From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Sting in the retail. More evidence that if business wants to punish workers with real wage cuts, strangely enough, they won't spend a great deal. Today's retail trade data for September from the ABS shows consumers are keeping their wallets closed: retail sales turnover grew by ... nothing. Zip. Zero. That's 0% in both trend and seasonally adjusted terms. That's the third hole in the doughnut, in trend terms, in a row; the seasonally adjusted figures for the preceding two months showed falls of 0.5% and 0.3%, so at least with 0% for September we're no longer actually going backwards. Of course, it's retailers who are the most eager to slash workers' wages through penalty rate cuts and dodgy deals with the Shoppies, so you might think it's poetic justice that the sector is suffering the consequences -- but this is a sector that employs over 1.2 million of us, and they're suffering both ways.