How safe is Newman as premier? One George Street insider insists Campbell Newman could face a leadership spill. Voters have turned on the Queensland Premier with the wholesale public sector cuts, but surely nobody in the party room is that unhappy …?

Gay vote key in Sydney byelection. Rumour has it the strong Liberal vote in Saturday’s City of Sydney election and, in particular, the surprising unexplained weakness in the Greens vote, is making the Liberal Party seriously consider a very near-term byelection in the lower house seat of Sydney triggered by Barry O’Farrell’s “get Clover” law. However, the Liberal candidate Shayne Mallard cannot hope of getting the same gay community support as the much-adored Adrian Bartels. This means the previous state election results for Sydney — where Libs were close behind Clover — cannot be trusted, according to our sources.

Mallard will certainly struggle against Clover’s likely anointed successor Alex Greenwich — who is leader of the marriage equality movement. Alex ran on Clover’s LGE ticket, but low enough on the ticket to ensure he wouldn’t get elected. For someone so low on the ticket his involvement was widely publicised to ensure he would get a pre-campaign Clover blessing.

Greenwich’s likely nomination is disappointing for Labor in Sydney. Sydney Labor is very vocal in the marriage-equality debate and has previously worked very closely with Alex. Several Rainbow Labor people have advised that Alex is actively distancing himself and not recognising Rainbow Labor’s contributions to the marriage equality cause now that it supports his ambitions as an independent.

Stingy mayor refuses to pay his dues. One Labor insider is unhappy with the penny-pinching efforts of one NSW mayor. ALP membership fees, reflecting the party’s ethos of wealth redistribution, work on a sliding scale: the more you earn, the more you are supposed to pay. The mayor, we hear, earns more than $100,000 from their day job, an extra $80,000 or so for their council duties and income for sitting on several boards. But ALP member records show the scrounger isn’t paying nearly enough in member fees. Our insider says it’s only a matter of time until the mayor gets caught out.

Magazine editor’s council pitch. It’s been a busy few weeks for Deborah Thomas, the former Australian Women’s Weekly editor who now works as ACP Magazine’s head of media, public affairs and brand development. As well as fielding inquires on ACP’s sale to Bauer Media, Thomas also ran as a Liberal candidate for Woollahra Council in Sydney’s salubrious eastern suburbs. Thomas was successful — thanks partly to support from local MP Malcolm Turnbull. Here’s a snap Thomas’ husband posted on his Facebook page of his proud partner and Turnbull celebrating victory …

Quarterly Essay kiss of death? In September 2004 Margaret Simons wrote a Quarterly Essay exploring Mark Latham’s world view. A month later Latham lost the election; by January he had resigned as Labor leader. In June 2009, Annabel Crabb wrote a Quarterly Essay profile on Malcolm Turnbull; six months later he had been removed as leader. In June 2010, David Marr argued in Quarterly Essay that Kevin Rudd was a chaotic PM driven by rage; less than a month after it hit the shelves, Rudd had been removed. Will Abbott, one tipster wonders, follow suit and be turfed out soon following Marr’s latest effort? Or will he be the one to buck the trend?

Award-winning journos out the door. Crikey continues to update our list of journalists leaving Fairfax in the latest restructure. With so many hacks leaving the company, almost all areas have been affected — but none more so than education. The Sydney Morning Herald has lost education editor Andrew Stevenson (their loss is our gain today; you can read his thoughts on the NSW education cuts in today’s edition) and reporter Jen Rosenberg, while The Age is bidding farewell to senior education writers Denise Ryan and Caroline Milburn, both of whom took out gongs last week: Milburn won the Australian College of Educators’ media award while Ryan was garlanded by the Australian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Both will be missed.

Fairfax journo: Gina’s a disgrace. Still at Fairfax, Age hack and Indonesian correspondent Michael Bachelard tells us what he really thinks about his company’s largest shareholder …

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