From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Celebrate the loss of Australian jobs! A clanger of an email from a senior figure at ANZ …

From: [name redacted]
To: “[redacted] – All Staff”
Subject: Staff and client meetings, reasons to be proud, and more


As well as internal meetings, I met with several clients including one customer who will in future cease manufacturing in Australia. This is bad news for our competitors, but not for us, because the company is investing heavily in China and India and we are serving them in both countries. This is our Super Regional Strategy truly delivering results.

We hear this person is “causing disquiet amongst senior staff due to his view on work/life balance (i.e. you’re not allowed one) with meetings scheduled for 9pm, on public holidays like Australia Day and with family holidays to Disneyland being cancelled”. One to watch? Don’t forget to CC in Tips with your interesting emails …

Holden leak mystery. You may recall the intriguing leak in early December from an anonymous government source that General Motors had already pulled the pin on Holden and there was no point propping it up. The leak undermined Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane’s efforts to secure further assistance for the struggling car maker, which just a week late announced it was indeed quitting Australia. On December 7 last year the Sunday Mail dobbed in junior Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs, who the paper said in an editorial “brief[ed] media outlets this week about Holden’s apparent decision and demise”. A couple of days later, Labor asked Briggs in question time if this was true. He replied “[i]n dealing with the editorial there was no contact made with me prior to that claim being made, and it is false”.

Well, clearly someone got something wrong somewhere. Not that Briggs isn’t a likely candidate, being member for Mayo and having been, in opposition, courageous enough to voice his opposition to further car industry handouts — the sort of position not calculated to make one overly popular in South Australia.

Intrigued to find out who had leaked against Holden and Macfarlane, Labor’s Penny Wong asked a range of government ministers on notice if they’d briefed the media about Holden’s future at that time. “No,” said the Prime Minister. “No,” said another South Australian, Christopher Pyne. “No,” said Industrial Relations Minister Eric Abetz. “No,” said Environment Minister Greg Hunt. “No,” said Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. “No,” said Deputy PM Warren Truss. The only other ministers who haven’t yet answered are Joe Hockey and Small Business Minister Bruce Billson. Wong also asked Briggs. Curiously, however, he didn’t say “no” but instead referred back to his question time answer. Make of that what you will.

Academic movements. Is University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis “leaving his post in the first half of 2015”? Sounds like someone at La Trobe uni is interested in the news …

Buswell absence. We’ve had a few tipsters asking why WA Treasurer and infamous chair-sniffer Troy Buswell is on two to three weeks of personal leave, just two months from the state budget being handed down. The government hasn’t elaborated on a reason. It’s certainly unusual for a treasurer to take a significant amount of leave in the lead-up to a budget. One mole reckons Buswell’s chief of staff Rachael Turnseck is also on leave, so maybe the Treasurer’s office is so confident of the budget they’re getting some staff leave off their books? We’ve contacted Buswell’s office to check on whether Turnseck is on leave and to seek comment; we’ll keep you posted. If you know more, email Tips.

No lunch with Sol. Yesterday we passed on that Telstra boss David Thodey sets aside one lunch each quarter to meet with a lowly staff member identified as having done a good job, and we wondered if former Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo did the same thing. We got this response back:

“As far as dining with lowly staff members, here is what a current Telstra employee texted me about Sol’s reign: No he didn’t ! He didn’t even come to his own staff forums. He would ‘beam in’ for 15 mins via satellite then leave his legal team to field questions and pickup the pieces lol.”

Oh dear. Still, in some cases staff might not want to have lunch with the CEO (ping Alan Joyce).

Travoltify your name. One of the many highlights from yesterday’s Oscars was an odd-sounding John Travolta’s introduction of popular singer Idina Menzel — who was to belt out a tune — as something like “Adele Dazeem”. Watch the vid here. We love this Slate widget which allows you to find out your name if Travolta tried to say it. Seriously fun.

Guardian errs. And speaking of the Oscars, this is quite a correction on The Guardian website, about that mega-famous pic from the night. It’s hidden away, but Crikey found it! Bradley Cooper is a US actor, Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning) is a whistleblower soldier doing time in US detention for leaking secret documents.

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

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Peter Fray
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