From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Ten programmer to defect sooner? Our TV spies reckon we should look for former Ten programmer David Mott to be back on the market earlier than thought. He’s got a six-month non-compete clause with Ten, but is being paid 12 months’ salary. Ten CEO James Warburton never did really grasp the concept of a non-compete clause — the one in his contract when at Seven kept him away from Ten for most of 2011. So where will Mott go? Nine or Seven locally, with the latter a firming tip. Seven was rumoured to have tried for him a year or so ago.
Clark had the gay/smoking link first! Outrage over Australian Christian Lobby evangelist Jim Wallace’s anti-gay rants reminded one Crikey reader of Victorian upper house MP Robert Clark. As part of a personal crusade against homos-xuals he told parliament in 1995:
“In some respects I would argue that homos-xual practices can be considered analogous to the practice of smoking cigarettes. It is a foolish practice, it is destructive and it is harmful, and that is capable of scientific and medical measurement and assessment.”
We hadn’t forgotten that one, nor the other homophobic smears publicly made by Clark in the past, who is now the state’s Attorney-General in Ted Baillieu’s government. Perhaps his Liberal Party colleagues have.
Blunden to the rescue. More than a few Herald Sunstaffers who gathered at PJ O’Brien’s pub at Southbank last Friday night were none too pleased that News Limited — unlike the bigwigs at Fairfax — didn’t put any money on the tab to bid farewell to those who have taken redundancy. A band of employees staying at the paper passed the hat around for contributions but the tab quickly ran out. Luckily, News Victoria boss Peter Blunden saved the night by putting up $500 of his own money so his troops didn’t go thirsty. PJ O’Brien’s, we’re reliably informed, had run out of Guinness by the time the Hun hacks were done.
Staerk working his magic on Gold Coast. Crikey recently examined former bankrupt Gold Coast development lobbyist Graham Staerk’s re-emergence on the glitter strip to spruik for his cashed-up clients, including the Sheraton Mirage resort and the Chinese-fudnded Ridong, which is preparing to erect its $1 billion tri-tower “Jewel” resort at Broadbeach. We noted a recent post on Staerk’s resurrected blog Staerk Reality, where the self-dubbed “mayor maker” sucked up to new Liberal-leaning mayor Tom Tate, lauding his “outstanding performance”.
Now, it seems the charm offensive has born fruit. Yesterday, The Courier-Mail reported that LNP state development minister Jeff Seeney had given the green light to the proposal after Tate — presumably at Staerk’s urging — asked that it be “called in” to sidestep objections from two Brisbane-based residents. Nice work if you can get it.
Libraries closed, books tossed? Yesterday we reported concern among Queensland’s librarians as Campbell Newman’s government continues to slice through public spending. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry library is marked for closure, we were told, and another bookworm says it gets worse:
“Rumour has it the library’s excellent collection of journals, reports, books, etc, has been tossed. Which would be bad (and stupid) enough — but some years back, the University of Queensland also pulped those parts of its agriculture collection (when they moved the school to Gatton) that duplicated the DoA collection. There was no forewarning, so no chance to transfer journals to UQ.”
Our source says the Queensland conservatives have form on destroying papers: when the Liberal Party was amalgamated in the LNP, the new party apparently tossed its records — a postgraduate student recently wanted to go through the archives to research a thesis on Liberal senator Neville Bonner and found there are no records left. They were all filed in a skip by the LNP.
Media and Defence at odds. More on the media scrum at Amberley Air Force base earlier this year for the arrival of deceased soldiers from Afghanistan. Yesterday we said a TV hack was throwing their weight around, but another observer reckons it was over-zealous Defence media minders who kept changing the requirements and made it impossible to provide serious coverage. “One experienced journalist was told he couldn’t appear on camera as an expert commentator because it was ‘inappropriate’ as he also happens to be ex-Defence,” they say.