From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

All change ahead at the ABC? TV’s 2016 upfronts, where advertisers and the media are shown the next year’s programming, start this week, with the Seven Network holding its annual event in Sydney tomorrow night and Ten and Nine having functions in the next fortnight. But there won’t be any pomp and ceremony at the ABC, with head of TV Richard Finlayson instead doing a series of one-on-one, low-key media interviews to promote next year’s line-up. The ABC has in the past held functions in Sydney and other capitals. Ditching upfronts altogether is unusual. Insiders are closely watching Finlayson’s performance — word is new ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has been less than wowed with his performance. New chiefs often shake up things a bit in executive ranks — could Finlayson be the next to go?

Day out, day in. Bob Day, he of the on-again-off-again resignation from the Senate, is apparently sticking around for a couple more months. This morning he tweeted:


The problem is, however, the South Australian Parliament — which would need to nominate a Family First senator to replace Day — is actually sitting next week, so Day could resign right now and have a replacement ready for when the Senate returns the following Monday (assuming, of course, Family First can sort out its internal squabble between Day’s camp and his opponents over who will replace him). ). SA Premier Jay Weatherill in fact confirmed that this morning. And Day wasn’t always so anxious about having the Family First seat vacant in the Senate. There have been 11 Senate sitting days since the election, and Day has only shown up for three of them — two of those the post-election opening formalities. He didn’t bother showing up at all for estimates last week. Indeed, the government has actually given Day leave not to do his Senate job — presumably because it wants to keep him onside for the ABCC bill vote. Presumably Day will give 8/11 of his generous salary for that period back to taxpayers — or maybe to the families unlucky enough to have hired his companies for building work.

According to They Vote for You, Day has a 75% attendance rate overall.

Five down, many more to go. Speaking of the part-time senator, how is the crowdfunding effort set up by fellow conservative Tim Andrews going for the one-time millionaire? Around 250 supporters have plopped $31,000 into the collection basket. The initiative aims to raise $100,000 to pay off (some of) Day’s contractors who have found themselves as unsecured creditors after the bankruptcy of Day’s companies. So far, the money raised by the crowdfunding effort had paid off five such contractors, Andrews told supporters.


Public broadcaster sibling rivalry? The ABC was clearly worried about its privacy in filling out the census online this year. A keen-eyed tipster pointed out to us that in the B-roll footage for the ABC’s 7pm bulletin last night on the Senate committee’s census inquiry shenanigans, the address the ABC highlighted being entered wasn’t one of its own.

“Given the debate over keeping personal data for the census, I was rather surprised to see an address typed into the footage: 14 Herbert Street, Artarmon (NSW), to be precise. Um, that’s SBS’s head office … is someone at the ABC having a laugh?”


Ruddy networking. Everyone’s favourite resident at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London is continuing to publish emails from the head of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, John Podesta, in the final few weeks of the election despite Ecuador changing the wi-fi password. A few that are less likely to end up in a Donald Trump stump speech are related to our own political networker in chief, Kevin Rudd. Rudd, in the lead-up to his bid for the top job at the United Nations, sought meetings with Podesta, but it’s not clear whether they went ahead.

Rudd, from a private Gmail email address, asked Podesta in December last year for a meeting while he was in New York City.

“I would appreciate a short chat before Christmas. Go well K”

Podesta does not appear to have replied in any of the emails leaked by WikiLeaks, but an assistant in the Hillary Clinton campaign emailed Podesta and said that Rudd was seeking a meeting, but Podesta would have a packed schedule with debate prep.

Rudd then sought another meeting earlier this year, this time getting a staffer to email requesting a meeting in March while Rudd was in DC actively pursuing the UN position. That was, of course, before Turnbull reneged on him and refused to back him for the job.

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