From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Kevin Andrews: boring as batshit, but listens well. Dean Troth, from Profile Consulting — a marketing agency that works with the Christian not-for-profit sector — sent out a message to his 500-plus LinkedIn connections regarding an event this morning with Liberal MP Kevin Andrews. One recipient found the final line (Crikey’s own italics) particularly amusing, quipping: “and this is from someone who likes him!”

Hello friends

You may be aware that Kevin Andrews MP is one of Allison’s seven former political bosses.
She is currently helping Dee Ryall MP, Member for Mitcham with her public profile and relationships — a lovely Christian at that.
We’ve swung a few favours and the Menzies Research Centre has graciously allowed us to invite a select group of guests (and clients) to this major policy address on the Coalition’s policy approach for the not-for-profit sector, by the Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services, Kevin Andrews MP.
Allison and I would be pleased if you would be Profile Consulting’s guest at this (FREE) event next week, Friday 15 June at 10am, at CPA Australia, on Level 20 at 28 Freshwater Place, Southbank.
Please let us know if you are interested and we’ll pop you down.
Kevin is a strong Christian and a deep thinker. Even if you’re not interested in the Coalition’s approach to the Charitable Sector, it’s an excellent opportunity to let Kevin Andrews know what does interest you. Though not a great conversationalist, he is a very good listener.

Thanks so much

Dean and Allison
Profile Consulting

Queensland Health may be Bligh’s blight, but Newman has history. A Queenslander tired of the focus on Queensland Health’s botched payroll system wants to put the spotlight back on the state’s new premier:

“While Campbell Newman was lord mayor of Brisbane, a new payroll system was introduced. It has major issues in the first few weeks, with lots of people not getting paid. Obviously, this was on a much smaller scale than the Queensland Health payroll disaster, but still, it’s interesting that it never seems to be mentioned.”

Know more about Newman’s payroll stuff ups? Send us an email

Sackwatch: Fairfax’s south-coast cuts.  Following on from yesterday’s tip, we’ve heard that Fairfax has issued redundancy notices to staff at all far south-coast mastheads — Eden Magnet, Merimbula Newsweekly, Bega District News, Narooma News, Batemans Bay Post, Ulladulla Times and South Coast Register. “Most of these were issued to permanent casual staff, part-time staff, seriously undermining the ability of these community papers to continue to perform their established roles within their local community,” says our tipster.

Sackwatch: worries for top NSW TAFE staff. Following federal government changes to vocational training and Victorian TAFE’s getting their funding slashed by the Baillieu government, we hear staff at regional TAFE NSW institutes are becoming wary of impending redundancies. One TAFE insider gives us the scoop, noting that it’s the good teachers that will get the chop:

“At institute level all management from head teachers up were appointed under the old ‘command and control’ TAFE system not in an enterprising competitive one — generally their skill sets for managing in the new VET environment are so outdated and in a lot of cases non-existent. Consider the plan, in the light of the digital age, to make all staff to wear a corporate uniform as a cutting edge innovation against your competitor or a means of attracting more students!

“In reality the most successful innovation comes from the teaching level not management and unfortunately they rarely recognise good innovation from teaching level even if they fell over it. More unnecessary work is thrown at teachers just so the back room people can validate their jobs.

“No doubt TAFE NSW needs to change and adapt to the competitive market but how do you downsize and keep the capable and able staff in regional areas. The worry for most is this hapless management will be making the decisions.

“We have heard that redundancies will be preferred not to be offered to mature staff with long service as they will find it hard to get another job in the regions nor to staff with young families. A very empathetic decision but not a smart or fair one.

“Applying this criteria will mean the capable ones who are able and who can identify the future trends and work with them will be the ones targeted as they will be able to find employment elsewhere and this will be out of the regions.”

NSW Minister for Health loves her job. Yesterday we reported rumours that NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell was “reviewing” his ministerial team, with the spotlight currently shining on Minister for Health Jillian Skinner. A health insider pointed us in the direction of this letter written by Skinner in March about how much she’s enjoying the new gig. But it’s all a little focused on the minister, says our tipster. “For starters, count how many times the word ‘I’ is used.” We counted eight times on the first page. “Then see that the only ‘achievement’ listed is to approve funding for 38 Cochlear implants:”

“And finally, check out the suggestion for non-front-line staff to go volunteer at a hospital or other health care setting. Maybe that’s how she was planning to fix the Infrashore issues at RNSH?” Well, we’ve heard worse ideas.

Yuppie spread for ex-editor’s project. There was a curious story about a new yuppie service for men, “Svbscription”, on Fairfax’s The Vine cultural portal this week. A quick Google shows Svbscription was, of course, founded by the last editor of The Vine, Marc Goldenfein. That connection and his name are not mentioned. Presumably an “oversight” …

Newspaper free-for-all #832753: Age of free. Fairfax is cutting back its print runs, but still happy enough to give away its newspapers for free. As one Melburnian reports:

“I was at home in Fitzroy at 7.30pm when my doorbell rang. It was a door-to-door salesman offering subscriptions to The Age. I said I wasn’t interested in buying a subscription and he said don’t worry, I didn’t have to pay for it — I could have five months for free. I didn’t wait around for the details (I was in the middle of dinner) but it struck me as odd.”

Newspaper free-for-all #832754: Hun supports the troops. But it’s just not Fairfax handing out the freebies, reports another Victorian:

“I deliver sushi to HMAS Cerberus daily and there is always a pile of unwrapped bundles of the Hun outside the general store, together with a container with loose papers.”

Thomson is innocent Ts. Want to support the member for Dobell? Apparently these T-shirts are “selling like hot cakes” says one entrepreneurial Crikey reader, with over 100 sold since getting them printed last week:

If you’re keen for one, email [email protected] and we’ll give you the contact details. And no, it’s not official ALP merch.

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

Peter Fray

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