From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

G20 Watch. US President Barack Obama’s address at the University of Queensland was the hottest ticket in town over the weekend in Brisbane — and we hear that it was pretty hot all round in the capital of the Sunshine State. According to a tipster at the University of Queensland, staff were sent an email by Vice-Chancellor Peter Hoj last week telling them not to try bargaining for access to the address, as tickets were tightly managed, and not in the university’s control.

Also at the actual G20 conference, we had a bit of a giggle at this tweet from a member of the press in Brisbane. It has been reported that many visiting dignitaries and journalists complained about Australia’s slow internet speeds while visiting, but perhaps Russian President Vladimir Putin and his team decided to stay off the official G20 wi-fi altogether. Either the someone else at the summit has named his or her phone “Vladimir Putin’s iPhone” or the President himself allows people to tether their internet connections from his iPhone. We wonder if his password is “shirtfront” — we hear it’s good security to choose a foreign word:


The Queensland sun seems to have been too much for Attorney-General George Brandis, who was greeting dignitaries on the tarmac as they arrived. While his sunburnt bald patch probably needs some aloe vera right now, Ms Tips thinks that it could actually provide an opportunity for Brandis. This week is National Skin Cancer Action Week — perhaps Brandis could become the face (or forehead) of what happens when you don’t wear sunscreen.

Victorian election watch. Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party launched its campaign in Melbourne yesterday, and it was a big one. Trevor Dance, the party spokesman in Victoria, gave a speech at the Clarendon Ballroom of the Langham Hotel in Melbourne’s swanky Southbank before introducing his larger-than-life leader to the stage. The band played Tracy Chapman’s Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution as the candidates linked hands and cheered for Clive. Palmer spoke and held a press conference that betrayed his real priorities — talking about Clive. He let the candidates introduce themselves and then took his own questions. The press began with questions on why Jacqui Lambie was missing after she was said to be coming to Victoria to help with the campaign (Clive said she might yet turn up during the course of the campaign). It flowed on to more federal questions on whether Palmer would be present for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech to Parliament and continued in that mode. The candidates barely said a word and had to stand in the background looking excited as they listened to the press ignore them and focus on the party’s problems. Add to that only a couple of the 19 candidates have a chance and have two weeks to gain support in a region of 400,000 voters and well, they get points for enthusiasm.

In other important Victorian politics news, the Labor Party has committed to deregulate the wearing of hot pants. In an interview with Get Cereal’s Murphy, Archie, Tigs & Tom on community station SYN 90.7, Labor’s Martin Foley made the promise on Friday in this exchange:

Jessica Farchione: “In Victoria it is illegal to wear hot pink pants after midday Friday?”

Martin Foley:  “False.”

Jessica Farchione:  “That’s correct — it’s actually midday Sunday. That is a law in Victoria.”

Tom Keele:  “Can we get a Labor government commitment? I want my hot pink hot pants on a Sunday afternoon.”

Foley:  “I think we need to deregulate the use of hot pink hot pants. I’m prepared to make that commitment.”

Glad we’ve got that sorted out — Ms Tips’ vote was hanging on it.

I am my own inspiration. It’s common practice among Gen Y social media users to share images of inspirational quotes on Instagram (because there are too many baby boomers on Facebook these days), and it seems that Labor’s Anthony Albanese’s office has a few young-uns in the ranks, as they served up this offering on Facebook this morning. They didn’t quite get it right, though — most people don’t share their own quotes, but inspiration from others. At least it’s not from The West Wing

Miss India Australia? Not quite. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak in front of a huge crowd at Sydney’s Allphones Arena today, with the speech beamed back to India. The event has been advertised as being hosted by Rashi Kapoor, the winner of the Miss India Australia competition in 2013. Trouble is, the Miss India Australia Corporation Australia released this statement this morning saying that Kapoor was not the winner of Miss India Australia last year, but rather of Miss India Melbourne. Does Miss India Melbourne have her kohl-lined eye on Australia-wide domination?

No women please, we’re in Canberra. It’s no secret that coverage of women’s sport is fairly dire in Australia (and pretty much everywhere), but one disappointed tipster has told us that in the nation’s capital it doesn’t even make sense to do so:

“ABC TV News Canberra has an odd habit of covering the A-League (in which there is no Canberra team) before it covers the W-League and the WNBL (in which there are successful Canberra teams). They did it again on Saturday night. The ABC puts a lot of effort into covering both the WNBL and the W-League, but for some reason ABC News doesn’t give it as much emphasis as they should. In terms of interviews and news reports, the commercial media in Canberra supports the Capitals and Canberra United a lot more than the ABC.”

Our tipster thinks it would be more interesting to Canberrans to cover the teams that actually represent the city, but it seems even the public broadcaster is contributing to the lack of attention on women’s sport.

We’re better than this. This campaign appeared over the weekend, featuring many famous faces in a bid to release children from Immigration detention — we’re not sure who is behind the group, but will be interested to see if it goes viral and has the intended effect.

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

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Peter Fray
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