From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Trouble north of the border. Which ALP candidate at the 2012 Queensland election has been accused of turning up “in a self-medicated state” to an election after-party, assaulting a member of an opponent’s family, castigating a fellow ALP candidate, and going rogue on social media? And what really happened at the pre-poll booth at the recent federal election? It would be interesting to know the result of the bid by a Labor figure to cancel the person’s membership.

High life at Austrade. Budget cuts are in the air with MYEFO landing next week, but there seems to be plenty of money splashing around Austrade, the federal government’s trade-promotion crew. This from a mole:

“Budget can’t be too bad at Austrade. Despite recently releasing a number of middle level staff, about 30 Senior Trade Commissioners, Trade Commissioners (A-based) and locally engaged staff from numerous posts throughout the world have just spent many days in Australia touring the country for investment ‘leadership’ meetings and seminars. The cost — hard to see it being less than $300k. Might be justifiable BUT …”

… it might not. We’ve put that tip to Austrade and will keep you posted.

Palmer’s largesse. Clive Palmer MP hosted various ex-world leaders at a Club de Madrid gabfest at his Sunshine Coast resort and dinosaur park over the weekend. We heard this from a disgruntled stakeholder:

“And what accommodation did the guests occupy? All the lakeside and golf villas in which CP owns a quarter share (except a couple up the back of the Golf Villas) were used by Mr Palmer to house his guests, despite him having the contractual right attaching to his share to use only 27 of these — the remaining are owned by private owners. If we do not like him using our villas we owners have to take him to Court!! This use has been going on for over a year now with no accounting to the owners.”

We put this to Palmer’s spokesman, who said “the below claims are not true”, declining to comment further.

Curious, we checked out the resort online. It has 324 suites, costing up to $2000. It also features “an eclectic mix of restaurants” offering meals such as lime-cured crocodile and “mango-paw paw chutney and coconut satay sauce” (this seems to be a pizza). Palmersaurus — the resort’s dinosaur park — is due to be unveiled this month. Ex-world leaders were offered a personal tour by Palmer but apparently some had pressing engagements.

Nepotism at Australia Post? A postal insider is blowing the whistle to us:

“It is not uncommon to find a number of people from the same family employed by Australia Post. This becomes an issue when potential conflicts of interest arise. For example, a certain manager has a lot of disgruntled staff but they are reluctant to approach their HR area because the manager’s relative works in that team (the same manager also has a relative in another senior AP position). It would be interesting to see how many AP staff are related and what Ahmed & Co are doing to avoid potential conflicts of interest.”

AP has more than 32,000 employees so there will be some members of the same family working there — but this is quite a serious claim. We put it to Australia Post, who said:

“Australia Post has clear policies and expectations for acceptable standards of workplace behaviour. Our ethics policy specifically outlines appropriate behaviour when working with a family member. This is supported by regular employee training. In addition, Australia Post has an Employee Assistance Program that provides our people with confidential, professional and free counselling assistance.”

The spokesperson suggested any staff members with a concern talk to their state-based workplace relations managers, or consider using Australia Post’s whisteblower policy.

Watch out where you comment. Cute / alarming yarn from a writer who fell in love with a commenter on one of her stories, which she wrote for Salon.

So if you comment on a Crikey story, you’d better watch out …

Anarchists uncovered. “Anarchists planning to disrupt Brisbane’s G20” screamed Anti-News Unlimited, telling hideous tales of a “black bloc” called the “Black Rose Syndicat” — a group with no members, no hierarchy and capable of leaping up at any time. Terrifying, no? Exactly the sort of thing to make you sign on to Premier Campbell Newman’s crackdown on, well, everything. Yes — except that we hear tech guru Asher Wolf has been doing some digging, and it appears that Black Rose is a very recent group, spreading out fast via Facebook, etc, whose admins have very little interconnection with other groups. Maybe a sudden start-up is nothing unusual as far as anarchist groups go, or maybe … one thing about masked groups is, it could be anyone behind there.

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