From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
G20 Watch. Today is a public holiday in Brisbane in honour of the G20 — not that locals would notice, as tipsters have told Crikey that the city has been a ghost town all week. Although there seem to be very few locals in town, there are masses of security forces. One tipster said he knew they were out-of-towners because “they’re really friendly”. But spare a thought for those keeping our leaders safe, as some have been taken down by an enemy that’s hard to fight. Queensland Health released this statement this morning:
“Queensland Health has received reports of between 10 and 15 police officers who are experiencing gastroenteritis symptoms. It is not uncommon for reports of gastroenteritis when there are large gatherings of people, like that in Brisbane this week. Queensland Health is investigating and is working closely with Queensland Police Service to limit the spread of the illness and to locate its source.”
While world leaders continue to arrive in the city, these locals have made a satirical welcome video and others are using it to their punning advantage:
Others are not so keen on the arrivals, with the brains behind “Not now, not ever”, the musical version of Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech, coming up with this “2014 Brisbane G20 complaints choir”. The video goes for seven minutes, so we understand they have quite a few complaints — we like “bring our bins back”.
Transport service Uber is using the occasion to offer users a free motorcade, or “ubercade”, service over the weekend, but the app warns users:
“The Ubercade is designed to let you Ride Like a President, not rush to an important meeting. If you need to travel from A to B, please book uberX.”
If you hear some G20 goss over the weekend, let us know.
Boyd gives it both barrels. The country’s most influential business columnist, Tony Boyd, author of The AFR’s prestigious Chanticleer column, does not often cop to a mistake — in this case, believing a trusted contact who outright lied to him on Wednesday about the imminent retirement of Westpac chief Gail Kelly, telling him she would stay on another year. Boyd knows that industry backwards and clearly had an accurate tip-off to the Kelly announcement, only to be hosed down by an unnamed “senior executive working as a consultant”. Boyd’s must-read response at the tail of today’s column is remorseless: he gives the source both barrels. We’ve heard whispers the trusted source was Westpac’s former head of retail banking Peter Hanlon, now in an advisory role with the bank and central to the bank’s response to David Murray Financial System Inquiry. Westpac declined to comment this morning. To be fair, Boyd’s hot tip put Hanlon in a bind: Kelly’s retirement was clearly market sensitive — Westpac shares dropped 1.4% on the announcement yesterday, wiping $1.4 billion off the bank’s value — but there are ways to deal with these things. According to Boyd, the source did not exactly admit to lying, saying instead he had been “economical with the truth”. The source also fell back on the ole “it’s my job”. But excuses aside, journalists don’t take kindly to being lied to. Lessons learned all round.
Movember is growing. We’re nearing the halfway point of the month of November, which means that participants of Movember should be starting to see more than just dark fuzz above their upper lips. Ms Tips is very pleased to see three of our elected representatives taking part in the effort to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. Labor’s Graham Perrett, the Nationals’ Darren Chester and Liberal John Alexander make up the “mo-alition” of MPs growing mos this year, and they are doing a very good job so far. While Perrett and Alexander are making good progress, Chester is definitely in the lead so far:
While we think it’s great, spare a thought for Chester’s teenage daughter, whose year 12 graduation is this month — we wonder if those family photos will conveniently be placed at the back of a cupboard? If you want to donate to their fundraiser, you can here. Seen a good mo on a pollie this Movember? Send pics here.
Cull at Pacific Magazines. As another round of bad magazine results come out (see Media Briefs), the axe has already fallen at Seven West’s Pacific Magazines, where several executives have been made redundant this morning. The Australian has reported 14 executive roles will be axed, and Crikey understands one of those on the way out is Miriam Condon, the director of planning and strategy. When Nick Chan was CEO of the magazine empire, Condon was his right-hand woman, a magazine insider told Crikey this morning. But Chan was replaced by Peter Zavecz late last year. We also hear a number of senior sales staff have gone too.
Crikey! Sorry… There are many words we say in regular conversation that we don’t always realise the origins of, as one Crikey scribe found out this morning. On calling the head office of the Rise Up Australia Party and saying where he was from, our intrepid reporter was told that we should change the name of our website because it was blasphemous. While Ms Tips thinks that’s a good reason to keep the name, it did get us wondering how “crikey” could be a problem. Apparently it was a euphemism for “Christ” in the mid-19th century. While it is unfortunate that our moniker could cause offence to some, we can assure readers we won’t be changing our name to “wow” any time soon.