From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

News Corp shake-up in Canberra. We hear there’s plenty of movement at News Corp’s Canberra bureau. Herald Sun national political editor Ellen Whinnett is off to London as News Corp’s European correspondent, replacing Charles Miranda, who’s expected to come back to the Daily Tele. Whinnett will be there to “re-establish” the London bureau, Ms Tips is told, and will be joined by the three finalists for News Corp cadet of the year, who will spend three months working with her in London.

As for her replacement in Canberra, the smart money is on James Campbell, currently the Herald Sun‘s state politics editor at Spring Street. He won a Walkley in 2013 for his scoop on the Baillieu tapes — secretly recorded conversations between then-premier Ted Baillieu and key staffers that led to the premier’s resignation.

Also joining the News Corp bureau in Canberra is Renee Viellaris, who’s taking over from Steven Scott at The Courier-Mail (Scott is taking a year’s sabbatical). Viellaris’ arrival will mean most of the News Corp tabloid political editors are fly-in, fly-out — jetting into the capital only on sitting weeks. No one expects Campbell to move to Canberra, so he’ll join Viellaris and The Advertiser‘s Tory Shepherd in keeping a base elsewhere. The Daily Tele‘s Simon Benson also spends a lot of time in Sydney.

Bondage, you know, for kids. The Queensland government has finished its review into religious education program Connect, but more disturbing parts of the text are turning up online from the group Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools. One task in Connect’s “Big Questions” booklet encourages kids as young as 11 to tie each other up, with the object of the game to “escape from their bonds“.


The review concluded that everything that would be taught in schools as part of religious instruction would be assessed.

SJWs need not apply. If you’re interested in covering the world of sailing and shipping but like treating other people with respect, you might want to skip applying for a job at Baird Maritime. The Melbourne-based publication advertised for a journalist/editor last week stating that “common sense and fast learning capabilities are essential. Thus, it would most likely not suit a safe spaces/microaggression/social justice warrior type.”



Social justice warrior is a term of derision used by right-wingers on Twitter (like Rita Panahi) to denigrate people who hold progressive views.

The ad was shared around on Twitter over the weekend, and surprise, surprise, the ad has now been edited to remove that line. Would that be under the pressure from those nasty SJWs?

Ads board decisions not binding (like the plebiscite). Last week Crikey revealed the Australian Christian Lobby wants a new law to force TV stations to air anti-gay marriage ads in the lead-up to the plebiscite on gay marriage. This would likely mean suspending the Advertising Standards Board guidelines against discriminatory advertising. But according to former Democrats’ senator Brian Grieg, the ASB has previously been “too gutless” to deal with complaints about homophobic ads.

Back in 2001 when WA was lowering the age of consent for homosexual sex from 21 to 16, to bring it in line with heterosexual sex consent law, the Australian Family Association ran an ad in the West Australian claiming that “many more boys will be seduced by older men if [Premier Geoff] Gallop’s homosexual law goes ahead”.

Grieg complained to the ASB that the ad made an implied association between homosexuality and paedophilia, and the board found that the ad had breached ethics by vilifying the gay community on this basis. The ruling had no legal binding, but the paper decided not to run the ad again. The Australian Family Association was unmoved, though, telling media at the time that the ASB had “no legal weight” and then switching to running billboard ads. Grieg complained again to the ASB but was told that after the first decision, the body had decided “to no longer take complaints in relation to adverts which are considered advisory in nature.”

“In the space of a month, the ASB went from condemning an anti-gay advert as ‘vilification’ and in breach of its standards to refusing to consider it and similar ones at all. Clearly, it was under pressure to back off, and it did,” Grieg said.

Will anything be different for this “respectful” plebiscite debate?

Queensland Parliament is now currently considering equalising its age of consent laws, and one submission from David van Gend, from the anti-marriage equality group Australian Marriage Forum, has made similar associations between homosexuality and paedophilia, stating that the change would “permit older homosexual men to sodomise schoolboys with impunity”.

When gays attack. The Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile’s mob) held its national conference in north-west Sydney over the weekend, hearing from everybody’s favourite anti-gay spokespeople — including the Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton and Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous, the one behind the “Don’t Mess with Marriage” booklet. Porteous reportedly described same-sex marriage as an “oxymoron” (his birthday was in June, but if you missed it, a dictionary might make a nice gift).

One interesting tidbit from the agenda was the screening of a 55-minute film made by New Zealand evangelical Ray Comfort called Audacity. It is a fictional film about how hard it is to be a Christian today. The main character, Peter, has a nightmare in which he is in an elevator with a lesbian couple about to be married, but he thinks twice about taking out his Bible in front of them. Spoiler: the lesbians fall to their deaths in an elevator because Peter didn’t wait around to tell them it was broken. How are those things related? It’s hard to say.

The film is interspersed with some bizarre vox pops of Comfort asking LGBTI people on the street to conflate homosexuality with adultery and fornication.

You can read a full review of the flick here. Ms Tips attempted to watch the film over the weekend (you can view it on YouTube), but only got about halfway through.

Anti gay movie grab

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