From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Michelle Guthrie in the deep end. A tipster says new ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has begun to review operations across the network, and one of her first areas of focus is the ABC’s International Division. It’s gone through a weird period lately. The Australia Network contract was cut by the Abbott government in 2014 (the ABC had a DFAT contract to provide English-language content into the region — that contract was cut one year into its operation to save money), leading to the loss of several highly experienced ABC reporters on the Asia-Pacific, as well as the closure of the Melbourne-based Asia-Pacific News Centre. Crikey’s tipster said the current, top-heavy regime wasn’t working:

“The most popular content, English language, has been decimated after huge staff cutbacks. Most language services have a staff of two max, who are expected to provide content for 7-days a week. Under the current regime, hard news is de rigeur but fashion news is well, fashionable.”

Of course, the money that funded the Australia Network isn’t coming back. Can much be improved without it?

Tony Abbott, fashionably AWOL. It’s all hands on deck in Canberra today, although a few Liberals may be starting their terms in the 45th Parliament with a sore head after enjoying victory champagne and canapes with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Lodge last night. While all Coalition MPs were invited to the little shindig, there was one very notable absence: former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was invited to the Lodge, but didn’t feel like attending, so he had a celebratory champagne with company that would give the right amount of attention — his mum, Fay. This photo was uploaded to Facebook last night, with Abbott writing “good to catch up with Mum to thank her for all she’s done for me” …

Abbott and his mum

Now there’s never a bad time to show your mum that you appreciate her, but his absence has been noted by many in the media. Social Services Minister Christian Porter told Ellen Fanning on RN Breakfast that it was no big deal though. When he’s not being conspicuously absent, you might find Abbott being inconspicuously present, as (partially) seen in this photo posted to Facebook yesterday by the West Coast Eagles AFL team …

west coast eagles

The club’s media team was reacting to the news that US Vice-President Joe Biden had been presented with a Carlton jumper, just reminding everyone that Biden’s boss was on the Eagles’ bandwagon. Abbott has been cropped out of the side of this photo, leaving Barack Obama with the most powerful Eagles fan of them all, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.

You call that a football? Speaking of Julie Bishop, the Foreign Minister sat behind Joe Biden yesterday as she watched her Eagles bring home the win at the MCG, next to her partner David Panton. Sitting next to Biden himself was Mason Cox, the new Collingwood forward who hails from Texas in the United States, who took the opportunity to explain Australia’s own game to the sports-loving Vice-President. On SEN Radio this morning Cox described the experience as “pretty wild man, I’m not gonna lie”.

While Biden and his granddaughters were plied with Carlton gear, Cox said he also presented the VP with a jumper with his name on it and Cox’s number. Cox, who has made quite the splash at Collingwood this year, said Biden’s knowledge of the game was quite good, and only needed a bit of extra guidance when it came to the rules and scoring system. Ms Tips particularly likes this photo of Biden enjoying the match. We imagine that Cox is explaining why Julie Bishop is whispering “chewy on your boot, chewy on your boot” while a Carlton player lines up for goal …

Joe Biden football


International man of mystery. On Lindsay Fox’s birthday yacht one week, in Cleveland, Ohio, the next. Australia’s ambassador to the US Joe Hockey is back to work — and that means getting in on all the action at the Republican National Convention, where it is expected that Donald Trump will be confirmed as the party’s candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. Hockey has tweeted that he is attending both the Republican and the Democratic conferences, but the photos from the GOP event are already quite interesting …

joe hockey tweet

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

Peter Fray

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