From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Druery and Richardson settle. The Victorian election results have officially been declared, with a total of four minor parties, as well as the Greens, holding the balance of power in the upper house. The Greens gained a record five seats, while the Shooters and Fishers Party got two, and one each to the Sex Party, the Democratic Labour Party and Vote 1 Local Jobs. For those of you who have been following Crikey‘s coverage of the election, you will know that a fine bottle of red wine was wagered by preference whisperer Glenn Druery that minor parties would come up trumps after contributor Charles Richardson doubted it. Druery got in touch directly after the election, ready to collect, but Richardson told us to wait until the official announcement. And like clockwork, we received this from Druery overnight:

“Dear Crikey,

re: a fine bottle of red.

I have a proposal for you. Your contributor Mr Charles Richardson recently acknowledged his responsibility  to honour a bet of a bottle of red that would sit well on Barry’s table. This is based on at least four minor parties being elected in Victoria. Thank you, Charles …

I propose this: … Once I have the ‘fine red’ in my hands I will ask all FIVE (5) of the new Victorian Cross-Benchers to sign the red and then you wonderful  people at Crikey might consider running an auction with the $$ proceeds going to Camp Quality.

Such would be my ‘preference’.”

While Ms Tips was quite looking forward to the idea of Druery and Richardson sharing a bottle of wine — the quality of psephological analysis would be quite the treat — this does seem like an offer we can’t refuse. We relayed the offer to Richardson, who was also amenable to the idea. Richardson said Druery had won the bet fair and square, but he was less complimentary about the voting system that allows these deals to have such power. He tells us the bottle will most likely be a nice Victorian red, probably from his local Rathdowne Cellars. Druery is keen on a red from the Rutherglen region, because one of his favourite Victorian bike rides is from Rutherglen to Bright. So watch this space, because early in the new year we’ll have a nice bottle of red on offer, with autographs from Victoria’s balance-of-power MLCs.

Climate denialism for Christmas. What do you buy for the climate denier in your life? A canoe for when sea levels rise? Or a broad-brimmed hat for the scorching days? Ms Tips has found the perfect gift; you can thank us later. Just in time for the festive season, friends of freedom at the IPA have released Climate Change: The Facts, edited by Alan Moran. Featuring a whole section on what they call “Climategate”, it includes chapters by Ian Plimer, Christopher Monckton, Patrick J Michaels and respected climate scientist Andrew Bolt. At $24.95, it’s sounds like a great way to prop up any wonky tables.

Christmas Party Watch. We’ve been hearing quite a few stories about Christmas parties across the country, from Fairfax’s Melbourne party, which was held at hipster bar Thousand Pound Bend, to the Australian Antartic Division, which celebrates Christmas at the South Pole and relies on a ship as well as a sled for festive supplies. Closer to home, we hear from one corporate caterer that corporate spend is well down — people are nickel-and-diming and asking for cheaper menus. We also hear that all Christmas parties that were planned in Sydney on Monday and Tuesday were cancelled because of the seige. We’re not surprised, we didn’t feel like celebrating either. If you’ve got some party goss, we’d love to hear from you. Costumes, karaoke, cocktails, drop us a line.

Stranger than fiction. With websites such as The Onion and The Shovel publishing parody that hits a little bit too close to home, we almost feel a bit sorry for News Corp columnist Miranda Devine, who yesterday told Media Watch host Paul Barry that the Twitter account @boltcomments was a parody account. Unfortunately for Devine (or for society, depending on your view), the account actually tweets real comments from Andrew Bolt’s blog — which are moderated before they are published.

Christmas in Canberra. Ms Tips visited Santa at her local department store yesterday, and asked him to please place many juicy tips and rumours under the tree this year. While all he could offer at the time was that yesterday was a day full of crying babies, we’re sure he’ll deliver on the day. It got us wondering what gifts our elected represenatives would be asking for, and if they had been naughty or nice this year. We’re sure that at the top of Bill Shorten’s list is a new pile of fresh zingers, as well as a Liberal leadership spill. Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be asking for some good polls and a Senate that lets his bills through, but we’re not sure if Santa is the right white-haired portly man to be asking for that. George Brandis has asked for metadata, but he had a bit of trouble explaining exactly what he did and didn’t want to retain in his letter. While we’re sure Joe Hockey doesn’t care what we buy, as long as we spend up big, and we think his colleague Julie Bishop would just like some of her foreign aid budget restored. Do you have any ideas of what to get our pollies for Christmas? If you think you can help Ms Tips with her Christmas wish list, send tips here, or stay anonymous.

Serial set to song. For our readers who are counting down the days until the last episode of Serial, the podcast-lovers’ version of Christmas, this song, set to the series intro song.

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

Peter Fray

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