From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Vivid departure. Sydney entertainment promoter Brandon Saul has parted ways with the Vivid Sydney Festival, which is currently embroiled in a censorship storm after photographs were edited to be “family friendly”. Saul, the co-founder of the Homebake, Noise and Cockatoo Island festivals, developed the Creative Sydney exhibition as part of the Vivid Festival of lights, music and ideas. Creative Sydney is a series of free public talks and performances.

Crikey spoke to Saul today, who said he had left Vivid, and yes there was a reason for that. When asked what it was, he said he didn’t want to embarrass anyone so he would keep it to himself. Crikey also called Destination NSW, which oversees the festival, and Vivid — we’re waiting on responses.

University challenge. Tips has been running university gossip of late. Is is true that staff at a particular school at Perth’s Curtin University “have been criticised by the head of the school for commenting on email about the three staff who ‘disappeared’ recently, after the head specifically requested they not do that”? Our source is curious as to whether the staff emails being monitored. We’ve also heard an interesting snippet that one Melbourne uni is considering merging with another. Watch this space …

Big bad Barry. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell is under fire for cosying up to hunters (don’t forget your gun when you go to a national park!) so we were intrigued at this tidbit:

“I was told tonight that a friend’s colleague visited Barry O’Farrell’s home, and saw that he has on display in a wooden cabinet various hunting firearms. In the context of his courting of the hunting lobby and his in-principal approval of hunting in NSW national parks, this strikes me as fascinating, and something the electorate should know about.”

Tips raced off a media enquiry to O’Farrell’s office, and got this response from Barry:

“It’s a complete fabrication. I’ve never held a gun in my life. I’ve never owned (or had possession) of any firearms. I have no weapons stored in my home. But I do go fishing and we do have a four-month-old puppy and she’s certainly a destructive force!”

Aw, good on you Barry! He’s had his problems with pets — remember the time he likened a female opponent to a whining puppy? — but is clearly a fan of animals. This got Tips thinking about pollies and their pets. Julia Gillard has a cavoodle, Reuben. Kevin Rudd famously co-wrote a book about his dog Abby and cat Jasper (RIP Jasper). Should the Coalition win the federal election, cream spoodle Maisie would move into the Lodge with owner Tony Abbott. Malcolm Turnbull loves dogs so much he has a dog blog with posts by four-legged authors (see below). And one of our favourite pollie pet memories is this pic of federal Labor MP Stephen Jones with his content-looking spaniel in the 1980s. Don’t they look similar?

Turning to state politics, Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, a vet, used to ensure his whippet (called Brandy) and two cats travelled from home (Port Fairy) to Melbourne for his work. But we are sad to report that Brandy, who was elderly, passed away recently.

Does any pollie you know have an interesting pet? Be sure to keep Tips posted.

Retiree outrage. Some retirees would like to be known as such, thanks. This from a Sydney tipster:

“A retired female friend recently applied for a new credit card from the NAB. But when it came to account details for the assessment, she found that the NAB wouldn’t describe her as ‘retired’. The only category the bank had was ‘home duties’. And, wait for it, the bank describes retired males the same way! Talk about being out of date and even-handed in the same breath! What is wrong being described as ‘retired’? What do other banks do?”

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

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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