From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Greens v Labor in live music war. Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has been accused of playing music too loudly — by people associated with a bar she’s feuding with for playing music too loudly.

Rhiannon, whose office is in Sydney’s Surry Hills, is at war with a new bar downstairs from her work, called Play Bar. Rhiannon reckons the jazz bar plays music too loudly, and it disrupts her staff. The war escalated when Labor took the bar’s side. Local Labor councillor Linda Scott and federal minister Peter Garrett attended a protest night at Play Bar on Friday night. What happened next? This from a mole …

“Senator Lee Rhiannon hosted a noisy knees-up on Friday night in her Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices to farewell a Greens party functionary from the Eve St Erskineville Politburo. The Senator’s staff and guests spent considerable time stomping on their floors, drowning out the live jazz music below, and interrupting a speech by Peter Garrett MP about the importance of vibrant live music venues and small bars in the inner city. Later, the Senator’s staff became embroiled in an argument with the local constabulary about civil rights when they were pinged for drinking alcohol on the street outside the Senator’s office.”

Well well, the shoe’s on the other foot. We put this claim to a spokeswoman for Rhiannon, who said:

“The events on Friday night highlight the absence of insulation between Senator Rhiannon’s office and the Playbar which was removed before the venue started operating and which the landlord is responsible for reinstalling. Chris Dubrow is not a ‘Greens party functionary from the Eve St Erskineville Politburo’.  He has worked as a campaign co-ordinator for the Northern Territory Greens, an adviser for Senator Kerry Nettle and most recently a National Online Systems Co-ordinator for the Australian Greens … The farewell was organised well prior to Senator Rhiannon becoming aware of a Labor event at the Play Bar via this online piece.

“No one had any idea at what time Peter Garrett was speaking at the Labor event. Acoustic music was being played at the farewell with a pink guitar, a green kazoo, a uke and a mandolin and occasionally someone stomped their foot in time with the music. None of Senator Rhiannon’s staff talked with the police.”

And we talked to Scott, who said “there was some noisy stomping [from upstairs] when he spoke, but primarily people were there to show their support for the live music that was being played at Play Bar”. Upstairs downstairs in Surry Hills! Who will win the live music war — and where will the green kazoo appear next? You’ll read it in Tips first …

Jobs for the boys and girls? Ex-Labor advisers seem to be landing some good government jobs lately as the party heads for the political wilderness. Anyone noticed a crop of ex-Labor advisers rising to the top of DFAT? We’ve heard from a diplomatic-watcher who reckons:

“In April, DFAT Secretary Peter Varghese signed an administrative circular announcing the appointment of four new deputy secretaries. Three of them are former Labor staffers. He also announced a reorganisation of DFAT’s senior executive which means that for the first time anyone can remember all four deputy secretaries are former Labor staffers and none has worked in a Coalition minister’s office.”

We had a little look-see and there’s some truth to that; dep sec Paul Grigson worked as chief of staff to Labor’s foreign minister Stephen Smith in 2007-08, dep sec Jan Adams was adviser to Labor’s then-trade minister Peter Cook in 1993-96, and dep sec Chris Moraitis was adviser to then-Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans in 1994-95. Sounds like it could be one for Senate estimates …

Lawyering up. A caller to radio 3AW this morning reckons that “a young girl and her family” who have been in the media of late have hired lawyers. One to watch, perhaps …

Woof woof indeed. Tips has been curious about pollies and their pets lately, so we wanted to pass on this tweet from the PM that landed over the weekend:

Now, is “woof woof” prime ministerial? Gillard has been tweeting up a storm lately — 10 missives in the last 24 hours, on everything from DisabilityCare to tossing the coin at a footy game to attending the AFL with partner Tim. Gillard is well ahead of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who is a frugal tweeter. Come on Tony, get with the Gen Y program!

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

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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