From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Nat Fiona Nash in the lower house? NSW Nationals are apparently licking their lips in the lead-up to Liberal Party preselection for Alby Shultz’s NSW federal seat of Hume. As we’ve reported, the Liberals think they’re on a safe bet with Rhodes Scholar, business consultant and Malcolm Turnbull protegé Angus Taylor, who is expected to win the preselection battle. But the Coalition partner reckons it could win a three-cornered contest if Taylor is the nominee. Writes one insider:

“Seems the Nats really like their chances against the city-based, highly polished, ex-McKinsey management consultant in the largely country seat. If he wins, watch the speed with which the talented Senator Fiona Nash nominates for the Nats preselection contest.”

So is Nash interested in a lower house seat? She’s “not ruling anything in our out”, according to the spokesperson we talked to this morning. The Nats won’t preselect a candidate until after the Liberals decide.

Shame file on mystery Labor MP. A rumour not even Derryn Hinch will touch? He reports on Twitter: “Rumour going around about senior Labor polly that you wouldn’t want to touch unless 100% sure it’s true. That would rock the line-up.” Who might that be, Derryn?

Lib candidate threat over satire gone wrong. Last week the Liberal candidate for the Tasmanian seat of Bass, Andrew Nikolic, threatened to contact the employers of 17 people who had liked an article on Facebook that made fun of his military background. But he told us yesterday he’s now happy with the apologies he’s received.

The story, appearing on the Facebook page of independent news source the New Examiner, joked that: “Bass Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic has come under fire for claiming he was heroically killed in action during service in Afghanistan. News of Nikolic’s alleged death emerged on Anzac Day, when the retired army soldier was paying tribute to those serving overseas.” The New Examiner on Sunday posted an “unreserved apology”, adding the concept was “shamelessly pinched” from satirical site The Onion — but it hasn’t removed the original post.

Nikolic told us he thought the article was “in very bad taste”, but noted that a “number of people involved in the post subsequently contacted me to apologise for their involvement and I removed my response from my Facebook page”. Case closed?

A pardon for Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant? From the 3AW Rumour File: “Caller ‘Under the breaker’ says there’s an understanding there will be an announcement from Attorney-General Nicola Roxon about the pardon for Breaker Morant case.” It seemed in January the case had been put on hold …

AC/DC going to the top (of Swanston). Rumours are still swirling around AC/DC and a possible appearance  at the AFL grand final this year. They’ve already learnt their It’s A Long Way To The Top anthem to the code for marketing, and now we hear a re-creation of the original film clip down Melbourne’s Swanston Street during the grand final parade may be on the cards. “Only hitch is getting Bon Scott back on the bagpipes,” says our source.

*Do you know more? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed-anonymous form.

Peter Fray

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