From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Vic Greens MPs don’t care about Gaza? Greens and (some) Labor MPs from around the country have been adding their names to the “Canberra Declaration on Gaza”, a petition condemning the Israeli bombing of Gaza. Started by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and Labor MP Melissa Parke, the list now has 67 current and former elected representatives. The only name associated with the Liberal Party to make the list is former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, and while the lack of government MPs is not surprising, one tipster picked up a few notable absences. Of the three Greens MPs elected in Victoria, not a single one is on the list. Our tipster tells us:

“One theory doing the rounds is that the whole strategy has been orchestrated to protect Greg Barber’s pet project of the Greens winning Prahran. With a significant Jewish population, the thinking is that a strong stance by State Greens MPs might make winning the electorate all that much harder. Now party figures are starting to worry about a backlash from the state’s significant Turkish and Arabic communities for the resounding silence coming from the state party, particularly as Labor has begun tacking towards a more pro-Palestine position. Of course this is all also linked to the fact that the Victorian Greens were the strongest proponents of Christine Milne’s successful attempt to water down Australian Greens policy on Israel and discipline the party into adopting a more neutral stance, for fear of reprisals from the Jewish community.”

Crikey‘s Guy Rundle wrote last week about tensions in Greens’ inner-Melbourne strategy — could there be more to it? We asked Greg Barber, the parliamentary leader of the Greens in Victoria, why they weren’t on the list and were told “our federal Victorian MPs have signed the letter and advocated our position strongly”. We asked again and were told it was under federal jurisdiction, which while true, hasn’t stopped Greens MPs from other states, who are on the list. Interestingly, state Labor MPs from around the country are also on the list, but none from Victoria. How much difference will policy on Israel make a difference to the Victorian election? We’re watching.

Gideon goes for gold. UK chancellor George (Gideon) Osborne has worked hard to separate himself from his youthful Toryboy image — and he gets a lot of help doing it. When former dominatrix Natalie Rowe posted a photo of young Gideon getting his fun on in her flat in the ’80s, the British police acted by preserving her rights to free speech … oh, no, sorry they arrested her for “abusive behaviour”.

Rowe responded by posting another photo, of Gideon dancing to — what else — Spandau Ballet’s Gold — while deftly avoiding a bent-over chap Rowe claims was doing a line. Never mind, Gideon, you’re indestructible. Anyone out there with photos of Australian pollies in their youth? Send ’em in.

Fairfax, News play union hardball. It’s enterprise bargaining time in the media, and both News Corp and Fairfax are offering their journalists real-world pay cuts.

Yesterday the journalists’ union — the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance — urged News Corp staff to vote against an EBA being proposed by management that would result in their wages rising just 2% a year, which the MEAA notes would not keep up with inflation increases. News also wants to lower the rate at which casuals can be paid, and to cut allowances. The News agreement expired June 30, but until staff sign off onto a new agreement, it will remain in effect, hence why the union is urging staff to vote down the new agreement. The vote is tomorrow.

At Fairfax, wage rates are also in management’s sights. The company has proposed no pay rises at all in the new agreement, not even for inflation, among a number of other changes. There are further meetings about the EBA next week, and the union has already received approval for protected strike action after a majority of members voted for it.

It’s not just legacy media negotiating agreements — the union’s also been trying to get an agreement off the ground at the AFL newsroom. Crikey understands the 100 journalists are unusually unionised for a digital media outlet, but the AFL is also playing hardball, refusing to negotiate with the MEAA despite a letter of majority support that showed most journalists employed in the newsroom wanted an EBA. Maurice Blackburn will now represent the AFL journalists in hearings at the Fair Work Commission to kick-start bargaining. AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan was grilled on 3AW last week whether he employed journalists. He said referred to them as “journalists and editors”, but then said the legal challenge was “whether they’re working in sports administration or whether they’re journalists”. But they’re certainly not PR people, McLachlan implied when asked. “All I would say is people listening, watching … the numbers speak for themselves.” MEAA Victorian secretary Louise Connor said the AFL’s response was disappointing.

Trivial? Us? No way … As a publication, you know you’ve really made it when you make it to a Trivial Pursuit question. Ms Tips trusts you all know the answer …

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

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.