tip off

Combet, Bligh meet … Hick’s lawyer back … Nine pins wrong man …

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Combet, Bligh in coffee kerfuffle. Spotted: federal government minister Greg Combet (“looking smart in jeans and a nice shirt,” says our spy) chatting to former Queensland premier Anna Bligh (“in white walking gear, and looking a bit daggy, but cool”) with golden retriever and hubbie (a NSW public servant) outside Queen Street coffee hole Zigolini’s in Woollahra around 7am this morning. “Zigolini’s had, by the way, just quelled a major bout of unrest by patrons after the coffee joint had unilaterally told its customers that it was closing Mondays and not opening till 7am. That lasted all of three days amid promises of ‘talking’ to those concerned. Much bolshie talk among the conservative folk of Queen Street.”

Hicks’ lawyer Shines light on cops. Crikey was tipped off that Lt. Col. Michael “Dan” Mori — known to most as David Hicks’ lawyer — is looking to represent some Victorian policemen over claims of workplace bullying. We contacted Shine Lawyers, Mori’s Australian law firm, who confirmed they are in the “very initial stages” of discussing the claim so any comments would be premature. We’ll keep watch.

Waiting on the tarmac. A Crikey correspondent reports: “A friend was flying back to Australia on Qantas. “Was” is the operative word. As of 8am today Sydney time (6pm New York time) QF108 had been delayed four hours so far … and the passengers had spent more than five hours in various lounges waiting to board.”

Nine pursues the wrong man. From Crikey reader Richard Campbell, a tale of TV news gone wrong. We were amused …

Channel Nine turned up on my North Melbourne doorstep today — a smart-looking journalist with a mic and a cameraman at the ready — asking for my brother, Matthew Campbell, who’s currently overseas. Of course I was thinking, ‘shit, what’s happened?!’ After a few probing questions (“do you know his whereabouts?”, “what was he doing last night?”, etc), and wary responses, they finally admitted they were looking for the North Melbourne footballer of the same name who was arrested this morning at Crown Casino. Maybe they were hoping to catch him still shit-faced and ready for some biffo, although they said they were ‘just trying to find out what happened’.

Well! With such a fine display of dedicated and razor-sharp investigative journalism in pursuit of the stories that matter, I must say I felt our democracy well-served. On ya, Channel Nine! In hindsight I wish I’d sworn at them, told them that we weren’t making any statements and slammed the door in their faces. Might’ve got on the telly.”

A producer clean-out at 60 Minutes? John Westacott, the former head of news at the Nine Network turned consultant to 60 Minutes, has been forced out of Willoughby HQ according to network sources. We flicked program boss Hamish Thomson an email this morning but didn’t hear back. Meanwhile, what of the rumours that the veteran current affairs show could get a new executive producer next year? Apparently Today boss Tom Malone is being lined up to succeed Thomson.

Fray takes job hunt to Twitter. We noted on Tuesday the campaign from former Sydney Morning Herald editorial poobah Peter Fray to get a job. Well, from LinkedIn to Twitter where he’s set up @PeterFray. He hasn’t quite got the hang of it yet, but he tells one user hopefully: “Gainfully unemployed, hoping to correct that soon.”

Why so “silent”, Greg Bearup? Yesterday, Australian Financial Review gossip Joe Astom referred to Greg “Silent” Bearup as a possible replacement at The Australian for Women’s Weekly recruit Caroline Overington. The provenance of “silent”? Bearup’s last story for The Sydney Morning Herald was a reminiscence of his life in a Catholic boarding school. He explained he never got caught wanking at school. Years later while sharing a bed with his girlfriend, she said: “Did you used to be a boarder?”  ”How did you know?”  ”Because you’re silent when you come.” And there you have it.

*Do you know more? Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or use our guaranteed anonymous form.

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