From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Hunt and Monckton break up. Last week they were friends …

But when a Crikey reader checked Christopher Monckton’s Facebook page again yesterday, it seems the opposition spokesman on the environment had ditched the controversial British climate sceptic …

Which is just hurtful, really.

Lobby group splashes the cash. Which high-profile lobby group is apparently “wasting millions of dollars in the day-to-day running of the business”? We hear the switch to a new operating system has been very costly, and there’s plenty of dough being thrown around on “corporate boxes interstate and overseas board meetings”. This group had better be careful — seems some ex-employees have kept a paper trail.

Accounting expert? NSW Treasurer Mike Baird is to address some of the nation’s top accountants at a Sydney forum in May. Could someone please tell him how to do his job while he’s there? Last year’s NSW budget famously was missing $1 billion due to a bureaucratic bungle, while debt was underestimated by a cool $3.4 billion. Perhaps the Institute of Chartered Accountants attendees could give him a few pointers at the speech …

Planning a long holiday. A caller to 3AW today reckons Tim Mathieson recently bought a caravan. Perhaps Australia’s first couple are planning a long break in the Winnebago after September 14.

Way out West. A reader kindly scanned and sent this WA Liberals propaganda, dropped in mailboxes ahead of the state election on March 9.

We’re agog at the creativity behind the depiction of the Labor logo (we’ve blown it up for you below). Is that a burning tree stump, complete with bird poo? Is it a cigarette but? What is the mysterious stain at the base? Tips loves poring over election propaganda, so please send in more from WA here. Has Treasurer Troy Buswell been on the (advertising) offensive?

Jobs for the Liberal boys? The ACT’s sitting Liberal Senator Gary Humphries was boned by rival Zed Seselja during a bitter preselection fight on Saturday. Humphries’ allies are fuming about what they perceive to be an ambush by the Seselja forces, which left many party members ineligible to vote in the preselection. So it’s a step to the Right in the ACT — Seselja is in the Abbott mould, while Humphries is a moderate who once crossed the floor to defend the territory’s right to legislate for gay unions. We’ve heard rumours that it’s a “jobs for the boys” situation, with claims that Humphries is likely to be offered a plum job as a reward for walking away. We’ll wait and see if that happens.

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

Peter Fray

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