A most curious ensemble. Whenever there’s political intrigue, The Daily Telegraph sends photographers to Kingston at dinnertime to pap who’s at the seven or eight restaurants that political types go to in Canberra.

That’s what the paper did on Wednesday night, with Craig Greenhill taking this curious picture, which appeared today on page 5. That’s Tony Abbott’s well-liked deputy chief of staff Andrew Hirst sitting opposite Bill Shorten, though obscured by ABC political journo Annabel Crabb, and the Tele’s Sam Maiden, papped by her own paper. Next to Shorten is Ryan Liddell, his top media adviser.

It’s a curious ensemble, but one that came together, Crikey is assured, entirely accidentally. Crabb and Maiden had organised a catch-up with Hirst at the East Hotel, perhaps curious as to his next move. Shorten and his staff, meanwhile, had been seeing off his deputy chief of staff Sarah Adams at the Ox Eatery next door. Seeing Crabb and Maiden, Shorten and his press sec briefly sat down to chat, when the Tele’s snapper happened to be walking past. — Myriam Robin

An earlier version of this brief had Hirst and Liddell confused in the picture — it’s been fixed. 

Will the real Bill Shorten please stand up? Speaking of political intrigue, innocent or otherwise, David Marr’s latest Quarterly Essay on Bill Shorten, called Faction Man, will be released on Monday. Reviewers and political journos have been sent the embargoed copy, and will no doubt have stories on it in Monday’s papers. Bill Shorten is appearing alone on Q&A on Monday night, perhaps hoping to talk about how awful the Liberals are with their bloody spills and the like, but it’ll also be a chance to question him on whatever dirt Marr has dug up. — Myriam Robin

Good riddance. Bauer yesterday announced that it will next month print the last ever issue of Zoo Weekly on October 12, citing “tough retail conditions in the men’s market”.

For those who keep an eye on circulation figures the news isn’t really surprising. Last year, Fusion Strategy media analyst Steve Allen described its numbers as “terminal”. Bauer removed Zoo from circulation audits in May. In the previous audit it sold only 24,000 copies, a figure that, if the rate of decline continued, is now likely far lower. In May, Coles stopped selling the magazine after a change.org petition implored it to do so.

Bauer first launched Zoo in the UK in 2004 as a trashier, raunchier rival to IPC Media’s Nuts, which launched at the same time. Nuts’ last issue was published in April last year after heavy circulation declines, leading many to question whether the genre still had life in it. Zoo was expanded to Australia in 2006, with founding editor Paul Merrill, who’d also set up Zoo in the UK (he wrote a  fascinating tell-all book about the experience). Earlier this year, the magazine used the word “Anzac” without permission, and even earlier, it was successfully sued by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young after photoshopping her face onto a lingerie model’s body. Controversy has always been a key part of the Zoo market positioning. But more than 10 years after it launched, it appears outrage is no longer enough to move copies, at least not in Australia. The original Zoo in the UK survives — it was one of few magazines to post a circulation rise earlier this year.

The Australian reports Zoo Australia’s five staff are in discussions about redeployment or redundancy. The Oz also notes it’s far from the first magazine Bauer has closed in recent times. — Myriam Robin

Dutton hearts the Tele. Yesterday in the House of Reps, Immigration Minister (for now) Peter Dutton:

“I was flicking through my Daily Tele this morning — as all good Australians should! — I read a great story by Daniel Meers about the CFMEU’s anti-China campaign hypocrisy.”

Meanwhile in the upper house, Labor Senator Glenn Sterle was rather unhappy about the same story:

“I am quite proud to say that I never read The Daily Telegraph; however, today I have because something was brought to my attention.”

In case it wasn’t obvious. On that interview this morning, Lenore Taylor in The Guardian writes that Ray Hadley’s rage at losing influence was palpable as he grilled Scott Morrison. Note this (italics ours):

“Morrison said he had not spoken to Abbott since shaking his hand after the ballot on Monday. Never fear, Hadley could inform him that “someone close to Abbott” thought Morrison had “blotted his copybook”, with all the self confidence of a head prefect delivering the headmaster’s admonishing of a school boy. A few minutes later he told a listener the comment had come from Abbott himself.”

MD ahoy. So, here it is. The promised job ad for the managing director gig at the ABC was on page 8 of the Fin today. Applications close in a month.