From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Your worst jobs. Yesterday, on the back of a toilet-review tip, we asked you to send through your worst jobs. Our inboxes have been inundated with horror stories that we just have to share. To begin, this scribe once cleaned industrial rubbish bins at the back of a 24-hour restaurant in mid-January heat. But that pales in comparison to the following.

  • Removing human heads. “My mum used to have a great one. Her summer job was cutting open human heads for the medical school, when she was a student there. She was preparing them for the students and she got $10 a head or something. She had to cut them open so they could be clearly interpreted by the students. She said she quite liked it, although the smell in summer was pretty awful.”
  • A “special day” in a slaughterhouse. “I was assigned to sluice out the holding pens after a group of cattle there had been driven out for slaughtering. Wearing rubber boots and using a fire hose I spent several hours sloshing through liquid cow poo about 5” deep at times.  The boots leaked, the flies were horrific etc, close to being literally a shit job.”
  • Auditing the rubbish at an open-air landfill in Toowoomba. “You haven’t known glamour until you’ve spent a 43-degree Queensland January day separating cubic metres of public refuse into 128 potential waste categories (highlights being: Nappies; Tampons; Animal Faeces; and if all else failed, Unknown (fetid/unfetid).”
  • Being electrocuted in a juice bar. “They had industrial juicers but not industrial smoothie blenders, and with water everywhere, people would get electric shocks that threw them back against the wall regularly. That, combined with an allergy to pineapple juice I developed while working there, meant I quit after a couple of months.”

Still think you had a worse job in your youth? Surely not … Send it through if so.

Stranger than fiction. Not everyone is brave enough to take-on Gina Rinehart. That’s something Channel Nine will need to overcome as the network hunts for an actress to portray the billionaire in a small-screen production due next year. Channel Nine has described the production as “the epic and often bizarre tale of the Hancock/Rinehart dynasty”. Sounds juicy.

Claudia “The Secret Life of Us” Karvan is rumoured to be the favourite for the job, but we can’t help but suggest a few alternatives. Maybe Magda Szubanski? Gina “Rinehart” Riley? Or this scribe’s personal favourite, Mandy “Kiss me Ketut” McElhinney. Got a better suggestion? Send it through.

Missing mayors. It appears we missed a few stand-out performers in yesterday’s story on colourful mayors. We dip our lid to the delightfully named three-time mayor of Port Phillip, Dick Gross (that hyperlink is safe), whose tie-dyed T-shirts and anti-Christmas carols left quite an impression on constituents (pictured below with doves). Attentive readers also drew our attention to Alec Fong Lim and George Brown, two former mayors of Darwin “and both wonderful eccentrics”. And how could we forget the self-proclaimed “mad mayor” of Port Augusta, Peter Davis, who told ABC Radio in 2002 that misbehaving asylum seekers should be shot. “We’ll only have to shoot a few to get the message across,” said the former mayor.

Essential stats. Some good news for Victorian Labor but better news for the Coalition at the state level elsewhere in some state-based polling results released today by Essential.

In NSW, in a series of November polls totalling over 1200 respondents, the O’Farrell government has held steady since March, with a primary vote on 49% compared to Labor’s 33% (also steady), while the Greens have lost a point to fall to 8% and “others” are on 10%. The two-party preferred result is a whopping 58-42% to the Coalition over John Robertson’s hapless outfit.

In Queensland, the Newman government has picked up a point to 46%, while Labor has picked up 3 points to 32%. The Greens are on 7% (down 3 points since March); the Katter party is on 3% (down 4 points) and Clive Palmer and co debut on 6%. The two-party preferred outcome is 57-43% to the Coalition, down from 58-42% in March. The sample size was just over 700.

In Victoria (sample size 930), the Labor Opposition now leads the shambolic Napthine government on a two-party preferred basis by 52-48%, reversing the March result. The Coalition is on 41%, Labor is on 38% and the Greens are on 13%.

Barry and Bolt. After detailing his own salary on Media Watch this week ($191,259), Paul Barry took to Twitter last night to reveal he’d acquired News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt’s contract. While “Australia’s most read columnist” has no personal Twitter account and missed out on the fun, 2GB stalwart Steve Price couldn’t help but send off a flirtatious tweet. Also, isn’t embarrassing when you misspell “embarrass”?

*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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