From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

The politics of politics. With a big weekend in politics out of the way, and more to come, various rumours are swirling through Crikey HQ. We hear some ACT Greens members are disgruntled about ex-GetUp! chief Simon Sheikh seeking Greens preselection for the Senate — there are claims that anyone who joins the party is only a provisional member for the first three months. So how long has Sheikh been signed up for, and is it correct that the party’s executive agreed to waive the usual joining requirements? We hear that “a few grassroots members are deeply unhappy at talk of his Senate preselection being in the bag and are threatening, in the first instance, to challenge his membership”.

Meanwhile, head coastwards from Canberra and the next spot of excitement is Alex Greenwich, who won the state seat of Sydney at a byelection. A tipster claims “the newly elected member for Sydney was born in New Zealand — it is rumoured that he is a duel national and may face a challenge under section 44 of the constitution prohibiting duel nationals from being elected to public office!” Could this be our very own birther drama? Where is Donald Trump when you need him?

If you can help Crikey clear up either of these claims, please do so here; and, if you’ve got some fresh rumours, you can stay anonymous

Boom or bust? Declaring if/whether/when the mining boom is over has become something of a national pass time. Here’s an inside tip from someone who works in the mining and mineral processing sector in WA:

“Work here has stopped — Hatch, SNC Lavalin, WorleyParsons and Jacobs are all either dead quiet or laying people off (we lost three from our group of 12) and there is no new work in sight. Goss here is that it will take six months or so before a pickup. Mind — oil and gas jobs are still going strong.”

Andrews adviser takes office. Widely-respected former Age journo Sally Finlay has taken up the cudgels as media director for resurgent Victorian opposition leader Daniel Andrews. Finlay was press sec to both Rob Hulls and John Brumby until 2007 before heading off to Hulls’ Victorian Law Reform Commission, jumping ship in good time before Labor’s 2010 state election loss. Roles at the ACCC and the Brotherhood of St Laurence followed. Finlay, a regular presence outside adviser watering hole of choice Meyer’s Place in the Melbourne CBD, will go head-to-head with slick Baillieu spinner Paul Price.

Read all about it. We’ve heard that those people who stand in Melbourne’s train stations and on corners handing out the pesky free MX paper “get paid $11 an hour cash in hand, for a 2:30-6pm shift. And they mainly get South American backpackers to do it”. Does that meet our workplace laws?

What’s up, doc. We heard a tip that “all senior medical staff (staff specialists, Visiting Medical Officers) at Queensland’s largest teaching hospital, the Royal Brisbane & Women’s, received invitations to volunteer for redundancy” last week. Our tipster wanted to know exactly how the redundos were going to be handled without harming frontline services? But the tip is not true, said the hospital, in a statement to Crikey:

“Senior medical staff were sent a memo extending an invitation to ask questions and seek advice from the office of the RBWH Executive Director Medical Services regarding structural changes. This memo did not offer voluntary redundancies to these staff, but rather invited them to seek further information. All redundancy decisions will be made in line with service realignment and restructuring and staff will be consulted once any decisions have been made.”

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

Peter Fray

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