From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

ABC fracas settled? Recently Crikey bought you an anonymous claim that a senior male ABC figure had whistled at a female staff member and said “down girl”. ABC management was alerted to the claim internally, and we’re now hearing the two people have had a coffee and talked it through. It appears management did not have to get involved, and the man involved has accepted that he should not have behaved in the way he did. There is a claim that he did not whistle and say “down girl”, but rather shooed the other person away, prompting her to respond “don’t treat me like a dog”.

Sportsbet welching on spill bets? It wasn’t only political junkies getting excited about the prospect of a leadership challenge yesterday afternoon. Sportsbet, as is its wont, got in on the act by encouraging punters to have a bet on the outcome:

The wording of the bet was: “Who will win the next Labor leadership ballot[?]”

At least one Crikey tipster who backed Gillard is unhappy they didn’t get a payout. After inquiring why she was not awarded any winnings, the punter was told by a Sportsbet agent: “Julia Gillard remains as leader as she was not contested for the leadership today. No ballot took place so bets will run until the next Labor leadership ballot takes place. As a good will gesture, customers may void their bets if they like …”

Gee, that’s generous. The punter, however, remains unconvinced given Chris Hayes emerged from the 4.30pm caucus meeting to say Gillard and Swan “were duly elected unopposed and unanimously by the parliamentary caucus”. Can you have a leadership ballot without a challenger? Any experts out there can let us know.

Yes we Vati-can. Tips suggestion that Australia appoint an atheist to the important post of ambassador to the Vatican has not met with universal support. This from a reader:

“Tips’ suggestion that an atheist should be appointed to the Vatican (‘Tips and Rumours’ yesterday) should be adopted more widely: a Palestinian-Australian to Tel Aviv; women to all the Arab States; a known republican to London … Such undiplomacy would do wonders for Australia’s reputation overseas.”

Actually, we totally agree. Lets shake up diplomacy.

The days of yore. Yes, it’s Friday and it’s been a long week for everyone, especially Simon Crean. We thought we’d bring you some of the reminisces of readers about when workplaces were more fun, rather than the relentless no-fun slave-dens of modern times (our interest was sparked by the recent infamous CSIRO lolly ban).

“My first job as a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson a long time ago. First instruction from my boss: if you get pissed at lunch, don’t come back. Sound advice. The few times we disobeyed, havoc was wreaked.”

“I was state manager for a large UK and Australian carpet manufacturer in the ’60s and ’70s working out of Melbourne and selling to the retail/commercial trade. Business was so good then (especially with Gough Whitlam) that sales managers for most companies didn’t have to really work on making sales. The public/commercial scene was on a buying splurge. Companies issued Diners Cards (Amex was not really in the market then) and boy, did we use them! Managers from competing companies would meet for lunch at least three times (and especially Fridays) at some pricey watering hole, get pissed at the bar before going into lunch, have the best on offer with many bottles of great reds followed by Para Liquor port. Sometimes it would go on to dinner. Copious amounts of smoking of course. Then the bill would be spread among those present. A brief phone call to the office “just checking in”. For me, I used to say I had two problems arriving at work: where to have lunch and whom to have it with. I can proudly say we rarely entertained customers and never talked business at lunch and one didn’t have to be bloody politically correct. Paul Keating rightly ended that tax rort. If he hadn’t, I certainly would be dead by now. Ahh! I am nostalgic.”

“As a much younger public servant I found myself in the job of rent collector at a Homeswest office. We would leave the office by 7.30am and drive around to where we parked our cars, go and grab the cash from the tenants or their meter boxes, be at the bank at 10.00am to get rid of the cash and then home again. Back to the office by 2.30pm, pretend to be busy balancing the books and making calls to tenants, and with great shows of exhaustion all leave at 3.30pm. Happy days …”.

Right. Tips is off to the pub for lunch as a tribute to the golden age of the Australian workplace.

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