From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Di Natale Hertz so good. How does the leader of the Greens follow up launching his first election campaign? With a quick run around Elsternwick Park in the Reclink Community Cup, of course. The annual charity football match between Melbourne’s musicians (the Rockdogs) and community broadcasters (the Megahertz) kicked off a few hours after the Greens campaign launch, and Senator Richard Di Natale made it down to the match to show off his skills in front of an appreciative crowd.

Di Natale took to the field for the Megahertz in the final quarter, wearing number 44 and quickly making his mark. The former VFA player (with a dodgy knee) looked comfortable in the red and white, with one of his teammates describing his physique as “ripped”. Playing in the right forward pocket, Di Natale was faster than his younger Rockdog opponent (too many ciggies at halftime, probably), managed to score one behind and deftly avoid the huge patch of mud that caused havoc for players of both sides. Despite a strong win last year, Di Natale’s Megas were overrun by the Rockdogs, losing 10.3.63-4.6.30. Not that you would know it if you read The Age‘s report on the day, which originally named the Megahertz as the winners in its report of The Project host Waleed Aly’s performance of Prince’s Purple Rain with Regurgitator and Dan Sultan, which took place after the match.

Overall it was a successful day for Reclink, which helps disadvantaged young people through sports and music programs. Di Natale wasn’t the only pollie on site, with Labor’s Michael Danby and Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley also in attendance (although they had pledged their allegiances to the Rockdogs). Last week Anthony Albanese helped raise $10,000 for Reclink with a DJ set at the Corner Hotel. There were no Liberal MPs in sight, due mostly to the Liberal Party’s launch taking place in Sydney, but Ms Tips wonders how welcome they’d be after cuts to both Reclink and the community broadcasting sector in the May budget. Port Phillip Council didn’t keep in the spirit of the day, using it as a chance to target motorists for parking fines.

Could Di Natale be back next year? Perhaps he should sign up for some graveyard shifts at one of Melbourne’s many community radio stations to be eligible to play.

Other happenings at SBS. SBS brings the world to your television, but how does SBS get to the world? Amid the announcement last week of a rebrand of SBS2 becoming Australia’s home for Viceland, Vice’s American TV channel, a tipster says the multicultural broadcaster quietly shut down its international sales department. “This is the department that over the last 10 years has taken Australian content to the world market and sold it — promoting talent and program makers,” the tipster said. The department has delivered big bucks to filmmakers through selling their programs to overseas broadcasters. How will this happen now? “I suspect [SBS productions] will be sold for a quick buck to an international distributor,” the tipster said. Staff were informed a few weeks back, and there’s been a handful of redundancies.

SBS confirmed the model was changing. “We have identified that it will be more effective to utilise external sales agents with specific expertise in our focus areas and proximity to global markets,” a spokesperson said. “SBS has enjoyed great success in selling content rights in international markets for our big programs such as Go Back To Where You Came From and Luke Nguyen’s series’, and there continues to be opportunities to sell rights abroad.”

Industry blog TV Tonight has speculated that at big trade events, big international broadcasters and distributors dominate, which can make it hard for SBS and the ABC to break through.

Get your iron. Last week, we reported that the Greens candidate for the seat of Lindsay Kingsley Liu had the best sign of the campaign with his “Nerd Appeal not Sex Appeal” billboard, taking aim at  Liberal MP Fiona Scott. Now Liu is attempting to beat his previous effort with “Asian Greens are good for you”.

Kingsley Liu 2


Erection election website flops. Before former Independent MP Rob Oakeshott declared his intentions to contest the seat of Cowper, currently held by Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker, Ms Tips noted that Oakeshott’s website had been reclaimed by a company offering to help men out with their erections.

Oakeshott himself tweeted at the time that he wasn’t aware of it and asked for help in reclaiming his website.

Crikey’s own Josh Taylor, inspired by a recent episode of the very excellent podcast Reply All, decided to see if he could figure out who had purchased the site, and why it had been bought. We emailed the administrator listed on the page’s Who Is listing but didn’t hear back for a while. All was forgotten while Oakeshott announced his candidacy, but then on Friday afternoon, we got an email back saying that the domain had been bought at auction for US$160 in May last year and then leased out to the erectile assistance company.

Once the lease was pointed out to the owner of the domain, the site was quickly pulled down. We understand now that the independent candidate for Cowper is in the process of reclaiming his domain with less than a week left until the election.

Chinese whispers. On Friday we reported that Liberal councillor in Melbourne’s Glen Eira Council Kelvin Ho had used a conversation about legalising same-sex marriage to talk about the possibility of legalising bestiality in a Chinese language chatroom. Liberal candidate for the seat of Hotham George Hua was also an active participant in the group, which has since banned political campaigning. A tipster tells us that they attempted to ask Hua his views on same-sex marriage by direct message, but didn’t get much of an answer out of him. Hua said:

“The Liberal Party’s position on marriage equality is to hold a plebiscite. Every Australian shall be given a vote, whether they support it or not. So my vote is having the same weight as you. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter how I vote on this issue.”

Hua didn’t answer when further questioned about how he would vote if given the chance as a member of parliament following a plebiscite. He is up against Labor’s Clare O’Neil in the seat of Hotham, which she holds by 7%.

George Hua


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Peter Fray

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