Where Westpac will cut more IT staff. Disgruntled Westpac staff are still whispering about what led to the sacking — as Crikey revealed yesterday — of some 30 IT staff under a management restructure. Decades of engineering and technical experience has been let go, our source says, and some of the issues retrenched staff had with management were personal.

But it’s what’s to come that most worries staff. With IBM now running much of Westpac’s IT, it’s understood the tech giant will also take over St George’s operations. “IBM is actively working on a proposal … dedicated bid personnel are engaged,” we’re told. That move could potentially see another 200-plus staff made redundant by our source’s count. Westpac told us yesterday “we expect there will be a decrease” but wouldn’t talk numbers. Our insider also notes:

“Major projects being deferred/cancelled include Windows 7 desktop upgrade for Westpac — permanent roles lost; technical as well as the usual project resources. Will also mean Westpac will need to pay for Microsoft Custom support as they have no chance of getting off XP before its end of life. Also moving from Lotus Notes to Exchange cancelled. And has the reorganisation deemed the St. George group no longer deserves a dedicated CIO?”

Qld election candidates’ long commutes. More on the Queensland election candidates running away from home: our call-out yesterday produced another name, Liberal-National Party candidate Sam Cox, who’s taking on the Labor incumbent in the Far North Queensland seat of Thuringowa. Cox confirmed to us this morning he lives beyond the boundaries — “I’m a 10-minute drive away” — and doesn’t reckon it matters much to voters (and with an 8.5% margin to make up it probably doesn’t matter much to him, either).

Neither does Kurt Hopkins, Labor’s baby-faced candidate for the seat of Noosa, who got back to us confirming he didn’t live in the electorate. “I wasn’t fortunate enough to grow up in Noosa but I’m excited about joining the community and fighting to preserve its unique character and lifestyle,” he emailed. “I don’t believe it will be a problem because the local people have been open minded and welcoming and will judge me for my plans for the area.” Fortunate, indeed.

A marriage made in network news. Yeah, we’ve heard about the network news boss who proposed to his long-term partner — a former work experience student — last week. There was “much laughter” in the newsroom, apparently, over their boss leaving the mother of his two children for the intern. No judgement from us — good luck to the happy couple.

‘Bogan Air’ touching down in Bangkok. Backpacking Aussies make life tough for airline stewards and other travellers. A Crikey reader writes:

“I do a lot of business travel to South East Asia and often joke if I am on a flight to Jakarta via Bali or Bangkok that I’m flying Bogan Air. The behaviour of the baseball-capped, Ed Hardy-wearing, cashed-up bogans makes you wonder if this is a good look for traveling Australians. Last night I was on JQ29 to Bangkok and once we landed I heard a sigh from the steward behind me as he peered into the toilet, expecting some sort of fecal emergency — instead the cubical had been “tagged” on the walls and floor with a blue and green markers. As the plane had not yet opened the doors I would of thought security could of at least checked passenger’s hands for ink residue as we deplaned. Yes, low cost air travel is a bit like catching a bus, and now the planes are vandalised like suburban buses.”

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW