From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

BHP titbits. Our tipsters are coming forward with more interesting claims of the apparently control-freakish behaviour of CEO Marius Kloppers, sparked by an internal BHP memo leaked to The Australian Financial Review.

It’s a well known fact that BHP IT are as paranoid as all hell to the point of intransigence that would make Sir Humphrey weep with joy. They routinely point blank refuse contractors access to their IT network to perform everything from simple data entry to deploying any form of “smart monitoring device” which could save them untold tens of millions in downtime and man hours for fear of compromise. It doesn’t matter that Rio don’t seem to have a real problem with third parties, or Xstrata, Or Centennial, Or Anglo. Or just about anyone else really. As long as you don’t abuse the network nobody else seems to give a hoot. But BHP act like you’re guilty first so therefore access is denied, unless someone really high up has some pull. Word is that the next round of laptops will have zero USB ports …

And it seems that Kloppers is not above taking direct action if staff don’t follow his instructions. This is from another source:

This story known to many in the shipping industry — when Kloppers was head of BHP-Billiton trading and transport in The Hague he issued a diktat that all desks should be left clear after work — files, papers and other work-in-progress were to be put away. The consequence of ignoring this instruction was to have one’s files swept off the desk and into the cleaner’s bin, should Marius come checking after hours. Worse than junior boarding school …

If Kloppers would like to set the record straight, we’re more than happy to offer him a right of reply. He can drop us a line here. And so can anyone else with more tales from the BHP bunker.

SackWatch: With almost 40,000 jobs to be cut from the federal and state public service, we’ve heard quite a few anecdotes of how the departures are being handled around the country. This tip from Queensland hits a new low:

A lot of the public servants losing their jobs in Queensland are hearing about it by being CC’d (sic) into internal emails. Also no one is taking into account performance reviews. People with great reviews and skills are being sacked while a lot of those with bad performance reviews are being kept.

So is it standard practice to hear you’re losing your job by being CC’d into emails? Let us know.

Dynastic debate. A letter from more than 200 academics opposing off-shore processing of asylum seekers has been signed by, among others, Azadeh Dastyari, Sam Dastyari’s sister. One wonders how Sam feels about his sister’s support for the “extreme Greens'” policy?

Dastyari dismissed the observation as “ridiculous” this morning. “Azadeh is a Fulbright scholar and is more than capable of making up her own mind on whatever issue she wants,” he said.

Order in the House! The PM is attempting to crowdsource strong questions from the public for her Google+ “Hang Out” this weekend. It’s billed as “Question Time for laypeople” … but Julia Gillard may not have had in mind this pithy question on her Facebook page yesterday:

And she may not be too delighted with the question currently leading the pack with almost 7000 popular votes (this one has been promoted by Andrew Bolt):

Chicken indeed. This pic comes to us courtesy of reddit after Carlton’s Chris Judd ran into trouble for his “chicken wing” tackle on North Melbourne’s Leigh Adams. He’s no doubt brooding on the AFL Tribunal’s decision to suspend him for four matches.

Way out West. Crikey’s tip that the Queensland government has dumped its modernistic logo for the old-school regal crest elicited a surprisingly fulsome response from readers. One has pointed out that the WA Liberal government did the same thing, with Colin Barnett issuing a strict 2009 edict banning the “common badge” and replacing it with the coat of arms. If anyone has further questions, they can race to WA’s Common Badging Committee which, we can only imagine, is not terribly busy.

The banned “common badge”:

Barnett’s choice to replace it:

Our WA tipster lamented the change, noting that the globe logo “was supposed to show WA directed towards Asia, which Barnett is always talking about now”.

Given the tendency of Coalition governments to replace official logos when they take office, Crikey wonders what Tony Abbott might do if and when he wins government federally. Of course, the Australian logo is already an old-school regal crest — but Abbott might like to put his personal stamp on it, encapsulating his personality, values and policies.

Got any suggestions? Let your creative juices run wild and submit your proposed Abbott crest here. Extra marks for latin mottos.

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

Peter Fray

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