From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Budgeting on a Friday night. What do the cool kids do on a Friday night in Melbourne? Head to the State Library to hear about the the key economic issues facing Australia from the secretary of Treasury John Fraser, of course. Friday’s conversation, hosted by the Grattan Institute, was the first time Fraser spoke about the budget, eschewing the traditional Australian Business Economists’ annual post-budget lunch, where in previous years the Treasury secretary has been interrogated by the country’s senior economists. Fraser labelled the intergenerational report, released earlier this year, as “the Treasurer’s document”, and also took a stab at economists who had suggested that the government should borrow now, while interest rates were low, and invest in infrastructure. “I have been worried a little bit about people talking, well because interest rates are low, we should be borrowing to billy-oh to throw it in infrastructure projects. Peter Harris at the Productivity Commission came out with a very good report where he said the last thing we want is a honey pot for these infrastructure projects.” We’re sure Fraser was aware that The Age‘s Peter Martin, who wrote just that earlier this year, was sitting right in front of him in the audience.

Hear ye, hear ye. A tipster pointed out to us that the Facebook page for the Labor Herald has gone live, even though the website itself won’t be launched until July. The Labor Herald will be a subscription news website, run by the ALP and marketed by its founders as “Labor’s own Crikey“. So far, the page has some swish graphics, and its videos are getting a decent number of views. The only problem is, most of them are vintage footage from the vaults. Bob Hawke making jokes about the media, Paul Keating’s insults in question time and the “It’s Time” campaign. But videos of Labor leader Bill Shorten are hard to find — maybe he’s just not newsworthy at the moment?

Australia Post hacked? Late last month, Australia Post’s SecurePay and DirectOne payment systems for electricity bills crashed for a week, with computer servers going into meltdown. At the time, Australia Post said the troubles were due to a security upgrade, but a tipster tells us that the cause of the crash was more sinister:

“AustraliaPost’s SecurePay platform was brought down by hackers that had demanded $1m not to do so. When post refused, they made good on their threat.”

We asked Australia Post if the outage was caused by hackers, and what that would mean for customers, and were told by a spokesperson, “This rumour is completely untrue — we were not hacked. We take security very seriously and have taken the opportunity to upgrade the security of our systems.”

Abbott respects bodies. In one online version of this piece, an errant apostrophe made it appear that the Prime Minister had been ogling Australian Medical Association President Brian Owler. The error didn’t appear in print in either The Age or the SMH.

Double dipping. While the phrase “double dipping” is unlikely to be heard coming from the lips of the Prime Minister or Treasurer any time soon, they definitely can’t get away from the damage done by painting new mums as rorters. Especially as the term “double dipping” wasn’t just part of the rhetoric, but also the official language in last week’s budget. By Ms Tips count, the term appeared five times in the budget papers, so it won’t be forgotten quickly.

Greener pastures. Followers of the ABC Careers Twitter account were surprised this morning to see the following tweets that seem to be screenshots from a computer game. We are wondering if someone’s child got hold of an iPhone and got tweeting, or if there are just no jobs at Aunty to advertise?

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

Peter Fray

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