From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Gallop v McKew in Perth. Everyone loves a literary or political stoush, but many in the audience at last week’s Perth Writers Festival are still rubbing their eyes after a “debate” between two high-profile former Labor politicians turned very personal. The combatants were former Western Australian premier Geoff Gallop and former federal Labor star Maxine McKew, who started their bitter argument on stage and, we understand, carried on afterwards. The subject of their vitriol was the state of the party and McKew’s support for former PM Kevin Rudd and attacks on Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Like many others in the ALP, Gallop regards McKew as a traitor to the cause — and let her know so in no uncertain terms.

Abbott chooses the wrong venue … A tipster reckons Tony Abbott was giving a press conference at the Salvation Army in Brisbane, “praising the good work of organisations like the Salvation Army”, when this happened:

“In response to media questions he took the opportunity to put the boot in to asylum seekers (a marginalised group that the Salvos helps) and endorse what Scott Morrison said, vilifying them. I thought the Salvation Army were non-political? I think their generosity has been abused.”

Aren’t the Salvos supposed to “preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination”? So why is an offence by an asylum seeker so very much worse than an offence conducted by someone else?

 … while we whack Labor for good measure. Just when Labor’s affiliation with western Sydney is all the rage, this came in from a tipster whose interest was piqued by a Bernard Keane story on Friday:

“There are not many things more painful than the Labor Business Forum. Having attended the forum, also at Doltone House, in 2012 I met a young Sussex Street hack who proudly told me that he had been earmarked for the ultra-safe seat of X [a Sydney seat]. Apparently, however, the recent electoral wipeout and upcoming ICAC enquiries were some concern, so Sussex Street was paying for him to travel overseas to do a Masters degree and lay low before returning to claim what was rightfully his. I doubt he even knew where X was.”

We also heard a rumour that Gillard has arranged a cabinet meeting in Blacktown on Monday:

“… but has sworn everyone to secrecy, presumably in the usual normal over-managed timid style that her office exhibits. Never mind using the opportunity to actually meet some of the Westies, let alone the ill-used rusted-on Labor supporters who will be expected to get out and try to stem the tide in the election in marginal seats.”

While the good voters of western Sydney bask in (apparently unwanted) visits from both leaders (Abbott is crashing Gillard’s goodwill tour), Tips wants to know if you think your electorate is missing out. Drop us a line and tell us why your electorate deserves a visit from the PM. We’ll flick the most convincing entry to the PMO.

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

Peter Fray

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