From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Art gallery pain. The Art Gallery of NSW lost more than 30 years of experience this morning with media staff Claire Martin and Susanne Briggs losing their jobs at the gallery. Staff have been told that the reason for the redundancies is “restructuring” and the gallery’s media office is to become a communications unit. Martin and Briggs told Crikey that they were “devastated” by the news. Briggs, who has been at the gallery for 10 years, said “the support we’ve had from colleagues here at the gallery has been overwhelming, and it’s been a very very hard morning”, while Martin, with 21 years at the gallery, said “I’ve had a wonderful career here”. At the same time, the gallery’s public programs officer, Sheona White, was also made redundant — her unit will be renamed the department of activation (whatever that means). White told Crikey she was “in shock” at the announcement. Gallery trustees are said to be alarmed by the latest bloodletting. The gallery hired a new Director of Public Engagement earlier this year. We’ve previously been told some staff at the gallery are unhappy with a new direction, and this won’t help.

Obeid off the shelves … but not unavailable. Late yesterday afternoon we heard rumours that Kate McClymont and Linton Besser’s book He Who Must Be Obeid had been pulled off shelves. Now we know it’s because of defamation claims. Unfortunately, even though Twitter knew the goss, bookshop staff did not. At Readings Carlton late yesterday, Ms Tips noticed that the Obeid tome wasn’t on the shelves, and asked staff about it to see if they would confirm that it had been pulled. It was quite the contrary, as the extremely helpful staff thought the store must be in the process of re-stocking and fetched the book out of a box behind the counter and handed it straight to Ms Tips. That’s real dedication to customer service — delivering the goods even when the product has been recalled.

Baby, you can drive my car. Rumours have been swirling that Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood has acquired a very fancy ride — a Maserati, no less. It wouldn’t be much of an outlay, with Hywood receiving a $1 million pay rise, making his salary $2.8 million including shares in the last financial year. We asked Fairfax about the car and were told by a spokesman:

“Mr Hywood has purchased a Maserati Ghibli sedan car. It cost around $140,000. And it’s blue. At least it’s not red.”

If you’ve seen Hywood’s auto, send us a picture.

… But not this one. This was released by Victorian Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen yesterday afternoon, and we found it curious that the magistrate in question wasn’t named. Especially as it only took the Herald Sun less than an hour to have a piece online naming the magistrate in question as David Faram from Bendigo.

Ice, ice baby. Since Tuesday’s report that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was struggling with re-branding to raising awareness and funds for Motor Neuron Disease, sports people and politicians have got in on the cause with gusto — and the correct acronym. Victorian Premier Denis Napthine shirked actually getting covered in ice, but pledged a donation, which is worthy, but won’t go viral or help his polls at all. Victorian opposition leader Daniel — sorry, Dan — Andrews got iced yesterday, as did Federal Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg, who had the gall to nominate his boss — Prime Minister Tony Abbott. We’re waiting, Prime Minister.

McCloy, ICAC and climate change. Jeff McCloy is now known as the former Newcastle lord mayor who was forced to resign after admitting to ICAC that he had made two secret payments of $10,000 to two state Liberal MPs before the 2011 state election. But before that he was no stranger to controversy; in his work as a property developer, McCloy threatened to sue Lake Macquarie Council in 2012 over planning restrictions related to predicted rising sea levels and their effect on the value of his property developments. He values the opinions of Ian Plimer, Bob Carter and David Archibald, whom he recruited to convince locals there was nothing to worry about, and like Greg Hunt’s methods of climate change research, McCloy came to his own conclusions from the mythical “internet”:

“He said he had studied sea level rise on the internet and concluded it was rising at only a very slow rate, and that rate had slowed in the past decade, so any planning restrictions were unjustified.”

Stars in his eyes. Federal Liberal MP Wyatt Roy — the baby-faced youngest representative in Parliament — is celebrating his four year anniversary in Parliament. To mark the occasion he’s released a slideshow on YouTube featuring many photos of himself with babies, locals and probably every member of the Liberal party front bench. We couldn’t help but noticing that with the pop song soundtrack it looked remarkably like something you’d see at a 21st birthday, right before his friends reveal his embarrassing secrets in front of his nearest and dearest. Of course, most people’s 21st slideshows don’t feature ads for Victorian Liberal leader Denis Napthine across the bottom of the screen, but this is Wyatt Roy, we wouldn’t be surprised.

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

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey