From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Adelaide Uni merging with Uni SA? In Adelaide it is a long-running rumour that the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia will merge, making some kind of mega uni (University of Adelaide, South Australia perhaps?). A tipster tells us that tongues are wagging in the city of churches again, after the state government bought the Reid Building at UniSA to provide another high school for the area. The merger has been spoken about publicly, with the vice-chancellor of the university of Adelaide not keen on the merger:

“The much discussed (and failed under previous UniSA VC) merger between University of Adelaide and UniSA is back on the agenda! Sale of the UniSA Ried Bld to SA Premier fulfils his election promise of a new Adl High School in the Frome rd precinct and seals a very close relationship between him and the new young UniSA VC, who has just been appointed to 2022, more than enough time to take this long standing and obvious action thru to fruition, given word is current VC of Uni of Adelaide is jumping ship at the end of this year.”

A spokespoerson for UniSA told us “there are no discussions taking place, and it’s not even on the agenda,” while a spokesperson for the University of Adelaide said:  “A merger is not back on the agenda. The Premier and officials of the three South Australian universities recently met and resolved to explore better coordination of their research commercialisation and other ways of contributing to economic recovery.”

Like Melbourne’s train line to the airport, this one just doesn’t go away.

Not too serious allegations now. Today Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that Speaker Bronwyn Bishop was “on probation” after the scandal involving her chartered flight to a Liberal fundraiser in Geelong last year, saying he was “unhappy” about it. It’s not the strongest language the PM could use, as shown by a transcript of his doorstop about then-speaker Peter Slipper in 2012. Coincidentally (or maybe not), the transcript has disappeared from the Liberals’ website, but nothing is truly gone from the internet:

“Mr Slipper is the Speaker of the Parliament. Mr Slipper occupies a very, very important office. He is the guardian of the standards of the Parliament, the protector of the reputation of the Parliament and now there are these extremely serious allegations against him and that’s why the only proper way forward is for the Speaker to step aside while these allegations are being dealt with. If he doesn’t do so voluntarily, the Prime Minister should indicate that she will require him to step aside until these matters are resolved.”

A little different from today’s script.

ABC management and morale. The puff piece in the Fairfax papers yesterday on the wave of powerful women at the ABC has ruffled more than a few feathers at the public broadcaster from other staffers wondering how they also could enjoy the same working conditions as the well-known faces and voices in the piece.

The story was published in Sunday Life yesterday and written by Erin O’Dwyer, who has previously created radio documentaries for the ABC. A tipster says:

“How nauseating to read that Mark Scott and Kate Torney regularly call Leigh Sales to see if there is anything they can do to make life easier. This in an organisation that puts up so many roadblocks in helping women return to work after maternity leave. This article is a very distorted view of a few chosen ones who dare to comment given they enjoy huge salaries — can afford nannies — and are feted at every turn. Remember the vast bulk of staff in the news division earn a fraction what these women do”

Former ABC broadcaster Whitney Fitzsimmons also questioned the piece on Twitter:

One insider told Crikey the piece was “so galling for people who’ve been through a load of shit” and that HR was often viewed as insensitive to the needs of employees.

Nothing Goes for Jones. It’s been announced this morning that broadcaster Alan Jones won’t be a part of the Sydney run of Opera Australia’s Anything Goes after all (he had already pulled out of the Brisbane and Melbourne seasons of the show). Jones was announced with great fanfare last year, but the press release said that Jones had “too many commitments”. His departure will be sure to put a dent in ticket sales. Jones was replaced in Brisbane and Melbourne by Gerry Connolly, who has received positive reviews as Captain of the SS American. One attendee at the show tells us that Connolly “camps it up” and in one slapstick scene includes a close encounter with a young male purser.

Let them eat cake. A Greens solar event at NSW Parliament this morning featured these cupcakes — which really do make the idea of renewables much more appealing. Perhaps if we put wind turbines on cakes Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott would find them less of an eyesore?

*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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