From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …


Courier-Mail brushes up on law. There’s been no scapegoat at The Courier Mail, which copped a $120,000 fine in court this week for publishing the names and images of a family involved in a custody court battle in 2012. We’re told much of the newsroom was hauled into a room on Wednesday, the day after the slap in court, for legal training — particularly the use of images in cases like this. Let’s hope it sunk in.

Will Clarke stick around? One aspect not yet canvassed about Lachlan Murdoch’s ascension at News is what it means for News Corp chief executive Julian Clarke. At his shock appointment last August, most in the industry thought he’d only be in the role temporarily, given the 70-year-old was already retired (in 2007) when appointed to fill the void left by Kim Williams. Industry insiders are asking: with Lachlan back inside head office, how long will Clarke stick around?

Journo hits paydirt. Tips was surprised to hear the rumour that a certain senior journalist negotiated a $270,000 salary directly with their editor. Readers might be surprised to learn who earns what in the media. It’s not always the best or most productive journos who are on the big bucks, put it that way. The situation is different at Crikey, where no one earns the big bucks.

Hobart media movements. The woman tipped by many to be the next editor of the Hobart Mercury, veteran journo Martine Haley, has taken a detour. Haley has been with the Merc on and off for many years and is a no-nonsense respected figure with excellent local knowledge. Quite why News Corp never made her Merc editor (she’s currently deputy editor) has been a topic of discussion among some in Tassie media circles. Now Haley, who has worked for Liberal politicians before, is heading to the new Liberal state government under premier Will Hodgman. She’ll be Hodgman’s communications tsar. Crikey put Haley in our top 20 influential people in Tasmanian politics a few weeks ago; she’ll move up a few places now.


Hand on heart. What do you think of the American tradition of clasping one’s heart during official ceremonies? We heard this from a reader:

“After having slowly witnessed the very American gesture of placing one’s hand on one’s heart by Australians during national anthems at sporting events and even the odd ANZAC Day service over the last few years, I am dismayed at a recent development in the Australian Defence Force. As an ex-ADF member I became aware of a written instruction on the upcoming ANZAC Day ceremonies stipulating that: members in civilian attire and civilians themselves are expected to remove one’s hat, stand at attention, and place the right hand/hat over the heart. Is this a direction from the government? I don’t recall the new GG Sir Peter doing so since removing the slouch hat. It is a solemn gesture, just a very American one, and not one I think should be enforced on the citizens and servicepeople of our country.”

Tips has to agree with this. Surely civilians should not be forced to make this American gesture. If you have the written instructions, please email them to us.

Defence goss. There’s some frustration within Defence that the new chiefs haven’t been announced yet, a Russell mole tells us …

“Spill day, as it’s known, should be any day now, but [the PM’s COS] Peta Credlin has been dragging out every Defence appointment for months now. Unofficially, all these decisions were all made months ago so goodness knows what paper they’re shuffling in PMO to cause the delays. I assume this is happening in every government department and agency. The lack of announcement impacts nearly 100 flow-on staff who don’t know where they’ll be living, where their children will go to school next term and whether their partners can stay in their current job in a few months.”

Speaking of Defence goss, we’re not so sure about the tip that new GG Peter Cosgrove (former ADF boss) used to “take his own personal toilet seat with him wherever he went”. We’ll need some more evidence, please.

Awkward moment at HSU sentencing. Oh dear, sounds like it was a bit uncomfortable at this morning’s packed sentencing hearing for disgraced HSU type Michael Williamson (he got seven and a half years in jail). This from indefatigable SMH reporter Kate McClymont (and before our resident pedants email in about the punctuation, it may be smartphone autofill, so don’t blame Kate just yet):

Do you want these people in Parliament? The Australian Sports Party nearly got someone into the Senate, and they’re trying again in the WA rerun via Wayne Dropulich. But voters beware. This Facebook post from the Australian Sports Party is accompanied by a photo of a topless woman going for a jog (we’ve edited it for length but not, as you’ll see, for taste).

Weight Loss Program

A guy calls a company and orders their 5-day, 5kg weight loss program. The next day, there’s a knock on the door and there stands before him a voluptuous, athletic, 19 year old babe dressed in nothing but a pair of Nike running shoes and a sign around her neck. She introduces herself as a representative of the weight loss company. The sign reads, “If you can catch me, you can have me.”Without a second thought, he takes off after her. A few miles later puffing and puffing, he finally gives up. The same girl shows up for the next four days and the same thing happens. On the fifth day, he weighs himself and is delighted to find he has lost 5kg as promised … He decides to go for broke and calls the company to order the 7-day/25kg program.”Are you sure?” asks the representative on the phone. “This is our most rigorous program.” “Absolutely,” he replies, “I haven’t felt this good in years.”The next day there’s a knock at the door; and when he opens it he finds a huge muscular guy standing there wearing nothing but pink running shoes and a sign around his neck that reads, “If I catch you, you are mine.” He lost 33 kilos that week.

OMG that is like so hilarious! These people should definitely sit in the Senate and rule on the country’s laws and budgets. Vote 1 dodgy sexist, homophobic blokes.
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Peter Fray

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