Rhino farms for the long-term unemployed? Liberal MP Kevin Andrews, long a Crikey favourite, has appointed to his staff Andrew Baker, a former research fellow of the hard-Right Centre for Independent Studies. Tips hears that a senior executive of Andrews’ department, Social Services, has passed on to the Minister’s minions that he is none too happy with the tenor of materials being sent to Andrews’ office, such as draft ministerial correspondence, and ordered them to acquaint themselves with Baker’s work. A quick trip to the CIS website shows the sorts of things that DSS staff can gain inspiration from. There’s the “monograph” Not looking for work: The rise of non-jobseekers on unemployment benefits, which recommends that governments force unemployed people to look for work rather than undertake training or education, and The New Leviathan: A National Disability Insurance Scheme, which warns that DisabilityCare, while a “worthwhile endeavour”, will be “a monster of a government program” that will become “the new leviathan of the Australian welfare state”. But it’s not always a Hobbesian nightmare for Baker; he has a conservationist side as well, and last year urged Australia to legalise rhino horn trading and take up farming rhinoceroses as “an ethical and effective way of saving the rhino while making money at the same time”. Over to you, DSS.

New name for new News CEO. From the day Julian Clarke was named Kim Williams’ replacement as News Corp Australia CEO, there’s been eager speculation about who would replace him. Clarke is widely seen as a temporary CEO: he is, after all, 70 and had all but retired before an emergency phone call from Rupert Murdoch. There’s been plenty of talk that Lachlan Murdoch would take over, but here’s a name to add to the list: Hamish McLennan. Before Lachlan Murdoch hired him to become Ten Network CEO, McLennan was executive vice-president, office of the chairman, News Corporation — essentially a special adviser role to Rupert. He was also a chairman of the REA Group, the majority News Corp-owned online real estate business that is going gangbusters. A potential scenario would be McLennan running News Corp Australia while Lachlan takes over from his father as chairman of the global empire. It would help, of course, if McLennan managed to turn Ten’s fortunes around, but there’s no sign of that yet.

Go where we send thee. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has taken aim at the government over foreign investment in his competitors this morning, and there seems to be more restructuring afoot the airline. We hear that on  Thursday, international flight attendants operating out of Sydney airport received an email saying “we are desperate for your help”. Staff have been told Sydney has 250 more cabin crew than it needs, and 140 staff working on the 747, 767 and A330 fleets have been asked to volunteer to move to either the Brisbane base or the Sydney-based A380 fleet. If there are no volunteers, staff will be “directed” to make the move. Our tipster says morale is low and the nature of the emails have caused panic among staff.

In a statement from a spokeswoman, Qantas has confirmed the imbalance, saying:

“Qantas currently has imbalanced crew ratios for required flying for international services out of Australia. Specifically, the Sydney mainline (non-A380) crew base has a surplus of crew, while the Brisbane crew base has insufficient crew to operate the international services out of Brisbane and the Sydney A380 crew base has insufficient crew to operate all A380 services out of Sydney. The two shortages can be covered by the crew surplus in our mainline Sydney crew base.

“To rebalance crew work groups, Qantas is offering relocation opportunities to BNE and A380 conversion courses in order to develop sufficient crew compliments for each port.

“Qantas has asked for expressions of interest from its Sydney crew to support the Sydney A380 crew group and Brisbane crew base. There are no financial impacts to crew to relocate or change fleet. There are also additional salary top-up provisions for A380 flying.”

Are you working at the Qantas Sydney base, and do you know more? You can remain anonymous if you wish.

Greens mystery solved. We put the call out last week for anyone to identify the two young ladies standing with a dashing young Bob Brown in this Tips photo ’90s.

Bob Brown

Catherine Moore of the Braidwood Greens has gotten in touch to confirm that she is on Brown’s right, with Vicki Kearney, one of the founding members of MacArthur Greens, on his left. As always, we love pics of pollies from the archives, and if you’ve got any send them our way.

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form

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Peter Fray
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