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From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Doleful existence. Greens MP Adam Bandt’s pledge to live on the dole for a week starting in February could run in to trouble before he even steps out the door for his daily tram ride to work. The mortgage on Bandt’s $800,000 house in the Melbourne suburb of Flemington could top out at three times the daily dole amount of $38, according to the government’s helpful MoneySmart calculator. Based on a mortgage of $400,000 and an interest rate of 5.75%, Bandt would be paying over $100 a day in rent alone (although his partner may be chipping in). Either way, he won’t have much left for lentils and powdered milk …

Tough times for Etihad? Is there any truth to the rumour that BDS (that’s the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign to you) has Etihad Stadium at Melbourne’s Docklands in its sights? Let’s hope it’s sorted out by the start of the footy season …

Medicare Locals in trouble. The Adelaide North East Division of General Practice has reportedly overthrown the board of the Northern Adelaide Medicare Local (NAML). The NAML is an independent organisation that provides primary healthcare to disadvantaged people in the northern suburbs of Adelaide.

Crikey has been told that four of the most senior staff members from the NAML have today been summoned to a meeting by the Adelaide North East Division of General Practice. Staff members were locked out of the premises by security guards before Christmas and have not been allowed back in. Crikey attempted to contact NAML’s offices but they are not answering calls. Their website states:

“With the decision by the ANEDGP to cease operations, the ANDGP is currently maintaining existing service provision to ensure services and general practice support across the Northern and North Eastern region remain uninterrupted.”

Greig passes on. The world of cricket has suffered a loss with the death of commentator Tony Greig, who had lung cancer and died of a heart attack in late December. One Crikey reader raised an interesting question — is it relevant whether Greig was a smoker? The reader couldn’t find any reference in the media to whether he was a smoker or not, and thought it was indeed relevant. The flip side of that argument is that it may not be appropriate for the media to appear to apportion responsibility for a death; is the question of whether Greig was a smoker a private detail that should remain so?

Crikey looked into this and found no reference in the media coverage to whether Greig smoked, although the question was asked (and answered, although we don’t know whether it was correct) on various health and cricket blogs. Similar cases include former Tasmanian premier Jim Bacon, who died of lung cancer (the media widely reported that he was a smoker) and Dana Reeve (wife of superman Christopher Reeve), who died of lung cancer and was widely reported as not being a smoker. If you’ve got a view on whether the media has the right or duty to report on these kinds of details, send it to us and we can run it in our comments section.

What a stink. Interesting rumour on 3AW that the company which keeps food cold at certain fast food outlets had their freezers break down at the weekend. The caller reckoned the company didn’t tell anyone and sent their food out anyway. No lunch for me today, thanks, I’ll just have a Mars Bar. If you know more about that rumour, fill us in here.

Silly season. It’s that time of year when the media will run, well, any old rubbish really. Tips was startled to open the usually august Age last Wednesday to see this classic seasonal tit shot. Come on, Andrew Holden: if I wanted booty, I’d save 90 cents and buy the Herald Sun instead.

Reading on, Tips saw the strong news value of the story. Victorian environment minister launches series of largely-free coastal activities!

Crikey is keen to bring you some of the very worst of the silly season’s media stories. Send us your entry and we’ll collate Australia’s finest summer stories. Just for once, we think the NT News might have some stiff competition …

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form.

Peter Fray

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