From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Fridge magnet watch. Now that we’re on high alert for new security measures in reaction to our heightened terror alert level, quite a few tipsters are filling us in on security around the country. We hear from two Sydneysiders that security guards have been stationed on Anzac Bridge:
“I was amused to see two security guards guarding the city end of the walkway on the Anzac Bridge on Monday afternoon. When I asked them what event they were security for, they both looked a bit embarrassed and said it was all due to the PM’s raising the level of terror. However they both looked very relaxed about it, so they had listened to some of Abbott’s advice.”
This email is from an insider in Victoria’s Department of State Development, Business and Innovation, where it seems that little has changed and the correct visitor passes will save the day:
“ALL DSDBI STAFF: National Terrorism Public Alert Level
“Today the Commonwealth Government has raised the National Terrorism Public Alert Level from Medium to High. Victorian government departments and key agencies such as Victoria Police are working closely with our Commonwealth counterparts to ensure Victoria is ready for any possible threat. We are also liaising closely with Victoria Police to make sure appropriate security measures are in place for Victorian Government departments. Security in our workplace is always important and I would ask each of you to be aware of your surroundings. Make sure you always follow security processes, ensure visitors are registered and have appropriate passes and are not left unaccompanied in the building. We are being regularly updated on the situation and I will share further information with you as required.”
Another tipster got the inside goss from a briefing for the New South Wales Passenger Train executives:
“They gave as the rationale provided to them by government for the ‘heightened security threat’ profile the following three reasons: ‘There is no specific threat but 1. the people who have traveled to fight with ISIL/ISIS have lifted their skills lately 2. Lots of them are returning to Australia (even though we are confiscating their passports when they do); and finally 3. People who Australian security have stopped from traveling abroad (60 so far) by cancelling their passports may be very angry.’ These reasons were reported as the direct rationale for the latest round of security theatre, direct from the federal authorities who require transport infrastructure to react appropriately to security threats, I kid you not.”
Of course many people will already be familiar with this photo of the bins at train stations in Brisbane, which are now unavailable for use as a reaction to the new terror alert:
When we called Queensland Rail to ask about the signs, it seemed the PR rep had been fielding calls on it for quite a while. We did find it interesting that the statement included this line:
“We are currently in the process of reviewing different bins with additional security features which may be put in place at our stations in the future.”
Forgive our ignorance, but what do bin security features look like? Are they more effective than terrorist-confounding laminated signs?
Will subs get an inquiry? If there won’t be a contested tender process, we hear there might at least be a Senate inquiry into Australia’s next submarine purchase. The Senate Economics References Committee, chaired by Labor’s Sam Dastyari, is already inquiring into the future of the country’s naval shipbuilding industry and last month handed down a report critical of the government’s decision to exclude Australian companies and run a limited tender for the navy’s new supply ships. The broader naval shipbuilding inquiry is ongoing, and Tips has heard the Senate could add a reference to the submarine program. The committee is interested in the future of manufacturing and is also inquiring into Australia’s Innovation System, with 173 submissions received and hearings in Newcastle next month.
A bar too high. Our learned friends of the Victorian Bar Council have their gowns in a twist over the proposal for a wall dedicated to “Legends of the Bar” to be created on the ground floor of Owen Dixon Chambers. Some names have already been affixed to the wall in the expectation that suitably grand photographs will then be added. Inexplicably, work appears to have ceased. Gossip in chambers is that a fraternity of “non-legends” are upset by the selection process and a raft of questions have now been raised: How is a legend chosen? What is the criteria? Will living legends be able to charge higher fees? Can non-legends appeal against non-selection? Sounds like this will be settled by torts at 20 paces.
Sexts for votes. There are some times where you really shouldn’t try and be down with the kids. Mid-term elections are coming up in the United States, and Congressman James Clyburn thinks he has some great ideas to get young people out to vote. Clyburn thinks we should be using the internet, texting and sexting to appeal to young people. Perhaps he should be asking Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner for voter turnout advice?