From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Heckler’s defence. Yesterday Tips accused ex-Fairfax supremo Alan Ramsey of heckling before former prime minister Bob Hawke delivered his address to the press gallery’s 30-year reunion of his 1983 victory. Partner (and AFR gun) Laura Tingle, who was sitting next to Ramsey, has set us straight:
“No, Alan Ramsey did not heckle Bob Hawke at the press gallery reunion the other night, and I’m not sure that anyone else did either. (Apart from the fact that I was sitting next said Al so I know he didn’t heckle, I had a tape on the former prime minister in case he said something interesting and couldn’t detect any other heckles on it, listening back to it). It was a good-spirited night. Ramsey’s only heckle of the night was on one of our press gallery colleagues, and was made in jest.”
We would like to point out to our dear readers that this is Crikey, so naturally we love a good heckle. Were you present when a journalist or politician lodged (or received) a cracker of a heckle? Drop us a line.
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Sackwatch: pokies spinners. We’ve heard of job cuts at Sydney casino The Star:
“The Star recently made its entire marketing team redundant (around 15) people at last count. Clearly a new GM wanting to put their stamp on things. Redundancies probably equated to about 30 seconds of pokies revenue but it’s quite a different strategy to most other marketing led casinos. They obviously know something all other casino operators don’t.”
We put that to company, which said: “The Star has a new CEO who has said publicly that cost reductions will be a focus. Unfortunately sometimes this does result in reduced staff numbers.” Tips checked out The Star’s website and was confused, as apparently it’s all about dining, events and “health & spa” — so there’s no pokies, then?
ABC on tenterhooks? We’ll see if there’s any truth to this rumour:
“A whole bunch of deadwood are on alert with new Director of People and Learning at the ABC commencing today. A prompt head count of exactly how many advisors the division has on staff has been requested.”
Sad news for Melbourne’s kiddies. Remember the Herald Sun’s iconic page for kids, called Corinella? Rumour has it the page is being axed to make way for another page of AFL.
We put that to News limited, which confirmed the page is to go but denied it was sacrificed to footy — apparently the problem is that the kids are all on their iPads:
“The decision was so difficult to make and has not been taken lightly, but the fact is that modern day Sunbeamers [the name of those who sign up to the official Corinella club] are increasingly using digital platforms for play and development, and it is not part of our current editorial strategy to develop purpose-built online educational or entertainment environments for school children.”
Telegram ahoy. Yesterday Tips pined about the lack of telegrams in modern life. Turns out you can still send one; we heard from a reader who was delighted to receive one from the Victorian town of Beechworth, which has an “active Morse code station“, claimed to be “the busiest telegraph office in the Southern Hemisphere” (is there much competition for that prize these days?). You can send a telegram anywhere in Australia, apparently.
Tips is curious — and desperate to receive a telegram. We rang the station, where a helpful assistant told us you only need a postal address to send one, but it does rely on volunteers being present to send and receive the message in Morse code. Apparently the volunteers aren’t getting any younger. We were informed there was recently a competition, Morse code vs texting, and the Morse code representative won — take that, Apple!
If you’re ever in Beechworth, could you please send a telegram to Crikey, c/o the address on the website?
Abbott’s sartorial style. Yesterday Crikey took aim at The Courier-Mail for devoting two pages to the penetrating observation that Tony Abbott favours blue ties. A sharp-eyed tipster pointed this out: “You’ve missed the key issue on tie colour — his ties are same colour as President Obama’s.” We’ve looked into it and yes, blue is one of Obama’s top tie picks, along with grey (he’s sometimes seen in a brown or black tie, and occasionally red).
Kevin Rudd is all over the shop; his ties are red, blue, yellow, silver, purple, orange, striped, two-toned … we’re not sure what that means, except that we’re confident The Australian can interpret it to mean that he should take over the leadership.