From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

No PUPs in Victoria? The Victorian election is just over a month away, but one tipster has noticed that something is missing. “Where are the PUPs?” The Palmer United Party is yet to announce its candidates in the poll, and Ms Tips thinks that might be leaving it a bit late. We’re on the edge of our seats waiting to know what Clive Palmer will be offering — a royal commission into rogue independent MP Geoff Shaw perhaps? We asked the party what was going on and were told by a spokesperson that it is planning a short campaign in Victoria as Palmer United is concentrating on the byelections in Newcastle and Charlestown in NSW in two weeks. The announcement of the candidates is due “most likely late October or early November,” we were told.

The PUPs have been very quiet on the Victorian front, although it was reported in June that Clive Palmer would be running a candidate in every seat. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore; the spokesperson told us “the party is likely to focus on upper house seats”. When asked what issues the Palmer United Party would be campaigning on, the response was: “Palmer United will offer an alternative to the major parties who have left Victoria in a state of constant turmoil.” The Palmer United Party is not unfamiliar with turmoil — Carl Judge, its only sitting MP in Queensland, quit last week.

We grill Grill’d on penalty rates. Following this report yesterday on the effect of penalty rates in hospitality venues, we received a tip on the practices of upmarket burger chain Grill’d:

“Grill’d restaurants have an enterprise bargaining agreement which means they don’t pay penalty rates to any staff — and I don’t see their burgers or french fries being any cheaper than they are anywhere else. Also, like many employers of young people, they employee all their staff on traineeships, thus get government subsidees, even though they don’t actually offer any formal traineeship program (other than access to an unsupervised online learning program) to their staff and they certainly don’t comply with the 15 hours per week minimum employment requirement for their casual staff.”

We spoke to Grill’d’s National HR Manager Chris Brown about the tip and he told us that the company’s enterprise bargaining agreements mean “our wage rates are higher than the award and penalties are inclusive of the hourly rate” in order to allow for night and weekend work. We also asked about the traineeship program, and were told that “acorss the board, just under half are employed as trainees at the commencement of employment”. The minimum amount of work for the traineeships varied across the states, he says.

That’s imPozible. We have heard from a tipster that there has been a string of redundancies at crowdfunding company Pozible in the areas of marketing, public relations and advertising. It seems strange that a company expanding so quickly would be letting staff go, but we put the questions in to Pozible HQ. We didn’t hear back before deadline.

G20 and exams. Following yesterday’s tip that some Brisbane schools would be getting a whole week off for the G20 conference next month, a tipster has let us know not everyone will be enjoying the visit from world leaders:

“Far from it — the G20 falls within the final exams for many year 12 students, including those at my kid’s school studying for their IB (International Baccalaureate). No week off for them. To the contrary: the Friday is a gazetted public holiday, and my kid has an exam scheduled that day. No re-scheduling, however a helpful letter came home warning us of the potential for two hour delays as roads are closed without notice for motorcades; while buses won’t be running in the inner suburbs where the school is located. Just one of the many ways that G20 is endearing itself to the population.”

As if preparing for final exams isn’t stressful enough, planning around motorcades must also be factored in. Nothing stops year 12 exams though — not even the prospect of Prime Minister Tony Abbott shirt-fronting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Bad taste Monday in NSW. It seems like there’s been a bad taste competition in NSW, and no one told us. Who do you think is the winner here — Premier Mike Baird in this cringe-worthy ad for the Daily Tele, where it looks like he’s being interviewed by News Corp columnists Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt and Andrew Clennell?

Or is it former Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy and this birthday cake? He says he was unaware of what the cake would be before it was presented, but looks pretty happy with it in this photo taken from the Facebook page of The Lucky Hotel in Newcastle. It actually looks like he’s burning a paper bag full of money…

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

Peter Fray

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