From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Code of conduct doesn’t mean much in NSW. “Bernard Keane obviously does not live in NSW,” wrote one NSW political observer on our political correspondent’s musings yesterday. It’s true, he does not. The Macquarie Street watcher explained how effective codes of conduct are in the Waratah state:

“The NSW ICAC may have the investigative apparatus to investigate corrupt conduct but the ICAC very rarely uses these powers. The standard response from the ICAC is that there will be no investigation, which gives the erroneous perception that corrupt conduct has not been found. In NSW, the state government regularly reviews the model code of conduct for local government and then routinely allows its own model code to be undermined. A code of conduct and an independent corruption body carries no weight in NSW, but the perception that it does provides an environment where corruption and incompetence thrive. It is no surprise that Craig Thomson’s alleged activities have proceeded unchecked, he is a NSW politician.”

Labor MPs head to the printers. We love a good political pamphlet. And there’s probably one on the way to you as we speak, The Australian reports, with MPs raiding the printing allowance to sell the merits of its budget and handouts to lower-income families. So don’t bin them — scan them and send them to us. A prize for anyone who finds any mention of the carbon tax …

Supermarket wars continue. Crikey has heard Coles is “keeping nepotism alive” by employing the spouse of the general manager of marketing, Tony Phillips, in its ad campaign. Phillips is a close friend of ad guru Ted Horton who is involved with the famous chefs campaign. “Perhaps the new owners had thought these type of shonky in house deals could not have existed post the Brian Quinn era?” asks our supermarket-loving secret squirrel. Absolute rubbish, Phillips told Crikey. He says his wife is not involved in any shape or form with the advertising campaign, either on air or behind the scenes. Is a competitor just stirring up trouble?

ABC hacks as conservative flacks. Who says all ABC presenters side with Labor, we asked yesterday in revealing ex-Queensland newser Fiona Crawford had joined Campbell Newman’s team. Another Crikey reader pointed us to ex-ABC journo Marie Scoutas, who has taken up residence in Barry O’Farrell’s office and is, we’re assured, “a delightful person who her boss seems to trust implicitly”. And as The Australian reported last month, O’Farrell also welcomed Mark Tobin as a media adviser after he left Aunty’s embrace. Perhaps we should start a list …

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

Peter Fray

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