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Tips and rumours

Mar 21, 2014

Tips and rumours

We'll have the scampi at Pell's farewell dinner ... Sinodinos, why so modest? ... RiotACT may pull through ...

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Pell’s farewell. Next week’s farewell dinner for George Pell (who is on his way to the Vatican via the royal commission into child sex abuse) sounds nice. We’ve heard “lots of big wigs” will be at the party at the Sydney restaurant — will Pell fan and devout Catholic Tony Abbott attend? Crikey has checked out the restaurant’s menu and would order the smoked salmon tower and the grilled scampi (no vows of poverty for these diners!). There’s just one problem. We haven’t received our invitation yet.

Modest Arthur Sinodinos. The assistant treasurer that was, Arthur Sinodinos, has no need to hide his light under a bushel like this. His 900-word Wikipedia entry doesn’t even mention his time at Australian Water Holding! He was in a senior role, as director and deputy chairman, so he should get the credit for it in Wikipedia. Perhaps a reader could update the entry and let us know how you get on?

Last gasp for RiotACT. Yesterday we told you the popular Canberra gossip site The RiotACT was in trouble, with ASIC circling and a winding-up order made. We’ve dug around some more and yes, it could mean the site will die. But it could be that a new owner is in the wings and the site will get resuscitated.

We talked to RiotACT managing director Tim Hyde (that’s “Jazz” to you), and he said the site, which is free and carries advertising, has had a tough year financially. Some advertisers did not pay their bills and with debt obligations worsening, a mooted rescue bid by a certain investor didn’t come off. The claim is that the chairman sacked key writer Johnboy, then resigned. RiotACT is now in the hands of administrators Burton Glenn Allen. Jazz says he hopes a new buyer can be found. “It would be a great loss for the Canberra community to not have that resource,” Jazz told Crikey.

Meanwhile there’s not a lot of high-quality fresh copy on the site, which appears to be unmoderated. In the comments, readers are asking if the site is going down. They’ve also taken to posting their favourite recipes (way too many chickpeas involved, in Ms Tips’ opinion), with doses of defamatory comments mixed in. We’ll keep you posted.

Vaughan to replace Radford atop the NGA? Speaking of Canberra, after 10 years in the role, Dr Ron Radford is departing from Canberra’s National Gallery of Australia. NGA chairman Allan Myers made the announcement yesterday, triggering speculation over who will replace Radford. The smart money is on National Gallery of Victoria director Dr Gerard Vaughan, who formed a close partnership with Myers when the now chairman was president of the NVG’s board of trustees. Together the two raised money, oversaw massive building works, established a blockbuster series and shared their appreciation of historical art. When Vaughan retired from the NGV in 2012 Allan Myers funded a role for him at Melbourne University.

It’s tough occupying the top cultural post in the nation’s capital. Something about the proximity to the Federal Arts Minister, his enemies, and the heavy hitters on the NGA board (and those clamouring to displace them) means the microscopic investigation of all of the NGA’s activities. Sure, steady, diplomatic, and skilled in how to avoid controversy, Vaughan is our frontrunner.

Let them eat dial-up. If you don’t like dodgy internet access, don’t live in rural or regional Australia — or anywhere more than 50km from a state capital city. That seemed to be the attitude of Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull when confronted with a complaint about local internet access from a woman who lives on the Bellarine Peninsula, 98km south-west of Melbourne:

You can view the rest of the exchange here. Life’s tough if you can’t afford to live in Sydney’s posh eastern suburbs, isn’t it?

Langton v Bolt #193. Looks like the war between academic Marcia Langton and blogger Andrew Bolt isn’t over after all (and it achieved the unthinkable in making Q & A interesting). Langton tweeted this morning:

Speaking of boring TV shows, don’t miss The Bolt Report on Sunday. He’ll be talking about “Unwanted boat people — and a little chat about activists who cry ‘racist’ only when it suits them.”

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or use our guaranteed anonymous form

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5 comments

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5 thoughts on “Tips and rumours

  1. stephen dolan

    @TurnbullMalcolm. thought you were a lawyer ?? Never ask a question unless you know the answer. #paintedincorner

  2. jmendelssohn

    Michael Brand may also put his hat in the ring for the NGA job, and if so would be very attractive for a risk averse government. His time at the Getty was distinguished by his insistence on returning illegitimately acquired art works – and he is both Canberra bred and a former senior staffer at the NGA, which means he knows the culture of the place.

  3. leone

    Geez Turnbull is dumb. Whether or not Julia Keady can get broadband has nothing to do with how far her home is from the pillar in the street. It’s all about her local exchange, which has no more ports available Does Turnbull even know that there are homes and businesses all over Australia, both urban and regional, that cannot get broadband access because of inadequate exchanges? I believe the correct jargon is ‘not fully enabled for ADSL and ADSL2’. Does he care? Does he have any plans to address this problem? If his response to Ms Keady is anything to go by he has no idea this problem even exists, let alone plans to fix it.

  4. klewso

    I wonder how far off the ground this abuse inquiry would have got, if Abbott had been PM?

    [And sorry I have to miss “Blot on the Week End” – I have to wash my hair. But with his repetitive syndrone I can dig up any number of his previous rantings to get the gist.]

  5. MJPC

    I hope they have a few stiff drinks for the Archbishop at his knee’s up because he will need them after his attendance at the Royal Commission on Monday.
    They have some special questions for him to answer I am certain.