The Australian’s newsroom is recovering from a severe irony bypass this morning after a satirical press release quoting Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle paying out Peter Costello sent scoop-hungry scribes into a frenzy.

In the interview, to be aired tonight on Channel 31’s The Inquiry, Doyle demands the retiring Costello steer clear of his turf, claiming the Lord Mayor’s gig is “beyond him” and that he “should know his limitations”. (Elsewhere in the interview Doyle said he would “lightly smack” Melbourne’s public transport operators until they agreed to launch 24-hour tram services). But the hilarity didn’t dissuade the wily newshounds at the Oz , who hit the phones to snaffle the “Doyle slags Costello” scoop from the Lord Mayor’s media advisers.