From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

ACL’s links. There are multiple groups in Australia lobbying against legalising same-sex marriage, but just how connected are they? A video uploaded by the Australian Christian Lobby shows volunteers leafleting with pamphlets that are clearly distributed by the group Marriage Alliance. While the Australian Christian Lobby has existed for years and director Lyle Shelton is no stranger to the media, the Marriage Alliance group launched last year, with little information about who they are, who they represent and how they are funded. BuzzFeed‘s Lane Sainty has tried to interview someone at the group for months without luck.

Marriage Alliance launched a television advertisement featuring an iceberg, with the message “there’s more to it than you think”. The iceberg image is prominent throughout the ACL video, which includes the group of people yelling “marriage” enthusiastically. We asked the ACL’s Lyle Shelton if the groups were connected (apart from sharing the same policy position), and were told “we collaborate with anyone and everyone who is passionate about preserving the current definition of marriage”. He emphasised that the groups were separate and funded separately.

Invest in the journalism that makes a difference.

EOFY Sale. A year for just $99.

SAVE 50%

ACL marriage alliance

Firies turn up to polling booths. A caller to 3AW has warned that about 50 CFA trucks will be staking out polling places on election day in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, specifically in the electorate of Casey, which is held by the Liberals’ Tony Smith. The issue of the CFA and the UFU has not lost any of its potency in Victoria, especially on Melbourne’s fringes.

Standing ovation for the arts. Sydney theatre fans are getting a little more than they paid for this election campaign: a post-show speech on the importance of the arts. As part of the #istandwiththearts campaign, cast members are reminding audiences of the cuts to Australia Council grants and the recent defunding of a number of “off-Broadway” companies. It’s the smaller houses where most stage stars like Robyn Nevin, who delivered the address after her exhausting matriarchal turn in All My Sons last night, got their start. Theatre-goers are handed a postcard to fill out which is then dispatched to their local member. All non-political, of course — though the speech makes it clear who’s responsible for the defunding. Our Sydney theatre binger reports Labor frontbencher Tony Burke was vigorously applauding the post-show plea at the opening of new Australian play Back At The Dojo at Belvoir St Theatre on Wednesday. They also note another performance from Opera Australia this week — the nation’s best-funded stage sanctuary — did not feature the speech.

Liberal councillor’s slippery slope argument. A Liberal Party councillor has said legalising same-sex marriage could open the door to legalising bestiality on Chinese social media platform WeChat. In a forum hosted by the Chinese HighFun media company, Glen Eira councillor Kelvin Ho said (translated from Chinese):

“… at the moment the problem is that same sex legislation has become trendy meaning it will probably pass. Experts warn that if the legislation passes then it is likely that bestiality laws will come next, then what? Australia follows case law, which means that once a precedent has been set, then a debate can occur, which is when the real problem arises.”


The comments were picked up by a blogger, who says the forums have become a popular forum for Australian political campaigning, with Liberal candidate for the seat of Hotham, George Hua, using it to campaign before campaigning was banned in the group on Wednesday. We are told that the group is a public chat room with about 500 people, including many Chinese immigrants to Australia.

We are told the comment was made in relation to a post regarding the Safe Schools program, and that another member said that same-sex relations were natural and had happened throughout history. Ho told Crikey that he was in the group in a personal capacity and said it was a private forum. “That’s private chat room and it’s my personal view of same sex marriage. And I mention someone will apply for legalise bestiality, please make clear translation on this part.”

Crikey has had the comments translated by three people, Councillor Ho says the translation is incorrect, but has not provided details on where he believes it is inaccurate.

No laughing matter. North Melbourne’s Comic’s Lounge has faced Twitter backlash for a series of homophobic and sexist jokes on its Twitter account, with some claiming that a brick was thrown through a window and death threats were made against the club in response. The establishment posted a joke about a gay man getting diagnosed with HIV on its Twitter account, but deleted its account after the backlash. Owner Grant Lee refused to comment on the situation, saying the issue was now in police hands. Lee only said that the brick was thrown through a private residence, though this is yet to be confirmed.

comics lounge tweets

In comments on Facebook, the Comic’s Lounge has blamed the tweets on “a hack job” and further blamed “a young guy” from “Match Works, a company that finds work for disabled people,” for not removing the jokes from the account. The HIV comments follow the trend across both of The Comic Lounge’s social media platforms, featuring sexist, homophobic and racist slurs. The Facebook page predominately relies on unsavoury memes.

comics lounge

If the hacking excuse holds up, it would mean the page was hacked since December last year, when the first HIV joke was made. The tweet was copied word for word in March, April and June this year.

Marginal seats full of swinging voters? Finally, the political analysis we were waiting for this election. The Oz Dildex Poll Rating has been released, revealing Labor’s Tanya Plibersek’s electorate of Sydney is “Australia’s Sexiest Electorate”. This data is not based on the curves of the Opera House or even the Harbour Bridge — instead it’s ranked on highest average amount spent per voter on adult products.

The “sexual happiness people”,, have teamed with University of Western Australia associate professor Paul Maginn (yes, he’s a real professor) to map Australia’s patterns of sexual consumerism. The average amount spent on adult products per voter in Plibersek’s electorate is $2.21, with Greens MP Adam Bandt’s Melbourne electorate coming in second with $1.77 spent per voter.

Lovehoney director Rob Godwin says he aims to create some “buzz” in the election campaign, pointing out many of the top 20 sexiest electorates were marginal seats. He suggested the candidates be “very progressive and consider the sexual wellbeing of their voters”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate of Wentworth ranked 15th, while Bill Shorten’s electorate of Maribyrnong was barely on the ladder at 131. The least sexy electorate? Calwell in Melbourne’s north-west, held by Labor’s Maria Vamvakinou.

Finding Dory’s evil twin. Yesterday we wrote that the corflute used by the LNP’s Warren Entsch featured “evil-looking wind turbines”, but we have been corrected — they are actually fish sculptures on the Cairns esplanade. We will add this to the list of signs that Ms Tips needs a holiday, perhaps Cairns would be nice.

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

Save this EOFY while you make a difference

Australia has spoken. We want more from the people in power and deserve a media that keeps them on their toes. And thank you, because it’s been made abundantly clear that at Crikey we’re on the right track.

We’ve pushed our journalism as far as we could go. And that’s only been possible with reader support. Thank you. And if you haven’t yet subscribed, this is your time to join tens of thousands of Crikey members to take the plunge.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
SAVE 50%