From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

O’Farrell moving on? “Bullshit.” What do you do after holding the top job in New South Wales? It’s the talk of the town in Sydney, with rumours swirling that former premier Barry O’Farrell will call it quits within the next few weeks. Former Labor premier Bob Carr was parachuted into the federal Senate, and today’s Daily Telegraph suggested O’Farrell might be doing the same. O’Farrell responded to the article on Twitter this morning, calling a move to the upper house “cruel and unusual punishment”.

O’Farrell hasn’t even officially announced that he’s moving on from politics, but callers to 2UE this morning suggested that he would be moving to the private sector — specifically to work for James Packer. If true, this would be an interesting move for O’Farrell, who was responsible for granting the licence for the Barangaroo casino development, which is set to rake in the cash for Packer. We called O’Farrell to ask about the rumours, and this is what he told us: “Media have run every form of rumour about my future.  None of it has been true. I have had no discussions about a switch to federal politics — nor any interest in it. The Packer/Crown rumour has previously been aired by media.  It is bullshit.”

Well that’s that, then.

Meade says she never applied. We know The Australian hates Fairfax and the ABC, but it seems the top of the Holt Street hit list is ex-employees of the Oz‘s media section. The paper, through its media pages, has rarely turned down the chance to have a dig at former media editor Nick Leys, who joined the ABC as chief spinner earlier this year, and now that she’s got another high-profile job writing about the media (for The Guardian), it seems long-serving Oz journo Amanda Meade is also fair game. But Meade has hit back, saying they need to check their facts over at her former employer.

According to the Oz, Meade had applied for Leys’ current job at the ABC, which means one can dismiss her entire Guardian column as ABC spinning. But the short brief was riddled with errors, including its statement that Leys “replaced” Meade as media diarist. But it wasn’t Leys at all who replaced Meade — it was Caroline Overington. But then again, it’s no wonder the Diary these days seems to have little sense of its own history. Meade’s specialty is described as “reporting the moanings and groanings of low-level ABC employees and sniping at News Corp”. Meade is the longest-serving media diarist, having run the column for a decade. Any specialty she has was developed during her 18 years at the Oz. But current editor Sharri Markson doesn’t appear to hold the section’s past in high regard.

When Crikey spoke to Meade this morning she was, well, rather unimpressed with the item, saying she had never applied for the ABC job. The item didn’t name Meade’s current employer (describing it merely as a “loss-making colonial outpost of a website” — oh, the irony). Further up in the column, the Diary has a go at Tele gossip scribe Annette Sharp for not supporting other women. Pot, kettle, you get the idea …

Quality or quantity from Bolt? Sometimes Ms Tips likes to marvel at the output of Australia’s most prolific blogger, Andrew Bolt. Between 6am and 9am this morning he uploaded no fewer than nine posts, including one that was no more than the flyer and booking details for the Liberal Democratic Party’s Victorian campaign launch (personal friendship with Tony Abbott aside, the Liberal Party clearly has to work for Bolt’s vote). Mind you, a tipster has reminded us the key to his output is his ability to readapt content. Bolt’s Herald Sun column today, for example, bears a striking similarity to his opening rant from his Channel Ten show yesterday, and touches on the tried-and-tested topic of an “out of control” ABC. Perhaps with Bolt spread so thinly, a bit of repetition is unavoidable …

And the winner is … We hear that the Adelaide Advertiser broke its own embargo a few weeks ago, publishing the winners of their Advertiser Food Awards a few days early. The error was picked up, printing presses were halted and the copy was removed — but only in time to stop some editions of the paper. We hear some winners of the awards were called and told that they were successful, but only because papers in regional South Australia already bore the news. The winners were officially announced last week, hopefully not disappointed by an announcement that was taken out of the oven too soon.

You heard it here first. In July we tipped  that Kate Warner could be Tasmania’s next governor after the death of the popular Peter Underwood. Well, Warner was announced as the new governor today, the 28th for the state and first woman to hold the role. We thought she could be a bit too radical for Premier Will Hodgman, but she will be sworn in on December 10.

Palmer’s numbers game. It was a busy weekend of campaigning in the Victorian election, with both the Liberal Party launch and the announcement of the Palmer United Party’s 19 candidates for the upper house. Protesters from Trades Hall picketed the entrance to the Liberal event in Ballarat, and while they didn’t get to see Premier Denis Napthine, who came in through the back door, they did take offence at the attendees who gave them the finger and called them dole bludgers — they were there on their day off. Better get a union onto that. While Palmer United leader Clive Palmer hoped that yesterday would be all about the 19 candidates on stage with him, it was really about Jacqui Lambie’s threat to block all legislation until the defence forces were offered a better pay deal. He told those present “she can’t split the party, the party is bigger than that. We hold the balance of power in Australia. One senator doesn’t make much difference either way.” Someone better talk to Palmer about how many senators are needed for the balance of power — perhaps Ricky Muir could help? Ms Tips also found the choice of song at the two events revealing — while the Liberals found their seats to the strains of Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, Palmer went for a John Williamson album, including True Blue. We wonder what the soundtrack for the whole election should be; you can send suggestions here.

Pollies’ correspondence. While we’ve been covering the election advertising in Victoria over the last few weeks, we’ve been told that flyers are already appearing in letterboxes in New South Wales, even though the election isn’t until next year. This one is authorised by Adam Kerslake, who is connected to the Stop the Sell Off campaign and GetUp — they’re getting in early. With elections coming up in both NSW and Queensland next year, we trust our tipsters are on the lookout.

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Peter Fray

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