From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Just another day in paradise … We received this from a tipster yesterday and hoped against all odds that it could be true: “Got it from someone at Hotel Hotel in Canberra that Clive Palmer stays there under the pseudonym ‘Phil Collins’. Bizarre.”

We thought that perhaps Palmer could be more of a true colours man, but turns out he really is true blue. In a bid to find both sides of the story we realised it’s actually not so bizarre, just an interesting coincidence — Phil Collins is the name of Palmer’s chief of staff. We’re not sure if anyone called Roxanne also regularly stays there, but we’ll let you know. Hotel Hotel is pretty fancy — does Palmer lie there in fields of gold? While Palmer probably no longer thinks that every little thing Jacqui Lambie does is magic, we do hope Ms Tips will be in your heart the next time you hear something that sounds equally as interesting. While we do try to be watching, every step you take, every move you make, it’s not always possible, so if there’s something in the air tonight you know where to find us.

Abbott’s foggy memory. Having abjured the shirt-front, what methods was Prime Minister Tony Abbott going to employ to convince Russian kleptocrat Vladimir Putin of his arguments in relation to MH17? Not logic or evidence, it seems. A spokeswoman for Abbott is reported as saying “the Prime Minister observed that when the United States had inadvertently shot down a civilian aircraft it had duly apologised and made appropriate restitution”.

Well if he did observe that, Putin would have been forgiven for wondering what sort of fool Abbott was taking him for. When the US Navy shot down Iran Air 655 in 1988, murdering all 290 passengers on board including over 60 children, the US government refused to apologise. Indeed, then-vice-president George H. W. Bush, later president, boasted about not apologising, saying, “I will never apologise for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are … I’m not an apologise-for-America kind of guy.” The best the Iranians ever got was an expression of “deep regret”, but the US refused to acknowledge legal liability and didn’t offer any compensation for eight years — despite the fact that the US admitted the ship that shot the airliner out of the sky, the Vincennes, was well inside Iranian territorial waters. In 1990, the captain of the Vincennes was awarded the Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer” for his service during the period when the plane was shot down. Is that the example Abbott seriously thinks Putin should adopt?

 Jobs for mates? Not quite. This from a tipster with an eye on Sydney’s legal types:

“Sydney’s legal scene has been surprised by two recent judicial appointments by NSW Liberal Attorney General Brad Hazzard. He recently appointed former Labor Attorney General John Hatzistergos as a judge of the District Court, then trumped that this week by re-appointing Judge Greg Keating (and brother of Paul) as President of the Workers Compensation Commission. To appoint former political foes to plum judicial roles, while not unheard of, is most unusual. Apparently Hazzard’s decisions have infuriated his Cabinet colleagues, but as the appointments are solely for the AG, there is little that they can do, especially with Hazzard retiring at the next election. Hazzard’s motivations are unknown, but the well-known antipathy between him and other senior Liberals is reportedly a factor.”

Our tipster seems to take it as fact that Hazzard is resigning at the next election, but Ms Tips understands that this is still speculation — Hazzard hasn’t announced an intention to retire, although many in NSW politics are whispering about the possibility. We’ll be watching movements in the NSW Liberal party with interest.

G20 watch. The conference is only days away now, and while some Brisbanites are getting in the spirit, others are not going to roll out the welcome mat for the world’s leaders. We wonder if the free yoga classes will help some of the most powerful people in the world unravel the knots of the global economy:

Another tipster pointed us towards a press release from the Newman government from last month, where the promise of yarn-bombed dinosaurs is spruiked enthusiastically:

 

Our tipster hasn’t seen the Knot-o-saurus family yet (their pun, not ours) — so if you do, send us a pic. It’s not all yoga and dinosaurs, though, as with most cities that host international events, we have also heard reports of people sleeping rough being herded off the streets:

Courting Tex? It’s becoming a musical election this year in Victoria, with Tex Perkins throwing his hat in the ring for the seat of Albert Park in a bid to save the historic Palais Theatre. After Helen Razer’s piece yesterday on the importance of preferences in the seat, which Labor’s Martin Foley holds by 0.9%, we received this tip last night:

“Earlier when walking along the Esplanade in St Kilda, I saw Tex Perkins, Martin Foley and I presume a couple of their minders having a friendly drink and chat, and appearing to be on very good terms.Watching this situation with bated breath.”

We asked Foley whether the meeting happened and were told, “I could neither confirm or deny any such chance meeting”. Foley said he was on the Esplanade yesterday, as the St Kilda Football Club’s players were having photos taken outside Luna Park. We emailed Perkins but didn’t hear back before deadline. Like our tipster, we’ll be watching preferences in this seat very closely.

Won’t somebody think of the puppies? The Shooters and Fishers Party’s Victorian branch is using buffalo meat to entice voters, but Ms Tips thinks they should maybe work on their plating-up skills before relying on pictures like this for votes:

 

Meanwhile, Victorian Labor is now using puppies to try to get votes, attacking the Napthine government’s inaction on puppy farms. Perhaps they realised that while it’s easy to say no to Daniel Andrews’ face, it’s hard to ignore this one:

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

Peter Fray

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