From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Think of the mothers. It’s budget-selling season for the government, with the Prime Minister and the Treasurer plastered across our newspapers, televisions, and social media streams until we’re dreaming “have a go”. But according to one tipster, Hockey and Abbott still have to convince their own party about some of the measures:

“I was standing in the coffee queue at Aussies this morning and I heard a person behind me expressing disappointment in the budget — particularly because it hit stay-at-home mums and families. The man in question said (and I quote) he was ‘so disappointed’ because there was ‘nothing in this for stay-at-home mums’. I looked down at his pass and saw it was a senior ministerial staffer. Not surprising he’s disappointed, given the budget kicks stay-at-home mums out of the childcare system and slashes Family Tax Benefit B.”

With friends like these, who needs an opposition?

We also hear that part of the budget sales job is about emphasising just who is responsible for sweeteners like the tax cut for small business. A tipster tells us that a lobbyist was asked to specifically mention Joe Hockey’s name when discussing the budget — sounds like he’s making sure no one else (*cough Scott Morrison*) gets all the good press.

We’re on each other’s team. It’s the political trend that just keeps on going. Senator Glenn Lazarus has decided to start his own party, and naturally it has his name in it. The Glenn Lazarus Team is going to “do the hard yards for Queensland” and its logo is in the shape of a football — in Queensland’s state of origin colours.

We are sad he didn’t go with “The Brick with Eyes and Friends”. Maybe next time. Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer hasn’t reacted too well to the news at all, saying in a press release “Glenn Lazarus will be the solitary figure who plays solitaire in his office all day long”.

Speaking of Palmer, he told reporters yesterday that he’s got plans to stop the senators elected on his ticket from leaving his party after Lazarus and Jacqui Lambie parted ways with him less than a third of the way into their terms. Apparently he wont be finding candidates on the internet anymore. Palmer held a lunch for supporters and media at Canberra’s Hyatt Hotel yesterday, where he gave his thoughts about the budget. But not too many thoughts, as he told reporters he hadn’t had time to read any of it yet. Palmer told the gathered audience, as they dined on “natural grass-fed eye fillet, Boulanger potato, broccolini and tomato buree noisette” that “we’re all on struggle street together”. This is Palmer who reassured us all just two months ago that he will get by on $30 million to $40 million a year. Palmer’s JFK-love shone through as he told everyone “I want you to all go home tonight and think about what you can do for Australia”.

Shaw out. ABC staff are gobsmacked at the sacking of the organisation’s events and marketing manager, Lynne Shaw, who has worked at the national broadcaster for 14 years.

In a short email dated May 7, Shaw said:

“Today Leisa Bacon let me know that my services are no longer required at the ABC.

“You know me well enough to understand that I don’t want a send off …

“For some of us it’s been 14 years. For others of us, not so long. What I do know is that it’s the people who make the job worthwhile. That and extraordinary content with which to work, and I’ve been blessed to have both.”

Her email was sent to more than 40 people inside and outside the ABC, including the head of ABC TV, Richard Finlayson and the head of ABC1, Brendan Dahill. Staff said she had just organised the ABC side of the Logies and last Thursday found a HR person in her office when she came into work. As well as events, Shaw’s worked in PR at the ABC, having been acting communications manager for ABC TV as recently as last year.

Leisa Bacon is the ABC’s director of audience and marketing, who was appointed in March 2014. Her previous post was marketing manager for Campbell’s Arnotts (flogging Tim Tams).

A very fascinating person. Last week, The Athens Voice published a piece claiming that that the wife of recently sidelined Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (yes the Australian one), Danae Stratou, was the loaded Greek sculpture student who’d inspired Pulp’s 1995 hit Common People (you all remember: “She came from Greece she had a thirst for knowledge/ She studied sculpture at Saint Martin’s College/ That’s where I/ Caught her eye). Varoufakis was asked about the possibility by the BBC, and responded thus:

“Well, I wouldn’t have known her back then. But I do know that she was the only Greek student of sculpture at St Martin’s College at that time. And, from personal experience, she is a very fascinating person.”

Well, there you have it. Ms Tips has been listening to the Willian Shatner cover all morning.

Tightening belts. We’re in the last two months of the financial year, which for some businesses can mean a concerning look at the bottom line. A tipster from Monash Health says things are tight at the hospital, where in an email to all staff with the subject “consumables and prosthetics”, they were told to watch what they order:

“Whilst there are currently many positive outcomes at Monash Health, unfortunately on a year to date basis we are behind budget.   This is impacting our stated intention of investing more on Equipment, IT and Infrastructure.   Our target was to invest $15m in capital.

“In addition to the existing budget shortfall, we know June is always a challenging month from an expenditure perspective and it is important we maintain our focus. To this end we are asking that discipline is maintained when ordering consumables and prosthetics.

“Please note that, in instances where it is deemed that expenditure has been brought forward, we will treat the purchases as stock and expense those items in 2015/2016. Cost centre purchase requisitioning levels are being monitored by management on a weekly basis and where excessive ordering occurs the authority to approve will be removed or amended.

“Once again, thank you for working towards our common goal of making Monash Health a sustainable financial organisation.”

Killing puppies. The big news this morning is that Barnaby Joyce is threatening to destroy Johnny Depp’s dogs. What does the Agriculture Minister have against the actor’s pooches, we hear you ask? Depp, who is in Australia filming the umpteenth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (yes there are still more movies to be made about a theme park ride), brought his two Yorkshire terriers (Boo and Pistol) into the country without fulfilling the proper quarantine practices. Barnaby has threatened Depp that he has 50 hours to take the dogs out of the country or they could be put down. To his credit, the minister says the rules have to apply to everyone — even those who have been voted the world’s sexiest man twice. One website has started a countdown to the dogs’ (possible) demise.

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

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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