From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Who is Nile’s chief of staff online? Earlier this week we reported that Reverend Fred Nile, leader of the Christian Democrats, and New South Wales upper house MP, had employed convener of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum Edwin Dyga as his chief of staff. We noted that Dyga’s writing had railed against the feminisation of politics and that his opinions might even go a step too far for Nile. A tipster got in touch saying that Dyga is also behind a Twitter account that spouts neo-Nazi sentiments and is involved in the Australian alt-right scene. We asked Dyga if he was behind the Twitter account and a Hatreon account — both in the name of “Ricky Vaughn”. These were our questions:

“We understand that you run the Twitter account @RickyVaughn_II and the Hatreon account in the same name, can you confirm if you run these accounts?
Why do you run these accounts in that name and not your own name?
Did you make your employer Fred Nile aware that you run these accounts?”

This was the response we received from Dyga:

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“I am not ‘Ricky Vaughn’ and have no interest in those two accounts you mentioned in your email of today. I have always written under my own name, and for print publications only. The quoted portion of the Quadrant article you mentioned in your email of Monday is a discussion of philosophical archetypes, not people. Had you read the article, you would have noted I endorse the reformist political leadership of the Polish Premier, Beata Szydlo, who is, I am sure you will agree, a woman. I am bemused that you would so carelessly confuse the sex/gender distinction.”

We also put questions to Nile himself, but didn’t receive a response.

All the mining ladies. We’re not sure how seriously to take the Minerals Council of Australia’s interest in diversity. This is the week in which Australia’s most rent-seeking, tax-dodging industry has its annual shindig in Canberra. This morning the Minerals Council issued a media release (from, um, a bloke) about its Women in Mining breakfast. But a month ago, we saw exactly how committed the mining industry is to women in mining — the annual “Diggers and Dealers” conference in Kalgoorlie had just one woman out of 50 presenters, blaming the absence of women on the fact that the industry had very few female executives. Of course, as always, there was plenty of work for under-dressed barmaids at Diggers and Dealers.

You’ve got the power (bills). Quite a few pollies threw tanties yesterday over the comments made by AGL boss Andy Vesey — basically that the company would be sticking to its previously announced plans to close the Liddell power plant. Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm and Australian Conservative Senator Cory Bernardi said they would be taking their custom elsewhere, both quoting power bills worth thousands of dollars. They seemed pretty high to us, so maybe it will be for the best — perhaps Bernardi and Leyonhjelm were set to receive one of the letters the PM is forcing energy companies to send to people who are paying more than they need to.

Sick of George Brandis. Most of the time we talk about the moments where MPs are at each other’s throats, but yesterday our elected representatives united to look after the throat of one of their adversaries. Attorney General George Brandis has been battling through quite the cold and was given a reprieve in question time. As question time wound up, a whisper was heard at the dispatch box from Brandis:

“I ask that further questions to be placed on the notice paper.”

Senator Wong: I hope the Attorney gets better. I did promise we wouldn’t ask him a question because he was ill and we honoured our promise.

The PRESIDENT:  Thank you. Senator Brandis, are you going to attempt again?

Penny Wong interjects, “Oh come on that’s not fair!”

Senator BRANDIS: Mr President, yesterday Senator Chisolm asked me a question in relation to NDRRA payments. I seek leave to table the answer.

The PRESIDENT:  Any motions to take note of answers?

Senator CAMERON: I rise to take note of the answers given by Senator Nash to questions asked by Labor senators. Can I congratulate Senator Brandis for that valiant effort! Well done!

More private school smut Yesterday’s porn link at Peninsula Grammar is innocent compared to an unfolding scandal we’re hearing about at The Lakes College in Brisbane. We hear the exclusive north-side school had to call in the cops after year 11s engaged in some frisky business during the Emu Gully camp last week. Our tipster tells us that students accommodated in tents engaged in “multi-partner sexual activity” while teachers slept in cabins. There were also reports of “oral acts” aboard the coach to and from the camp. We’re told the college had no idea unless the whistle was blown by a teacher’s child. My, my!

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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