From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

When the moon hits your eye … Ms Tips felt very sad for Treasurer Joe Hockey yesterday when he relayed his story of red tape ruining a meal of pizza with his family. Due to council regulations they couldn’t move two tables together in front of the shop, and there was a limit of how many people could be seated outside the restaurant. He told business owners he “exploded” and even called the local mayor to complain. We thought the age of entitlement was over, Joe? At this point Ms Tips remembered her teenage career in hospitality and sympathy quickly shifted to the staff and away from Hockey. But how onerous are the regulations on pizza shops in Sydney’s north shore really? Determined to find the venue that witnessed Hockey’s tirade, we made many calls to pizza shops in his local suburb of Hunters Hill. Then we received this tip:

“The only pizza place near Joe Hockey’s house which is next to a little park is a rather lovely upmarket Italian restaurant called Cucinetta. Not really a ‘pizza restaurant’. It has a couple of bar tables and stools outside for smokers to escape to. Is this what Hockey wanted to use to eat his pizza?”

We called Cucinetta as well, but they were closed — we’ll keep you updated on the investigation, though. While we are yet to find anyone who claims to have witnessed the incident, we did speak to a few pizza sellers who told us that there were in fact many rules that governed the number tables and chairs and the location of such outside their shops. So now back to the budget, hey Joe?

Trick or treat. It’s dress-up day at Fairfax’s Melbourne outpost this Friday, as Media House staff have been told to dress up in their finest “Halloween gear” to win “a bottle of wine!”. Of course, all those who come in costume will also be given treats, the email to The Age‘s editorial staff proclaims. We wonder if anyone will dress up as a Ferrari Maserati; we’ve never seen one of those before …

Katter and fuel prices. Queensland MP Bob Katter let us know how he feels about the government’s fuel tax hike yesterday, and even though he is stridently against the price rise, his press release claims that the cost of fuel is “exuberant”. Lucky for Katter, the North West Star, a local paper in his electorate, knew what he meant, reporting it as “exorbitant”. Perhaps the reporters there are used to translating what Katter says and what he means.

Kissing babies on trams. This in from a Melbourne-based tipster:

“Premier Denis Napthine just spent the last 15 minutes on two separate trams and a tram stop talking obnoxiously at everyone who came near him while a photographer manically captured every moment. It was like all of his Christmases came at once when a lady boarded with a double pram. I’m sure he didn’t realise how much his behaviour resembled that of a drunk homeless guy.”

We hope Napthine touched on and off!

Help from the North. The battle for the Victorian election is heating up, and today’s Fairfax polls are showing that it will be an uphill battle for the Liberals to make it to a second term. Our Victorian tipsters are getting in touch with tidbits from around the state, and our mole in Melbourne’s outer north reports:

“Yan Yean Liberal Candidate Sam Ozturk’s campaign van spotted in Diamond Creek (within electorate) — his head pic, Liberal, Victoria all over it. Queensland licence plates …”

We knew it was close in Yan Yean — the seat is one of the most marginal in the state — but surely getting help from Queensland is a bit much? We put the call in to Ozturk himself and he told us that there is a campaign car with Queensland plates, and they’re bright red among the blue of the Liberal wrapping, which “sticks out like a sore thumb”. But no, the campaign isn’t getting help from up north, it’s a hire car that was sourced from within Victoria. We’re keeping our eyes peeled for Victorian election tips, you can let us know here.

Ebola announcement — still on its way? Last week we reported, as did The West Australian, that Australia would be sending personnel to west Africa to assist in the fight against Ebola, but the government has been eerily silent on the matter since. We’ve heard that the reports disrupted the plans for the announcement and still believe there will be some announcement. Know more? Drop us a line.

Rudd2000. We got to relive the joy of the @Rudd2000 Twitter account yesterday as creators Scott Bridges and Stephen Owen launched their book with highlights from the tweets, “Kevern Write a Book”. Many stars of the accounts, including Ablo, Wyat Roy and Tim Wat were in attendance, even through Kevern himself couldn’t make it. Sales of the book are raising funds for the UNHCR, and Ms Tips is ordering copies for everyone on her Christmas list. We were glad to see Wyatt Roy and Tim Watts living up to their alter egos, Wyat Roy and Tom Wat:

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

Peter Fray

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