From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Jobs to go at Optus? Did Optus yesterday inform its IT division of plans to outsource some of its functions to overseas third-party vendors? This from a mole:

“Singtel Optus is at it again: yesterday IT support staff were informed by way of a ‘GIO Transformation Update’ (GIO = General Infrastructure Operations) that around 47 positions would be made redundant by October of this year pending due diligence activities by NCS Singapore (who will likely be using staff based in either China, India or KL). Some affected staff will be forced to facilitate what is essentially the destruction of their own jobs by providing information surrounding existing processes and procedures or risk compromising their retrenchment packages. Note that they don’t know which of them will be made redundant yet as the agreement with NCS Singapore still needs to be signed pending the due diligence activities.”

We put this to Optus, and a spokesperson said: “IT staff were advised in February of the intention to outsource some IT functions, and yesterday’s discussion provided an update on these projects. We are currently in the process of either selecting vendors or going through due diligence with preferred vendors in the areas of corporate IT, systems support and IT operations.” Optus acknowledged that employees do not know which roles might be affected as the rumoured agreement with NCS Singapore still needs to be signed pending the due diligence activities.

Burger off indeed. The protest group Burger Off, which has publicly campaigned against the building of a McDonald’s restaurant in the suburb of Tecoma in Melbourne’s Dandenong ranges, has had the content of its “No McDonalds in the Dandenong Ranges” Facebook page repeatedly censored.

Last Friday a post that criticised McDonald’s for ignoring community concerns about the proposed store was pulled by Facebook. The post also contained a link to a previous tip by Crikey about a McDonald’s decision to opt for a builder outside of Melbourne to avoid issues with demonstrators. The group then received a message from Facebook explaining that the post had been censored because it “contained hateful language”, which contravened the terms of use. Last night the page posted more criticism of McDonald’s, and each post was taken down within minutes. The group even resorted to substituting the letter 0 for zeros in an attempt to avoid Facebook’s filters, which was also unsuccessful.

Liberals geographically embarrassed. Yes, everything seems to be going the Liberals’ way at the moment — federally at least. But here’s one thing they just can’t get right — who they send their nasty anti-Labor pamphlets to. Yesterday we told you a resident of Dobell was surprised to find a Coalition pamphlet about the electorate of Robertson in the letterbox. Here’s a second tale; the recipient lives in the NSW electorate of Banks, not Lindsay. Pay attention, Brian Loughnane!

For those of you fortunate enough not to have received the misdirected pamphlet, here’s the cover of it. Just one question, Brian. Isn’t the Coalition supporting Labor’s changes to the private health rebate?

Racing ahead. Crikey has been delving into the murky world of journos’ junkets and advertorials — seems the readers are always the last to know who’s paying for positive coverage. As we reported, sport is far from exempt. And have you noticed glowing travel stories about wonderful locations and great hotels? Or the excited coverage of the latest wonder-weapon from the US, or useful feature in the latest-model car? Tips’ suggestion is: ask who paid for it, because there’s every chance the publication won’t tell you. A couple of readers developed the theme for us:

“You might want to look at the IT/tech/mobile handset/telco industries; plenty of flights to conferences around the world.”

“I have long wondered if the racing pages in the papers are paid for by the racing industry? I have a sneaking suspicion that papers get paid to put those fields and details in. If it is paid for content, it’s not indicated anywhere … and it’s probably enticement to gamble, so should carry advertising warnings of some sort?”

Interesting idea — anyone know if those copious racing pages cluttering up our papers are paid for? Some racing nuts reckon there are plenty of punters out there who buy the paper for the form guide — so this could be just a conspiracy theory. If you know more, send us a line. And please do send us the inside word on great journo junkets / sweet little advertorial deals …

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