tip off

Tips and rumours

Climate change’ scrapped from PM&C … Melbourne Uni budget cuts … which dog looks like Clive Palmer? …

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Shhh, don’t mention climate change. As part of the government’s quiet war to wipe out any reference to climate change, the branch of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet that handles the issue has had its name changed. Helen Wilson used to head PM&C’s Infrastructure, Communications, Climate Change & Energy Branch, and indeed she is still listed in the government directory with that title. But with a new climate denialist government in town, her branch is now described in the PM&C org chart merely as “Infrastructure, Climate & Energy”. So … Climate. Just … Climate. Does Wilson come into work every day and just gaze out the window at the sky, counting clouds?

If only the actual problem of climate change could be wished away with some bureaucratic name-changing of the kind PM&C secretary Ian Watt seems to approve of in his department.

Melbourne Uni budget cuts. We hear the mere mention of BIP — the University of Melbourne’s “Business Improvement Project” (seems to be a euphemism for cutting staff) — is enough to send chills down staff spines across campus. This tip is about the law school.

The 12-month Business Improvement Project (BIP) is reaching the pointy end, with announcements to staff today of massive changes to professional roles within the Melbourne Law School. The project is aimed at reducing the law school’s $11m debt, and this will come from an up to 50% reduction in professional staff, while academic staff will be unaffected. That said, the old days of nameless assistants subservient to their academic masters will soon be over, with academics becoming responsible for their own travel arrangements, finances and event management. How will that affect the quality of research being produced? Further information will come at the end of May, when staff will be required to reapply for limited roles within a centralised support unit. This provides an opportunity for management to remove higher HEW-level staff (the longest serving and most experienced), in favour of their less experienced (and cheaper) colleagues.”

And from rumours around campus, that ain’t the half of it.

Gas giants sponsor green awards. Only in Queensland. This year’s Premier’s Sustainability Award is sponsored by gas giant Santos, The Australia Pacific LNG Project (a coal seam gas project), coal producers Glencore, etc. Exactly the way Campbell Newman likes it.

Hungry Hawke in macaron-fest. Tony Abbott and Bob Hawke were knocking about together at a dinner for ex-Rhodes scholars in Sydney recently — and we hear Hawke couldn’t restrain himself. From the food, anyway. The boffins met at Sydney’s Government House, and a spy told us the meal was small …

Hawkie had to fill up on macarons, he ate seven pistachio macarons. Kept sending a Liberal candidate to fetch them from other tables.”

Apparently Abbott’s speech was “dull”; the PM said he imagined his opponent as Bob Hawke in the boxing varsity and tried out a few other gags, but they weren’t memorable. One of Abbott’s mates kept yelling “Abbo” (the PM’s rather questionable nickname) during the speech. The dinner was a fundraiser, and Abbott was given a copy of Richard Flanagan’s book The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Hope he finishes it; it’s a good read.

Other Rhodes scholars-turned-pollies include Malcolm Turnbull and Kim Beazley. We could point out that Rhodes scholarships perpetuate colonialism — Cecil Rhodes, a devotee of British imperialism and the Anglo-Saxon race, made his dough from mining in South Africa and Rhodesia. As an MP, he enacted laws to push black people off their lands. He systematically sought to obtain mining concessions from indigenous people. This was his vision:

The furtherance of the British Empire, for the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States, for the making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire. What a dream!”

Or maybe Rhodes’ dough should go back to the Africans, not white kids from the Anglo-Saxon realm. Just an idea.

Immigration merger. Lots of work is underway within Scott Morrison’s Department of Immigration for a full merger with Customs and Border Protection. The two were split back in 1945 when the Chifley government wanted a separate department to deal with post-war migration and refugees, at a time when Customs was primarily about imposing the huge tariffs that defended Fortress Australia. Customs chief “Iron Mike” Pezzullo, best known for siccing his officers onto euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke when the latter tried to leave the counter earlier this year, is tipped to keep his job in the merged organisation, but Immigration Secretary Martin Bowles may well hit the fence.

Of course, nothing beats the time when DIBP was called the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Tough role being the DIC head.

Clive Palmer, woof! Yesterday we brought you a tweet from Clive Palmer, likening Queensland Premier Campbell Newman to an angry chihuahua. Sadly, after we published it, this the tweet was deleted (you can still see it in yesterday’s Tips). Inspired by Palmer, allow us to present to you another doggy likeness …

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or use our guaranteed anonymous form

3
  • 1
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 1 May 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    And Shhhh, if only measures to mitigate climate change didn’t impact so negatively on the profits of major sponsors of the Limited News Party government?

  • 2
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 1 May 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Pezzullo picks himself for DIC head?

  • 3
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 1 May 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Manuel Newman : “What’s logic, when you get up the Left’s nose for a laugh!”?

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