From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Excuse me, are you still alive? A reader was nonplussed at this.

“My mother, aged 96, has received this from ComSuper. She has been receiving a fortnightly superannuation payment from them since my father’s death and is entitled to do so until her own death.

They say ‘it is some time since we last heard from you and as it is important our records are kept up to date, would you please complete the attached Client Survey Form,’ which ‘must be signed in the presence of, and witnessed by … a medical practitioner, a minister of religion, a Justice of the Peace or a Commissioner for Declarations’. They go on to say if they do not get their completed form back Mum’s ‘payment may be ceased temporarily, causing some difficulty or inconvenience for you or those close to you,’ and also want certified copies of any Power of Attorney or Guardianship Orders in place.

My brother and I, both retired public servants, also receive fortnightly superannuation payments. We have not been in contact with ComSuper for ‘some time’ either. Should we feel discriminated against by their lack of concern for us? Or should our mother feel discriminated against by their insensitive double-checking whether she is still breathing?”

It may seem insensitive, but then there have been cases of payments (pensions and superannution) being made to people who have died — and they haven’t always been honest mistakes. Is there a more diplomatic way to check the pulse of your clients?

Bernardi on the move? Yesterday’s Crikey yarn looking at Cory Bernardi’s theory on families prompted an interesting rumour — that he could switch to Family First (certainly his ideology is quite similar to FF). If he did that, his vote would carry more weight after July 1, when the new Senate sits and when the Coalition government must negotiate with a raft of minor parties and independents. Bernardi has held ministerial roles in the past but is now a backbencher, and it seems unlikely he’d be promoted again if he stays with the Liberals. One to watch perhaps?

It’s a wrap. Calling all Australia’s mayors and their partners — apparently this is the kind of thing you should be doing.

This tweet is from the new Geelong mayor, celebrity paparazzo Darryn Lyons. The Geelong Advertiser — in which the woman above is clad — ran a yarn on the photoshoot today. That’s apparently former model and mayoral fiancee Elissa Friday. Girl Friday’s dress was made by Lyons’ hairdresser. Crikey was very disappointed to read that this is not the couple’s official mayoral portrait, which they posed for earlier the same day. What on earth are they wearing in that one?

The pic led to some amusement on Twitter. “Hold the front page, as they say,” one person tweeted. “I’d say circulation is definitely dipping,” said another, while @jeks2170 tweeted: “please ask the lady mayoress to turn around i like to read the sports pages first”.

Missing Morrison. Remember those halcyon days of transparency for the Abbott government, when Immigration Minister Scott Morrison provided a weekly press conference to face all the questions he’d refused to answer about boat arrivals in the previous week? Sure, he didn’t answer them, but at least he showed up. Well don’t look for the presser this arvo — there will be a written statement instead.

Tips is concerned about Morrison’s whereabouts and welfare — so we checked his website, which tells us nothing (“we are currently working on our new site”). Has Scott Morrison been towed back to Indonesia or locked up on Nauru by humanitarian activists? Clearly this needs further investigation.

Acronym madness. Our readers have been having a fine old time passing on amusing / cheeky acronyms. Here are a few more shits and tits for you.

“In the late 70s/early 80s, the NSW Police introduced a computerised data scheme called the Police Information Sharing System. I wonder why it disappeared?”

“I once had the pleasure of doing a course at Monash IT. They’re URL had a carefully placed dash, to become and not!”

“TCAE, the TAFE college in Hobart where I grew up, was renamed the Tasmanian Institute of Technology (TIT) in 1985, but was very quickly rebranded to Tasmanian State Institute of Technology (TSIT)”

“In the 1960’s as the tertiary education sector began to change, Swinburne Technical College (now Swinburne University) was looking at changing its name, one option was Swinburne Higher Institute of Technology, but that was dropped after the unfortunate incident with the Swan Hill Irrigation Trust ordering embossed mats for their offices.”

If anyone has one of the trust’s embossed mats lying around, please send it in to Ms Tips. It would make a wonderful adornment to her dining table.

Meanwhile, we love this acronym, which survived the wowsers. Did some sneaky Tasmanian bureaucrat do this on purpose? “The Assessment Committee for Dam Construction was established as the body responsible for assessing applications for the construction of dams.”

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

Peter Fray

72 hours only. 50% off a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

Our two-for-one offer with The Atlantic was so popular we decided to bring it back.

But only for 72 hours.

Use the promo code ATLANTIC2020 and you’ll get 50% off a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year of digital access to The Atlantic (usually $70). That’s BOTH for just $129.

Hurry. Ends midnight this Thursday.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

Claim Now