tip off

Tips and rumours

Some Liberal insiders say Abbott is “a weakness” … Kim il-Carr sees life at Centrelink Ipswich … who is Andrea Yu? …

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

The “Abbott Discount”. Following on from Bernard Keane’s teaser on Abbott’s future yesterday comes this interesting tip from a mole associated with a front bench shadow minister:

Tony Abbott is being listed as a weakness in a SWOT analysis with your average LNP voters and also swinging voters. Listed as a strength for the far right LNP voters. In response to Keane’s article: Liberal Party administrators are not happy with Abbott’s performance — more concerned about winning the election than who is leading the party. Some federal MPs are suggesting Turnbull has had the numbers since not long after he lost to Abbott by a single vote. Some say Abbott is being set up to fail.”

Our Coalition mole reports many Liberal party campaign committees for politicians have already been established, have met and have also begun planning.

We’re not sure that Turnbull has much support within the party room though; which MPs are in his camp? Very few, after he alienated many during his time as party leader by an approach perceived to be high-handed and non-consultative. Insiders reckon Joe Hockey is much better-liked by Coalition MPs. What do you know? Keep us in the loop — and you can do so anonymously.

Public relations. When the minister met the public: this tip from a witness.

You couldn’t make it up. Months of plaintive cries that government cuts to frontline services such as Centrelink are hurting might have fallen on deaf ears. But yesterday it could not be ignored. Human Services Minister Kim Carr saw first hand the fruits of his government’s cuts when he visited a service centre in Ipswich, Queensland on Tuesday. As he pulled up to the forecourt he witnessed the centre’s manager dealing with an irate customer who had spat the dummy. He and his chief of staff then moved into the centre itself whereupon they found another customer lying prostate under a table. Concerned that the woman might be in urgent need of medical attention Carr and the service centre manager approached her and gave a light shake. “Are you all right love?” asked the manger, to which she replied: “Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. I was just having a little sleep cos I’ve been waiting so long.” Carr was then presented with a letter signed by members of the Community and Public Sector Union detailing the impact the cuts were having on services.”

Full reporting at The Courier-Mail? The case of Queensland minister (and former state Liberal leader) Bruce Flegg resigning from his post for various activities (including undisclosed work-related conversations with his son, a lobbyist with the firm Rowland) makes for colourful reading, but one tipster from up North reckons local rag The Courier-Mail is not telling the whole story. Our correspondent reckons the paper “has made only scant mention of the lobbying company at the centre of this week’s demotion of Bruce Flegg”, and suggests that might be because David Fagan, ex-editor of the paper and current Queensland editorial director for parent company News Limited, is married to former ABC star Madonna King, who is associated with Rowland.

This seemed a little torturous and far-fetched to us, but here at Tips we are at our readers’ service, so we looked into it. King has indeed done some work for Rowland. However, the tip doesn’t seem to ring true because we found quite a few references to Rowland in The Courier-Mail’s copy — check out this story, and the company is referenced here and here, too. Conspiracy theory or cracker tip? Read the stories and make up your own mind.

Who is Andrea Yu? Tips is fascinated by the curious story of Andrea Yu, an Australian “reporter” making news around the world for her soft questioning at China’s Communist Party Congress. The ABC’s quirky China correspondent Stephen McDonell (who looks endearingly like he’s on leave from JJJ) is on to Yu, who has made the least of her highly-prized and rare chances to ask questions of senior political figures at press conferences. Her hard-hitting questions include:

Melbourne and Tianjin are sister cities — can you outline some of the ways that cultural exchanges can be increased?” Ouch, Andrea! Going for the jugular.

Here’s another toughie: “Please tell us what policies and plans the Chinese government will be implementing in cooperation with Australia.” With lines like that, we’re sure politicians would welcome Yu to the National Press Club any time.

Yu asks the tough questions at the Congress

As McDonell ferreted out, Yu is from global CAMG Media International, based in Melbourne. The company “has close links to Chinese government-controlled media organisations and supplies Beijing-friendly radio programmes to community stations in Australia”. So we’d like to know: who is Andrea Yu, what do you know about CAMG, and how is it that the Chinese authorities know to single out Yu for friendly questions? Take it away, readers —  drop us a line here, or you can stay anonymous.

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

3
  • 1
    Paddy Forsayeth
    Posted Thursday, 15 November 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think we need to worry too much about what’s happening in the Qld. gov. One senion minister referred to Flegg’s failure to accurately fill in the lobbying register as a distraction. No doubt the putting in the son of another minister into a senior position in the Transport Dept. is viewed in a similar light.

  • 2
    klewso
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Yu a stooge”?

  • 3
    Kez
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I thought the ABC’s China correspondent’s efforts on “Andrea Yu” was pathetic. So she didn’t ask hard questions at the Chinese Communist Party forum? Surprise, surprise. It didn’t require a whole piece on an ABC current affairs program for us to know she was selected to ask soft questions. Why harangue her for doing her job? If it was possible for hard news journos to stand up and ask tough, probing questions, surely we would have seen O’Donnell and others do just that. They didn’t.

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