From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Chaser and Chris Kenny make love, not war. In what may be the television event of the year, Chris Kenny, of Sky News and canine court case fame, will appear on The Chaser’s Media Circus on the ABC tonight. While Kenny and the Chaser have a fraught history, they seem to have been able to put it all behind them for the sake of television. Ms Tips spoke to the Chaser’s Julian Morrow this morning to find out how last night’s taping went, and we are assured that we’re in for some “pretty good TV”. Morrow said it was an “unusual recording”, as “the elephant wasn’t the only animal in the room that everyone had in mind”. Morrow paid credit to Kenny’s performance, saying “with the way he handled it, he was more than willing to go there” and said that Kenny had made one of the best jokes of the show late in the episode. While Kenny jested on Twitter last night that he would injunct the episode, we understand that no lawyers had been called this morning. According to Morrow, they approached Kenny through Sky News’ chief Angelos Frangopoulos, and “he came back and said ‘it’s not a no’, and we fumbled our way from there”.

AFP not following Indi ‘expats’? A crowd of Indi denizens and country folk of all ages descended on Cinema Nova last night to watch the Melbourne premiere of Indi: The Road to Canberra, the fly-on-the-wall documentary about how rural independent Cathy McGowan toppled Liberal heavyweight Sophie Mirabella at last year’s federal election. McGowan’s campaign has been somewhat marred by allegations in The Australian that some of her votes and the brains behind the campaign were not actually living in the electorate, but city-slickers looking to oust the unpopular Mirabella. Hedley Thomas reported last month that the AFP was investigating possible voter fraud, but we hear from a tipster that none of the supposed “Indi expats” have been contacted by the AFP:

“The young Indi expats and older country folk were a welcome break from the cinema’s usual hipster crowd, with more rural accents and McGowan relatives than you could swing a cat at. Unlike most gatherings of politically minded people in inner Melbourne, there wasn’t booing or calls of ‘shame!’ when Sophie Mirabella made an on-screen appearance (although there were some stifled giggling when her infamous words ‘The people of Indi aren’t interested in politics’ flashed across the screen). Interestingly, if you looked closely at the crowd, one would have spotted a certain Sophie Fuchsen — the young woman who The Australian prosecuted in their coverage of the AEC and AFP investigation into alleged voter fraud in Indi. Disappointingly, no AFP officers swept in to the cinema to arrest her, and word on the street is that she hasn’t been contacted by authorities at all. Storm in a teacup, perhaps?”

Revenge served cold. Eyebrows were raised in the offices of Radio National on Monday as The Sydney Morning Herald published an opinion piece by Louise Evans, ex manager at Radio National and former managing editor of The Australian, in which she blasted the culture at RN, saying:

“They didn’t have a 9-5 mentality. They had a 10-3 mentality. They planned their work day around their afternoon yoga class. They wore thongs and shorts to work, occasionally had a snooze on the couch after lunch and popped out to Paddy’s Market to buy fresh produce for dinner before going home.”

Since then Andrew Ford has rebutted the piece in The Monthly. But the whispers continue, with several insiders getting in touch with Crikey to express their outrage that the “revenge” piece was published without making clear that Evans’ time at Radio National was brief and generally unhappy. Evans was unceremoniously shafted from the job after six months (or as the staff email put  it, “decided she [did] not want to continue in the manager role”) and moved onto a consulting role at News Radio, which she also held relatively briefly. One insider told Crikey that it was acknowledged by management that Evans was a terrible fit for the manager role, and wouldn’t be able to execute the change she was there for. Before her appointment, she’d only worked in print. On Monday, ABC managing director Mark Scott described Evans’ tenure at the ABC thus: “she was there for a short time, not a happy time”. Ouch.

Wyatt has a crush. Everyone seems to be a fan of Julie Bishop at the moment, with glowing features, photo shoots and many articles about emojis. But none more so than Wyatt Roy, if the young Liberal MP’s Facebook page is anything to go by. Roy is quite the social media whiz kid, and a tipster noticed that earlier this week he had posted four times in a row about J-Bish’s visit to Caboolture over the weekend, with many photos of them together, one which he made his cover photo.

Brace yourselves. We ran a tip on Monday that touted Gareth Harvey to replace Mark Llewellyn as executive producer of Channel Seven’s Sunday Night, after Llewellyn was boned over a “punch up” with reporter Paul Waterhouse and wondered how on earth such an incident could have happened. We hear from an insider that Waterhouse was pitching a story at the time and what has been reported all over the media as a “punch up” wasn’t like that at all — it was an unprovoked attack. We’re still not sure what was said that turned the exchange physical, but our tipster says “Maybe Llewellyn’s teeth were sore because he recently got braces?”

Stock policies. The Victorian ALP released its environmental policies late yesterday afternoon, with so little fanfare one could be forgiven for thinking they were trying to hide the lack of substance there. One tipster found the promise to “restart the industry and support thousands of jobs by reducing the dwelling buffer zone for wind projects from 2km to 1km and opening the doors for community wind farms in the Macedon Ranges” sounded a little hollow, as it sat next to this fake-looking picture of a wind farm.

A quick search shows the image is from a gallery of stock images online. Is it really that hard to find a picture of actual wind turbines in Victoria?

Catwalks of power continued. Politicians are continuing to wear outfits designed by local designers as part of a push to support local businesses, and today we feature this effort by Labor’s Richard Marles. Pollies will be hoping they’ve packed more than one locally sourced outfit this week, as we hear the venture is being militantly pushed by Labor MP Julie Owens. One tipster has also pointed out that the Shop Small initiative isn’t quite as small and unassuming as it makes out to be — it’s an advertising ploy by American Express to get customers to use their cards in small businesses. Now the only trick is to find a small business that will actually accept an Amex.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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