PMO gears up for the fight of its life. In this federal election year, we’ve been bringing you tidbits about changes in the Prime Minister’s Office as Labor lays the groundwork for what it hopes will be a surprise election win. A Canberra insider reckons “there are a number of other vacant roles in PMO at the moment” and hints Julia Gillard’s right-hand people might be struggling to find great staff. Know more about the goings-on in the swanky and well-carpeted sanctuary of the PMO? Drop us a line, and you can stay anonymous …

Logan humanising the message? An interesting Twitter exchange (no, really) between Labor hack Brenton Baldwin and Sandi Logan, the Department of Immigration spinner who tweets up a storm:

@bbaldwin2013 Not sure what DIAC were thinking with @SandiHLogan account rather than say, @DIACmedia? Seems a tad unprofessional, dare I say, egotistical.

@bbaldwin2013 Should Departmental spokesperson’s be media/ social media personalities? I prefer the bureaucratic Gov 2.0 model. Is @SandiHLogan Gov 3.0?

@SandiHLogan@bbaldwin2013 Little more research? @DIACAustralia@HankJongen@DavidHurley_CDF plenty more. It’s about humanising the message, engaging.

Humanising? Some may struggle with that word given some of the policies Logan is spinning for. But we agree with the sentiment.

Pollie watch: Barnaby caught coat-less! More pollies spottings today. Because … why not?

“Malcolm Turnbull has been seen at the opening of an envelope at the Sydney Festival. Word has it the arts world keep inviting him to things in the hope he becomes arts minister instead of the useless George Brandis if an Abbott government is elected.” Good luck, arts lovers.

“A friend on the inside tells me Barnaby Joyce turned up at Brisbane’s United Service Club for dinner last week and confided to the receptionist: ‘Clive Palmer called me 30 minutes ago, asking me to get here for dinner, but I haven’t got a coat.’ Unlike Bob Dylan, who when asked years ago by a music reporter for a good quote, replied ‘if I had one I’d be wearing it”, our Barnaby had to make do with one from the hall closet, where a supply is kept for members and visitors who arrive similarly coat-less.” How embarrassing.

“I bumped into Gary Grey at the Booragoon Garden City Shopping Centre (that’s in WA for eastern types) Saturday last. He was relaxed and in good mood. We exchanged analyses of the forthcoming election in WA and our conclusions were remarkably similar: WA Labor is in a good position to pull off an upset win. I introduced my wife to Gary who later said she thought him ‘a nice man’.” There’s one more vote.

Fans wait for league radio call. Why hasn’t the Australian Rugby League Commission announced its radio broadcast rights for the upcoming season? Everyone in radio circles will tell you 2GB has retained the rights, with Triple M keeping hold of the FM agreement and expected to boost its coverage of matches. But despite the deal apparently being done weeks ago, there’s no word out of shiny Moore Park HQ. Perhaps new ARLC CEO David Smith — who won’t put his feet under the desk until February — wants to make the announcement himself?

Cheeky stunt at Oxfam. An all-staff email sent around Oxfam today:

You sent your directors to boot camp, now you can permanently deface a staff member! Pledge fundraising dollars to TW and National Trailwalker Event Coordinator Andy Mein will tattoo the Oxfam Trailwalker logo on his person. All signs point to the butt.

We’ve pledged $650 in the last 5 minutes in the National TW team alone. Can we reach $2000 in the next 30 minutes? I think we can.

From the horses’s mouth: I’m not doing it until we reach $1k! Now do I do it in Oxfam green or black ink? And which cheek?

Andy Mein | National Trailwalker Manager | Oxfam Australia

Our tipster suggests going for $2000, one on each cheek — green and black of course.

Breath tests: good luck getting one. Yesteday we reported the sobering news that, apparently, you can no longer walk into a police station and ask to be breath tested. One reader tells us it’s been against policy for Victorian Police to breath test people outside of roadside stations for a decade. Says another: “I tried to get breath tested in the Carlton police station a while ago. They refused and when I pressed they said I might go and drink more and then I might claim the police said I was fine to drive. The officer at the front desk suggested if I wasn’t sure to err on the side of caution. Good advice and I took it.”

Same as in NSW. “I tried it once about 10 years ago,” says one reader, “and the police officer told me that you couldn’t request to be breath-tested BUT that it was raining and the likelihood of being breath-tested on the road was minimal anyway! Fortunately I wasn’t drunk, just an overly cautious P-plater at the time (these were the days when you could still be .02 on P-plates).” And from a Sydney tipster: “I remember as a young 20-something and unsure about whether I was OK to drive stopping at the Police Centre in Surry Hills and asking to be breathalysed to check. They refused and told me abruptly to go away. Guess what happened then? They watched me get into my car and then I got pulled over 500 metres away for a breath test, which luckily enough I passed. Pretty shabby work.” And this: “Tried it when I was young and foolish. Woy Woy police looked at this 22-year-old on Saturday morning (after Friday night drinks at the Woy Woy club opposite the police station) and said ‘all of our breathalysers are on the road. Just wait another hour and have a meal’.”

But in Brisbane they’re apparently more willing: “On Christmas Day 2011 I walked to my local police station on Brisbane’s north side and asked to be breathalysed — I’d had a couple of beers but a family drama came up and I wanted to know if I was OK to drive to the in-laws place after all (ahh Christmas!) They happily tested me — we had to go outside so the device’s GPS would work apparently — and it was all good. I haven’t done it lately but at the time they were more than happy to help out.”

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

Peter Fray

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