ATO systems upgrade fails. The Australian Tax Office continues to be dogged by IT issues. We’re told the massive upgrade to systems that was finally delivered last week after months of delays had to be switched off over performance and functionality issues. According to an ATO insider: “This is a multimillion dollar project and could be going the way of other failed government IT projects. The ATO does not need another bungled IT project — the last one saw delays in personal and corporate tax refunds. This failure could affect the whole of the IT support structure within ATO.”

MP hangs up on electorate with tower. Who’s the Queensland state MP who, we’re told, took $20,000 from a telecommunications company to allow them to build a mobile phone tower on their property? “Members of the local community are up in arms and are unhappy about proposal going ahead,” according to our tipster. “While the tower has passed all local planning approvals and could start at any time, the anger is squarely focused on the member showing such blatant disregard for his neighbours, greedily taking free money and refusing to speak with anyone or answer legitimate questions — at least until he can get himself re-elected.”

Socialists under the bed (at DIAC). Migration Alliance is a body representing registered migration agents. Members received an email yesterday reporting in part:

“Three separate warrants were used by police officers to enter a number of adjoining dwellings in the south east of Melbourne on February 29. The local officers were joined by socialists from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) after receiving an anonymous tip from the public. During the raids officers managed to locate 10 men …”

Socialists in a government department? Surely not …

Loyalty questioned by Age editor-in-chief. Has The Age launched a crackdown on its journalists writing for other publications? Editor-in-chief Paul Ramadge called for full disclosure in an email to staff:


Staff are reminded that payments received from other media, particularly organisations deemed to be competitors, must be disclosed to senior editors.

If you are in any doubt, please see the relevant editor.

Paul Ramadge

Newspaper free-for-all (overseas edition). It’s not just Australian publishers giving away their newspapers for free. Notes one Crikey reader: “I just got back from three weeks in South Africa. When you leave Melbourne, there’s a huge stack of free Australian newspapers on offer (you know doubt know this). When you leave Johannesburg Airport, there is an equally large bundle of The Star, a serious broadsheet, also on offer.  Is it a worldwide trend, or are people only buying tabloids these days?” Perhaps both.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey