From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Dirty tricks in the Tas campaign … We’re edging towards the Tasmanian and South Australian state elections on March 15 — “super state Saturday”, if you will — and a southern mole reckons dirty tricks are afoot:

“Labor supporters door knocking for [state Labor minister] David O’Byrne in Hobart at the weekend were surprised to find a number of confessed Labor’s party faithfuls with Liberal posters on their front fences. Simple, they said, the Liberals were offering $50 to attach a poster to their premises. Money speaks louder than party loyalty, it seems.”

Well, $50 is a lot of money in Tasmania’s flailing economy. Quite understandable. Ms Tips saw an awful lot of Liberal posters dotted around Tasmania recently, while the ALP had a feeble showing.

… and meet Labor’s ‘first couple’ of SA. On Friday we asked for any fun election material, and yesterday we received this. It’s Liberal Party propaganda about South Australian Labor state politician Russell Wortley, whose wife, Dana, is also running for a state seat for the ALP. Tips is perplexed by the line of argument. So, MPs are paid too much, which is why we should limit the salary to one per family? Isn’t that a dangerous line to run during an election campaign? Still, maybe it’s good MP salaries are getting a look-in, one way or another.

Nervous journos face Fairfax firing squad. There are some very nervous young journalists this morning as Fairfax continues its cull of potential cadets. Word from The Age bunker is the field has been narrowed to 120 based on written applications — plus a video where candidates had to solve the conundrum of journalism in the digital age — with the next round beginning today. And it’s a rigorous exercise: there’s an interview with editors, story pitches, a current affairs test and even a mock press conference. One in four will go on to the next round. We reckon it’d make a terrific reality TV show …

The case of the mouldy chemo. Last week we told you of a batch of Fresenius Kabi chemotherapy drugs that had been contaminated with mould and recalled. We wondered why Queensland Health did not tell any patients about the mouldy chemo, and whether any hospitals had done so. An insider has got in touch to set the record straight. Says our mole:

“The TGA , in association with Fresenius, issued a national recall for 20 batches of 11 different agents, which was received by QH on 12th February. Only 3 public hospitals were amongst the recipients of affected stock. Each of those hospital pharmacies was immediately telephoned, but they had already received individual letters from Fresenius and acted upon them.

“So Fresenius, QH and the hospitals acted properly in this. Whatever scandals there might be in QH, this isn’t it. I don’t know what happened in other states. How do I know this? Because part of my job is to disseminate these recalls to public hospital pharmacies in Queensland.”

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Peter Fray

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