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From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Clive’s media contacts. This from a Sydney mole:

“Spotted at 5.15pm Friday: Clive Palmer exiting a taxi outside News Corp HQ on Holt St and passing through security via swipe card, rather than signing in …”

Well well, why is Clive a News Corp insider? It can’t be due to The Australian — they’ve put the MP for Fairfax through the wringer with stories about his business interests, finances, staffing, etc. We asked a News Corp spokesman about the Palmer sighting, who said: “We don’t comment on the comings and goings of the thousands of people that come in and out of Holt Street every day.” If you know what Clive was doing at News and why he has a swipe card, we’d love to know.

Howzat! Bureaucrats bat on. A cricket match was held yesterday at which an under-fire team was given one last chance to salvage a win. No, we’re not talking about the hopeless Poms verses Australia at the one-dayer at the SCG. Rather, at the public servants’ cricket comp in Canberra, the AusAID team (which has been abolished and its staff merged into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) played its new masters. Awkward.

We hear there was a funny classified ad about the match doing the rounds on the intranet on Friday urging people to come along, and promising the winning team would have first dibs on cricket-related postings and upper-floor access to all future staff briefings. That’s a reference to claims a DFAT staffer mimed machine-gunning AusAID staff at a briefing, as brought to you by CrikeyBy the way, apparently DFAT peeps are not allowed to refer to AusAID any more — it’s “DFAT Civic” (i.e. the beast formerly known as AusAID) and “DFAT Barton”.

If you know how the cricket match went, do tell Tips. We’ve asked DFAT but it seems they’re too busy managing our foreign relations and helping Australians in trouble overseas to bring us the score …

Spring St abuzz with Twitter mole. Who’s the Spring Street source? That’s the buzz in the halls of Parliament House in Melbourne, where a certain twit is dishing dirt, spitting at the Labor Party and attracting legal threats and plenty of attention. The anonymous @SpringStSource popped up around the time Denis Napthine took the premiership. It seems mostly designed to smear Labor, but has dropped some interesting tid-bits and there’s talk lawyers have looked over it on behalf of some victims.

An associated website — “bringing you news and opinion from the outskirts of Victorian politics — digs into Labor factional battles but there’s no clue who’s writing it. One twit was naming names last night, suggesting a Napthine electorate officer was behind the account. Do you know who the mole is?

Bad taste gift. The New South Wales media is awfully worked up about random acts of alcohol-fuelled violence — the king hits/coward punches — which are leaving people dead or seriously injured. Along that theme, a reader pointed us to this tasteless “fun, novelty gift” which celebrates alcohol and violence, courtesy of online retailer Catch of the Day:

“Get funny second glances from friends and family as you walk around drinking your beverage of choice in a stubby holder with gangster brass knuckles,” the site recommends. Certainly getting funny second glances from people is a constant aim in Ms Tips’ life. Our reader asks: “Is this illegal or just in incredibly bad (Kings Cross) taste?” Can any legal types answer his question? The website claims the handle is brass — so it possibly could be used as a weapon. However, the only crime here may be bad taste.

No longer the daily mail? A caller to radio 3AW’s rumour file today said she did a survey for a postal company over the weekend and was asked what she’d think of having mail delivered three days a week, and possibly paying an annual fee to retain more regular deliveries. Australia Post loses serious dollars delivering letters around the country for a low, flat fee (the company posts a net profit due to its parcel, freight and logistics arms — Crikey looked at privatising AP recently).

Getting the snail mail thrice weekly might not be such a bad idea. Currently, by the time it lands in your mailbox it’s already at least a day old and often more. So would it really matter if your bank statements were delayed by up to one extra day? There’s always that internet thingy for urgent correspondence.

Give it a bone. “Melbourne, where even dogs are wankers” tweeted @AKTIFMAG with this cafe menu pic:

Oh for heaven’s sake, it’s a dog. Give it a meaty bite and a drink from a puddle.

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

Peter Fray

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