From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Sweet dreams, sweet data. Readers of the Fairfax papers this morning would have been interested to learn that residents of Launceston apparently get the most sleep in the country, with capital cities like Melbourne and Sydney reporting similar levels of sleep for their residents.

But how did journalist Ben Grubb get such data? It’s from Sleep Cycle, a smartphone app that tracks a user’s sleeping hours, records their snoring or sleep-talking and gives feedback on quality of sleep.

Ms Tips had a look at the privacy policy — it sounds like the data given away is covered under their Terms (but who reads those anyway?). Just another reminder that if the product is free, you are probably the product.

Everyone loves cashless welfare (maybe). The government is working hard to roll out is cashless welfare card to many other communities across the country, generally where local government and the local MP are in favour of the program, which quarantines 80% of a welfare recipient’s income onto a card that can’t be used for alcohol or gambling. Objections have been raised to the card in communities where it’s been in place, but a government report says it’s doing great. An interesting bit of reporting from the NewsMail in Bundaberg, which covers the Wide Bay area where the card is set to be rolled out next year. The government promised to consult with locals, but the locals say they don’t feel very consulted, from the NewsMail:

“THE sum total of community consultation about bringing the Cashless Debit Card to Hinkler was two information sessions run during work hours.

A Department of Social Services staffer said more than 100 “community consultations” were run before the announcement, but the general public was only able to attend two, one in Bundy and the other in Hervey Bay.

Another session, at Childers, was only open to Isis residents.

The sessions were not billed as consultation but as information sessions for people to ask questions.

The remaining 100-odd “community consultations” involved private meetings with businesses and community groups.

The department also did not advertise for written submissions.”

Blame Blackout Bill, the laziest argument. Now that — as Crikey predicted some weeks ago — the government has chosen to keep brawling with Labor over energy rather than accept a bipartisan Clean Energy Target, watch for some interesting attempts to blame-shift. It might have been the Coalition that campaigned against a carbon price and then repealed it, it might have been the Coalition that tried to abolish the Renewable Energy Target — but the lack of a bipartisan energy policy of the kind that business is crying out for will be, magically, the fault of Labor. Labor, of course, has form on using climate policy as a political weapon — Kevin Rudd used it to destroy Malcolm Turnbull, and got his just desserts in the form of Tony Abbott. But more recently it has also abandoned an emissions intensity scheme and carbon pricing as its preferred policies in order to provide a basis for a bipartisan policy — and even flagged being willing to let coal-fired power into a Clean Energy Target. But yesterday The Australian‘s David Crowe reported government MPs claiming “every step Turnbull makes towards Shorten is matched by a step Shorten takes backwards, away from a deal.” It’s not exactly clear what those “steps toward Shorten” might be — maybe we missed them between calls of “Blackout Bill”. And today, Tory maven Jennifer Hewett in the Australian Financial Review  went further. “The Turnbull government certainly never trusted the opposition’s profession of support for a clean energy target — given it was only on offer for a CET that was ‘fair dinkum’,” she explained. “So had they proceeded with any version of a clean energy target, the Prime Minister and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg understood they would face a massive party brawl followed by the likelihood of a stalemate in the Senate.” So there you have it. The lack of bipartisanship on energy is nothing to do with Tony Abbott, or Malcolm Turnbull, or the government’s desperate polling position. It’s all down to Blackout Bill. Shame.

Call Enid Blyton. The Crikey bunker has been divided in the past two days on the merit of the term “Citizenship Seven,” which is being used by the media to refer to the six senators and one MP who are in front of the Court of Disputed Returns, to find out whether they were eligible to be elected in the first place. Ms Tips likes it, and feels that it could have made an extra series for British author Enid Blyton, creator of the Famous Five and Secret Seven series (as well as hundreds of others of course). Would “Citizenship Seven go off to the High Court” fit into the canon? What about “Citizenship Seven find a legal precedent”? “Citizenship Seven consider by-elections and casual vacancies”…

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

Peter Fray

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