tip off

Tips and rumours

Journos on casino junket … News Ltd encourages warranty fraud … $400 cup of coffee for super punter …

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

High rolling junket. Who’s on the Echo Entertainment magical mystery tour of Asian gambling hot sports? The Financial Review’s Nabila Ahmed is one tripper, along with Damon Kitney from the Oz. And why the trip, seeing Echo doesn’t have any casino interests in Asia? Its casinos are in Sydney and Queensland and remember James Packer is on its share register and wants a high roller casino in Sydney. As well, the trip is said to be “embargoed”. Does that mean no one will write anything ahead of the others and all the stories will appear in the respective papers on the one day? Sin control by Echo to which the journalists have agreed?

Speaking of junkets, Crikey recently took a look at the well-funded trips put on for journos to go to Israel — many journalists have taken advantage of the trips over the years, and some certainly come back singing Israel’s praises. Not sure if a similar number of Australian journalists have taken a good look around Palestine. Weapons manufacturers Lockheed Martin used to put on tours of the US for Australian defence and military journalists — are they still going? The government of Taiwan has taken a few journos around the island in its time (with just a little emphasis on the importance of treating Taiwan like its own country and not part of mainland China …).

So help Crikey with Junketwatch — drop us a line (and you can stay anonymous). Which are the most lavish trips, and which journos have been on them, and whose coverage seems rather glowing after the junket?

And another thing … why doesn’t Crikey ever get offered a decent junket? Tips is more than happy to be corrupted for the sake of a good holiday.

Down the toilet. Readers at news.com.au are just loving this story on how to resuscitate your phone if you drop it in the loo. But are the phone companies loving it so much? An alert tipster pointed out that the video gives a handy guide to how to commit warranty fraud. As the video notes, water damage is usually an end-of-warranty situation, but the only way the phone companies know that’s happened is because a piece of white material inside the phone turns red.

The vid instructs us on how to find the bit of material, then “just make a look-alike from white paper”, stick it over the top, and with any luck you’ll get a new phone. Naughty naughty. That’s the kind of subversive and possibly illegal activity one would expect from Crikey, not News Limited.

Stamp scrooges. Tips yesterday asked if Australia Post really did host lavish Xmas parties for corporate clients (and demanded to know if this was why Tips’ stamps have gone up to an outrageous 60 cents). Not true, said an Australia Post spokeswoman who said the company was not hosting any corporate or customer Christmas parties this year. And for staff parties, costs are capped at $15 a year, including head office. $15 a head! You’d be lucky to get a few glasses of cask red and a sausage roll for that.

We’re sure it’s a different story in the mining industry … if you’ve got a tale to tell of terrible or fantastic staff Xmas parties, be sure to inform the Crikey bunker. The federal opposition’s Christmas drinks for journos were held in Parliament House earlier this week, and Labor’s drinks are tonight. Don’t try to tell us there’s no gossip…

Am I not pretty enough? News Limited has axed its position of beauty director of the Sunday magazine, leaving Suzanne Wangmann (who held the role for eight years) redundant.

More super rage. Tips has been nosing around the superannuation industry lately due to some interesting tips from readers on the practices funds use to maximise their returns aka rip off the punters. Here’s another:

We were with a very well-known fund in Canberra, and watched our super go steadily downhill during the GFC. We discovered that out of the bottom 20 performing trusts, we were exposed to 11. When a CPA went over the accounts, she was unable to unscramble the information provided. Plus I was charged $400 for some jobsworth to give me yearly advice — I got a 20-minute lecture on the ‘miracle’ of salary sacrifice. Most expensive cup of coffee I ever had. After suggesting we invested in a Peruvian iron ore mine, we realised that retirement in penury was on the cards. Our replacement adviser managed to stem the losses.”

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

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