From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Fun police in parliamentary birthday crackdown. Labor ministers just can’t take a trick. Now they’ve been banned from having birthday parties in Parliament House …

What is it with birthday cakes and Parliament? John Hewson had enough trouble with one. Does anyone know which errant minister was involved in the candle / sparkler incident that must have prompted this grim missive? Tell Tips (and you can stay anonymous). Was it powerbroker Don Farrell, whose birthday is June 6? Catherine King celebrated hers on June 2.

Next minister for the arts? Be careful who you vote into government, Australia. This is what Coalition rising star Josh Frydenberg MP does with his spare time …

Your ABC … sending you to sleep. Has everyone calmed down from the excitement of watching Judith Sloan take on George Brandis on Q&A last night? Well it’s just six sleeps until the next episode, which will highlight … Sophie Mirabella! Tips is of the view that the show’s panels could sometimes be a little more scintillating, so we’ve enlisted your support to update our “fantasy Q&A panel” project. Here are a few suggestions from yesterday:

Paul Keating, Phillip Adams , Tony Windsor, Malcolm Turnbull (our applicant added “are there ANY half-sane Right-leaning journos/columnists these days? or are they all extinct?”)

Cliver Palmer, Bob Katter, Pauline Hanson

Guy Rundle, Adam Bandt, NSW Labor MLC Lynda Voltz, economics professor Steve Keen

We also had some pitches for Canberra Times veteran Jack Waterford, any ex-MediaWatch presenters, ex-minister Lindsay Tanner and outgoing MP Nicola Roxon. But what do you think of this suggestion from a tipster? “Getting rid of Tony Jones would certainly improve performance and might make it easier to recruit participants.” Tips is not sure about that call — Jones’ phlegmatic calm in the face of audience bizarreness, and coining of the signature Q&A phrase, wins applause from Crikey. We’ve created this meme in his honour:

Not Crossin. Yesterday we raised a radio rumour that outgoing Labor Senator Trish Crossin (who lost her job due to Julia Gillard’s captain’s pick of someone else) was considering lodging a claim in relation to equal opportunity and / or racial discrimination. Not true, a spokeswoman for Crossin said: “Senator Crossin has not considered this.”

We have to ask … Crikey may be falling into the hands of guerilla marketers with this one. But what is this ad doing in today’s Herald Sun (page 5) and The Advertiser (page 10)? We can’t find any reference to a Kevin De Arbrew making racist comments, or trace this face using facial recognition software. And the name doesn’t appear to be an anagram of anything revealing (riverbank weed, beaver wed rink, beware kind rev). The Crikey bunker wonders if it’s an Ashes ad?

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

Peter Fray

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