From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

An update on those missing literary awards. Yesterday we wondered if the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards would continue under the Abbott government. Usually the judges start their reading over the Christmas holidays, ready to announce the winners in August the following year. Entries for 2014 closed in March, but there’s been no announcement of a judging panel. A tipster from within the publishing industry tells us: “I know [Arts Minister] George Brandis has appointed some right-leaning judges in the last few weeks — so proceeding with right-wing influence coming from Peter Coleman/Quadrant.” Coleman, FYI, is a former Bulletin ed.

Perhaps only books on Brandis’ expensive taxpayer-funded bookshelves will be eligible for the gongs this year?

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Flush with cash. The tabs were very excited that a cleaner who found $100,000 in cash stuffed into a sanitary bin in the toilets at Channel Nine’s Melbourne HQ will get to keep most of it. Chamindu Amarsinghe handed the money in as soon as he found it. Our interest is: who was carrying all that cash and why were they trying to get rid of it? Perhaps a Channel Nine staffer was stocking up on chemical performance enhancers from a freelance pharmaceutical distributor, but decided against it at the last minute? If you happen to know, why not tell Crikey via this anonymous link.

ABC rumblings. There are some worried people at the ABC as the federal budget looms. “All staff are worried about budgets at the ABC but not apparently the 7pm news, which has been dropping in the ratings of late. The answer it seems is to spend more money than they have got,” an insider told us. There’s some grousing about who gets what and whether some people are overpaid. Hold it for Tuesday — you might have more to worry about then.

Wheat on the up. Here’s a message from the bush:

“A farmer tells me Australian premium wheat is in hot demand because ships are turning away from Ukraine ports due to the civil disruption. Apparently smaller grains ships are appearing in the lesser Australian ports to load for Europe.”

Catholic does not equal creationist. It turns out author, climate change sceptic and noted anti-creationist Ian Plimer signing to a Catholic-aligned publishing house mightn’t be as ironic as we thought. Says a religious observer:

“Catholics are traditionally not creationists. Creationism comes from the very scripture-centric position of fundamentalist Protestants. The Catholic church rates church tradition and “general revelation” of what can be known by observing the world much more highly and is accepting of the possibility of the evolution (guided by God) of the human body. So Ian Plimer is publishing with a relatively sympathetic group who also dislike creationists (albeit for different reasons). He’s also carrying on his decades old war with ‘greenies’, absolutely refusing to admit the possibility that they might be right or have science fully on their side for once, but that’s a different matter.”

Separated at birth? Ms Tips thought she was seeing double when she glanced at this morning’s Greens press conference. Melbourne MP Adam Bandt and Senator Richard Di Natale do bear a striking resemblance to one another …

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

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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