From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Kroger and Costello agree on something. In his regular column in Fairfax papers this morning, an apparent contender for Alex Somlyay’s federal seat of Fairfax, Peter Costello, decided to rattle off the worst speeches in Australian political history. Amid strong contenders like Rob Oakeshott’s “let the sunshine in/Highlander” effort and Kevin Rudd’s GST faux pas lay a far more interesting screed — Mark Latham’s famous “skanky-ho” address to federal Parliament. And just who was the ho in question? Rough s-x fan Janet Albrechtsen of course, current partner of his estranged former friend Michael Kroger. Could Kroges and Cossie have buried the hatchet by revelling in their mutual hatred for the former Labor leader? Might Kroges, Latham and Janet no longer dine together at The Australia Club? The tension is killing us.

An MP swap in branch-stacked Blaxland? One Labor Party operative reckons frontbencher Jason Clare might be on the way out in a factional preselection play. They report:

“There are already moves afoot by the branch-stackers in Blaxland to replace the very popular federal member and Minister for Many Things Jason Clare with the newly elected state MP. Although Clare is clearly leadership material with his level-headedness, intelligence and ability to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds, there are some for whom power at a local level is paramount. The Labor brand continues to be damaged without any thought for the consequences.”

Funding cut to road safety inspectors? From the 3AW Rumour File this morning: “Caller Another Government Broken Promise says due to VicRoads budget cuts and government policy public sector cuts, 20% of front-line on-road safety inspectors will be reduced, despite promises that no front-line services would be affected.”

Up, up and away with Zed. “I can’t help but feel,” writes one Crikey reader, “that the ACT Liberal’s website symbol for Zed Seselja is a little reminiscent of the second Superman movie.” We tend to agree …

Print subscribers can’t sub online. Is The Australian cutting off its digital nose to spite its analogue face? Its move to cajole readers behind the digital paywall continues apace, writes one subscriber:

“Long-standing subscribers who previously could manage their hard copy subscriptions (e.g. to suspend delivery when going away) have recently found they can no longer access their subscriptions online and have either to take out an unwanted digital pass or go back to a staffed phone line. Forward into the digital past Oz!”

What did Fairfax do to Indonesia? A Bali holiday-maker tells us they couldn’t access Fairfax websites for The Sydney Morning Herald or The Australian Financial Review on the Indonesian island. Thankfully, Crikey wasn’t blocked.

Sarah says it’s hard being married. What’s in a name? A lot if it’s Sarah Henderson and you happen to live in the Geelong region. A friend of hers reports:

“Sarah Campbell has become Sarah Henderson, working as a media adviser at the TAC and living in the Geelong region. Of course the name Sarah Henderson is well known around here, being also a candidate for Corangamite in the last federal election and now back in the local media in the contest for preselection. Which has caused a bit of confusion — Sarah Henderson (nee Campbell) has had media asking for comment on issues in Canberra, and at other times, media not calling for comment on TAC stories, because they think they’re calling a potential election candidate who’ll give them a very politicial point of view.

“Just to clarify — there are two Sarah Hendersons living in the Geelong region: the one at the TAC is happy to talk to you about road safety issues and is not running for preselection for any party any time soon!”

As a community service, we’re happy to make that clear.

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

Peter Fray

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