Gerard Henderson
Gerard Henderson (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Austrade staff blindsided, a clanger from Hendo and Emirates brutal cuts. Plus other tips and murmurs from the Crikey bunker.

Aviation watch Last week Emirates slashed around 8000 jobs, on top of several hundred in the previous couple of weeks. According to one insider in the company’s crews, it wasn’t just the size of the cuts that’s hurt, but the way the airline went about it.

We’ve been told the Emirates HR department developed an algorithm which was used to comb the employee database looking for staff with families and other costs to the company. According to the tipster, employees “with three kids, with kids in secondary education” were targeted ” because “the company pays for their tuition, medical, dental, housing allowance for a family etc”. We understand that from that pool the cuts were randomly administered.

A fair trade? Trade Minister Simon Birmingham quietly announced on Friday that Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) chief executive officer Stephanie Fahey was stepping down.

We hear that Austrade staff were perplexed by the sudden decision, and not particularly happy with the level of clarity around the move — which appears to have been announced to them the same day as it was to us. Staff were apparently told Fahey was leaving “within seven days … for some other role in government”. The whole thing “shocked a lot of folk,” our tipster tells us.

Arndt you going to use spell check? Bettina Arndt, protector of the real victims — men “driven” to murder their wives and children in the most horrifying way imaginable — has some thoughts on the recent Order of Australia controversy.

A tipster, reading Arndt’s newsletter so we don’t have to, sent us the following passage where Arndt argues it was hypocritical for Labor, having attacked her when she got her gong, to stay silent on Mike Carlton. At least, we think she means Carlton. It’s spelled Charlton almost the whole way through:

Unless she means 93-year-old inaugural Four Corners host Michael Charlton? But we checked, and there’s nothing on Wikipedia about Charlton telling people on Twitter to go fuck themselves.

Crisis, what crisis? There is no denying these are horrifying times for airlines, as a tipster — Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet guidebooks, which feel like ancient runes in these times — has starkly demonstrated.

Given the limited travel options, he decided to go for an outing to Melbourne’s airport at Tullamarine, surveying the wreckage of blank arrival and departure boards, and planes with no passengers.

Waiting for Hendo. Columnist, dog lover, defender of the faith and curmudgeonly snowman-come-to-life Gerard Henderson is a bit of a pedant. So, it was very surprising to see him drop a clanger about his proprietor Rupert Murdoch in The Weekend Australian.

Gerard declared that, “Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch”. Well, it may feel like that, but it’s not quite so. Fox is certainly controlled by Murdoch. But Fox News is owned by Fox Corp which is only 15% owned by Murdoch and his six children. When contacted about the mistake over the weekend by Crikey founder Stephen Mayne, Gerard emailed back: “Unlike the ABC I correct any errors. I was thinking of the Murdoch entity but will correct in most suitable way.”

But as of 10.30 this morning, the online version had still not been corrected and Mayne’s comment on the column pointing out the error still hadn’t been published along with the 263 other comments. Free speech anyone? Not when it comes to material published about the Murdoch family on their own platforms.

Peter Fray

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