From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Libs in Brighton. The Liberal power struggle in Victoria continues to be of interest to onlookers, with today’s developments that former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett has told Victorian party president Michael Kroger that he has alienated the business community and shouldn’t contest next month’s election for president against former minister Peter Reith. Yesterday The Age revealed members of the Victorian parliamentary team had been doing their own fundraising, with an account quarantined from the main party’s account. It was a big story, especially at the Brighton Cafe Florentine, a tipster tells us. “A favourite meeting place of the Brighton Libs,” we are told, played host to a meeting between challenger Reith and soon-to-be Brighton MP James Newbury, who was preselected to run for the safe seat at a byelection caused by the retirement of Louise Asher. We hear a stalwart of the Brighton Liberals as well as Reith and Newbury shared a table around lunchtime and our tipster reveals:

“Not sure that James and Reith knew each other because there seemed to be an exchange of phone numbers. Reith ducked out to take one call which looked pretty intense. When he went back in to the restaurant they were all looking at the Age’s front page. Obviously the Brighton libs have some sway in the machinations of the Victorian  Liberal Party.”

Newbury tells us meeting Reith was no big deal — he’s sat at the same table with Michael Kroger in the last few days as well.

Malcolm the barista. Members of the government have already expressed concern that unions will wage a “WorkChoices-style” campaign against cuts to penalty rates, and by the look of it those worries are justified. Unionists handed out flyers at South Yarra station this morning depicting Malcolm Turnbull standing at a coffee machine with the question “Why would Malcolm Turnbull want to cut our penalty rates?” The other side answers “Because he has never needed penalty rates to buy food or pay rent”.


Trouble brewing. Does beer ever get a mention in the Bible? Ms Tips’ memories from religious education are mostly about water turned into wine, but Bible Society Australia has found a way to combine both beer and Christianity in its new partnership with Coopers Brewery. In the first of a series of videos called “Keeping It Light”, Liberal MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie debate marriage equality over a stubby of Cooper’s Premium Light Beer. According to the website:

“As part of this partnership Bible Society Australia has accepted a Bicentenary tribute from Coopers Brewery to produce a Bicentenary limited edition Premium Light beer and we’ve also hosted some light discussions on the heaviest topics.”

Apparently cartons of the beer bearing the Bible Society’s logo can be bought around Australia. The video conversation between Wilson and Hastie is mostly as you would expect it — host Matt Andrews makes fairly provocative comments to both MPs, who emphasise how well they get on despite their different views.

Will Cooper’s find a new market in young Christians? We’ll wait and see.

Aussie Aussie Aussie. Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives Party has registered its logo with the Australian Electoral Commission. We were particularly impressed with just how Australian it is. The logo is a map of Australia overlaid with the Australian flag. Just in case you wondered what they stand for, it’s all very Australian. Importantly the map does include Tasmania — unlike the South Australian government logo released four years ago, which forgot the Apple Isle

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

Peter Fray

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