From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Windsor gets big backing in failed election bid. Tony Windsor’s failed bid to unseat Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce at the last election had significant help from Wotif founder Graeme Wood. In donations disclosed by the Australian Electoral Commission on Monday, it was revealed Windsor had received $488,528 in donations for his July election campaign in the seat of New England, including $200,000 from Wood and $15,000 from Golden Lineage, the family investment trust held by Optical Superstore CEO Ian Melrose.

The other 7241 individual donations were below the $13,200 disclosure level and have not been revealed.

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Melrose — who has taken out ads in newspapers against government policy in the past — appears not to have donated directly to NXT leader Nick Xenophon this time around, as Xenophon said he had nothing to declare. Donations could have been made to NXT.

Windsor’s former colleague Rob Oakeshott received $53,000 in donations from 40 people in his failed tilt at the seat of Cowper.

Independent MP for Indi Cathy McGowan was able to hold onto her seat — despite Sophie Mirabella’s attempt to reclaim it — with the help of $203,748 in donations from 1490 people, while independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie raised $98,460 from 175 donors.

James Matheson got $8000 from 76 donors for his quixotic attempt to unseat Tony Abbott in Warringah, while One Nation leader Pauline Hanson raised just over $2500 in donations from 14 donors.

The major caveat here is that individual donation disclosure will only reveal how much individual candidates received, so for the vast majority of candidates who didn’t run as independents, there is nothing to declare. The donations made to parties will not be released until February, where it is expected to be revealed that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull donated millions to his own party in the dying days of the campaign.

AFP looks for white hats. Government agencies’ attempts to communicate with the youth almost always go awry, but on law and order issues it’s pretty much a guarantee (remember Stoner Sloth from the NSW government?). Now the Australian Federal Police is attempting to turn young computer nerds onto the path of righteousness, with this advertisement posted to Facebook reading “use your powers for good!”. The AFP say they are cracking down on distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, in partnership with other international agencies, and that the ad encourages potential hackers to think about their future. We’re not sure if the image of a cherubic cybersecurity expert is really going to pull coders away from the more fun hacking they could be doing.


Jamie Briggs gets government gig. Did someone say “jobs for the boys”? Former minister for cities and the built environment Jamie Briggs has been appointed to a plum government role, which was announced (well, whispered) by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann with a post to the department’s website on Friday afternoon and no actual email to the media. Briggs will take home $56,150 a year as a non-executive director of the Moorebank Intermodal Company Board, with a three-year term. The MIC project covers developing a freight terminal in Sydney’s south-west, but has been identified by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) as an agency potentially up for audit. The ANAO website says: “An audit would focus on budgeting and cost control (including contingency management); performance in meeting the delivery schedule; and the selection and management of consultants and contractors.”

Briggs has also started his own consultancy company, as noted in Crikey‘s list of where MPs from the 44th Parliament have ended up after being booted out. Know more? Drop us a line.

Forget you. One Nation is no longer the biggest voting bloc in the Senate crossbench, after Western Australian Senator Rod Culleton announced he was splitting with the party and called leader Pauline Hanson “unAustralian”. He said in a media release:

“Policy decisions have been run in morning media, with no consultation, discussion or agreement from the party room and personal attacks and undermining, un-Australian behaviour towards myself and my team, has been ongoing and terms dictated to the team.”

Hanson has hit back on morning television, saying Culleton wasn’t a team player and didn’t turn up to party meetings because he was dealing with his own legal issues. “I am sorry to the people. I didn’t expect him to be this type of man,” Hanson said.

Hanson’s loyal offsider Malcolm Roberts also put the boot in on social media, writing:

“Our duty is to work with Pauline to continue serving the people of our state and the people of Australia. Pauline is one of the very best people I’ve ever worked with across Australia and overseas. She has done everything anyone can reasonably expect to support Rod.

“She’s amazing.

“I value the stability, integrity and calmness she and James Ashby have shown in dealing with Rod’s emotional states. It’s a privilege working with them both and I fully support them.”

A public bust-up, in true Australian Christmas tradition.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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