Some Latitude for leadership over this particular hack

When Optus, then Medibank fell victim to cyber warfare last year, the companies’ respective chief executives, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin and David Koczkar, were highly visible in the disaster response efforts, both commenting in their outfits’ earliest communications to customers.

Say nothing: Ahmed Fahour.Credit:Shakespeare

So we were intrigued that when Latitude Financial became the latest to feel the wrath of hackers – some 328,000 customers’ data was revealed as stolen on Thursday – we heard not a public peep from chief executive Ahmed Fahour.

The businessman best known for his $5.6 million salary as boss of Australia Post is just weeks away from departing Latitude and we reckon a cyberattack is hardly the kind of poo-sandwich anyone would like to be served for their last meal in the job.

But while we hear the company is still figuring out how best to respond to affected customers, a few soothing words from the boss might not go astray.

Towering transparency

Bad news for people who like bad news: you’ll have to manage without the Property Council of Victoria’s monthly helping of doom and gloom about the economic health of Melbourne’s CBD, the dreaded Office Occupancy Survey.

The survey of the five biggest capital city office markets, which always had Melbourne at the back of the class, has been conducted every month for about three years, but the council says it has now run its course.

Pedestrians on Spencer Street in February.Credit:Paul Jeffers

Sounds reasonable, but there seems to be more to the matter than that. You might wonder, for example, why the survey had far fewer workers rocking up to their desks in the city in the last week of February than in November last year.

This at the same time as the City of Melbourne insists that foot traffic on the corner of Collins Street and Spencer Street at morning peak was 23 per cent above the previous 12-month average.

Our informants tell us that enthusiasm for the taking part in the survey among building owners – who don’t want the market talked down – had been waning of late, making accurate figures harder to compile.

We approached the Property Council on Thursday with those concerns. Here’s what they told us:

“The office occupancy survey was born out of the pandemic necessity to have a regular and easy to understand method of monitoring the health of our capital city CBDs,” a spokesman said.

“With the country now moving into a post-recovery economic setting, the Property Council Research Team is now returning to their normal program of work.” Presumably in the office.


We brought word this month of some weird goings-on around the departure of Australian Christian Lobby frontman Martyn Iles, who said he was “terminated” by the lobby’s board amid differences of opinion over the lobby’s direction.

Wendy Francis, the new managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby.Credit:

While we haven’t quite got to the bottom of what went down there – the board’s chairman Jim Wallace had a sharply differing view – we can report that the lobby has filled the very hot seat that is its managing director’s role with veteran activist Wendy Francis.

Francis, who said on Thursday that she will act in the job for the next few months, is probably best known as the Family First Senate candidate in the 2010 federal election who made headlines for comparing gay marriage and same-sex families to “legalising child abuse” and same-sex families with the stolen generations.

So it looks like more of the same of what we’ve come to expect from the lobby, with Francis setting out her stall on the first day on the job, pledging to campaign on transgender children, hiring practices in religious schools and even promised a position, at some point, on the Voice.

“There is so much work to do as together we serve God by speaking truth in the public square,” she said.

We cannot wait.


Among the jostlers for the coveted staff-elected position on the ABC board, an endorsement from one of the broadcaster’s key workplace unions might make all the difference.

So, after missing out on the nod from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, 7.30 political correspondent, and probable frontrunner for the board spot, Laura Tingle was able to lock in the Community and Public Sector Union’s blessing.

Laura Tingle is vying to be the staff-elected director on the ABC board.Credit:James Brickwood

But audio guy and rank outsider Graham Himmelhoch-Mutton has taken a different approach, suggesting to his colleagues that having the unions onside might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

In an email sent staff on Thursday, that began by citing Bill Gates and focused on the need for Aunty to adapt to technological change, Himmelhoch-Mutton suggested a union endorsement shouldn’t be the only thing upon which his comrades voted.

“Despite the unions’ ultimate selections, I have had a great deal more experience dealing with industrial issues within the ABC and can truthfully say that it’s not a glamorous pursuit,” he wrote.

“Let’s not forget also that unions and management are traditional foes so a flag-waving staff-elected director is going to be viewed with suspicion.”

Worth a try, we say.

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