From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

ABC hack goes news attack. Why would a senior ABC producer bag out the broadcaster’s news service in a not-exactly-private forum? “Pretty crap,” was the phrase used to describe the 7pm bulletins, which this Aunty hack reckons have been dumbed down with crime stories and a general “once-over lightly” approach (at least the Sydney-based bulletin). Seems like a really foolish thing to say to us, sure to anger colleagues, so we’re not sure why we copped fierce abuse for questioning the journo about the view. We’ll respect the feelings of some — including the journalist in question, not surprisingly — that this was a not-for-quoting affair, but suggest not everyone at the ABC is singing from the same song sheet.

She’s Crossin that bridge when she comes to it. Crikey was surprised to see star federal Labor recruit Nova Peris on the TV yesterday — she’s kept a very low profile since the brouhaha around Julia Gillard dumping sitting NT Senator Trish Crossin to make way for Peris. So what will Crossin turn to, post September 14? As Crossin told News Limited earlier this year re: her “you’re sacked” conversation with the PM: “I said, ‘Is there something for me — a board position, an agency, an ambassadorship’, … She said, ‘I am the Prime Minister, I don’t get involved in organising those sort of arrangements’.” Mmmmm. Now we’ve heard this tip from a NT type:

Invest in the journalism that makes a difference.

EOFY Sale. A year for just $99.


“I was at the Hotels Association Awards on Wednesday night at the Darwin casino. Most interested to see outgoing ALP senator Trish Crossin huddled in the corner with the CLP Chief Minister Adam Giles and the federal Lib MP Natasha Griggs. They chatted for quite some time. Would have loved to have heard what they were talking about. It was certainly a political event. Giles and his Treasurer Dave Tollner took to the stage to slam the previous government’s alcohol restrictions and told the crowd the days of pub owners being treated like ‘heroin dealers’ by government were over.”

We put this tip to Crossin and will let you know the response.

US firm cracks Defence contract. The secretive US software and cybersecurity company Palantir recently had its first big win in defence contracting in Australia. This week it was revealed that the California-based company, which has been expanding its presence in Australia and seeking to enter the government procurement market, won a contract from the Department of Defence’s Intelligence and Security Division to licence one of its software products. The contract was “limited tender”, meaning there was no open competition for the tender; rather, Defence approached a small number of handpicked companies.

What is Palantir? Palantir was one of three companies that participated in the development of a multimillion-dollar plan to destroy WikiLeaks and journalist Glenn Greenwald in 2010. Once its role was uncovered, Palantir apologised, declared “the right to free speech and the right to privacy are critical to a flourishing democracy” and said it had sacked the offending employee involved with HBGary Federal and Berico. However, the employee was merely placed on leave and returned to work at Palantir shortly thereafter.

The perils of a generic name.Oh, what a difference capital letters can make. The much-respected Sydney Dance Company says it was “flooded with phone calls late yesterday” after some media ran stories “suggesting the company would close as a result of allegations of s-xual offences”. Here’s what you get if you google the company now:

Problem is, it’s not the Sydney Dance Company caught up in the scandal; it’s a Sydney dance company. More specifically, the RG Dance Studio in Sydney, which has closed after its founder Grant Davies was arrested and charged this week over s-xual assaults.

The Sydney Dance Company has demanded an apology from the ABC for running headlines and banners saying “Sydney dance company closes …”. Good luck with that, guys. Seems to us what the ABC (and other media has run) is perfectly legitimate. The SDC chose a generic name, which brings the risk of confusion.

Nude Nutgrove. Cheeky Tips readers gave us a few suggestions on our musings on Tassie’s nude winter swim (it was slated for Nutgrove Beach but has been moved due to police concerns). Our favourite response was that the beach should be renamed Nutshrunk. A name that could apply to many Tasmanian beaches in winter.

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


Australia has spoken. We want more from the people in power and deserve a media that keeps them on their toes. And thank you, because it’s been made abundantly clear that at Crikey we’re on the right track.

We’ve pushed our journalism as far as we could go. And that’s only been possible with reader support. Thank you. And if you haven’t yet subscribed, this is your time to join tens of thousands of Crikey members to take the plunge.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
SAVE 50%