Putting words into the PM’s mouth (cont). If Julia Gillard is looking for a new speechwriter — her office denies it, but still the speculation continues — then you can rule out the name Joel Dean. Dean, who worked for Labor in Victoria as a press secretary and speechwriter, told us today he’s “flattered” by the speculation but the two Crikey readers who said he was in the frame are off the mark. “Nobody has approached me,” he says, but “I wish the government well”.

Dean is now a novelist and poet. He didn’t see Gillard speak at the ALP’s national conference over the weekend, in a speech roundly criticised by the media and some party members, but reckons she’s better than most people think. “The thing to keep in mind here is Julia Gillard is the first female PM and she’s getting judged differently,” he says. “I saw her give a speech recently and it had some good content in it.” But “there’s always room for improvement” and he urges the PM — who he crosses paths with socially — to play more to her conversational nature.

Our tipsters also pick fellow Victorian Labor Party figures Dennis Glover and Michael Gurr as potential recruits to the PM’s office. Gillard refused to answer a question yesterday on whether she would sack her speechwriter.

Big questions on marriage ‘triads’. On the slippery slope that is moral debate, conservatives argue, gay marriage could be the latest step towards polygamy. Ean Higgins, a senior reporter at The Australian, is taking up those concerns and running with them. He dispatched this email to a selection of gay marriage-supporting MPs yesterday:

Dear xxxx

The successful passage of the motion at the ALP national conference to change the platform to legalise gay marriage has led another sector of society to seek those same rights.

Polyamorists argue that the same principle of equality of s-xual preference should apply to them.

Most particularly, polyfidelists, who believe and engage in “traids” (sic) of two men and a woman, or two women and a man, who have a permanent, committed and exclusive relationship in which each has an “equilateral triangle” s-xual relation with the other (as opposed to polygamists and polyandrists) see no reason why they should not have the same rights as heteros-xual couples and same s-x couples to marry as a trio as an expression of their love.

My question is: Do you, given your deep commitment to the topic, believe that at the next ALP national conference the platform should be further amended to legalise marriage among polyfidelist triads?

If so, why?

If not, why not?

Probing. We look forward to their responses in the paper tomorrow.

News Limited gets one journo back. The Australian will get at least one journalist back from Fairfax — after a parade of hacks followed Michael Stutchbury to The Australian Financial Review — with The Age‘s Barry Fitzgerald to join the broadsheet next year. Fitzgerald told us today he’s quit as Age mining editor to fill the same position at The Oz — 25 years after he started at Fairfax. He’ll start on January 30.

Christmas comes early at Nine Co. Much excitement at Park Street and the various outposts of the Nine Network and ACP Magazines with the annual delivery of the Christmas hampers to all staff. The traditional festive offering started by Kerry Packer — and boned when private equity owner CVC moved in — has returned in the past couple of years, buoying tired staff at the end of another difficult year for the ratings-starved Nine and its circulation-challenged magazines.

Our Nine Entertainment Co. insider snapped this pic of the spread — including Maggie Beer’s quince paste, Luken & May macaroons, Paton’s choc-coated macadamias, pretzels, gingerbread, nougat, popcorn, spreads, oils and all sorts of other delicacies. Plus a juicy Christmas ham, to those who selected the perishable box. The hamper is arriving at offices around Australia with a personal card from CEO David Gyngell saying he’ll see them all in the New Year. David will be busy …

More media Christmas cancellations. Gyngell’s hamper will make for a better Christmas than those at Sydney advertising agency BWM (Belgiovane, Williams and Mackay) will get. An insider there reveals the end-of-year soiree has been cancelled because there’s too much work on the books. Writes our spy: “In an explanatory missive to his long-suffering staff, the general manager explained: ‘The reason for this is simply how busy we currently are … as most of you know!’ And here was I thinking that work Christmas parties were precisely about rewarding hard-working staff for their efforts …”

And keep those corporate Christmas secrets rolling in. If your firm has sent away Santa, or you’re lucky enough to be gifted a lavish do, drop us a line or use our (highly) anonymous form.