From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
High alert. Ms Tips has been on high alert for terrorism-related gossip all weekend, and luckily we received this tip from an insider at New South Wales Parliament House. This email was sent by Parliamentary Services:
“Dear Members and staff,
The Federal Government has raised the National Terrorism Public Alert System level from Medium to High. Following advice from the NSW Police Force, the Parliament has implemented additional security measures to further ensure the safety of building occupants and visitors to the precinct. These measures are effective immediately. There will be an increased security presence from the NSW Police Force Special Constables at entry and exit points, increased security checks to vehicles entering the precinct via Hospital Road and heightened scrutiny of parliamentary and visitor passes. We urge all building occupants to take note of these measures and to help safeguard the precinct by cooperating with these security practices and procedures. As always, do not hesitate to report any security issues to the Security Control Room.”
Anne Summers stays mum, sends flowers. When Anne Summers and the Twitterverse killed off Mungo MacCallum last week, several Crikey readers got in touch to ask why we hadn’t revealed where Anne Summers’ information came from. We called the morning after it happened, and, unsurprisingly, she didn’t want to speak to us. We’re somewhat bemused, however, by the fact that she doesn’t appear to have told MacCallum, either. As he wrote in a piece published in the New Daily on Friday:
“She insisted on protecting her sources, however wrong they turned out to be. But she offered a recompensory gift of flowers: I specified they were not to include a wreath. They duly arrived and all, for the moment at least, is well.”
MacCallum also insists the whole thing wasn’t a publicity stunt, saying the publishers of his new book (yes, he has a new book, had you heard?) were as surprised as he was.
ABC doesn’t rate a mention. We are always interested in the way that television ratings numbers are collected, and we got this from a tipster who felt his contribution wasn’t valued by OzTam, the body that monitors what we watch:
“I don’t know how they count viewers these days, but back in early 2000s I was contacted to have a box to record my viewing. When the woman had almost completed the installation, I commented I only watched the ABC. Surprise surprise there was a technical fault and it couldn’t be installed! I wonder if they still manipulate the system?”
We understand that there can be legitimate technical issues with installing the boxes if there are difficulties with accessing the television sets and asked OzTam about how people are selected:
“OzTAM does not ask prospective panel homes about their channel or programming preferences. To ensure the panel is representative of the overall population, we ask potential panel homes if they have one or more TV sets, PVRs, whether they have pay TV or internet-capable televisions. Household selection (and de-selection) is never based on what people in those homes watch on TV. Panel homes are continually turned over to ensure the panel is as representative as possible. The average time a home stays on the panel is two years, with four years the most any can remain.”
Fashion faux pas. This is one of those moments when we ask — surely someone should have spoken up and said this was a bad idea? These photos of the Colombian women’s cycling team appeared over the weekend and for some reason a designer thought a swath of nude-coloured Lycra across the stomach and groin area seemed like a good idea. To take a leaf from Dad Jokes 101 — yes, it is the Colombian team, not the Brazilian one.
Socialists winning at petitions — who knew? Following on from our tip that the Monash Student Association had de-registered the Socialist Alternative club on the university campus following claims of anti-Semitism, the students at SAlt have taken a break from protesting whenever a politician turns up at a university campus to start — you guessed it — a petition. While the club is de-registered on campus though, this one has to be online. It’s got just over 1700 names so far, but now there is a rival petition from those who want to keep the group off campus. It’s lagging behind with only about 200 names — perhaps they should use a tried-and-true SAlt technique of getting students and activists from other campuses on board to make their presence look bigger than it actually is.
Assange writes — and speaks. If you’ve ever wondered what Julian Assange has been up to in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for the last two years, the chance to ask him is coming up later today. At 3pm this arvo Assange will be over at Gawker discussing his new book, When Google Met WikiLeaks. The book tells the story of the time Google boss Eric Schmidt visited Assange in 2011 and the two debated the future of the internet. Over the weekend it was reported that Australian author Peter Carey had been asked to ghostwrite Assange’s memoir refused — “Two control freaks? It wouldn’t work”. So now the question is — did Assange write this one by himself?
Willie has his say. With only three days until the Scottish Independence referendum, it seems everyone has an opinion — even fictional characters. The Simpsons creators have released this video of Groundskeeper Willie telling Scots to vote “aye or die”.
#bookwatch. Friday’s tip about Julia Gillard’s book tour stated that an appearance at the Dee Why bookstore had sold out. We were mistaken however, and although the sign was displayed in Dee Why, the event is in Leichhardt. We do hear from another tipster that Gillard has sold out another event in North Sydney — home to treasurer Joe Hockey. In fact Gillard is selling out events across Sydney and New South Wales, but not the Regent Theatre in Melbourne.