From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Out and about. A tipster spotted the king of talkback getting in touch with other royalty far from home last week:

“We went to see the Queen, or at least Kristin Scott-Thomas as the Queen in The Audience at the Apollo in London Wednesday last week.  We were seated at the end of the row quite near the door when the attractive usher was greeted warmly by an unseen person and then in walked Alan Jones.  Solo, a few rows ahead in the centre of the stalls.  We could only guess that he’d come to take notes about how to interview his Prime Minister … anyway, it obviously did not do it for him as he did not return after the interval.”

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Show us your sources. A tipster told us when he contacted his local MP, Darren Chester, about delays to the launch of the NBN satellites, which he had heard were due to the contract for the satellites being cancelled by the government (a rumour that has Buckley’s and none of being true), he got this reply, asking for his source to be revealed:

And these are the people we are supposed to trust with our metadata.

World is fukt. To thank their business reporting teams for a week of solid effort, the companies and markets editors of the Fin and Business Day have arranged for a serve of Greek food and booze (though no retsina) to be served to their reporters on Friday. But, they caution, they may change it to Chinese food, presumably if China’s markets continue their fall. In Ms Tips’ opinion, they should have both.

A name sticks. It’s over a year since the Australian Vaccination Network was forced to change its name to the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, but we hear the misleading name hasn’t completely disappeared. The anti-vaxxer network used the acronym AVN before the name change, and we hear it’s still being used. A source tells us that representatives of the group still refer to themselves as the AVN, and the website is still avn.org.au. The name was changed after complaints that it was misleading, but it looks like the group hasn’t quite let go of that legacy.

Like one of your French girls. Bruno Jean Grasswill’s portrait of actor Michael Caton was announced as the winner of the Packing Room Prize this morning as part of this year’s Archibald Prize. Straight to the pool room, we say (and so did everyone else with a good sense of humour). The portrait pipped the many entries featuring politicians, including the two this year of independent Senator Jacqui Lambie. It’s already been reported that Lambie had told one artist that she wanted to be portrayed wearing a ballgown and holding a gun, which fits nicely into the narrative we have of Lambie — as Junkee wrote “this makes total sense. This is the same woman who just made a joke about the Greens being the same as ISIS.” Lambie has released a statement trying to clear up the confusion, but left us right where we started:

“When Phillip first approached me — I suggested (tongue in cheek) that he paint me in a Ball gown while I held a M60 machine gun. It was around the time the media was poking fun at me and calling me Lambo — however amongst the chuckles and exaggeration, there was a serious message I was thinking of. I wanted to highlight the important role that women in uniform have played in Australian life — especially those in the ADF. I wanted to show a woman’s resilience, strength and versatility. I know many ex-service women who, like myself — have been trained to fire a M60 machine gun (I’m probably the only Senator who was trained to drive a tank) and fight for our nation — while at the same time we can be mothers. And when its time to glam up — I can put on a ball gown — and hob-nob with the best of them!”

So many words about nothing. If you’re sick of the media talking about itself, stop reading now.

Yesterday at the Trade Union Royal Commission, where Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was grilled about payments made to his campaign staffers in 2007, some news outlets found a Twitter joke between journos worthy of news, calling banter about the seating arrangements a “spat”. BuzzFeed reporter Mark Di Stefano was assigned a seat in front of 7.30‘s Leigh Sales — quelle horreur! — after which she tweeted a photo of a note on Di Stefano’s back “I’m from Buzzfeed, here are ten reasons why I suck”. Good Twitter joke, should have stayed there. Unfortunately the Daily Mail and news.com.au thought this was worth a full story, with news.com.au referring to Di Stefano as a “reporter” in scare quotes. At this point, when too many words had already been dedicated to a friendly joke, the Guardian popped up with its recap of “events”, credited to a Guardian “reporter”. Crikey has no wish to pour any more oil on this silly, silly fire, but we will note various newsroom sources have confirmed to Crikey that The Guardian’s piece was written by Paul Farrell, whose reputation as a serious journalist of course now lies in tatters. Let us never speak of this again.

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

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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