From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

No gays please, we’re Sydney. “Parramatta River is certainly a fun place to be this summer! Council is hosting a fun-filled day of activities for the whole family down by the River …” Not that fun if you’re gay.

A support group for people of diverse genders and s-xualities, Twenty10, set up a kite-building and juice-making stall at last Thursday’s free, council-organised Rediscover the River family day at Parramatta. One hour in, they were told to take down their sign, Twenty10’s acting managing director Terence Humphreys tells Crikey. A council worker told them their sign “wasn’t appropriate”; Twenty10 confirmed this with the office of the Parramatta City Council’s Lord Mayor, who confirmed that the sign “needed to come down”. Humphreys speculated the reason for this was that a sign referring to s-xuality and gender was felt by some to be not appropriate at a family day.

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The offending sign

Twenty10 decided to pack up and leave the event as they felt that without their sign, there was little point holding an outreach stall. “The staff were really distressed, as were the clients,” Humphreys said. “It was very clear as we were packing up, people could guess what was happening. That was in fact an act of discrimination.” He has written to Lord Mayor John Chedid asking for an apology.

The council has issued a statement saying:

“In response to numerous complaints made by members of the public, organisers of the Rediscover the River event asked Twenty10 to remove two promotional banners … Council regrets any inconvenience or offence taken by its actions and values the efforts, and contribution of Twenty10 in servicing at-risk youth.”

Harbouring donations What’s your personal idea of hell? For some, being stuck on a boat with Barnaby Joyce for four hours would be the sort of thing Virgil could be showing off in a modern-day Inferno. And, we can reveal, such a fate can be yours for a mere $1000.

The Nationals, with an election a mere eight months away, have upped the fundraising stakes and produced their two biggest, erm, assets, in Warren Truss and Joyce (the next two Deputy Prime Ministers!), for a four-hour cruise around Sydney Harbour next Tuesday evening. Truss, Crikey can report, is genial company over a beer, continuing the long Nationals tradition of being good blokes whatever you might think of their politics. Four hours, however, might be stretching the friendship and leave you eyeing the lifejackets, although possibly at 7pm, 21st birthday style, Truss will alight from the vessel and the rest of the cruise will involve former bouncer Barnaby playing DJ with the doof doof music turned up loud and the dance floor lights down low.

Don’t look to either Truss or Joyce to offer much of a guided tour of the Harbour, given both are from regional Queensland. Do expect, however, for Barnaby to make the point that the Harbour foreshore remains defiantly intact despite climate change predictions of rising sea levels, and to suggest that the $1000 ticket is so expensive because of the carbon price.

ANZ targeted in new enviro hoax. In a sequel to the controversial hoax press release that temporarily stripped $314 million off the value of Whitehaven Coal earlier this month, environmental activists have posted fake “out of order” signs on ANZ ATMs around Australia. The protesters are furious with ANZ’s funding of Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine in the Gunnedah basin. According to the hoaxers — who are tracking the stunt on a Facebook page — ATMs have been targeted in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Wauchope. This pic was sent in today from Tasmania:

First chair-sniffing premier? Colin Barnett seems to on the path to victory at the March WA election — it’s cashed-up WA, how could the Liberals lose? — but there’s a bit of talk around about who would eventually succeed him as leader. Barnett has refused to commit to leading his party to the 2017 election (to be fair, that’s five years away and who knows what we’ll all be up to then). But Tips has heard whispers about who might take Barnett’s place, and some think colourful Treasurer Troy Buswell would be next in line. Buswell is a favourite of Tips but is the kind of figure one must often team with “allegedly”. Who could forget the chair-sniffing episode, allegations by an ex-lover of dry humping a senior business figure, the time he allegedly snapped the staffer’s bra, etc. Is the ex-Liberal leader primed for another go? If you’ve got the inside word (or can tip us off to any interesting goings-on in the WA election campaign), get in touch.

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