From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

An uncharitable Christmas. It’s not going to be a merry Christmas for many in the charity and not-for-profit sector, according to a tipster who received an email from the Australian Council of Social Services telling those in the sector that they were likely to find out their funding futures on Christmas Eve:

“The whole sector for the whole country has been in limbo for several months, with promised dates for renewal of grants (it used to be called funding, but in yet another Orwellian play on words we now have to call it grants). Current funding has been extended twice, but we are now told that we will be notified on 24th December. We knew the news was going to be bad ($3.9 billion applications as opposed to a budget of around $800 million), but it is obvious from the notification date that many, many organisations are going to be either defunded or have their funding completely cut out.”

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In the email ACOSS says:

“With just four working days left until the official holidays commence, ACOSS is acutely aware of the extreme impact that the untenable funding uncertainty from Department of Social Services is having on our sector. I am writing to update you on ACOSS’ work to secure funding certainty and what we know. Advice today to ACOSS from the Department of Social Service confirms that, while the detail of individual agreements is still to be determined, the Department intends to notify applicants of the outcome of their DSS applications by 24 December.”

We’ll be keeping an eye on this one in the new year.

Monis — a long-term menace. While government agencies will be spending a lot of time working out how Man Haron Monis was free to commit Monday’s Sydney siege, we have been alerted to this blog post from 2007, from Austrolabe, which our tipster says was one of the most well-read Muslim blogs in the country at the time. The blog shows that the Muslim community had cast off Monis many years ago:

“The author of the Sheikh Haron site is obviously not a religious scholar, and has designed it to perpetrate a fraud and cast a cloud over the Muslim community. He has intruded, in a most obscene manner, into the private grief of parents who have lost their son, and he has embarrassed the gullible editors of the New Limited website.”

The first comment on the post appears to be by Monis, giving a disturbing insight into how he thought of himself.

Christmas Party Watch. In the final edition of Christmas Party Watch for 2014, we bring you news from our friends at The Guardian, who celebrated the festivities in Sydney over the weekend. Luckily for the colonialists, their editor Alan Rusbridger was in Australia for the occasion, and we hear he generously shouted everyone a round before disappearing. We also hear that Rusbridger donned a pink cowboy hat in the photobooth at the venue, and that karaoke was where many reporters ended their evening.

Movement is healthy. After yesterday’s tip on the exodus from the Department of Immigration, we received this extra information from another tipster:

“I read your tip ‘Movement out of Immigration’ with interest but one thing was definitely missing, the fact that both Deputy Secretaries Southern and Cormack are going to the Department of Health, where Ms Cosson also went, which is headed up by former Immigration Secretary Martin Bowles. Three immigration deputy secretaries following their former boss to health? Indicative of which leadership environment they prefer! The department will soon experience a knowledge void if this pace continues … “

Any interesting movements in your department? You can let us know here.

Can anybody find me … somebody to counsel? There are reports today that Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews is struggling to find couples willing to use his relationship counselling vouchers — who could have seen that coming? We are definitely not surprised. A helpful press release that landed in Ms Tips’ inbox this week told us that Christmas is a common time for relationship breakdowns, so perhaps they will see a spike in demand over the next month. If you want to get your special someone a thoughtful gift for Christmas (to go along with their Crikey subscription, of course), click here.

Not our Crook! Like many politics watchers, we are both baffled and amused by the headline “Clive Palmer media adviser Andrew Crook detained in Brisbane over alleged kidnap of National Australia Bank executive”. It already seems worthy of a movie, but it has lead to some confusion:

It appears ABC News Intern was under the impression former Crikey scribe Andrew Crook had left Crikey to go work for Palmer. As the intern remarked, after making that leap, it’s only plausible Crook would then be involved in a kidnapping. As he was informed this morning, the Crooks are different, and Crikey‘s Crook hasn’t been a part of any kidnapping plans … that we know of. He gave us this statement:

“It was with utter dismay that on my way to pick up my dry cleaning in the East Village I was assaulted by hundreds of false and defamatory Twitter notifications alleging my role in a bizarre Australian kidnapping plot. I categorically deny any connection whatsoever to this heinous act allegedly carried out by my namesake, with whom I have never met and have no association. Also, what’s the weather like there?”

Meanwhile, we wish the headline writers of Australia a Merry Christmas. We’re sure they’ll be very merry indeed.

Ships pass in the night. We hear from a Sydney based tipster that cruise ships are causing trouble in Sydney:

“I heard last night, as I watched a large cruise ship leave the harbour, that due to some reason or other these ships are now spending their nights beside Balmain somewhere. At that mooring they are not provided with any electricity connections, and so their generators run all night, much to the annoyance of locals on shore!”

We put that to the Sydney Ports Authority, and were told that the tip isn’t quite as salacious as it first seemed. The White Bay terminal has been open since last year, and we’re told that while cruise ships do sometimes dock there overnight, it isn’t a regular occurrence. The Ports Authority was quite surprised by the tip, saying the noise wasn’t enough to keep people awake at night. Maybe the residents of Balmain aren’t used to disturbances. Must be tough.

Planes to nowhere? Qantas announced yesterday that it would be starting services to Whyalla in South Australia. Whyalla? We hear you ask, didn’t that get wiped out with the carbon tax and revived by Craig Emerson in song? Don’t worry, Emmo has already made the joke.

Haiku competition. Yesterday’s wonderful effort by Crikey‘s Paul Millar to describe the year in haiku seems to have attracted the ire of Australia’s political haiku community (yes, there is one). This feedback was found in the Facebook group “Tony Abbott Haiku Centre”:

“Haiku was once cool
Until Crikey’s Paul Millar
Gone stole the idea.”

“Don’t be hating on
him. He just wants to join us
In Haiku we trust.”

“unsure how to feel
one the one hand, haiku good
but fucking crikey”

Merry Christmas, tipsters. And with that, we finish the last Tips and Rumours for the year, and what a great year it was. Thank you very much for all your great tip-offs and feedback over the last year, looking forward to hearing from you all again in a few weeks.

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

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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