From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Cattle class. Which large cattle producer is rumoured to be funnelling donations to the Liberal Party in the Queensland electorate of Forde (Peter Beattie’s intended fiefdom), and is the company discouraging staff members from embracing union connections?

An interesting chat. Spotted in deep conversation at the State Library of Victoria on the weekend was the least evil of the Institute of Public Affairs bureau, Chris Berg, deep in conversation with infamous Maoist and electoral agitator Albert Langer. Is Langer joining the IPA? Or is Berg going Commo? Actually, they were both there to speak on a disappointingly Langer-dominated Melbourne International Film Festival panel, but Crikey did see Langer chewing Berg’s ear off beforehand. We also hear from a reliable source that Langer is a cinema-talker. Lock him up for that, we say.

Conspiracy theory #1859. The media loved the images of Tony Abbott running the City2Surf in Sydney on Sunday, accompanying blind runner Nathan Johnstone. We’re told the pair finished the 14-kilometre race in a brisk 1 hour 22 minutes. But a tipster with a little too much time on his hands checked the race website and found no record of either man in the long list of entrants and finishing times. We checked and yup, neither man is there. “It looks like Tony didn’t go in the run at all, but he didn’t mind pretending he did,” our sleuth concludes.

We asked City2Surf what happened and haven’t heard back — but our interim verdict is that this is a c-ck-up, not a conspiracy, and there must be better things to beat up Abbott for than assisting a blind man in a fun run.

Sweet little preference deals. An interesting situation is brewing in Tasmania’s federal electorate of Denison, where independent Andrew Wilkie looks likely to retain his (traditionally Labor) seat — provided the Liberals (and to a lesser extent the Greens) don’t preference against him. It seems the Greens may run an open ticket in Denison in return for South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon giving a preference boost to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who might otherwise struggle to retain her seat. But will the Liberals preference Labor above Wilkie in Denison? The Libs have hinted they’ll put the Greens behind Labor in some electorates, which could prove fatal for Adam Bandt in Melbourne, and it’s not clear what they’ll do in Denison. Rumours are flying. If you’ve got some inside info, drop us a line (and you can remain anonymous).

Getting your own back. Crikey readers were pretty annoyed at this story from Thursday, detailing the little lurk in which the major parties mail you a postal vote application and a reply-paid envelope — which goes straight back to party HQ so they can harvest your personal details. Independent Andrew Wilkie has done it, too. We’ve heard from readers all over the country who’ve received these letters and are not happy about it (plus we found out that many of these letters are funded by taxpayers, a neat little trick to circumvent the ban on using public funds to send out electioneering junk mail. So your taxes are being used to allow the parties to deceptively obtain your personal details).

We’d like to know what you’ve done to get your own back. Here are a few suggestions from readers:

  • Use the reply paid envelope to mail them the original Crikey story;
  • “Fill the reply-paid envelope with a sheet or two of roofing lead, or tape it to a brick”;
  • “I’ve returned mine with a suitably short, monosyllabic and heartfelt comment”;
  • “I have corrected all the mistakes in [the candidate’s] letter and sent it back to him with as much electoral bumph as it was humanly possible to stuff into his reply paid envelope”;
  • Return the application with “lying snakes” written all over it;
  • Plenty of readers opted straight for the recycling bin.

Email us what you did with your letter; we’d love to see a copy of what you sent back to the party involved.

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

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.