From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Labor moves on campaign staff. Nathan Lambert, the assistant national secretary of the ALP, has been relieved of his duties as campaign field organiser ahead of the campaign kick-off. Lambert was told last night, and staff were being told this morning, Crikey has learned. He’ll be replaced by a divisive figure — general secretary of the New South Wales branch Sam Dastyari.

The move was made by Kevin Rudd and his new strategist Bruce Hawker, we’re told. Lambert, who’ll remain in his assistant secretary post, is seen as a good operator but too close to Julia Gillard and the old regime. But dissidents reckon Lambert was doing a good enough job to stay and Hawker is engineering a 1980s-style campaign that might not work this time around. It’s believed his initial plan for an expensive foreign import to run the campaign was quashed; bringing in Dastyari to the role responsible for target seats is seen as a compromise. Lambert has been given a new campaign role as “head of analytics”.

Ad-free zone. The Australian Financial Review should launch a challenging new reader competition: Find The Ad. Saturday’s print edition was notable for almost no paid advertising — less than four pages worth of ads in a 72-page newspaper. That kind of revenue probably wouldn’t even fund the reporters’ daily expenses. And today’s AFR has barely two pages of paid ads in a 49-page paper.

LNP no place for ladies? The LNP seems to be in a sweet position in its home state of Queensland — but are tensions mounting beneath the surface? Last week Crikey got on the front foot with the news that young gun Ben Riley was booted out of the LNP for pinching a pair of RM Williams boots from a party convention (some members thought that penalty too harsh). The name of the omnipresent LNP president Bruce McIver was woven through party gossip on the subject.

Now we hear respected LNP member Julie Boyd, who had several times sought to be a federal representative for the party, “quit the LNP on convention eve due to McIver interfering in the women’s council presidential nomination process”. Boyd, who was Mackay mayor for 11 years until 2008, recently went public after she failed to win preselection to replace outgoing Senator Barnaby Joyce (Barry O’Sullivan won). Boyd said at the time she was disappointed about a lack of female representatives in the Senate — it’s likely the party will have no female senators next year. Crikey has found some other LNP women who share those views.

Now we hear there is a view among some that McIver was trying to impose his will on certain roles at the convention, and some LNP women would like to see a cultural change in the party to be more pro-women.

We spoke to Boyd, who confirmed she had quit the party but made no further comment. If you know any interesting snippets about the internal workings of the LNP, use this anonymous form to tell Tips.

Crikey caption competition. Tips has had cause lately to tick off pollies for standing too close to the star attraction during media conferences; some of them leer over each other’s shoulders, or appear attached by superglue. We were rather started to see Margie Abbott get in on the act this morning … what was going through her mind? Email us your entry to our Crikey caption competition. We’ll bring you the best tomorrow (be sure to tell us if your entry is anonymous or if we can use your name).

After Tony spoke, he threw to his wife to comment to the media (she responded “thank you darling”). Is it just us, or is this trend of endlessly parading pollies’ wives and children and grandchildren to the media getting out of hand?

Too true, Rupert. From Rupert Murdoch’s endlessly interesting Twitter account — you’ve got to give the man points for tweeting his mind — comes this observation. How much longer will the Murdoch great fortune survive? Depends on whether you’re talking about 21st Century Fox or the new News Corp, perhaps …

Guess who? A caller to 3AW this morning reckons a federal opposition politician went to the side door of a canteen at a local country football match to ask if there were any leftovers for the politician’s son. If you know who it was, do let us know. Did the little tacker get a tepid sausage roll in the end?

*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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