Crikey editor and inconsistent 10% tipper Misha Ketchell writes:

A restaurant owner faxed us this – the message which was printed on a small card that was slipped in with a recent bill payment:

Our source wasn’t impressed with The Age’s
attitude, and it’s hard to blame him. Times are tight in the newspaper
game, although not so tight that tips have been ruled out at the
paper’s stablemate The Sydney Morning Herald.

Writers for Fairfax’s Sydney and Melbourne Magazines are permitted modest tips. So too are reviewers for the annual Sydney and Melbourne Good Food Guides. It’s just the restaurant reviewers for the Melbourne Age’s Epicure section who are banned from tipping.

But The Age
prides itself on being part of a community and observing community
standards. Among these is modest tip, usually of between 5 and 10%. To
unilaterally absolve oneself of this obligation is a bit like declaring
you’re no longer obliged to stand up for the elderly on public

Although The Age conducts blind reviews, it
quickly becomes clear who the Scrooge was when the article is
published. And the fact that the reviewer has declined to tip isn’t
going to win the paper any brownie points when he or she comes calling
for news tips and comments.

Oh, and here’s one Age writer, Natalie Maclean, had to say on tipping last year:

Tipping says more about how we think of ourselves than what
we think of class conflict. Are we generous or gullible, kindly or
demanding? Tip too little and you’re a cheapskate; tip too much and
you’re a doormat.