Gerry Harvey’s online adventures. We’d heard on our grapevine that Gerry Harvey — he of the notion online retailing is slowly strangling Australian businesses such as his — may have logged on himself to purchase a couple of tractors for the farm. Well before we could even suggest any whiff of hypocrisy, Harvey set us straight on the phone this morning — he doesn’t hate shopping online, he’s done it plenty of times himself, and anyway that’s beside the point.

“I’ve made no secret of the fact in a number of media interviews that I and members of my family often buy online and evade the tax,” the retailing renegade told us. Of course, he’s setting up an online store via Ireland to allow Aussies to buy cheap console games on the web. “We’re offering our customers the ability to buy games, X-Box games or whatever, which far and away undercuts what we sell and others,” he says. “We’re allowing our customers to evade that tax. It’s just doing what others are doing.”

But he still thinks online purchases should be lumbered with GST to make local goods more competitive. Oh, and he doesn’t think he’s ever bought a tractor online. For the record.

Emirates faces Sydney curfew fine. An Emirates Airlines plane departed after curfew from Sydney Airport last Sunday following the electrical storms, we’re told. “It hasn’t made the news yet but they are up for a hefty fine,” our industry spy reports. The flight took off and diverted via Sri Lanka en route to the Emirates.

Racy rumour in Canberra circles. We’ve heard the one about the female political staffer who’s fled overseas on nine months of leave after an affair with her MP boss. Not sure about that …

IT glitch short-changed Stayz users. Members of the Fairfax-owned holiday accommodation listing site Stayz have received compensation after the website suffered a technical glitch that stopped them being paid for properties rented out to tenants, our friends at Smart Company report today. On Tuesday we reported the complaints of one user who said he was owed $6500 dating back to Christmas. It seems the glitch wasn’t fixed as quickly as it should have been due to the holiday, but the company insists only a “small number of transactions” were impacted.

ANZ waiving fees — if you ask. ANZ had a glitch in its online statements to customers but is offering some post-Christmas cheer to customers slugged with fees as a result. But you might have to ask for it, reports one customer:

“Any paper-averse customers opting for online statements were not made aware of their current credit card statement, and possibly slugged with interest/penalty charges on their Christmas purchases. That was $200 in my case; I usually have my eye on it but with Christmas et al … ANZ did credit me the amount when I objected. But what about those not aware of the problem? Perhaps the bank should be proactive.”

The Venga Boys are coming. We reproduce this tip-off, knowing it almost certainly came from a PR rep, simply because it amused us: “The Venga Boys will be on a secret bus tour through Sydney tomorrow leaving from Nova 969 at 4pm at their Ultimo studio to Coogee Bay Hotel, on board the Karaoke Bus. They have been told they will be stopping for some fun along the way.” Fun, no doubt. Now you know the “secret”.

Peter Fray

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