From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Seven not having a great week. Seven might have had a win in court yesterday against former employee Amber Harrison, but, overall, chairman Kerry Stokes and his Seven West Media group are not having a good time of it. As well as the dispute with Harrison, first-half net profit fell 91%, the dividend was cut in half to just 2 cents a share, and yesterday Seven Group Holdings (which holds the Stokes stake in Seven West) cut the value of that holding by $157 million. In Seven West’s lower interim profit a week ago, an impairment charge of $75.5 million against the Yahoo7 joint venture was revealed. This morning, the corporate regulator, ASIC, issued a statement saying that impairment followed an intervention by it with Seven West. ASIC said in the statement:

“ASIC notes the decision by Seven West Media Limited (Seven West) on 15 February 2017 to write down its investment in Yahoo7 by $75.5 million in its financial report for the half-year ended 24 December 2016.”

“ASIC reviewed Seven West’s financial report for the year ended 25 June 2016, as part of its ongoing financial surveillance program.  That review led ASIC to raise concerns regarding the carrying amount of the Yahoo7 investment.

“As outlined in ASIC media release 16-428MR (ASIC calls on preparers to focus on useful and meaningful financial reports), impairment testing and asset values remains a focus area of our financial reporting surveillances.”

So what does that actually mean? It’s a warning to Stokes and Seven West Media that the regulator has them on a watch list and will also be closely monitoring the Amber Harrison court case.

Courtroom drama. The minor parties of the Western Australian election are weird and wonderful, but independent candidate for Joondalup Aaron Malloy has taken things to a new level. Malloy filmed a video outside Family Court on Monday dressed in a wig, necklace and dress. He said in a now deleted video: “So if I can’t be seen an equal as a man, perhaps they will see me as an equal if I dress as a woman.”

Malloy has posted a number of videos about the Family Court, including one where he compared himself to fictitious lawyer in The Castle Dennis Denuto. In a video late last night Malloy said he would still fight the Family Court and for equality, despite deleting the videos “in good faith”. He’s quoted in WAToday saying he is “not anti-woman”: “This is the only way to achieve equality in the family court if I’m a woman.”

“I’m not anti-woman in any possible way, in fact I think women are absolutely fantastic.”

Spotted. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann were spotted having a meeting with editor of The West Australian Brett McCarthy, editor of the Sunday Times Michael Beach and Perth Seven news director Howard Gretton in Hyatt Hotel lobby in Perth on Monday.

Important political considerations. The Icelandic President has been forced to clarify his position on pineapple on pizza, after the small nation erupted over the possibility he would outlaw the controversial topping. In an appearance at a school last week, President Guoni Th. Johannesson (before you email us to say we’ve removed the proper Icelandic letters — we know, our email program mangles them) told students he was “fundamentally opposed” to pineapple on pizza and would ban it by law if he could. Of course, a social media storm ensued, because putting pineapple on pizza is a culinary atrocity (this is not the official Crikey line; Ms Tips was overruled). Johannesson has backtracked now, writing a Facebook post in both English and Icelandic, saying that while he doesn’t like the tropical fruit on a pizza, he doesn’t think it should be banned:

“I like pineapples, just not on pizza. I do not have the power to make laws which forbid people to put pineapples on their pizza. I am glad that I do not hold such power. Presidents should not have unlimited power. I would not want to hold this position if I could pass laws forbidding that which I don´t like. I would not want to live in such a country. For pizzas, I recommend seafood.”

Will Australian MPs be brave enough to wade into the pineapple on pizza debate? We look forward to Malcolm Turnbull’s view on the issue.

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

Peter Fray

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