Jobs go in Westpac restructure. We speculated yesterday on a reorganisation of staff at Westpac, and that was delivered that afternoon by CIO Clive Whincup. We’re told about 30 IT staff — a spokesperson for the bank thought about 28 — were made redundant. Westpac tells us the changes were in line with its restructure announced last year around the group services division, integrating technology, banking operations, property services and legal. They say the changes put a stronger focus on “delivery and execution”.

According to our insider, much confusion still remains with numerous positions apparently contestable. “Permanent positions including some veterans of 10-plus years’ service and many more rank-and-file technologists now await their fate with a very uncertain future. The next axe to fall at the beginning of February,” they say.

Many fewer staff will work in Australian banks come the end of this year, according to most analysts — Future Fund chairman David Murray speculates one in 25 workers will go. Westpac won’t talk numbers, insisting it has no target in mind. But, as a spokesperson told us, “we expect there will be a decrease”. They say those impacted will be offered support and any cull will start with contract employers. What have you heard inside your bank?

Discrimination case turns sour. Which major law firm, and other lawyers involved, should be rushing to indemnify their elderly and impoverished client for costs in a recent discrimination law case? “Those in the know just need to read the judgment and weep,” says our spy of the “incomprehensibly woefully handled” case.

Qld MPs running away from home. Revelations that MPs and candidates don’t live in their own electorates always create a minor storm, particularly around election time. As Crikey revealed last year, it’s hardly uncommon — one in 10 federal MPs live outside their electorates. Now the focus is on Queensland ahead of the state poll and a little birdie tells us Kurt Hopkins, Labor’s candidate for the seat of Noosa, doesn’t live within the electoral boundaries (we asked the 21-year-old university student via email but haven’t heard back). Not that it will matter much — the Liberal-Nationals’ Glen Elmes holds the seat by a sizeable margin.

What about your candidate, Queenslanders? Do they live locally? And what are they up to on the campaign trail as Anna Bligh gets ready to pull the trigger? We want to know: drop us a line or use our anonymity-guaranteed anonymous form. We’re counting on your citizens’ surveillance over the weeks of campaigning ahead …

Educational outing at Beth Orton. A Sydney spy reports:

“At the end of last night’s Beth Orton concert here in Sydney, a massive black drug-dealer type Lexus SUV was parked directly outside the entrance to collect its Very Important Passenger. Which Ibrahim brother was this? Or did Elton John attend? No … it was the University of Sydney VC, who with his guests occupied a whole row of premium seats. Will that be a university expense, sir?”

Tennis star sweats it out. And from the 3AW Rumour File, an apparent Belinda Neal-like performance from one international athlete: “Caller says a top female tennis player went to a South Yarra gym to do a boxing class. She says the player and her friend were going to be charged $18, but she stated ‘don’t you know who I am?’. Caller says the girl behind the desk was so intimidated, she let them through.” (Tennis Australia later insisted on air the player in question hasn’t left her hotel with on-site gym.)

Pamela Anderson on QuadrantWe’re sure Keith Windschuttle — editor of the neo-conservative Quadrant — doesn’t personally endorse the ads on the title

Readings haggling over shop rent. Melburnians love their books, and they love the Readings chain most of all. When we heard the Port Melbourne outlet faced possible closure we asked MD Mark Rubbo what the situation was. The lease is up, he says, and they’re yet to have a conversation with the owners. Stay tuned, bookworms.

Peter Fray

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