Wednesday 20th of August 2014

flying nones .....

flying nones .....

from mike carlton ….

Hate to say I told you so, etc, but the crystal ball gazing in my first column for this year is already coming good.

This week we heard that His Eminence George, Cardinal Pell, is off to terrorise the Vatican bureaucracy. And the Qantas boss, elfin Alan Joyce, doggedly pursues his historic mission to turn the flying kangaroo into the plodding wombat.

Pell first. Their prayers answered at last, a great many of the faithful will rejoice at his departure. As Archbishop of Sydney and our most exalted Catholic prince, he was too much the steely autocrat and too little the pastoral figure of compassion. You always had the feeling that he never quite got the biblical injunction to love thy neighbour. His public responses to the scandals of child abuse within the church lurched from fumble to bumble, at one time grasping at the ancient wheeze of shooting the messenger. There had been a ''persistent press campaign'' and ''general smears that we are covering up and moving people around'', he huffed in 2012.

The hot favourite to replace Pell is his handpicked protege Anthony Fisher, 53, now the Bishop of Parramatta and, like the Prime Minister, a product of the Jesuits at St Ignatius, Riverview and the dreaming spires of Oxford. The two are good friends.

But Bishop Anthony, as he likes to be called, is also a bit suss on his response to child abuse. During the Pope's visit to Sydney for World Youth Day in 2008, he peevishly dismissed a family whose two daughters had been raped by a priest as ''a few people dwelling crankily … on old wounds''. Not a good look.

Now for Qantas. When Fairfax Media reported a week ago that Alan Joyce's next round of slash and burn might see 3000 jobs axed, there was the customary hoity-toity response from the airline's PR machine. There had been a ''series of unsubstantiated and unsourced rumours swirling around ahead of our half-year results, ranging from estimates on job losses to route changes'', it sniffed.

We heard on Thursday that it's actually 5000 jobs to go - although not those of Joyce himself or his chairman, the aloof and rebarbative former resources boss Leigh Clifford. Phoenix-like, they emerge yet again from the ashes of their own failure.