From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Drag them, Bernie. What is going on in the Victorian Liberals? Well, a lot, with the fight with the Cormack Foundation, the debate over voluntary assisted dying in state parliament and ongoing tensions about leadership in the party. On Friday morning last week, the ABC’s Jon Faine took a moment out of his regular Friday wrap segment (usually with representatives of the Liberal and Labor parties) to read out a Facebook post from conservative MLC Bernie Finn. Finn is a stalwart of the party and a longtime campaigner against abortion. The Facebook post, as read by Faine, took a swing at an unnamed “small but poisonous group: in the administrative wing of the party, who he accused of trying to remove him from parliament. The post, as read by Faine (at about 2:06 in the recording), is below:

“I have a longtime commitment to hating nobody, however a small but poisonous group within the organisation of the Victorian Liberal Party is testing me on that. These creatures, often masquerading as conservatives are led by a member of the administrative committee, they hate the state parliamentary party. They have no loyalty to our parliamentary leadership and openly talk about assisting the ALP to win in November next year. They are all about self-glorification and believe in nothing but their own importance. For two and a half years they have subjected me to a vile campaign of lies aimed at destroying my character and removing me from parliament. That failed and will continue to, but that doesn’t stop these pieces of excrement from continuing their campaign of hate. I’m far from their only target. They have no standards, ethics or morals at all. Dishonesty and disloyalty are their foundation. Branch stacking and defamation are their daily activities. The state president (Michael Kroger) is aware of their activities and has been for some time. He should now do his job and remove this loathsome scum from our party before they do any more damage. Over to you Michael.”

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We can only report on the post as read by Faine, as it no longer appears on Finn’s Facebook page. The claims don’t seem to have been repeated and haven’t been reported elsewhere as far as we can see. It’s a busy time in Victorian politics even without internal fighting in the opposition. We called Bernie Finn’s office this morning and were told we couldn’t get an explanation today, and would need to wait until next week to get a comment. Who could Finn have been talking about?

Giddy up. Will there be tension in the NSW Greens next week? Well more than usual anyway. Mehreen Faruqi, the party’s spokesperson on animal welfare is hosting a “nup to the Cup” party in NSW parliament on Tuesday to mark opposition to horse racing and to the Melbourne Cup. The event information says:

“The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses estimates that between 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017, 137 horses were killed on track for a number of reasons and most commonly for catastrophic front limb injury.

On average, one horse will die on Australian racetracks every 2.6 days. NSW is the state with the highest number of deaths, followed by Victoria.

Animals, entertainment and gambling don’t mix and leads to the unnecessary death of thousands of horses.

Join like minded people at our ‘nup to the cup’ event to say NO to horse racing and NO to the Melbourne Cup.”

Saying “nup” to horse racing is a step further than the official NSW Greens policy on animals and entertainment, which calls for:

“The regulation of the use and breeding of animals for the purposes of entertainment such as horse racing, to ensure animals are treated without cruelty and that their welfare needs are fully met.”

It also calls for the banning of greyhound racing. So far, so standard. But how does Faruqi feel about the Instagram posts of her colleague Jeremy Buckingham? Last week Buckingham posted a photo of champion mare Winx, with the caption “the best racehorse in the world”:

Things could get awkward on Tuesday.

CEO on the run. The Financial Review held another of its now endless summits yesterday — this one was on retail, and one star turn was Laura Inman, described as a former CEO of Target, Billabong, and Officeworks. She’s been in or around the top of Australian retail for a decade or more (she is now a director of Super Retail group which owns the Rebel and Super Cheap chains). Her message was directed to retailers and how they shouldn’t fear the arrival of Amazon (also the message of AFR’s editorial headlined “Amazon will lift our retail game”, which is like saying Google and Facebook are “lifting” the media’s game, especially newspapers). But what the AFR didn’t point out that Ms Inman’s last year (of seven) at Target back in 2011 saw a 27% drop in earnings. Nor did the AFR point out that Ms Inman is also a director of the Commonwealth Bank and is now leaving at this month’s AGM in the wake of the shake-up organised by chair Catherine Livingstone in the wake of CBA’s poor handling of the Austrac money laundering scandal. She had been a director of the CBA since March 2011.

On ya bike. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released much of the data gained in last year’s census, but a tipster found this sponsored post a little too much to take earlier this week. The Bureau has paid to appear in the feeds of users to let them know that 18% of residents of Fitzroy North in Melbourne’s hipster zone are “too hip to drive”. If the point isn’t rammed home enough it uses “#hipster”.

From the Crikey bunker: from next week, Tips and rumours will no longer be a daily column, but will still appear regularly in the Crikey Insider newsletter. Ms Tips is, as ever, keen to hear from you with any snippets of information you may have.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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