From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Buses to nowhere in Canberra. During the Dismissal, the army had plans to occupy Canberra in support of the Governor-General, and the air force — loyal to Whitlam — had a plan to drop a ring of troops around Parliament, should Gough have refused to accept Kerr’s CIA-ordered dismissal. Simpler for both would have been to re-organise the capital’s bus service, which was done this week, throwing the whole place into chaos. In a manner typical of the forbidden city, no huge banners or billboards advertised the change, and new timetables and maps weren’t ready for the city’s bus hub in time for the changeover — they simply covered the old posters with a sign directing people to the website. By Thursday, drivers were giving out the number of ACT MLA Shane Rattenbury’s office, when irate passengers complained that the buses (on badly estimated routes) were 10 and 15 minutes late. “Does this bus go to Parliament?” one passenger asked, to get the reply from the driver, “I really couldn’t tell you, mate”. Is this a cunning plan by Green Rattenbury to have the entire capital travelling on foot?

@ABCnewsintern speaks — reveals little. As we told you yesterday, the man behind the fake Twitter account @ABCnewsintern spoke for the first time on Radio National’s Media Report yesterday afternoon. It’s one of those things that seems strange to explain — an interview with a person behind a joke account where he doesn’t reveal his actual identity (it’s even on the front page on the ABC news website), but we still felt very informed by the end of it. Intern seems to have a very lovely voice for radio, although Ms Tips was quite affronted at how he spoke about Crikey and our revelations that he is the brains behind Sharri Markson parody account @Sharri2000:

“I reject that accusation! I think Crikey should get back to real journalism: shining a light on powerful figures and revealing things that don’t want to be revealed … It was uncovered by Crikey’s social media expert, who’s the modern day equivalent of a body language expert, so how much stock can we really place in it?

“Oh, OK, it’s true, it’s true, it’s true.”

As you were, Intern.

WA peak housing body gagged? Almost all the staff at the Community Housing Coalition of Western Australia have been made redundant after missing out on a key contract from the state government to provide “policy advice, stakeholder engagement and influencing services”. There are whispers that CHCWA missed out because the organisation was too critical of government policies. We asked executive officer Barry Doyle and were told: “I think that over the last few years CHCWA has frequently vocally criticised the direction of state an federal governments, and I think that has had a bearing on the fact that we didn’t win.” Here at Crikey we’re quite fond of groups that speak out about dodgy policy — so if you hear of repercussions, let us know.

Gina Rinehart fans — not imPozible. Crowdfunding sites have hosted everything from potato salad to putting a Tardis in space, but this project seemed a bit strange even by those standards. The Gina Rinehart fan club reached its target of $5000 on Pozible last week for a project that will fund finding and uploading footage of Lang Hancock, John Singleton and Gina Rinehart. At first we thought it was a joke, but when Ms Tips spoke to creator Benjamin Marks, we were assured it is the real deal. Marks thinks people should be able to watch videos of Hancock and Co to see more of their views about the free market and to prove that Rinehart is our “least controversial celebrity”. The site also says it wants to prove that Australia’s richest person has fans “who’ve never received money from her, her agents, her companies, her family or even her industry”. Marks told us that he was “partly disappointed” that he reached his target, as he thought the campaign hadn’t gained enough media attention. The project was intended to be “funny and serious at the same time”, according to Marks, and we have to say that it fulfilled that goal. The first reward, which is “Gina Rinehart was taxed over $1b in the past few years. It’s time we gave something back,” had us both laughing and confused.

More than one threatened species. This Sunday is National Threatened Species Day, where we are supposed to think about bilbies, Leadbeater’s possums and other such creatures. Taronga Zoo is one of many stakeholders promoting the cause, but one tipster thought the zoo’s website was perhaps making a more political statement. The homepage for the day features not only a bilby, but the youngest generations of the monarchy — what are you trying to say, Taronga Zoo? Is there more than one endangered species in this photo?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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