From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Shhhh, there’s an election coming. All’s quiet before the WA Senate rerun on Saturday, huh? This reader reckons so:

“There’s rumour about that the government has put a halt on publication of any documents that could be politically sensitive in the lead-up to the WA Senate election. This would make sense as there is a long-standing convention from government departments to hold off on these sort of publications for a few weeks until normal elections are over, so this wouldn’t be any different.”

Our reader didn’t specify which government is being referred to, although it sounds like the federal one.

Fight for your right to (pool) party. Gyms, pools and fitness centres at state and federal parliament houses are bubbling hotbeds of passive-aggression. A fitness-minded mole tells Tips that plebs are forbidden from swimming in the pool on The Hill in Canberra at certain times, in order to give sitting MPs full and uninterrupted access to the facilities. Similar rules are in place at NSW’s Parliament House. Now that the argument over whether Sky News or News 24 would be shown on federal Parliament House gym’s TVs has been settled, is it time for Parliament House regulars to stand up and demand equal access to fitness equipment? Surely our fitness fanatic PM would be all for it.

Want to buy a website? We’ve been keeping you posted about the trouble at popular Canberra gossip site The RiotACT (it’s in administration and may shut down). This is now on the homepage:

So it’s looking a bit desperate for the site. The commenters on that post are split; many think the site will go under, but some think a buyer might be found. Many of them aren’t happy that the site has become a haven for trolls. Stay tuned.

Problems at The Saturday Paper? A mole reckons they’ve struggled to sign up to The Saturday Paper, a new Morry-Schwartz-run mag which you can buy in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. The mole apparently subscribed “from the beginning, but haven’t received a single edition”. They reckon they called and emailed the distributor and the subs departments several times but still didn’t get a copy of the paper, so they’ve cancelled their order. We’re loath to have a go at a new publication over this, because some subs will always go astray, especially with a start-up. But have others experienced problems with The Saturday Paper? Let us know.

Leafblower debate. Yesterday we noted some rage against leafblowers among journos in Canberra, and asked for your thoughts. Most readers were anti-leafblower, like this one (there’s more online):

“Leaf blowers … a blight upon humanity. Noise for the sake of it. Ten minutes later the same leaves have blown back mixed with a new leaf fall. Much more pleasant to kick a few leaves, imagining them to be a football or a political skull.”

But another reader took us to task:

“Oh for goodness sake — can someone please tell them to either get out there with a broom or leaf blower themselves or grow up and put up with it! After the driest, hottest summer on record the millions of dead leaves everywhere will become a serious fire risk around major buildings if not dealt with before the next bushfire season. Do these journalists ever get out into the real world?”

Well of course they don’t. They work in Parliament House in Canberra in a glassed-in bubble far from normal people!

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

Peter Fray

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