From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Do you ‘believe’ science? We heard this snippet from a tipster:

The Australian is commissioning a nationwide poll to ascertain the degree to which householders believe the ABC (radio and TV) to be biased for or against the ALP, Lib/Nat coalition and The Greens in their coverage of national politics. Also, whether they think the ABC are biased in their reportage of climate change. If punters answer that they think they’re biased, they’re asked if it’s toward climate change ‘believers’ or climate change ‘rejectors’. They’re also asked who they voted for last federal election in the House of Representatives and who they intend to vote for this year. They’re not asked if they read The Australian.”

Interesting to know that anyone who accepts the vast majority of peer-reviewed science that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are affecting the climate is apparently a “believer”. It’s a religion, is it? We put this tip to the folks at News Limited but didn’t hear back by deadline.

Dastyari denies Australian report. Still in The Oz, former cultural theorist Imre Salusinszky penned an interesting unsourced piece suggesting Left-aligned Stephen Jones would be saved by the notorious N40 rule to avoid a preselection stoush for his federal seat of Throsby. But NSW General Secretary Sam Dastyari explained to Crikey this morning he still had firm hopes for a rank-and-file ballot — as planned in the state’s 50 other lower house seats — that could see Wollongong nurse John Rumble (the son of former MP Terry Rumble) elected instead.

As Crikey reported last year, Jones is struggling to gain support among the seat’s 300 rank and file members. “I have not seen any compelling reason why the members in Throsby would be denied a say,” said Dastyari, revealing Imre hadn’t contacted him for comment. Do you live locally and know more? Drop us a line

Perks for customs staff? There’s been a focus on perks of the trade lately, a la Obeid skiing safaris. We had a tipster wondering if senior executives from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service have access to the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge (that prime real estate infested with politicians eating free quiche) or Virgin Australia’s equivalent — and if so, is that a conflict of interest? Our source reckons the executive instructions state that: “Officials must never accept any form of gift or benefit as a result of undertaking their normal duties with Customs & Border Protection” (section 4.5 section 23), and “official travel is not to be used to accumulate bonus points for ‘Global Rewards’ benefits for private purposes” (point 25).

Back to the future on fire footage. We’re all for recyling, but perhaps not in this context … a caller to 3AW reckons TV footage used to depict fires around the Mount Hotham ski resort last week was actually from the 2008 fires. Know which station ran the footage, and if it is indeed old? Drop us a line.

Fantasy Q&A. Tips’ ears pricked up upon receiving this ABC media release at 10am today: “Please note, Professor Greg Craven will not be able to join the Q&A panel tonight. Stepping into the breach will be James Paterson, editor of the IPA Review.” What a missed opportunity! Crikey has been compiling our readers’ fantasy Q&A panels in a bid to make the Monday night must-see a bit more … lively (George Brandis and Chris Evans are heading up the panel tonight. ‘Nuff said). You can read some fantasy panels here. But wait there’s more …

  • Dame Edna Everage, Julian Assange, Axl Rose, Bindi Irwin, Mark Zuckerberg (entry submitted by Michael O’Shea)
  • Penny Wong, Helena Carr, Lee Lin Chin from SBS, TV chef Poh Ling Yeow, Tim Mathieson (entry cheekily submitted by James Burke — we can see what you did there)
  • US economist Paul Krugman (or John Quiggin), ANU political science professor John Warhurst, the AFR’s Laura Tingle, Christine Assange, Gail Kelly (entry submitted by David Byrnes)
  • Reader Clytie Siddall reckons this panel would “raise the average IQ above room temperature (in °C)” — and we have to agree: Oscar Wilde, Scott Ludlam, Wendy Harmer, @Asher_Wolf
  • Reader Nicholas Pavlovski would like a panel made up of “the great fictional scientists of the silver (and TV) screen”. He suggests Dr Bunsen Honeydew (The Muppets), Graeme Garden (The Goodies), Dr Evil (Austin Powers), Dr Strangelove (Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb), Dr Frank N. Furter (Rocky Horror Picture Show), Dr Mephisto (South Park).

We’ll be sending off our very best entries to the Q&A EP. This is your last chance to submit a panel to us … maximum five members, living or dead, and feel free to select a theme. Readers have also been freelancing in their emails to Tips by declaring which panellists they can’t stand. Seems that Craig Emerson, Christopher Pyne and Sarah Hanson-Young are not our faves. But Phillip Adams, Julian Assange, Paul Keating and Laura Tingle have been repeatedly cropping up across our fantasy panels. We’ll let Tony Jones know.

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