Abbott in Xmas party boo-boo … Big Brother is watching News … does Australia Post put on the best Xmas do? …
From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
The latest from Tony the feminist. We’ve heard this rumour from a mole in Parliament — is it true, or does this come from a chardonnay-sipping Abbott critic in the press gallery?
“Opposition Leader Tony Abbott did little to endear himself to female political reporters or his female staffers at his Christmas drinks with the press gallery on Tuesday night. While introducing a new female staffer who formerly worked for the AFL, he joked about how popular she had been with AFL players. The staffer blushed awkwardly towards the back of the crowd. Oblivious to her embarrassment and the double meaning implication of his comments, he twice repeated variations of the original comment. Many of those in attendance were completely gobsmacked.”
Were you at the drinks? Want to confirm or debunk this story — or add your own goss? And by all means fill us in on the Labor and Greens’ Xmas drinks. Email us here.
Liberal spat? An anonymous tipster got in touch to claim chief opposition attack dog Julie Bishop had “a stand-up row” with Abbott’s chief of staff Peta Credlin earlier in the week, in Abbott’s office, over strategy on the AWU / Gillard issue. Our tipster reckons Bishop was not happy at being pictured with Credlin while she was holding THAT folder. We put this to Abbott’s office, who said it was a complete fabrication. And it must be noted that sometimes the “best” anonymous tips come from the other side of politics … do you know more about Liberal dynamics over this issue? Help us get to the bottom of it.
Big Brother Rupert. Our tip yesterday that cameras have been installed in some News Limited offices is on the money — a company spokesman has verified it. Stephen Browning, head of corporate affairs at News, provided this response and insisted on it being run in full (people responding to News Ltd journalists in the future should take note that this is apparently acceptable practice, so go ahead and insist all your responses are “run in full”):
“We are indeed shooting some b-roll footage of our sites to run on screens in Holt Street, and most likely around the country. The idea is to show staff what all our sites look like as many don’t get the opportunity to visit different parts of the company. No great conspiracy, no Big Brother. It would have been nice if Crikey called to check the facts before running its stories.”
Well, nice to know we did in fact get this tip right, Steven. We’d also like to point out that in the original tip, we chose not to run what some of your staff have told us about how they don’t like having the cameras watching them. Perhaps you should talk to your staff about this instead of lecturing us. We’re sure News is making sure that the presence of the cameras meets all workplace regulations. Know more? Drop us a line.
More on News. We also noted yesterday that insiders reckon News has a new payment system that is struggling to cope with the backlog of payments for freelancers. A former section editor for a News Ltd paper has backed this up, saying “one overseas contributor waited six months to be paid”. Our News source says there is talk that “much of the problem stems from the fact that the accounting department has been told their jobs are going overseas next year, so like Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind they just don’t give a damn”. But Browning (see tip above) says it’s all nonsense:
“In fact the new system will speed up payments. Any delays — which are very rare — are not due to the system. It is also nonsense to say that ‘the accounting department has been told their jobs are going overseas next year’. Less than 5% of News’ finance roles have been off-shored and there are no plans to move any more.”
A merry Christmas indeed. We’ve heard a bold claim from a tipster that one of the most lavish Xmas parties in the country is at Australia Post. So that’s why my stamps have gone up! We already know chief stamp-licker Ahmed Fahour is on a good salary — now our friendly postal insider reckons Australia Post’s Xmas function for corporate customers is decadent to the point where it “makes corporates attendees blush”. We’d love to know more — supply some details! You can stay anonymous … and you can fill is in on any good Xmas party goss going …