From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Arise, Sir Obeid! Yesterday we asked whether Eddie Obeid should lose his OAM, which he apparently wore with pride to an ICAC hearing this week. In fact we posed the question to Government House, which is in charge of such things. A spokesfolk got back to us and helpfully explained how awards can be terminated or cancelled (see pages 42-46). But there’s no news on Obeid:

“We will not comment on individual situations regarding the possible or actual termination or cancellation of an award. We can advise that the Council for the Order of Australia investigates matters brought to its attention and considers each case individually.”

If Obeid — or anyone else — loses their OAM, you’ll read about it in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Eyes peeled, readers!

A few more blows in fashion war. It seems Mamamia has struck a nerve over at Harpers Bazaar, after criticising tweets by local edition editor Kellie Hush on the latest rendition of the skinny models controversy that’s engulfed fashion week. Hush had lamented how Australia’s “finest fashion talent are on show and all the media can focus on is the skinny model debate”, calling on the Daily Tele to stop rehashing the same story every year. To which Mamamia accused her of caring more about clothes than people.

Hush was evidently alerted to this, but assured her followers she hadn’t deigned to read it. “Sorry I haven’t read the Mamamia piece,” she tweeted. “I prefer not to read amateur, unbalanced and defamatory journalism so don’t visit the site.”


Upstanding young citizens. Yesterday, we asked which former premier was part of this group of finalists for the 1970 Lions Youth of The Year award:

We had a few false starts — some readers identified John Bannon, Tony Abbott and Bob Carr in this mob of spotty schoolboys — but quite a few of you correctly located the third young man from the left as former Queensland premier Peter Beattie, who’d travelled to Canberra from his home town of Atherton in far north Queensland. The reason for the serious face? A north Queensland tipster tells us young Beattie had terrible teeth. There’s no prizes for guessing which politician this is, however — it’s too easy.

And having dug around pollies’ photo albums, we can inform our readers that young Joe Hockey looked rather sweet, Bob Carr was a bit of a geek, Clive Palmer looked pretty much like he does now (with brown hair), and Julie Bishop looked great but had some unfortunate 80s hairdos (didn’t we all?). If you’ve got your mitts on a pic of a pollie in their younger years, do email us.

Beefy blunder. After months of protests — and, we hear from a source, a whopping $1.2 million spent on security — the McDonald’s in the outer Melbourne suburb of Tecoma opened at 11am on Monday (those wanting Egg McMuffins from the breakfast menu had to wait until Tuesday). Protesters were keen to make their voices heard on opening day, but were far outnumbered by a 200-metre queue of customers eager to get their lardy goodness. A mole told us the first person in the queue was especially eager and had begun his long wait at 4am — only to be mistaken for a protester by police at the last minute and pulled out of the line. We’re hoping Macca’s at least gave him a portion of gratis chips for his trouble.

Credit where credit’s due. It seems the Coalition is still struggling to leave politicking at home, as a touring party of politicians and business leaders continue their trade mission through Asia.  A tipster tells us Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson delivered a gushing address at the opening of the Australia Week business promotion in Shanghai, where he proclaimed  Trade Minister Andrew Robb as the “father” of the Korea and Japan Free Trade Agreements, “which no doubt left one of those in the room somewhat bemused,” our spy reckoned. “That would have been Craig Emerson, former Labor trade minister and now attending the Shanghai event in his capacity as a business and trade consultant. More than a few in the room thought it was poor form that neither Billson nor Robb made any reference or even afforded the small courtesy of an acknowledgement to their Labor predecessor.” Fair point — these deals take years to negotiate, and the Coalition only won office in September.

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Peter Fray

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