. “The belief is that the public service should not be involved in such areas,” our Spring Street insider says.

Council leg-up for son’s application. Some funny things go on in some municipalities. One anonymous tipster reports: “In one council in the north-west of Melbourne a councillor put up a development application. But while it is her property she put it up in her son’s name so most would have no idea what she was up to. It’s interesting that in under a month from the close of the notice the planning consultation was heard. Other applications can easily take up to five months to be heard.” Special favours?

Stevens’ closed-door AFR policy. Fairfax spies tell us Matthew Stevens — one of a number of high-profile defectors from The Australian to the Michael Stutchbury-led Australian Financial Review — asked for and was granted his own office in the Melbourne bureau at Media House. Might not put some noses out of joint in the open-plan office?

Warning: ice shortages coming. From the 3AW Rumour File: “The Iceman says we are going to be short on ice this summer.” Stock up, folks.

Xmas party watch: ham and classic music. Who said anything about a media downturn? One large advertising firm, after holding a lavish Christmas party at the Melbourne Convention Centre a few weeks back, has hired a pianist and violinist from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to perform Christmas carols in the reception area for clients and staff. And much excitement around the offices as the company-issued hams arrived — one for each staff member meaning an order of some 700 hogs. Of course, that’s not a patch on Clive Palmer’s annual bash, which, as The AFR’s Rear Window points out today, while not as big as last year’s extravaganza, did still add up to a $2 million spend and involved a performance by a line up which included, Mental As Anything, Dragon, Daryl Braithwaite and Ian Moss.

Can you top Clive’s efforts? Are there any last-minute gifts in your stocking at work? We still want to hear about the best and worst corporate Christmases: email us or drop an anonymous line to the Crikey elves.

Peter Fray

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