From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Bradbury does tax for the OECD. Breaking news: former Labor MP for Lindsay David Bradbury has been appointed head of the Tax Policy and Statistics Division at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. Bradbury was a tax lawyer before entering politics; he won Lindsay in 2007, narrowly survived in 2010 and then lost to Fiona Scott last year.

Oz journo misses his chance. Which journalist at The Australian was in line for a position in Steven Marshall’s office had he become South Australian premier, but instead is left venting in the pages of the national broadsheet instead? As sympathetic as we are to employees desperate to leave the Oz, it prompts this thought: why no disclosure from journalists in such circumstances?

Perhaps there are even grounds for a cooling-off period. Matthew Franklin, for example, hadn’t worked at The Australian for several months before turning up as Kevin Rudd’s chief spinner in the brief Rudd Mark II era. But when journalists seamlessly transfer from reporting to spinning for those they reported on the day before, it doesn’t look quite as clean-cut. Discuss …

Ladies’ choice in Parliament? Lately we’ve been noticing a garrison of female Coalition MPs behind the frontbench in view of cameras during question time. Of the five people visible behind the Prime Minister, four women are conspicuous: there’s Bronwyn Bishop, Karen McNamara, Sarah Henderson and Natasha Griggs. Not to mention Fiona Scott’s recent tweet picturing Tony Abbott surrounded by a sea of female MPs in Canberra referred to as “the team” …

With this female-heavy coverage you could almost forget that the Coalition’s “team” in the lower house comprises 80% male MPs and a 95% male cabinet. We had a theory that maybe female MPs ask more Dorothy Dixers than their male counterparts, in order to get their smiling mugs on TV. We trawled through every question during question time in the House of Representatives over the eight sittings in March and were surprised with the statistics. Of the Coalition’s 85 questions this month, 21 were asked by female backbenchers. That is just under 25%, which is only slightly above the Coalition’s 20% female distribution of seats.

The mouthy MP speaks to residents. Which local Victorian MP gatecrashed a local residents’ group meeting because his opponent was invited to speak, then was asked by the president on three occasions to stop interjecting until he was finally threatened with being asked to leave? We couldn’t possibly say …

Old dogs, new production systems. Newspaper hacks hate change, so the introduction of the Methode production system across News Corporation newsrooms has peeved many. The transition is pretty much done at the tabloids, but there’s a big “go live” date to come — at The Australian this Sunday. One veteran hack grizzled to us that a system designed to take away the focus on technology to concentrate on the journalism is “hell” and “a disaster waiting to happen”. Another old dinosaur roaring, or is implementation at the Oz a particular struggle?

A Murdoch-free internet? Remember the internet browser extension that replaces pictures of Tony Abbott with pictures of cats? Well, now there’s an extension that  blocks all websites owned by Rupert Murdoch. MurdochBlock is available for Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and works in a similar way to the sort of software used in “parental lock” programs. If you find yourself on a Murdoch site, here’s what you’ll see:

It’s easy to get past the block if you absolutely must have your fix of — and it’s worth taking a look at the settings if only to see just how much of your internet diet is fuelled by Fox, News Corp and other Murdoch-owned entities.

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

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey