From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Visy lays off 300 people? Crikey hears from a recently retrenched Visy worker that about 300 people will soon be laid off. “They have been letting staff go slowly, it is still continuing right now, as to not alert the media,” said the insider. We contacted Visy, one of the world’s largest privately owned paper recycling and packaging companies, to firm up reports but spokesperson Tony Gray is away and no one else can apparently comment. Know anything? Email or contact us anonymously.

For sale: one house of horrors. The house where WA serial killers David and Catherine Birnie murdered four young women is currently for sale. The media dubbed the killings the Moorhouse murders after the house at 3 Moorhouse Street, Willagee, yet there seems to be no mention of that in the real estate ad. Although a house for $389,000 in suburban Perth, south of the river — when, according to REIWA, the median house price in Willagee is $476,000 — should set alarm bills ringing …

Losing faith in Gillard. Which department head has shared with key senior executives his lack of confidence in Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the likelihood that his department will be briefing a new minister by the end of this financial year — the result of a leadership spill?

ABC: a brilliant career option? Aunty has just been ranked by the Randstad Awards as the most attractive employer in Australia when it comes to work-life balance and the second most attractive employer overall at the Ranstad Awards. The results came from a survey of 7000 Australians, with Randstad CEO Fred van der Tang noting: “The ABC has long been regarded as a truly independent media organisation for all Australians and prides itself on innovation, integrity, inclusion and education. These values are evidently mirrored in its workplace culture, as are work-life balance, having a pleasant working atmosphere, interesting job content, diversity, distinctiveness and its commitment to corporate social responsibility — which is why it has ranked so highly at this year’s Randstad Awards.”

Yet that’s not what insiders have said in the past, noting issues such as outsourcing of arts programs and expectations that journalists will file all day and night now that ABC News 24 is around.  Come forward ABC employees and tell us if the perception makes the reality. You can drop us a line or send your tip anonymously.

Don’t tweet your troubles. One eagle-eyed Twitter user spotted this tweet yesterday:

And what was the Victorian Department of Human Services reply? Well, nothing. Although 15 hours after that message was sent, it did tweet something relevant. Apparently it took a two-hour meeting of DHS staffers to decide that this would be the most appropriate response.

As our Twitter tipster noted: “A child’s life could be in danger and they not only take 15 hours to respond to the Twitter query, but they can’t even supply an emergency phone number. Twitter is suppose to be responsive and immediate, clearly our government only wants to use it for marketing their propaganda and when it comes to urgent responses, it just drags its heels.”

The kooky world of local council. A council election watcher sent us a wonderful rambling, typo-filled council nominee letter for the recent 2012 Gympie Regional Council. Martin Poole nabbed 2.4% of the vote — “nothing to be sneezed at,” as our tipster notes. Regarding Poole’s nominee letter, they add: “it makes for a serious boost to the case for recognising local council in the constitution”.

Sickness in e-health. Last week the government’s new e-health Learning Centre website was launched to much fanfare. Today the site is down.  A spokesperson told Crikey that the Department of Health and Ageing is looking into a technical issue with the site. Last Friday’s press release of the launch trumpeted the iniative:

“Ms Plibersek said the launch of the website came after the Government made a $233.7 million investment in the Budget to continue the rollout of the eHealth record system, which is being designed to modernise the way health services are delivered, making them safer and more efficient.

… Ms Plibersek said the new learning centre will inform and educate the public and healthcare professionals about eHealth and the personally controlled electronic health record system in the lead up to the July launch.

‘This website will help people discover how eHealth can help streamline their interactions with the health system, as well as assist doctors and nurses learn about the new system, saving them time and effort once it is up and running.

‘The learning centre includes click-through modules tailored for the public and healthcare professionals, and case studies illustrating how eHealth records will benefit people in a variety of settings.’

Ms Plibersek said content will progressively be added to the site and encouraged patients and practitioners to continue to check for updates.”

Just don’t try checking today…

Balmain spotting. These Balmain AFP tips just never end, and everyone seems to have a different story. Yesterday we reported the red AFP cars had disappeared. Not true, says Terry Towelling, retired Sunshine Coast fisher person and now part-time Balmain activist. He writes: “the red federal cop cars have not disappeared and are still in full view in uptown Balmain, with their numbers now augmented by a snappy Ford Territory — perhaps to help navigate Balmain’s notorious narrow streets. However, rather than patrolling outside the town hall, I would suggest their target may well be the Balmain Library, a well-known haunt of basket-weaving conspirators and other book-reading agitators, and — more darkly — the location of a recent community meeting to protest at the proposed White Bay Cruise Ship Terminal.” Heady stuff.

*Do you know more? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed-anonymous form.

Peter Fray

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