From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Taken to the cleaners. A tipster tells us the 200 cleaners at the Star Casino in Sydney are facing an uncertain Christmas, with workers told they could face the sack if they don’t sign new contracts with IKON Services contractors by mid-January. There are concerns about whether leave entitlements and other conditions in current contracts will carry over to the new contracts. We’ve asked Star Casino what is happening with cleaners, but have not heard back. The rumour comes in the same week that workers at Carlton United Breweries returned to work after a long-running battle between the brewery and the union over new contracts offered to workers at the site. The 55 employees managed to fight against new contracts that were set to reduce their pay and conditions.

Star Casino has responded:

“The employees currently employed by The Star in our Public Area will transition into employment with IKON Services from 16 January 2017. The transition will allow all employees to carry over their current entitlements and discretionary benefits.

“Employees who transition to IKON Services will retain their accrued entitlements and their discretionary employee benefits including: free Light Rail travel between The Star and Central Station, discounted onsite parking at The Star Sydney, employee discounts at The Star Sydney’s Food and Beverage outlets, access to the employee cafeteria, laundered uniforms. The Star is working closely with the employees and IKON Services to ensure a smooth transition into their new employment.”

Waiting for Guthrie. ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has escaped the storm that continues to rage at the national broadcaster. She’s at the Global Thinkers conference in the US with the ABC’s head of scripted productions, Sally Riley, who was listed as one of the most important global thinkers by the conference. Crikey understands that Guthrie won’t be back in Australia before Christmas.

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And the most googled phrase is … Search engine giant Google has released Australians’ most popular searches of 2016, and it turns out we are a politically interested bunch. The US election was our No. 1 search, followed by the Olympics and then the census. We didn’t care so much about our own election; it didn’t make it to the top 10 of either normal searches or news searches. Pauline Hanson was our mostly highly searched politician, coming in fourth on the list of most searched Australians. PM Malcolm Turnbull came in at ninth. “What is a plebiscite?” was the second most searched “what is” search, behind “what is my IP address?”. “Why is Australia in Eurovision?” came in sixth on the “why is” searches — an important question, but obviously not as pressing as others like “why is there a leap day?” and “why is my internet so slow?”.

Vote early, vote often. Crikey‘s nominations for the sexiest politicians of 2016 has had quite the reaction this year, with many MPs commenting on their place (or otherwise) on the shortlist. Senator James Paterson posted on Facebook that he was flattered by the nomination, but his vote was with his Western Australian colleague Andrew Hastie. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young seemed lost for words on Sky News yesterday when asked about her place on the shortlist, but she did encourage people to vote (we do too). We are surprised at her surprise — Hanson-Young has polled well in previous years.

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“Politics is show business for ugly people, and it’s not hard to get nominated, to be honest,” Hanson-Young told Kristina Keneally and Tom Connell.

The annual poll goes back to 2005 (as far as we can tell), and we’ve trawled previous years winners and found that Julie Bishop won in 2006 and is still polling respectably 10 years later.

Ms Tips would like to remind readers that sexiness isn’t all about looks, either — Malcolm Turnbull lost his spot on top of the list after becoming communications minister. It seems as if once he started enacting policies people didn’t like, they went cold on him.

Voting on the list is open until next Wednesday, and we remind you that if your favourite MP or your preferred arsehat or person of the year aren’t shortlisted, there is the opportunity to add them.

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

Peter Fray

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