Crikey



Tips and rumours

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

GetUp’s got the power. Eyebrows were raised when GetUp announced its campaign against energy companies that support scrapping the Renewable Energy Target, as it signalled a move towards commercial partnerships. Last month the activist organisation asked Victorians to change their energy provider to Powershop, a company that provides energy from renewable sources, and it seems to have had an effect on what GetUp calls the “dirty three” — AGL, Origin and Energy Australia.

A tipster tells us “I did it myself and the Origin drone who contacted me to discuss my sudden departure (who was very nice) said that they had been fielding a lot of calls on the issue”. It got us wondering how many people had made the switch in Victoria and how much money GetUp was making from the campaign — the  organisation’s website lets people know that GetUp receives a contribution from Powershop for each person who changes. Campaign manager Paul Oosting told us that so far “over 2000” people had switched their electricity to Powershop, and many had reported that their previous power providers had called them to try to lure them back with offers of large discounts.

We asked Oosting how much money GetUp was making, and he told us it was a “small contribution” that went back to this campaign. When pressed on how much a “small contribution” was, he said between $50-$150 for each account that changes. By our maths, if 2000 people change at $50, GetUp has made at least $100,000 so far, and it could be as much as $300,000. So nothing to sneeze at. We asked how GetUp members had reacted to the new funding arrangement, and Oosting said it had been very positive and the organisation was looking to roll the project out across the country as it found new partners.

Detention centre tender result close. We brought you the news in April that the contracts to run immigration detention centres across the country were up and that the multimillion-dollar job was up for tender. Now we hear from a tipster that the Immigration Department is close to announcing the successful tender application to run the services, and current provider Serco may not get a guernsey. According to our source, an announcement in favour of Spotless will be announced as early as this week:

Word is that it was narrowed down to Serco and Spotless with a preference going to a health/welfare based approach instead of the traditional correctional services models being rolled out by Serco and Transfield. Spotless has a large presence in hospitals and has provided a key difference in their tender presentation.”

Spotless provides catering and cleaning services to many venues, including large stadiums, and won the contract to manage the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, which will open in 2016. Spotless told us the company couldn’t comment, and the department’s spokesperson gave us this response when we asked when the announcement was due:

The request for tender (RFT) closed on 28 May 2014. Tender responses are in the process of being evaluated.”

What’s in a name? If you’re wondering why the likes of Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey are tipping buckets of ice water over themselves in the name of a disease you’ve never heard of, you’re not alone. The ice bucket challenge, which involves people filming themselves tipping a bucket of icy cold water on themselves (something much easier to commit to in the United States, where it’s currently summer), has raised US$15.6 million for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in the US. In Australia (and many other parts of the world), the condition is known as motor neurone disease. So as AFL bosses and various other Australians get in on the stunt, will they give funds for MND Australia, the local association for the disease? National executive director Carol Birks told Techly that MND Australia was struggling to get the word out:

“I did actually just ring up one radio station here that was talking about it to highlight that we don’t call it ALS in this country, that it’s MND, but there wasn’t a lot of interest.”

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  1. I also switched over to Powershop and couldn’t wait to let Origin know the reason why. When they finally got in contact with me (with the usual: “your call may be monitored or recorded for training purposes…”) I explained, very politely and calmly but in great detail how disappointed I was in Origin’s green washing claim to be concerned about climate change yet opposing the RET, thereby gaining a financial windfall, and that I had been paying a premium for green energy but now felt conned by the company’s stance. The poor person listening to me seemed quite resigned to me changing over and didn’t even bother to convince me otherwise. I told him I hoped I was being taped so those in authority could also hear what I had to say.

    by Peter Cogo on Aug 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm

  2. It is a fair assumption that at least one of the large cleaning services companies is an ASIO front. Interestingly Spotless owns a raft of IP addresses, which doesn’t quite add up to me, so my guess is that they are it.

    by Limited News on Aug 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm

  3. LimitedN - I#d like to think that ASIO was that useful. cleaning up shit & vomit,rather than wasting our taxes in their secret squirrel phantasy world.

    by AR on Aug 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm

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