From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

No men please, we’re Green. Interesting snippet from a Greens’ insider:

“Some raised eyebrows in the NSW Greens at what is being seen as the latest attempt by the [Greens’ NSW MP] John Kaye/Lee Rhiannon forces to manipulate party processes. It seems that at the last state Delegates’ Council meeting in December they introduced a late motion at the end of the meeting to ask that, to mark International Womens Day, only women delegates should attend the next Delegates’ Council meeting. Some have criticised this as an inappropriate attempt to interfere in local groups’ decisions about who they appoint as delegates. Others have suggested it is aimed at silencing dissent since recent meetings have seen a predominance of men who were the most effective and knowledgeable dissenting voices, particularly those opposing John Kaye’s ongoing and controversial push to have the party’s policy on political donations changed to allow donations from trade unions.”

We’ve put that tip to Senator Rhiannon’s office and haven’t heard back yet. If you know who won this issue, let us know.

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Rudd returns. We’re hearing plenty from “experts” about how many numbers Rudd would have in caucus should it come to a leadership spill. The SMH ran this useful list a year ago — but things have changed. Fairfax now reports Rudd could have as many as 45 votes from the caucus of 102 — within striking distance. Crikey would love to hear from Labor insiders about what the numbers really are. Which MPs have switched sides from this list a year ago? Keep us in the loop — and yes, you can stay anonymous.

Macdonald’s younger years. A subscriber took umbrage with Crikey writer Margot Saville’s claim that besieged former NSW minister Ian Macdonald, who is having a tough time at ICAC, “does not even pretend to have an ideology”. Take it away, history buff:

“Actually, Macdonald started off with genuine political commitments. The boy from working-class Reservoir (in Melbourne) was a Maoist at La Trobe University, later joined the Labor Party and was on the staff of Left-wing senator George Georges. At the time he turned up in the NSW Parliament, he was still on the Left. A bit different to Obeid. Attached is a photo of Macdonald from his university days, involved in an anti-conscription protest outside then attorney-general Tom Hughes’ place at Bellevue Hill in 1970 (the cricket bat incident mentioned in brother Robert Hughes’ memoir). In the picture, Hughes has Macdonald by the throat. Someone else has him by the throat now, hopefully with a firmer grip.”

Horsing around. Tips is curious as to whether any meat substitution is going on in Australia (Europeans are worked up about horse masquerading as beef in their lasagnes). So far, no smoking gun — if you know more about dodgy meat practices, email us. We did get these responses:

“Yonks a go a few of us had a ‘steak’ meal in Sydney’s The Cross. It was a very nice meal , but was a bit different. The restaurant was done for selling horse meat two days later.”

“I used to work for a TV production company and filmed an instructional training video in a pig abattoir. I was amused to see that the pig’s faces (ears and cheeks) were put into buckets labelled ‘cabana’. Not sure if it was a joke among the workers or where those ears were actually headed …”.

Thanks for ruining my quiet enjoyment of cabana. Still, Tips asked for it.

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