From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Gas, gas, gas. Yesterday, Crikey‘s Bernard Keane, in full Gerard Henderson style, pointed out that in 2016 Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg had expressed entirely opposite views about LNG exports and a domestic gas reservation to his current hostility to the former, and enthusiasm for the latter.

Alas, Crikey favourite and our choice for Next PM Of Australia Mathias Cormann must now suffer the same fate. During last year’s election campaign, the Teuton from Eupen lashed Labor domestic gas reservation policy, which would, according to Cormann, “increase red tape, kill investment and result in less reliable gas supplies for Australian consumers and industry … Under Mr Shorten’s new bureaucracy gas companies will have to jump through several hoops before an approval for a new gas export facility is won, or if there is a significant expansion in an existing natural gas export facility.” Fancy! What an outrageous, investment-killing idea that was — and Cormann went on to approvingly quote a range of industry critics of the idea.

Now, the government’s Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (because ’tis now fashionable that protectionism comes with the word “security” in it to forestall criticism) goes way beyond this to proposing to ban the export of gas even from existing facility. We know Cormann is a lovely chap, so we assume he at least sent Chris Bowen some nice Belgian chocolates by way of apology. And a note to the good people maintaining the Liberal.org.au site — we took screenshots of the Cormann article, so there’s no point removing it …

Latho ignoring incitements to violence. It is often best not to dwell on the rantings of Mark Latham. The “silenced” Sky News guest and Daily Tele columnist generally doesn’t need any extra airtime, but we thought it necessary to note that he has reached — and subsequently breached — yet another line that most right-thinking people wouldn’t cross. Last weekend, the Yes campaign held a major door-knocking event to get out the vote, with a huge publicity push to go along with it. Latham told his Facebook followers to beware of people knocking on their door — which led to many comments threatening violence against Yes campaigners from his commenters. Latham said “I would urge people to be careful in how they handle this” but also followed it with:

“These doorknockers are Far-Left fanatics, militants, who so far in the postal vote period have committed violence, intimidation, sackings, lock-outs and censorship in an attempt to get their own way.
Looked at what happened to Tony Abbott!!”

He hasn’t seemed to counsel anyone away from violence, and there hasn’t been reports of violence associated with the door-knocking, but given the media is so quick to demand denouncements of violent threats, we’re surprised Latham’s inaction hasn’t generated more heat.

Herald Sun and betting. Everyone loves a freebie right? It’s a timeless promotional tool, and one generally used very well by the tabloid papers in Australia — it’s rare that a newspaper doesn’t come with a voucher for a book or a poster or a sticker. Your correspondent may have shopped around newsagents hoping for a free sticker or two from time to time. But we thought this was taking things to a new level: this Friday’s Herald Sun will come with a voucher for a $5 bet on the Norm Smith medal, awarded to the best on ground in Saturday’s AFL Grand Final.

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Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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