From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Tattle tale mandarins. The recent crackdown on the dress code at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection seems to have led to dobbing at the highest levels:

“In Belconnen the other day, a senior executive of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which has a strictly enforced new dress code (no onesies), took issue with how an employee of the neighbouring Australian Bureau of Statistics was dressed. The DIBP executive saw the ABS employee in a coffee shop near both offices, and contacted the ABS to dob the person in for being unacceptably attired. The ABS stood by its staff member and told the DIBP executive to mind their own business.”

Ruff justice. Our newest security agency, the Australian Border Force, is working on its softer side, after the botched Operation Fortitude. According to tender documents, ABF is spending $14,877.50 on “2000 plush ABF detetor [sic] dogs”. A spokesperson told Fairfax that the toys were a standard item, mostly used as “corporate gifts” for families who train Customs dogs before they go into service. The tender documents show the contract has gone to a Melbourne company, and its website features a photo of previous Customs plush toys as part of its advertising:

Climate schmimate. The Tasmanian branch of the Liberal Party held its conference this weekend, at which Prime Minister Tony Abbott praised Tasmania and promised $16 million to go towards Tasmanian job creation. The conference also passed a motion encouraging the federal government to focus on adapting to climate change “should it occur”, instead of policies to reduce carbon emissions. Dr John Reid moved the motion, calling climate change “a huge international hysteria”:

“What it really is, is green propaganda but it seems to have caught on with everyone, it feeds into people’s preconceptions of capitalist greed and about humans wrecking the planet, but there is no scientific basis for it.

“Just because scientists say doesn’t mean it’s true. You need to have evidence and there is no evidence.”

What evidence is he waiting for?

Brandis, patron of the arts. A tipster saw the Minister for Arts (that he likes) attending the Brisbane Festival this weekend:

“On Saturday night we attended the opening night of the Brisbane Festival. It was the superb ‘Coup Fatal’ in the QPAC Playhouse. Upstairs awaiting door opening we looked down at the great and the powerful as they entered. Entering together in studied nonchalance were two unaccompanied gentlemen, George Brandis and Philip Bacon (Deputy chair of the Festival and a great Qld arts benefactor). We wondered how much Philip has persuaded George to put into next year’s Brisbane Festival.”

Chris Kenny’s dam past. While Ms Tips misses The Australian‘s “Ten Questions” feature in the media section, its replacement — Media Watch Watch with Chris Kenny — does provide some interesting insight into the right-wing commentator. Apparently he was once quite the environmental activist:

“Long before meeting [Bob] Brown, I admired him. As a trainee park ranger I drove a little green four-wheel drive replete with ‘No Dams’ stickers. True confession; but I digress.”

WA Today hoping for Malcolm? A tipster tells us that the most popular articles on WA Today, Fairfax’s West Australian wing, on Saturday included two articles that are almost six years old. The most popular article ran with the headline “Abbott quits as new leadership revolt escalates”, and the third most popular was also “Abbott quits as new leadership revolt escalates”. While the average reader who spent a day away from the news might have clicked in shock, both were actually links to pieces from 2009, when Malcolm Turnbull faced frontbench resignations over his climate change policy. A Twitter search shows that one of the pieces has been trending on the site off and on for almost two weeks. What could be behind the nostalgia resurgence?

Don’t reply all. A caller to 6PR last week reports that a Western Australian government minister has been “boasting about his manhood”. “The caller had been forwarded an email that was sent to a lot of people in the government featuring the brag. Who could it be? Drop us a line if you know, or forward us the email.

Pick your moment. Ansell Condoms decided to use the occasion of Father’s Day for some err … creative advertising yesterday.

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

Peter Fray

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