From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

RN staff: keep it to a whisper, thanks. Keep it down, ABC Radio National staff. Take your personal calls in a private space. Turn down your mobile ringtone. Feel free to tell others to shut the hell up. And keep all that smelly food in the kitchen. Those are the rules now that Radio National producers and presenters are moving to the dreaded open office environment. As one insider told Crikey:

“As ABC RN faces a move to an office layout the professional world has soundly rejected — open plan — its current head, Michael Mason, has seen fit to help us settle in with some guidelines. Never mind it’s one of the most (on the whole) intelligent, considerate, flexible, creative and highly experienced workforces in the freakin’ country. Which may, just, on its very ownsies, figure out how to live cheek-by-jowl, in this ridiculous chicken coop. Thanks Michael, for your guidance! But seriously?”

So here’s the guidelines. Reckon they could have figured these out for themselves?

Working Guidelines for RN workspace

Open plan offices can be noisy and we have to create some noise to complete our jobs — talking on phones and to each other, walking around, printing etc. While we shouldn’t curtail our activities unnecessarily, a considerate approach will maintain a pleasant and productive workplace.

  • Please be mindful of those around you and keep noise to a minimum.
  • If you need to take a personal call you can move away to a more private space.
  • Please don’t be offended if you’re asked to speak more quietly.
  • Feel free to respectfully ask others to speak more quietly, especially if you’re on the phone.
  • Please don’t hold group discussions at your desk. There are meetings and quiet rooms for group discussions.
  • Respect the privacy of others. Sometime you’re going to hear business or personal information not intended for your ears. Act as if you didn’t hear something you shouldn’t have (and don’t add to the noise level by repeating it).
  • Look before you interrupt. If someone is visibly occupied (and it can wait), return later or send a message they can reply to at a later time.
  • No use of speaker phones or speakers without headphones, except when using meeting or quiet rooms.
  • Please keep your desk phone on low and forward phone to voicemail when away from your desk.
  • Please keep your mobile phone on low, vibrate or on silent and don’t leave unattended.
  • The top of cabinets should be kept clear — no stacking especially newspapers and books, desks kept reasonably tidy.
  • Please don’t stick anything on the walls and windows.
  • Please keep your gym gear in your allocated locker.
  • Meeting and quiet rooms are there to share. (See induction kit on booking procedures).
  • Lock away all valuable equipment when you are away from the office.
  • Please consume food in the kitchen breakout area to avoid food odours disturbing others around you.

For the kitchen:

  • Please clean up after yourself and wipe down the bench.
  • Please store food in a labelled container. The fridge will be cleaned out regularly and you will be advised before this happens.

We do love an inter-office memo. Corporate desk-jockeys, feel free to forward them on to us. Your anonymity will, of course, be ruthlessly protected.

Kevin Andrews, love, and marriage. Folks on social media started joining some dots when federal Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews announced a government policy of providing $200 marriage counselling vouchers to newlywed couples. The Courier-Mail has now picked up on it: Andrews’ wife, Margaret, works as a marriage counsellor and, until recently, the couple were “members” of The Marriage Education Programme Inc, a counselling agency that provides “skills and information to build passionate lifelong marriages” — a firm that will no doubt benefit from the government grants.

As Crikey discovered, Margaret Andrews is listed as registrant contact for and has worked as a marriage counsellor for this group for some time. The Marriage Education Programme, established in 1996, is listed as a charity, with both Andrews listed as members of the governing body of the charity. (Kevin Andrews also declared in 2008 that he was a member of the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council and the Marriage & Relationship Educators Association of Australia.) But as the Minister’s interests register from December 9 states:

We asked Andrews’ office to clarify further. Does he still have any business interest in any marriage counselling organisations? “No.” Does he have any remaining stake in The Marriage Education Programme after resigning as a member? “No.” Does Margaret Andrews have any further business interest in the group? “No.” Is she still employed by the group and stands to gain financially in any way from the government policy? “Mrs Andrews resigned her positions and has not worked as a marriage educator since the minister was appointed to his portfolio.”

So … case closed?

Glasson: vote Labor to last. In Griffith, the byelection race to replace Kevin Rudd is hotting up. Liberal candidate Bill Glasson seems to be running a two-pronged campaign — he wants voters to put him first, and he wants Labor’s Terri Butler to go last. Here’s a campaign flier forwarded to Crikey:

It might be Glasson’s only hope. With Labor’s vote improving and a proliferation of minor parties preferencing the ALP, the Liberals are no sure thing.

Pollie travel: tales from economy. Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne aren’t the only ones who travel at the back of the plane, as Crikey reported yesterday. “I flew Canberra to Adelaide with Nick Xenephon in front of me in economy,” a Crikey correspondent writes. “I wish he had flown up the pointy end, as he did not shut up for the duration.” Seems a bit harsh — who doesn’t enjoy a good conversation on pokie reforms?

Meanwhile, we suggested Abbott and his family weren’t offered upgrades on their trip overseas over Christmas. We’re happy to report, according to one mole, “he refused all and repeated offers for an upgrade”. A true man of the people.

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