From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
No welcome mat for Morrison? If Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is looking for somewhere for his summer holidays, it seems that Indonesia, despite its sunny skies and great food, might not be his best choice. We hear that even before the phone hacking scandal, Morrison was not hugely welcome to visit our closest neighbour. Despite the Abbott government’s Asia-first policy, and the PM’s visit to Jakarta, Morrison hasn’t made the trip, although he has been to Nauru. Tips will be watching closely to see where Morrison’s immigration portfolio takes him in future. Bali, anyone?
Movember Pollies. Yesterday we put out the call for pollies taking part in Movember — growing a moustache to raise money for men’s health. The response so far has been disappointing. Surely across the country more of our MPs are getting bristly for a good cause? Perhaps they are all intimidated by Tasmanian Attorney-General Brian Wightman, who is sporting this wonderful handlebar mo (our tipster thought he looked “ridiculous”). With less than 10 days to go, we’d love to see more pollies and their bushy upper lips, so drop us a line. We yearningly await a reader to Photoshop a mo on hirsute Tips fave Scott Ludlam …
While we’re talking money… Today’s Oz editorial labels the salaries at the ABC “nice money, if you can get it”, so are they feeling a bit hard done by over at News? It’s got Tips thinking, how much is The Australian’s Editor in Chief Chris Mitchell taking home? Are Paul Kelly, Dennis Shanahan, Greg Sheridan and Co looking jealously at ABC pay packets — or laughing all the way to the bank? Andrew Bolt is foaming at the mouth at the ABC salaries — we’d love to know what he takes home. If you know how much Rupert is paying his journos and commentators you can send us an email (or remain totally anonymous).
Our number one fan. It’s good to know former treasurer Wayne Swan is an avid Crikey reader. After Tips commented yesterday on the quality of his memes, he posted another one within 20 minutes of us pressing send on the Crikey email. Fast work, Wayne! This one seems to be an homage to the “And then I said” meme, and it seems Swanny is improving with practice.
Hair of the dog no cure for Australia’s economic hangover. The mood was buoyant at last night’s Melbourne launch of Ross Garnaut’s book Dog Days: Australia after the Boom — but the economist’s predictions for Australia’s future are not. A Crikey scribe was present, along with a crowd of economists, academics and some ex-pollies (and a few bottles of wine), to hear the good professor envisages “dog days” ahead unless the dollar lowers, wages are frozen and interest rates are cut. He said a continuation of the “era of complacency,” where policy decisions are influenced by powerful supporters of the government of the day, will see Australia wander into a deeply troubled future. Apparently this moved our scribe to gulp down their glass of red.
Garnaut said it would take exceptional leadership to preserve our standards of living, boosted during the mining boom. This would require the current government to abandon some policies they were elected on. “Tony Abbott has shown a huge capacity to change his mind,” he said. “I don’t think anything in what we’ve seen about him says that he is so rigid that he would insist on leading Australia and his own government over a cliff.”
Former Labor finance minister (and author himself) Lindsay Tanner launched the book at Melbourne University. Tanner lamented Australia’s “live for today” culture; “we are kind of like the national equivalent of the lottery winner that goes on a six-month bender and wakes up in the morning with a giant hangover going, ‘Christ. Where did all the money go?”