From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

All in the family. Georgina Downer, daughter of former foreign minister and now High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Alexander Downer, has been popping up in our newspapers and on out TV screens a bit lately. Downer is a long-time acquaintance of Crikey, going back to when she was awarded the Chevening scholarship in 2005. Downer Jr graced the front page of The Australian last month when she was elected to the Victorian Liberal Party’s administrative committee. The article included plaudits from federal MPs saying that she had a bright political career ahead of her. Downer is making all the right moves, appearing on The Bolt Report recently, where we hear she will be a semi-regular guest. But which seat would she run for? Watch this space.

Who’s the wreath recycler? A caller to 3AW this morning asked if a “prominent politician” had attended an Anzac Day dawn service to lay a wreath, but then asked for it back as he was on his way to another ceremony. Sounds like the caller knows something we don’t. If you know the identity of the politician, we’d love it if you could fill us in.

Sinodinos pitches for new gig. Viewers of Q&A could be forgiven for thinking they were watching the late news instead of the panel show last night, as Arthur Sinodinos alerted the panel that he had a “scoop”. After a question about whether Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull should have gotten involved in the sacking of SBS sports reporter Scott McIntyre, Sinodinos tried his best David Speers impression to tell us that he had spoken to Turnbull not long before appearing on the show. The scoop? That Turnbull had told SBS managing director Michael Ebeid about McIntyre’s tweets, and the brewing controversy, but had not asked for him to be sacked. Well knock us down with a feather, what insider info. Except that had been public knowledge since Crikey published this story at midday yesterday. You’ll have to pick up the phone faster than that to out-scoop us next time, Arthur.

Standing for mercy. Vigils for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be held around the country tonight, as the men face their last hours before being executed. Sydneysiders will gather at Martin Place from 6pm and the Brisbane vigil will take place at Kind George Square also at 6pm. In Perth, supporters will gather at Wesley Church at 7pm for prayer and meditation and in Adelaide supporters will congregate at the Art Gallery of South Australia. In Melbourne St Ignatius Church in Richmond will hold a vigil from 8pm, that will go “into the early hours of the morning” and in the Bendigo branch of Amnesty International will meet at Rosalind Park from 5.30pm.

Sorry for visiting. A tipster has pointed out that the website of the National Sorry Day Committee has disappeared and now directs to a site for the My Reputation Repair company. The National Sorry Day Committee’s phone number is also disconnected. We called the reputation management company to ask if it had taken over the site and were told the company knew nothing about it. We’ve tried contacting the committee through Facebook but to no avail. Does it still exist? If you know, you can fill us in here.

On the force? Crikey contributor Shakira Hussein was shocked to find where she ended up on Friday — according to Facebook at least. Hussein tells us that while she was at an appointment and didn’t have her phone, she was checked in at “Australian Federal Police”. The equivalent of a bum dial but for Facebook? Or was an AFP employee having a look around her account and accidentally left a digital trail?


Access denied. A Greens staffer tweeted yesterday that she was denied access to Kevin Rudd’s website while working on a computer at ParliamentHhouse. The reason given? “weapons”. We hear from an insider that while the free wi-fi available at Parliament House blocks very little (although one source told Ms Tips he was prevented from googling Minecraft-related topics — strictly work-related of course), the PCs that are part of the wired network have different restrictions. We hope the staffer found her K Rudd fix elsewhere.

Here’s one I prepared earlier. Residents of Melbourne suburb Point Cook are making waves this morning by starting a petition to secede from Australia. The Herald Sun is reporting that an online petition has 200 signatures and that the group has already come up with their own flag (it features a Southern Cross, if that gives you any indication of the people behind it). Ms Tips recommends that the residents of Point Cook seek advice  from Prince Leonard of the Principality of Hutt River. Hutt River is 595 kilometres north of Perth, and has considered itself its own sovereign nation since 1970. According to its website, the Principality of Hutt River celebrated its 45th anniversary this weekend (conveniently at the same time as Western Australians enjoyed a long weekend).  While the Point Cookians are talking to Prince Leonard, they could maybe help him out with his website — it looks like it could use a bit of a makeover.

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Peter Fray

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