From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Liberal lady problems. Victorians continue to be bombarded with election advertising, and many houses across Melbourne received a glossy flyer from the Liberal party yesterday, with no less than 12 photos of Premier Denis Napthine. For those playing at home, the world “Liberal” could only be seen once, and the authorisation appeared in tiny light blue print on the back page. If you’re a long-term follower of Crikey‘s coverage of election propaganda, you will be interested to know that some Melburnians received said flyer in an official looking envelope with a form to fill out for postal votes. As we wrote last year, this is a sneaky (but legal) way for political parties to get your personal details. But what makes this particular flyer one to take notice of is this image:

The smiling coalition team of Louise Asher, Denis Napthine, Peter Ryan, Mary Wooldridge, Michael O’Brien, David Davis and Matthew Guy look like they are having a great time, so the photo must have been taken before they saw their polling numbers. Our eagle-eyed tipster got in touch to ask if Louise Asher had in fact been photoshopped into the meeting — she does seem to be sitting awkwardly behind the Premier, and to not have a seat like everyone else. We put the question to the Liberal party, but did not hear back before deadline.

Palmer still has no candidates. As we hit deadline, Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer is wrapping up his press conference launching the party’s Victorian election campaign. As well as calling News Corp reporter Chip Le Grand “Rupert” when avoiding his questions, the party still has not announced a single candidate for the poll which is less than a month away — he told candidates he wouldn’t make the announcement today otherwise “none of you would come back”. In July, Palmer said candidates would be running in all seats, last month a party spokesperson told Crikey the party would focus on the upper house and today’s release promises candidates in all eight Legislative Council regions, but doesn’t tell us who or how many. It does manage to mention the ANZAC centenary though — which he has a habit of working into recent announcements.

From Labor to coal. Interesting to see where ex-Labor flacks land. Indian power giant Adani, pushing to open up Queensland’s vast Galilee Basin coal province, has stepped up its lobbying effort in Australia by hiring the experienced Andrew Porter — former press secretary to prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, and until quite recently Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Adani has been in the news lately, having recently won federal approval for its Carmichael mine in the Galilee, a $10 billion integrated mine, rail and port development to mine some 11 billion tonnes of thermal coal, shipping from an expanded Abbott Point, right near the Barrier Reef. Porter was freelancing until June, when he penned this thoughtful piece for The Guardian. Have you noticed any former government staffers pop up somewhere interesting in the last year? Let us know, you can always remain anonymous if you wish.

A library with no books. We hear from a tipster who recently tried to send the latest edition of an academic journal to the Department of the Environment Library, that it had, in fact, closed. According to our tipster this will be a blow to some journals, for whom the library is a regular customer of their print editions, and he also mused, “Perhaps Wikipedia is going to replace the Environment Department’s library?”. We put the call in to the department to get the lowdown, and at first we were told that this wasn’t much of a story — but our contacts in environmental research hadn’t heard of it. They told us that the library had closed some months ago, after a review which started three to four years ago:

“The Department is making responsible decisions about distribution of the collection in consultation with business areas, the National Archives of Australia, the National Library of Australia and other government libraries. Unique items of value will remain accessible to government staff, researchers and other bodies and will be properly catalogued, managed and stored. Library material that should be properly managed as Commonwealth records will be treated as such with retention and disposal approved by National Archives.”

Maybe this is one of the Environment Department’s measures to save a few trees?

Ivy League learns new tricks. University is a time of learning, exploring and broadening your academic horizons. But at Harvard University in the US, a lecture as part of the annual Sex Week initiative is raising a few eyebrows. “What What in the Butt: Anal Sex 101” took place yesterday, and promised to “dispel myths about anal sex and give you insight into why people do it and how to do it well”. According to US website The College Fix, the week is coordinated by Sexual Health Education & Advocacy throughout Harvard College, and they quoted one student who predictably thought some of the events were “downright vulgar”. If you’re feeling a sense of deja vu, it’s because Melbourne University faced almost the exact same controversy almost three years ago. The student union’s Rad Sex and Consent Week featured an anal fisting demonstration, which shocked Liberal students and conservative media, with a splash in the Sunday Herald Sun. As someone dryly observed to Ms Tips — “someone call Neil Mitchell”.

Waiting for Whitlam. While much of the reporting of Gough Whitlam’s memorial properly focused on the beautiful oration and the liveliness of the crowd, we received a few reviews from people outside the venue:

“We who were standing outside Sydney Town Hall booing the current Prime Minister were those who had not been able to get an invitation or ticket or permit from his Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. We were the rejects, the outcasts. We had no obligation to conform. The image I took away was Peta Credlin standing on the front steps of Sydney Town Hall, moments from the start of the State Memorial Service, shouting into her phone, commanding the waves of Sydney traffic to part so that the Prime Minister could make it to the event on time.”

And from another attendee:

“As mentioned on Wednesday, the so called ‘organisation’ (presumably by protocol people in PM&C) for non-dignitaries attending the Whitlam memorial service at Sydney Town Hall was a shambles. Different stories were told to different people at various stages and it seems that a ballot may have been used to allocate seats to the lucky few of the 5000 or so who applied and registered. Others were told after registering that it was on a first-come first-served basis. Poor organisation for the faithful flock spoilt what was otherwise a wonderful tribute to a great man. (The applause for Keating and Gillard was spontaneous and heartfelt, as was the booing of Abbott and Howard. Ex-Liberal Fraser was greeted with muted respect.)”

Glad to see the rage maintained.

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

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW