From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

A photo and a thousand words. Game development expo PAX Australia was in Melbourne over the weekend, and while gamers got the inside goss on what’s going on in the industry and tried their hand at new games, there was one stall that was left conspicuously empty. The government’s proposed data retention laws are on the nose with many in the online community, which is possibly why their stall received such a cool reception:

Deep Throats. As someone who also deals regularly with anonymous sources, Ms Tips was rather tickled by the part of Fairfax investigative journo Kate McClymont’s lecture from last Friday that dealt with her own dealings with such shady characters. Many of her sources, McClymont explained, like to use pseudonyms.  “I have Ginger Beer, Marcus Aurelius, Tiger Poke, and Deep Throats one to ten,” she told the audience. Sometimes, she said, when someone rang up announcing themselves as Deep Throat, she had to ask them which one, to their annoyance. Which really provides a lesson for pot-stirrers and whistleblowers — a  bit of imagination when it comes to your pseudonym never hurts.

We’re looking for The Truth. A caller to 3AW this morning said that staff including journalists and editors from the now-defunct newspaper The Truth would be attending a reunion in Melbourne next weekend. The tabloid, which ran in Melbourne from 1902 to 1995, and in Sydney from 1890 to 1958, was at different points owned by both Fairfax and News Limited, and is perhaps most famous for reporting on the death of former Labor leader Billy Snedden with “Snedden Died on the Job — Police Seeking Deathbed Girl”. The caller said that the attendees are trying to avoid other members of the press knowing where the party will take place. It’s a shame because Ms Tips would love to come along and hear the stories of the scandal-sheet. If you know more, do let us know.

Aus Post and GST not mates. Australia Post launched its new freight forwarding service Shopmate on Friday, which allows customers to buy products from companies that will only deliver to US addresses and have them delivered to Australia. It’s not a new idea, with many companies in the competitive courier and parcel market already offering such a service. Our tipster asked whether Australia Post was encouraging shoppers to avoid paying GST by bypassing Australian outlets. We put that to Australia Post and were told by a spokesperson that it doesn’t encouarage shoppers to dodge the tax:

“The same rules apply for purchases made online from international locations whether purchased through ShopMate or another method. (Australian Customs and Border Protection Service manage the process for the importation of goods.)”

It’s an interesting development in the long running debate on whether the government-owned company should be privatised — we’ll keep an eye on it.

Bernie Finn recycles. The election is officially on in Victoria, with Premier Denis Napthine visiting Government House this morning. Last week we wrote that Liberal MPs were avoiding using the Liberal party name or logo on their corflutes because the party was on the nose with voters. One tipster sent us these photos of Liberal MP Bernie Finn’s office, in which you can clearly see that the Liberal logo has been covered over. It seemed like a new level of avoidance from the MP, who was criticised by former premier Ted Baillieu in the taped conversation with journalist Farah Tomazin that was leaked by Labor Party officials earlier this year. We called up Finn’s office to ask about the signs and were told that they have been like that for years because MPs are not allowed to display party information at their electorate offices. Our tipster says the office looks deserted, and Ms Tips thinks the signs may benefit from an update and a dust.

Strikes and copper prices. One of the world’s biggest copper mines, the Grasberg mine in West Papua, which is majority-owned by Freeport and Rio Tinto, is facing a month-long staff strike starting on November 6, after a series of fatalities at the mine. Reuters reported last week that the mine was already running at about 60-70% capacity because of strikes, and that was affecting copper prices. We’ll be keeping an eye on developments.

Movember — get growing. Saturday marked the start of November, and while it means that Christmas is in sight (at least in supermarkets and department stories), it also means that Movember has started. The month in which men are encouraged to grow moustaches to raise funds and awareness for male health is a great opportunity to see who can pull off a mo without looking creepy — a great achievement. If you’ve spotted a pollie or man about town with a bit of fluff on his upper lip, we’d love to see a photo. You can send them here.

Working the room. We know that politicians across the world are using social media to interact with voters and show constituents what they’re up to, but sometimes it’s just not a great idea. A tipster sent us this tweet by Victorian Liberal MP David Hodgett and his adoring crowd. Looks like a jumping party:

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

Peter Fray

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