From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Secret gamergate pollie. Gamergate began in August 2014 as a movement targeting women — such as Anita Sarkeesian, and video game developers Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu — in the gaming community who were raising concerns about sexism in video game culture. But those who are part of the movement have argued its main mission is to criticise ethical standards in video game journalism, particularly the relationships between developers and journalists who write about them.

Given the divisive nature of the topic, it is understandable that very few politicians like to associate themselves with gamergate. It is interesting, then, that a member of gamergate has posted on Reddit that a member of the Victorian Parliament will be attending an upcoming gamergate meeting in Melbourne, but will not say publicly who that member is. The poster says the politician fears being “dog-piled by the anti[-gamergate] crowd”.

Who could it be?

Young Labor factions still at war. Late last month Ms Tips reported on a fallout in the Right faction of Young Labor. The party’s conference was scheduled to be held last weekend but was indefinitely delayed due to brewing preselection battles for the next federal election.

The delay was said to have locked in the presidency of Australian Workers Union organiser Shannon Threlfall-Clarke, before a transition to ShortCons-backed Jesse Overton-Skinner. There appears to have been a further split, with National Union of Workers’ Josh Gilligan last week announcing his intention to run for the presidency.

It is understood that Gilligan did a deal with the shoppies’ union and locked out the ShortCons, as Ms Tips previously warned was on the cards if factional bickering continued.

They want your metadata but can’t handle Excel. The Attorney-General’s Department continues to shine in the inquiry into its mishandling of a letter sent by Man Haron Monis, the killer in the Lindt Cafe siege late last year, to Attorney-General George Brandis just before the siege took place. It turns out that the department failed to send to the Senate committee not one, but five of the letters Monis had sent to the attorneys-general of the day since 2010 because they were all hidden in a second tab in an Excel spreadsheet.

The department was also said to be “ducking for cover” in failing to correct the record four days after it realised that Monis had sent letters to the government in the past.

If the department is so bad at finding just five letters, are these really the people we want responsible for forcing Australian telecommunications companies to keep all our metadata?

Marriage Alliance has strong Liberal ally. Anti-gay marriage group the Marriage Alliance’s website officially launched overnight without much fanfare. It mounts much of the same arguments against same-sex marriage that others like the Australian Christian Lobby have mounted. One thing we didn’t pick up on yesterday was that the organisation’s spokesperson, Sophie York, has strong ties to the Liberal Party. According to her promotional leaflet, York’s book was launched 10 years ago by then-Howard government minister Tony Abbott, and she also boasts of her ties with John Alexander and Paul Fletcher, among other Liberals.

Paul Sheehan describes York as a “vortex of energy” (which doesn’t sound like a good thing … ) so she might have some powers we don’t yet know about.

Transparency in government? Media attending the Technology in Government summit in Canberra today were informed that they could attend, but would be expected to leave the room when four of the speakers make their presentations, at the speakers’ request. The speakers are the Queensland government chief information officer, Andrew Mills, a Google executive, the head of security for the chief technology officer in the UK, and a secretary within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. We assume that he is prevented from speaking about on-technology matters.

The practice of banning media from some events isn’t unheard of, and there have been previous incidents with government conferences where media have been ejected from the room for certain speakers, but why so much secrecy for a government conference?

No dames at Diggers and Dealers. It is great to see the mining industry living up to its sexist reputation at the “colourful” Diggers and Dealers mining company conference this week in Kalgoorlie, where “skimpy barmaids” are apparently “part of the experience“, not to mention strippers and sex workers. A check of the program this year shows there’s not a single female speaker at the conference out of over 50 speakers addressing the gathering.

From memory, that’s actually down on previous years, when a couple of female executives have braved the topless barmaids and drinking contests for which the event is renowned. We wonder if the Minerals Council’s stall at the event will have any flyers for its “gender diversity in mining” campaign, and we don’t mean for waitresses and bartenders.

Looking for an intolerant partner? If you only date people who shun gluten and want a dinner date that doesn’t involve pasta, Gluten-free Singles might be your salvation.

Peter Fray

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