From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Whitlam’s memorial — as big as the man himself. Thousands turned out in Sydney this morning to bid farewell to former prime minister Gough Whitlam, with the crowds cheering ex-PMs Julia Gillard and Paul Keating, but jeering current PM Tony Abbott. It seemed a bit gauche to Ms Tips, but the event was definitely a celebration, not a sombre affair. Sky News vox popped a representative of the Whitlam Institute outside Sydney’s Town Hall, who said she had not been able to get inside the venue and was disappointed the public policy institute was not represented at the event. We heard from a tipster earlier this week who was similarly disappointed that her application to attend the event had not received a response, but when we contacted the Department of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, responsible for organising the event, we were told that prospective attendees were told they wouldn’t receive a response if unsuccessful, and the demand for registrations had been “overwhelming”:

“The number of enquiries exceeded 5,000 with the Town Hall having seating for 1,700. We appreciate that there are many disappointed people who are unable to attend the Sydney Town Hall for the event. Anyone who has not been allocated a seat is able to watch the Memorial Service on ABC-TV … Every effort has been made to return calls from the members of the public making enquiries.”

Feathers ruffled in the Birdcage. It isn’t the Melbourne Cup without a bit of controversy — both on and off the track — and this year the ongoing spat between The Australian‘s media editor Sharri Markson and other members of the media took centre stage. The Age‘s news director Mark Forbes tweeted yesterday that Markson had been kicked out of the Emirates Marquee in the Birdcage for “harassment”, and today CBD reports that it was because she repeatedly sought an interview with the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy. Markson returned fire on Twitter saying that the claim she had been thrown out was “completely untrue”. Crikey spoke to Markson this morning to get her side of the story (yes, we do that), and were told that she is seeking a correction from Fairfax on the story. Forbes said he stood by the tweet last night (and again this morning, citing further witnesses), but Markson has sought statements from both the cameraman that accompanied her yesterday and Emirates. Crikey has seen the statement from cameraman Eric George, which says “we left of our own volition when we decided to move on to the Lexus marquee. Any suggestion that we were asked to leave, or thrown out, is completely false”. We look forward to seeing Markson’s video of the day — she may even have video evidence on this one …

The Road to Moggill … The inconvenient LNP MP Dr Bruce Flegg last week put his hand up for a second time for LNP preselection for the seat of Moggill in the forthcoming Queensland election, which could be held as early as February. That’s Flegg’s own seat, from which the LNP executive dumped him earlier this year for secretly recording party discussions — or, if you believe other people, to make way for Premier Campbell Newman, who on current polling is in deep strife in his seat of Ashgrove. The Newman-for-Moggill idea didn’t take — Ashgrove was “where it all happens for me”, The Courier-Mail reported the Premier as saying, which could be read in different ways — and another doctor, Christian Rowan, stood as the sole candidate for preselection in Moggill. But Rowan was rejected by preselectors — the LNP remains the most democratic major party in the country, with a strong degree of local control over preselections. So the LNP is trying again, this time with Flegg being allowed to nominate, which he has done, as has Rowan. So what now? The LNP executive is going to undertake a review of the applicants prior to accepting nominations, by which process they could again give the flick to Flegg. But they haven’t met to do that yet. The problem is, dumping Flegg again doesn’t solve the problem that local preselectors don’t want Rowan. Some locals are wondering whether, given it’s now November, the LNP is cutting it a little fine to get a candidate in place to start campaigning for the seat for an election that could be only a few weeks into the new year.

One of these things is not like the other. Ideally a news headline should sum up the story underneath it, but unfortunately that seems too much to ask of The Daily Telegraph at times, with a tipster sending us this screenshot of an article that appeared on the website yesterday:

The problem is — none of the women have veiled faces — as the photo below the headline shows — and the procession was not about veils at all.

Pay up please at News. Our television screens and newspaper pages have been full of News Corp’s latest advertising campaign for both digital and print subscriptions to its mastheads, but one user isn’t happy at all, after receiving this message from iTunes:

“The price of your 1-month The Herald Sun subscription has increased from $7.49 to $23.99. This increase will only take effect in future subscription periods, and does not affect your current subscription. Auto-renewal of your subscription has been turned off. To turn auto-renewal back on at the higher price or choose a different subscription period, click below and sign in to your account. Go to iTunes. Regards, The iTunes Store team.”

We understand that under the new subscription model the higher price includes access to the website as well, but it’s still quite a jump. Last night Ms Tips also caught the Victorian version of the TV ad that features the Hun‘s columnists creepily waving at a reader on a train. Premier Denis Napthine was nowhere to be seen, unlike his NSW counterpart Mike Baird. Perhaps the Hun didn’t want to have to re-shoot the ad after the election.

No holiday for the union. We’ve already reported that the Melbourne Cup is not really the race that stops the nation, but spare a thought for workers at the MEAA who had to spend the day in professional development. A tipster told us:

“I tried to call the Media Entertainments and Arts Alliance (MEAA) to enquire about membership, but was greeted with a pleasant recorded message saying all the staff were in professional development. I thought that was a shame, because if this was true, they must have missed the horse race!”

Magnifying glass required. Staying with the Victorian election, one Crikey reader from the suburb of Ivanhoe sent us these photos of a flyer from the Victorian Liberal Party. They’ve been doing the rounds for a few weeks, but our tipster was amused that she couldn’t find the authorisation to tell her where they came from until she got out a magnifying glass:

Ms Tips struggled to read the authorisation as well, but our correspondent tells us that it was authorised by a D Mantach — that’s Damien Mantach, the Victorian state director of the Liberal Party. We spoke to the VEC and were told that there is no rules on the size of the typeface of an authorisation, just that it has to be there. Perhaps “legible” should be added to those guidelines.

Ms Tips on the money — as always. We were very glad to see that our pick in the Melbourne Cup — Protectionist — got over the line yesterday, and also pleased to see that Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce enjoyed the win:

We have had a few comments and emails complimenting us on the good pick, and suggest that anyone who made money on the back of our recommendation should shout us a drink sometime. Ms Tips always has her finger on the pulse, and if you have a tip (horse-related or not), let us know here.

And here, for those who ran the sweep, are the Kaspar Wowser Melbourne Cup results:

1. Horse Shot Ruins Our Fun

15. Clive James Interviewed About Poem About Dying

7. Legal Secretary Impregnated on Birdcage Lawn (we can only assume)

Wooden Spoon:

21. as always, George Brandis

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

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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