From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

McTernan not keeping secrets. Julia Gillard’s former communications director John McTernan has used Twitter to deny allegations that he acted illegally in Scotland’s failed independence referendum last month. Overseas marketing website The Drum is reporting that McTernan has been reported to police for comments he made on TV in the days leading up to the referendum, when he said “postal votes are running very strongly towards no”. The electoral rules state that observers can monitor the opening of postal ballots but not communicate what they see to anyone else. We doubt it changed the result, but we’ll keep an eye on developments.

Like father, like son. The scions of Fairfax media honchos Hywood and Catalano are pushing ahead with their plans to compete with their fathers’ revenues. Yesterday juniors Jordan Catalano and Tom Hywood held a launch at Melbourne’s Mon Bijou for apartmentdevelopments.com.au, where they partied with some of Melbourne’s property scene, which includes, funnily enough, Jordan’s father. Crikey‘s seen photographic evidence that MMP founder and Fairfax exec Antony Catalano turned up to support his son, but alas, Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood was too busy to make an appearance. Jordan Catalono and Tom Hywood have raised $165,000 in investment over the past two weeks, taking total investment in the startup to $400,000. Just who the investors are has not been disclosed.

No games allowed. Earlier this week a Parliament House insider told us that his access to certain websites was blocked — even when they seemed harmless. We know that Parliament House is on high alert for terrorism, but our tipster now finds that access to the Abbott Simulator game has been blocked. The reason given was “games”. Funny that, we thought politics was all about playing games.

#Fridgemagnetwatch. We’ve been following #fridgemagnetwatch for a few weeks now, but this one seems to take it to another level. A caller to Melbourne’s 3AW said this morning that trainers of Customs dogs had been told that the dogs shouldn’t wear their training vests in public. This comes after defence officers, paramedics, firefighters and customs officers as well as defence cadets have been told not to wear their uniforms to and from work. Ms Tips wonders who would threaten a Customs dog in training, but who are we to question Team Australia?

No lawsuit here. It was reported yesterday that mining company Sandfire was taking legal action against ANU after the university had divested from stocks in companies that it said were damaging the environment. Advised by Canberra based consultants CAER, the university has divested in seven companies based on their environmental policies. The AFR also reported that companies such as Iluka Resources, Santos and Sirius Resources were seeking a meeting with ANU to make sense of the decision. We heard from a tipster that Santos was also making legal moves against the university, but the mining company told us it hasn’t taken legal action and doesn’t plan to.

Cyclists are rebels with a cause. When drivers complain about cyclists, one of the big complaints is that commuters on only two wheels get away with breaking road rules too often. Well luckily we now have research to tell us how many cyclists admit to breaking road rules, and why they do it. A study from UNSW tells us that most cyclists admit to breaking the rules, but they don’t run red lights just to annoy commuters in cars. According to researcher Lousie Shaw, it’s to keep safe:

“As vulnerable road users, cyclists are motivated to ensure their own safety by avoiding perceived danger from fast-moving vehicles in traffic and ensuring minimal conflict with drivers. The desire for comfort is also clear, with cyclists trying to save both time and energy.”

Has anyone told Miranda Devine, or is her column already written on the latest cyclist scandal?

Someone is very angry. We hear that a group of eight protesters have locked themselves to AGL’s headquarters in Melbourne to protest against the company’s view on the Renewable Energy Target. Only problem is, the early press releases we received didn’t tell us which group the protesters represented. Were these lone wolves? Unconnected but disgruntled citizens? Divestment group 350.org.au finally cleared the matter up with a later press release, but we spent a bit of time scratching our heads first.

Is he Violent? Choosing travelling clothes can be difficult, but now there’s even more to consider. James Tidswell, guitarist from ARIA-nominated band Violent Soho, was travelling from Brisbane to Melbourne for the AIR Australian Independent Music Awards yesterday, but was told he couldn’t get on a plane wearing this shirt, as he posed a security threat:

He was made to change his shirt before boarding the plane, but not before relaxing with a beer and without a shirt:

Tidswell and his bandmates probably didn’t care by the end of the day — they won best independent album and best independent hard rock, heavy or punk album at last night’s awards ceremony.

Rock the vote. The US mid-term elections are just weeks away, and while Guy Rundle will bring you the big news, Ms Tips has the star power. This Rock The Vote video is jam packed with (mostly left-leaning) celebs. Almost makes one less fond of compulsory voting …

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

Peter Fray

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