Littlemore speed and no shoving

Littlemore speed and no shoving

For combative QC Stuart Littlemore (pictured), it must have seemed like the perfect holiday: a long weekend down far from Sydney town, the wind ruffling what's left of his hair as his Morgan Plus 8 speeds around Phillip Island's famed racetrack.

A chance to unwind, leaving behind the annoyances of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, where he has been representing allegedly corrupt ALP powerbroker Eddie Obeid in occasionally torrid proceedings.

Also left behind, pesky journalists who occasionally need a guiding hand, perhaps on the shoulder, to remind them of their place - or push them out of the way, as he did to SBS reporter Lisa Upton last month.

Just a V8 roar as the vintage-styled Morgan swept through the island circuit's curves as part of old-car festival the Phillip Island Classic, right? Wrong. For staying in the cottage next to Littlemore last weekend was a reminder of the wretched world he had left behind, in the shape of an ink-stained denizen of the fourth estate. CBD is told no shoving, by either party, took place.

Whether Littlemore got to race was unknown on Tuesday. He was out of chambers, but his clerk said CBD's inquiries would be sent on.

Talent for trouble

Talent2 chairman Andrew Banks might be wishing he'd stuck to his first trade, acting, with his payroll and recruitment outfit hitting trouble on two fronts.

In New Zealand, Talent2 is embroiled in a drama bloodier than Shakespeare's Richard III. It's only autumn, but for Kiwi teachers it is already the winter of their discontent, due to a botched payroll system called Novopay installed by Talent2.

Teachers unhappy that they have been paid the wrong amount - or not at all - are considering legal action over the $182 million system, described as "completely dysfunctional" by the president of the New Zealand Principals' Federation, Philip Harding.

Talent2 was delisted from the ASX in September, taken private by Banks and executive director Geoff Morgan, with backing from US recruiting giant Allegis Group.

In May, Banks told minority Talent2 shareholders that "challenging times" meant the company should go private - by which time the New Zealand government had reportedly already raised serious concerns about Novopay.

Back in Australia, Talent2 has run into trouble with the corporate watchdog, which has refused to accept its 2012 accounts. Preliminary unaudited accounts, showing an $8.46 million loss, were filed with the exchange in August, but the company was delisted before it filed the final version.

ASIC records show accounts were filed on December 18, but they have been sent back to the company for more work. Talent2's PR flack, Pip Giles of Text 100, said: "ASIC accepted Talent2's financials in February, which are currently being processed."

Cry freedom

When it comes to freedom of speech, Institute of Public Affairs thinker Chris Berg is your go-to man. After all, he is the author of mighty tome In Defence of Freedom of Speech: From Ancient Greece to Andrew Bolt and on Tuesday issued a thundering press release denouncing Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's proposed media regulations as "a de facto licensing scheme for the print media and a fundamental threat to freedom of the press".

Great stuff, music to the ears of any hard-pressed reporter.

So of course CBD went straight to Berg to ask whether mining magnate Gina Rinehart's legal attack on Fairfax Media journalist Adele Ferguson had any freedom of speech consequences.

CBD phoned twice. By press time, Berg had yet to call back.

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