From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Deus ex machina. If yesterday’s report in the AFR’s Rear Window is anything to go by, the Victorian Liberals may struggle to preselect more women to high-profile, winnable seats for the next election, after the IPA’s James Paterson won Michael Ronaldson’s place in the Senate. According to that report, Michael Kroger-backed Liberal blueblood Georgina Downer’s campaign for the seat of Goldstein isn’t going so well, with local numbers swelling behind Denis Dragovic (that would also leave Tim Wilson out of a job). Before Goldstein was vacated by Andrew Robb, it was thought that Downer had her eye on the seat of Menzies, which former defence minister Kevin Andrews is holding onto like a preschooler who doesn’t know when his turn is over. It has already been suggested that the government could offer the role of ambassador to the Holy See to Andrews or his fellow hanger-on Tony Abbott, but Ms Tips hears that the role is being deliberately left unfilled in case Downer doesn’t win Goldstein to keep a carrot for deeply religious Andrews. We’ll watch this space.

Business Council of Australia looking out for its own. As foreshadowed last week, the Business Council of Australia yesterday released yet another tax policy. And no prizes for guessing what it proposed: lower corporate taxes! That’s despite the benefits of lower company tax flowing almost entirely to foreign companies and shareholders (courtesy of our dividend imputation system) and the dearth of any sound evidence from anywhere in the world that lower tax rates result in higher investment or growth, unless you become a tax haven. But given the BCA has a strong representation of some of the world’s biggest multinationals, it’s hardly surprising its focus is on cutting the already minimal levels of tax paid by foreign companies. And if you’re thinking the BCA sounds like a broken record, you’re right — this is the ninth time since 2014 that the BCA has demanded a tax cut for its members. Presumably what is an increasingly discredited lobby group — slammed even by its own allies in the Liberal Party — thinks that the way to success is to endlessly repeat what has failed in the past. All power to them.

Fairfax app issues. Users of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald iPad apps have been experiencing technical issues for almost two weeks now, making it impossible for some to read the newspapers to which they subscribe. A tipster tells us that the problem relates to the mastheads’ having dual apps — one has a blue icon and supports both the digital newspaper and the iPad edition of the news, and the other has a black-and-white icon, which is a digital replica of the print paper. The second version is becoming increasingly unsupported. Says our tipster:

“The old print-centric app has therefore been left to languish without updates. Indeed, the Fairfax technical team has no easy way to update it at all since the final update was pushed out in October last year. This issue came to a head on March 1 2016, when digital newspaper replicas stopped working altogether for a large proportion of customers. This affected all users across website and iPad apps.

The Fairfax technical team was able to fix the issue for the web-centric (blue) app and for their website, but not for the print-centric (white/black) apps for the SMH and Age. A large proportion of users have been locked out altogether when using those.

The software glitch will likely never be fixed due to the internal difficulties in updating the legacy apps. Those apps simply will not work at all for a significant proportion of users going forward.”

We asked Fairfax what was the go with the apps, and a spokesperson said:

“The digital replica of the SMH and The Age print editions experienced technical issues in the past fortnight. The issues have been resolved. The SMH and The Age apps and websites were not affected. We have apologised to our subscribers for any inconvenience caused.”

Redundancies at Seven. Insiders at Channel Seven tell us there have been a number of redundancies at the Adelaide office of the station, including long-time employee Meno Toutsidis. Channel Seven confirmed to us that Toutsidis had left the station two weeks ago (the station would not confirm whether he had been made redundant). A tipster tells us there’s a new term at Seven — a “Workforce Transformation Unit” — but the station wouldn’t tell us what that meant. Seven has been changing practices for a while now, including sharing weekend news choppers with rival Channel Nine.

Richard di Natale’s Apple-like dress code. Greens leader Richard Di Natale is cut from a different cloth from that of his predecessors, that we already knew. But in a photoshoot and interview for the March/April edition of GQ magazine, the Victorian Senator explores what could have been if he decided to become a fashion model, channeling the graphic designers of Fitzroy in a black skivvy. Of course, it could not be left without ridicule:

di natale skivvy 1

di natale skivvy

In a small preview of the interview, which won’t be published until next week, Di Natale says he wouldn’t rule out forming government with either of the major parties:

“‘In my view it’s much more likely that the opportunity rests with Labor, but you should never rule out any possibility [of an alliance with the Liberal Party] though it’s unlikely,’ he told GQ. ‘”Never say never” is the quote I’d use about everything in politics.'”

Someone should probably check on Anthony Albanese to make sure he hasn’t popped an artery.

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

Peter Fray

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