From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Who said bipartisanship is dead? On Saturday night both Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Opposition Leader Luke “Friend of the Greyhounds” Foley attended the opening night of the Sydney Theatre Company’s The Bleeding Tree, a cracking bare stage three-hander on domestic violence, community acceptance and revenge. David Gonski, fresh from derailing the business lobby’s push for company tax cuts, was also on hand, along with STC stalwart Hugo “which billion dollar franchise trilogy am I improving today?” Weaving. Only Foley and Weaving were up for the after party, Berejiklian doubtless being eager to get home to catch the Western Australian election results. After sitting through the sobering, and occasionally very funny, 65-minute play, maybe the Premier and Opposition Leader can come to an agreement on more funding for domestic violence services in the bush?

Newbury downplays meeting. On Friday we had a tip about James Newbury, the soon-to-be member for Brighton in Victoria, having a meeting with Peter Reith in Brighton’s Cafe Florentine. Newbury has confirmed that he was meeting with Reith, but he played down its importance as he has also met Reith’s rival for the presidency of the Victorian Liberal Party, Michael Kroger, at the same cafe last week.

Percent change. Senator for Empirical Evidence Malcolm Roberts appeared to have problems with the data put out by the WA electoral commission on the weekend, and we are pretty sure it wasn’t corrupted by NASA. As One Nation’s disastrous electoral results came in from the WA election, Roberts appeared to still be of the belief that One Nation would pick up three seats in the Legislative Council (that now seems unlikely) and that would constitute a 300% increase in the number of seats the party has in the state (though going from zero to three is not, in fact, a 300% increase). He appears to have accepted the reality now, so maybe there is hope yet for the senator. Meanwhile, Roberts’ former One Nation colleague in WA, Rod Culleton (whose Twitter handle is still @SenatorCulleton, somewhat optimistically), appeared to be enjoying himself on the weekend. Schadenfreude is the call of the day.

Bye bye, Abetz. One of the victims of WA’s election landslide was Peter Abetz, the brother of Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, and one who is probably best known for saying his Nazi war criminal great uncle Otto wasn’t all bad. He had campaigned strongly against the Safe Schools program, which Labor has promised to fund to the tune of $1.4 million. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of his campaign was his promotional material. A Greens volunteer on the ground in WA snapped this photo of a life-sized cut-out of Abetz-the-elder holding his own corflute, plus a cut-out of an Abetz bus.

Stan — shantay you stay, Foxtel — sashay away. One of the more interesting content battles in recent years has been over the reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Infamously, Foxtel was extremely tardy in airing the show, leading people to find less legal ways of obtaining it. Letters were sent to people believed to have torrented the show, and screening nights in Melbourne pubs were shut down multiple times. The show moved networks in the United States between the eighth and ninth season (due to start airing on March 25), and this appears to have made it easy for streaming service Stan to swoop in and pick up the rights out from under Foxtel’s network Arena to stream the show the same date it airs in the US — finally. Arena had posted on Facebook just weeks ago it was working on getting the rights. Looks like Foxtel was too slow, again.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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