From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

#Unjust #Whenyoubreakthelaw. American anti-choice campaigner Troy Newman, who was due to address Right To Life conferences around Australia and whose visa has been cancelled, has managed to land at Melbourne airport this morning — but it looks like he won’t be given a platform for his extremist views. In a Facebook post overnight, Newman said “through a chain of events the Lord has allowed me to get on a plane in spite of many objections by the airlines and Australia”.

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Newman’s flight landed this morning, but Dr Katrina Haller from Right to Life Australia told Crikey he was stuck at the airport. Tweets from his supporters said that Newman would have a visa hearing this morning, but that has not been confirmed by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. One of his supporters tweeted later this morning that it appeared Newman would be deported, labelling it “a sad day for civil liberties, free speech and human rights in Australia”. He now seems to be in detention, awaiting deportation.

Right To Life did return further calls about whether Newman was being deported this morning, and comment was sought from the Immigration Minister’s office. In a statement to the ABC’s James Glenday, a spokesperson for Minister Peter Dutton said that Newman had filed an injunction in the Federal Court against the government preventing his entry to Australia. That will be heard today.

Dr Sky Muster: or how Turnbull learned to stop worrying and love the NBN satellites. Congratulations to NBN on the successful launch of the first of its two $600 million satellites this morning. The “Sky Muster” satellite is expected to provide broadband services of up to 25Mbps download speeds to the hundreds of thousands of Australians in places far remote for the fixed-line or 4G options.

The government is no doubt patting itself on the back today for a job well done, but Labor is popping the champagne, too. It was, after all, the satellite Labor planned for, and it was panned by the opposition communications spokesman at the time — one Malcolm Turnbull. When the satellites were first announced in 2012, Turnbull claimed that the needs of the NBN satellite service could be met by existing private satellite providers.

“Don’t buy yourself a Camry, a Falcon — buy yourself a Rolls-Royce, a Bentley. Nothing but the best will do, nothing but the most expensive will do,” Turnbull said at the time. “There is enough capacity on private satellites already in orbit or scheduled for launch for the NBN to deliver broadband to the 200,000 or so premises in remote Australia without building its own.”

But times have changed, and as part of an agile government, Turnbull has now embraced the Conrovian satellites. It helped that the satellite company he once proposed to use instead — Newsat — is now in administration. Turnbull at the time said that Newsat was “presumably pretty capable”.

While Sky Muster, named by a seven-year-old girl, is a pretty good name, for several years it was floated that the two satellites could be called the Kevin and the Julia. Ms Tips was hoping they could be the Tony and the Malcolm.

Joe Hockey’s seat up for grabs. While former PM Tony Abbott seems to be doing just as many talkback radio interviews as when he was in the job, former treasurer Joe Hockey has been silent, not heard from since he announced that he would be quitting Parliament completely. While there are rumours he will land a plum diplomatic role, the whispers have started over which Liberals have their eye on the seat of North Sydney, which has been in Liberal hands since Federation, with the exception of two terms. One name that has been suggested to Ms Tips is Margaret Cunneen SC, the prosecutor who was cleared by ICAC earlier this year after allegations she had perverted the course of justice. We hear that Cunneen has been courted by both sides of politics in NSW over the years, and that if she were to go into politics, she’d want a senior role. Hockey, as leader of the wets, would have a big say in who succeeds him in the seat, but locals might not be so keen on the idea of parachuting an outsider in. Know more? Drop us a line.

Domestic strife? While there has been much attention paid to Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop’s partner (or boyfriend, if you prefer) David Panton, a tipster tells us that he was seen in public with Bishop before last year’s Melbourne Cup, stepping out with her at the Telethon Ball in Perth in late October last year. He wasn’t identified as more than a friend at that stage, but just a week later the cat was out of the bag. We wonder if Panton will accompany Bishop to the AFL grand final this weekend. Bishop is a mad West Coast Eagles supporter, while Panton is based in Melbourne — let’s hope he’s not a Hawks supporter.

Winning the break-up. In radio land, long-standing 2DayFM newsreader Geoff Field, who worked for 18 years at the network including six years on the Kyle and Jackie O show (before something of a falling out with the hosts), says he’s glad he no longer works there “after not even getting a call from some management at SCA after 18 years of loyal service to wish me luck”. Field was sacked last month to make way for Emma Freedman to take over the afternoon news bulletins across the country, in a move that ruffled feathers. The veteran newsreader posted on Facebook yesterday that he’s enjoying being unemployed for the first time since he left school — he’s now on holiday in Greece.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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