From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Friendly fire. Which staffer working for a well-known politician from the Victorian ALP Right MP was apparently “involved in the production of an anonymous dirt sheet against four Labor candidates — termed the “Council Clowns” — in the October 27 Moreland City Council election”? We love a good shit sheet here at Tips, so by all means send it to us here, and you can stay anonymous …

Jones has been boned. Crikey recently told you Four Corners’ gun reporter Sarah Ferguson was working on an episode on Alan Jones. She was, but the story’s been shelved for now. One reason is that the 2GB broadcaster won’t be interviewed. We hear The Parrot was keen, but Macquarie Radio chairman Russell Tate intervened and said no. Ferguson has now turned her sights on the brutal cull of 20,000 Australian sheep in Pakistan for Monday night’s episode (the last of the year). We hear Wellard, one of  the live export companies being probed by “the duchess”, has already called in at least one crisis management guru to help spin its side of the story.

Your credit card’s in the mail. Someone’s been in touch raising concerns about the banks’ practice of sending out new credit cards in the mail. This person keeps getting other people’s cards sent to their home (which they’ve lived in for about a year). Our honest soul has been returning the cards to the bank, but noted some might just try and flog it off down the pub …

“Identity theft is getting more and more exposure in Australia, and much more rigorous cyber and e-security is rolling out across the country. And yet, at least one bank, despite its privacy and online protection provisions, still mails out credit cards. Is an envelope encrypted? Is it accessible only to the account holder? Is it un-openable by unauthorised users? Hard to use of course without knowing the bank’s customer number, but how long would it take an expert to get it activated?”

This Tips scribe is now in a panic and racing home early to check their (and come to think of it, other people’s) letterbox.

What’s in a name? We’ve heard this from an insider, about Sydney community radio station 2SER FM:

“They are forcing their 200 volunteer presenters to sign a dodgy contract. The new broadcaster contract says that 2SER will own the copyright on all program names and segment names. The station says any volunteer who refuses to sign will be forced to LEAVE THE STATION.”

Our mole is not happy, suggesting this is not legally possible because the Australian Copyright Council says that names, titles and slogans are not generally protected by copyright. But a spokeswoman for 2SER told us this tip sounds wrong:

“This is not a contract but a standard broadcast agreement now being used across the community radio sector. We have followed the template of Fbi Radio and others in developing this. We understand that volunteers want to use their work in other settings, and we are not trying to prevent this from happening. The purpose of the agreement is to ensure that 2SER programs and segment names are not copied by other broadcasters, in effect protecting  the intellectual property of our volunteers. Many of our volunteers have asked to maintain their own rights to these names and that is not at issue here. Due to compliance issues and the current legal environment, volunteers have been asked to sign an acknowledgment form whereby they agree to comply with the terms of policies contained in the updated volunteer handbook. If people choose not to comply with any of our polices, and workplace health and safety procedures, then they may be asked to leave — just like in any other volunteer organisation.”

Pollies’ photo gallery. It’s been a delightful stroll down memory lane for Tips, curating readers’ submissions of photographs from politicians’ younger years. We’ve sen mullets, gentleman’s perms, and the 1985 Donnybrook Apple Queen (that’s federal Labor MP Melissa Parke to you). We’d love to see more pics — help us address the ominous lack of submissions on Coalition politicians! — so email them in or mail them to the address on our website. Meanwhile, which senior federal politician is shown here on the foreground horse? We’ll tell you next week, but you can leave your guess in the comments stream on our website …

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

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey