What is old is new again…

I notice today that new PM Rudd is putting his yet-to-be-named Ministers "on notice" – they will have to perform and be good Ministers or they will get the sack. Hmmm, shades of a newly elected Howard and his Ministerial Code of Conduct which quietly went out of the window when one too many Minsiters got the boot. So what do we reckon people – how many Ministers will get the sack before any pretence to accountability goes away? I'm willing to take any wagers. Today at work Beth bet 2, Bronwen was more optimistic on 4 and I grabbed the middle ground with 3. Anyone willing to wager higher? Or lower? Or will no one ever get sacked because the new Ministers will be perfect?

I also loved the bit about making Ministers visit a homeless shelter. What an attention-grabbing piece of tosh.

In other news, the Liberal leadership is looking interesting. A choice between the smary hypocritical Malcolm Turnbull or the smarmy hypocritical Brendan Nelson. Nice. I do hope that Andrew Robb becomes deputy leader. I could actually cope with him as a conservative PM. still an ideologue, but willing to listen to advice and be thoughtful. And he was pleasant and hired very nice polite staff. And they all thanked people. I may not look for much in a minister, or a Prime Minister for that matter, but these things did certainly help! I think the willingness to accept advice and use it to make his own decisions was a major feature though.

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Passport update

Well, despite all the doom and gloom and fear mongering of the post office, the boys' passports arrived in plenty of time. It took a bit of time and organisation to actually collect them from various locales, but we now have them. So pretty much everythign is set to go. I just have to organise global roaming for the phone tomorrow and pre-pay our airport parking (you get a discount). Bags are half packed – just a matter of getting the final clean boy clothes in now.

We are off on Friday. I have now idea what level of access I will get to the internet while away, so updates could be infrequent for the next week or two.

Am very excited about being away from work for a bit – things are crazy, but as much under control as they can be. Stuff changes every day, so I can't plan too much ahead for while I am gone. I am hoping that our Minister will be announced tomorrow so I at least know who it is before I leave the building!

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More cereal addiction

Zachary is continuing his obsession with breakfast cereal. Here he is helping himself to the Nutragrain. If one leaves the pantry door open, he is in there. Tonight he stole Vitabrits to eat whole. I thought that the breakfast cereal obsession didn't begin until they the teenage years. I know that teenage boys and university student males are willing to eat breakfast cereal at any time of the day or night, but I didn't realise it began at 15 months.

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Boy wrestling

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Here is a bit of boy wrestling action. Young Zachary doesn't mind launching in with no regard for his safety. Enormous giggles usually accompany the whole wrestling thing – until someone loses an eye… well, figuratively anyway.

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More election

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Here are some more election night shots, including an additional Melissa-asleep-on-the-couch.

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Other election night moments

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Well, the 2007 election has come and gone and it will of course be most memorable as the night a sitting Prime Minister lost his seat, and thereby fairly significantly tarnished that historical stature thing he had been working on.  And also the night I broke the golden rule of drinking – don't start on the scotch when you have already been drinking for about five hours. Thanks friends and beloved partner for uploading to the internet the resulting photo of my doze upon the couch.

But all in all it was a great night. In my usual cynical manner I can't say that I'm convinced that a Rudd Labor Government will be much better, and I have serious concerns about the entire political debate moving further to the right, given the emphatically centrist nature of our new Prime Minister. But I guess one can remain optimisitc. And maybe the smaller parties will benefit if progressive people have nowhere else to go. However, it was nice to see Howard lose his seat and the rictus-like grin on Jeanette's face. Then again, a tiny little corner of me does feel some empathy, that must be a really hard thing to have to face.

Of course work is now insane. On a nice personal note, the advisor from my outgoing Minister's office rang me today to thank me for the work we had done.  I thought that was a particularly thoughtful thing to do on a day which must be a bit horrible.

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Yeah Howard Lost, and Lost!

But I am too pissed to celebrate…

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Baby Sophie

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One of the bonuses of lots of work travel is that occasionally you get time to catch up with people. Rarely in Sydney and Melbourne, in my experience, but in the cities from which there are fewer flights to Canberra, often one gets a bit more time.

So when I knew I was going to Brisbane for the day, I made sure I had time to catch up with Bevan and Karen and little baby Sophie. Always lovely. And little Sophie was a very well behaved young lady – she even smiled at me!

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More taxi travails

There is something about flights from Melbourne to Sydney on a Friday night – they always seem to be delayed. Consequently, the Qantas Club is totally chockers. However, I managed to find a computer.

 

I have been in three time zones in less than 36 hours, which I think is quite a good effort. In the course of this and packing in work meetings and social events and catching planes, I have caught quite a few taxis. It all got off to a good start yesterday morning with my friendly, first name taxi driver picking me. Spookily he knew I was going to Brisbane. I am beginning to think he has extrasensory powers. In Brisbane my second taxi driver turned out to be a reliable sort who dropped me at a meeting and then came and picked me up afterwards, getting me to the airport with heaps of time to spare. The drivers in Adelaide yesterday were unremarkable, although I believe the taxi driver who ferried my relations and I home last night was quietly amused by our conversations.

 

But this morning I had what possibly rates as my worst taxi experience ever. The taxi took half an hour to arrive, it was hot and there was no airconditioning (at least not on) and then, when I was standing at the boot, waiting for it to be opened, the taxi drove off – with my suitcase, and with my handbag which I had left in the back seat while I got out my suitcase. So I waved my arms and ran down the street behind him, but to no avail. I remained calm, went to my meeting, borrowed a phone (the taxi still had both of mine) and called the taxi company. They organised for the driver to drop off my bags. I continued with my meeting. A short time later, the PA of the person with whom I was meeting came in to say that the taxi driver was there and being quite difficult. I went out and found my thigns, but discovered that he was insisting on being paid, and was being quite rude. I told him that, given he had driven off while I was standing waiting to get the suitcase out of the boot, I did not think it was reasonable for him to charge me to drop off the bag. He then kept insisting that because I had shut the back door of the car, it was my fault, and I had clearly forgotten. I refuted this and said that I had been standing at the boot of the car and had run after him waving my arms. He said "you are a liar, you did not." He was very agitated and no less than the Deputy Director General of Education came out to sort it out. He ended up paying him, mostly because it was clear that the guy was going to stay there being difficult and noisy until someone did pay him.  I think I will be writing to the taxi company on the weekend expressing my total outrage at the behaviour. Nothing makes me more angry and frustrated than being accused of lying when I did no such thing.

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Moments I’d rather not relive

I work for the Government and we have an election on Saturday. For the last two days I have, along with a couple of my colleagues, been working on a policy implementation paper for policies if the ALP get elected. This is fairly standard practice – in the public service we always do 'Change of Government Briefs" before the election to allow a new Minister (and us too really) to hit the ground running and be able to start implementing policy as soon as they take office. Anyway, our implementation brief was quite complicated and when we pulled it together, 22 pages long. This was not a bad effort for two days' work. I enjoyed it really. So much of my job nowadays is people management or issues management or crisis aversion, that I rarely get time to put some concentrated effort into thinking about policy. So I have done quite a lot of thinking and writing for the last two days. Anyhow, we were due to give this in around COB today and at 5.10pm I had the full version pulled together. I printed it, clicked save, closed it then tried to send it. I couldn't find it saved. I went back into Word and it didn't show in my "Recently Used" documents. It had disappeared. This was not a moment of joy for me. quite the contrary really. Beth and Janine came and helped me look for it, but to no avail. Finally the very sensible and calm Beth called IT support, and, after much fiddling about on the computer remotely, it was found. I could breathe again. The idea of retyping it all at 5.20pm was more than I was really ready for.

Now I'm out of the office for two days doing more of the travelling the countryside managing crisis issues. Fun! At least I should be able to get What is History? read on all the plane flights.

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