From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Tony Abbott’s man-date. Here are some fun facts about Australia’s new government!

  • Men called Michael on the frontbench: three (Ronaldson, Keenan, McCormack)
  • Women called anything on the frontbench: six
  • Cabinet members with religious-themed surnames: two (Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop)
  • Cabinet members with surnames that double as verbs: six (Warren Truss, Christopher Pyne, Greg Hunt, George Brandish, Barnaby reJoyce, Andrew Robb)
  • Male cabinet members who played rugby at Sydney University: three (Abbott, Hockey, Turnbull)
  • Women in cabinet: one.

The blokey nature of Abbott’s ministry inspired one Crikey reader to pen this Willie Nelson-inspired poem (please drop everything and sing it to Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies, which Nelson famously recorded).

“Blue ties smilin’ at me
Nothing but blue ties do I see
Blueboys singing a song
Nothin but Blueboys all day long

Never saw the sun shinin so bright
Never saw things goin so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When your in power, my how they fly

Hue dames, all of them gone
Nothing but blue ties from now on
Blue ties smiling at me
Nothing but blue ties do I see

Never saw the sun shinin’ so bright
Never saw things goin’ so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When your in power, my how they fly

Hue dames, all of them gone
Nothin’ but blue ties from now on
Nothin’ but blue ties from now on.”

A final point: there has never been a better time to call Eric Abetz “Erica Betts” (a fave tactic of his Tasmanian political critics). Abbott should give it a try.

Crean’s next move. Tips has developed an interest in what former Labor frontbenchers will do next. A mole reckons Simon Crean will have some association with Deakin University. We put that to the uni but got no response. And we’re still waiting for a confirmed sighting of Peter Garrett dressed as a koala rattling the tin at the traffic lights. If you know what the ALP graduates of 2013 are up to, email Tips.

PPL rorts. Is this tipster onto something? “I’ve heard reports of at least one business owner requesting that their non-working daughter be put on the books as earning $150K so she can claim Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme when she has a child.” Watch out, though — the scheme isn’t due to start until July 2015. Don’t put away the condoms just yet.

Advocating for the jobless. The Burnie daily, The Advocate, has launched a campaign to find to fill $25 million worth of jobs across north-west Tasmania over 100 days.

The campaign prompted our Tassie stringer to muse:

“That’s mighty noble but perhaps they should first explain how they themselves have axed almost their entire subbing staff, not to mention their political reporter position, pre-press workers and so on. Then there is the offshore outsourcing of payroll and subscription services at the expense of local jobs. If a newspaper’s role is to inform its readers, The Advocate’s jobs campaign should land its editor out of one.”

We’ve looked into it, and yes, The Advocate has shed staff. Pre-press was moved to Launceston, some subeditors lost their jobs due to the new sub-hub, and state political reporter Chris Pippos was not replaced when he left. So perhaps The Aggravate could start its jobs crusade by rehiring some of its ex-workers?

Climate facts. There is no need to wait for the IPCC to hand down its landmark fifth report on the scientific evidence on climate change, produced by thousands of the world’s top scientists. It comes out next week — but you can learn everything you need to know about climate change from this expert (we think he means “fracking” by the way):

*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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