POLITICS can be a grubby business. Or in the case of Moreland Council, downright trashy. In the tradition of the best political scandals, this one even comes with a grainy video that has ratepayers up in arms - and that will have dedicated domestic recyclers everywhere shaking their heads. The video, posted on YouTube, shows a council garbage truck doing its early morning rounds. Responsible residents have left their bins out, their waste carefully separated. But as the title of the video asks, ''Why bother to recycle if this is what happens?'' It is indeed gobsmacking: the mechanised arm of the truck lifts and dumps all the rubbish into the back of the vehicle, efforts at recycling apparently ignored. The video has been posted by architects Frank Timpano and Derham Groves, who are running for council under the Moreland Residents and Ratepayers Action Group banner. They say this was standard council procedure until a few weeks ago. We thought there must be more to it than meets the eye, but on Friday the council fessed up in a tweet: ''This truck was sold many months ago and we fixed this problem back then. We've since reviewed and improved our service.'' We're amazed it was going on in the first place.
That seals it, police have a sense of humour
IT WAS a traffic hazard with a difference in Middle Park early yesterday when an adventurous seal took a look at the neighbourhood, basking in the morning sun on Beach Road and forcing police to cordon off the area as they and an officer from Wildlife Rescue Victoria tried to herd it back into the water. Heckler would like to regale you with an array of original seal-worthy puns, but fortunately the work was done for us by the comedians in the police media office, who sent out a release headlined ''Police seal of approval'', full of details such as: ''When police approached the seal, he attempted to escape custody over a stone wall before becoming stuck.'' Chortles galore, right down to the final zinger: ''The seal is not expected to be charged.'' A heart-warming tale that ended with the seal safely at Melbourne Zoo after an unsuccessful attempt to return it to the ocean. As Constable Greg Green put it: ''It makes a nice change from dealing with crooks.''
Hinch stands by his soon-to-be ex-employer
HUMAN headline Derryn Hinch has kept himself on a relatively tight leash since being fired by 3AW (owned by Fairfax Media, owner of The Sunday Age). Yesterday, he went so far as to stand by his soon-to-be-former employer amid calls for a boycott of the AW drive show and its advertisers by the Crime Victims Support Association. Hinch is having none of it, and yesterday confirmed via Twitter he will be back on air soon to serve out his contract. ''Please. Don't boycott 3AW. Don't boycott AW advertisers. Back Sept. 17. Let's go out on highest ratings, best programs. Best revenge.''
Swan thrilled at politics plus Springsteen
IF THE rumours are true and Bruce Springsteen does tour Australia next year, the Boss might need extra security to keep Wayne Swan at bay. The Treasurer is an unashamed fanboy, having copped much ridicule when he cited Springsteen's working-class values as an inspiration in a lecture last month. Undeterred, Swan was quick off the mark when the Boss' music rang out across the arena at the end of Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on Friday. ''Just when I thought the Democrats Convention couldn't get any better, they play the Boss. Sensational,'' the Treasurer tweeted. We imagine no one will be happier than Swan if Springsteen does make it Down Under next year, though it might help if he gave prospective promoters some advice on the economics of such a tour. Last time the superstar was here, in 2003, promoters Jacobsen Entertainment copped a reported loss of $1.7 million. Perhaps Swan can get Treasury to crunch the numbers this time around.