From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Ashby weighs in. As a small gaggle of the press gallery gathered for Malcolm Roberts’ press conference this morning, Pauline Hanson’s adviser James Ashby sat at the back of the room talking to his colleagues (including former Trump adviser-turned-One Nation economics adviser Darren Nelson) about the state of the US election. They are (unsurprisingly) convinced Trump will win. “She’s a criminal,” one of them said.

Bob Day in a rush? Former Senator Bob Day’s resignation letter was tabled in the Senate today, and it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of affair. Coming in at 24 words (including Dear Mr President, excluding the date), Day doesn’t waffle on at all. Looks like he was in a bit of a hurry, maybe because of the story about his electorate office that was about to break?



Cory Bernardi making hats great again. Liberal backbench Senator Cory Bernardi is waging his own personal campaign for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump through Twitter, and it looks like he is threatening to bring the populist Republican’s slogan Down Under. Bernardi, who is in New York for three months as an Australian delegate to the United Nations, tweeted a photo of himself wearing a hat emblazoned with the words “Make Australia Great Again” — a tribute to Trump’s “Make America Great Again”. Trump is the only person Bernardi follows on Twitter, where he also uses hashtags like “DrainTheSwamp” — another of Trump’s favourite slogans. Bernardi couldn’t offer any advice on where to get a cap to match, tweeting that it had been a birthday gift. Ms Tips has found a few options on Amazon, but they don’t copy the Trump font quite so well.


Bernardi has been critisiced for taking such a partisan stance while in the US on a taxpayer-funded trip, but he defended himself by saying “Labor dont like me supporting Trump but ok with their own tweeting support for crooked Hillary”. While Labor leader Bill Shorten said on Insiders yesterday that he hoped Hillary Clinton would win, the Labor MP who is also on the UN trip, Lisa Singh, has taken a different route, tweeting a few criticisms of Trump on debate night, but not going all the way with HRC (it kind of works …).

Malcolm and the markets. On July 1, the day before the federal election that was supposed to bring certainty, jobs and growth, the ASX 200 closed at 5246. On Friday, November 4 the index ended at 5182. That’s a fall of 1.2%, with much of it coming in the past couple of weeks. Yes, investors are fretting about Donald Trump and the profitability of some of our local companies, such as the banks with investors worried about the impact of rising debt and house prices in Sydney and Melbourne. But there’s no sign of any leadership or authority from the Turnbull government, who seem to be staggering from one own goal to another.

The slide in the market is in the face of the return of the commodity boom, which so far had a positive impact on the economy and, as we will see next month’s mid-year update, the federal budget. But like on so many issues, the Turnbull government has been derailed by a series of issues, most self-inflicted — such as the question of Senator Bob Day’s eligibility to sit in the Senate, the crudeness of its latest visa decision for refugees on Manus and Nauru, the pandering to the politics of One Nation, and its mishandled move on industrial relations via the ABCC legislation. But Turnbull does have some leeway compared to where the market was on September 15, 2015, when he removed Tony Abbott as PM. The ASX 200 closed at 5018 that day, so at Friday’s close it was still up 3.2%. A small gain, but not one replicated in the public opinion polls for his government, or his personal standing.

A gong for one of our own. As we approach the final days of the US election campaign, insider website Politico has published a list of the 16 breakout media stars of 2016, and sitting at No. 7 is an Australian — former Fairfax journo Jonathan Swan. Swan, the son of Radio National’s Dr Norman Swan, was a respected Canberra reporter before he relocated to the States. He won the Wallace Brown Young Achiever Award for Press Gallery Journalism in 2014, before going to America for a year-long political fellowship later that year. He joined The Hill last year, and according to Politico, he’s made a big impression DC:

“Jonathan Swan – The Hill – The Aussie with bipartisan praise
One of the few reporters officials from both Republican and Democratic sides cited as their picks for ‘breakout star,’ Swan’s also the only one on this list with a cool accent. A well known politics reporter in his native Australia, Swan has rattled both Republicans and Democrats with stories such as the one about the Trump campaign illegally soliciting foreign donations. He’s also had plenty of scoops from inside Cruz’s inner circle and about internal machinations of Breitbart’s war on Paul Ryan.”

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