From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Tom Waterhouse sells out: deal soon? Don’t be surprised if much-maligned gambling mogul Tom Waterhouse announces over coming days he has sold his business — Crikey‘s sources say it’s a done deal. Apparently Waterhouse, who has ploughed an enormous amount of money into the business, will pocket a cool $150 million from a deal brokered with an English bookmaker. Waterhouse spokesman Warren Hebard issued a curt “no comment” to Crikey‘s inquiries this morning. We hear an official announcement could be made by the end of the week.

Gardner for Queensland? Herald Sun editor-in-chief Phil Gardner departed News Limited earlier this month. But rumours are swirling in the News bunker that he could have stayed at the company. The tittle-tattle is that News Ltd sounded out Gardner about the job left vacant by Queensland editorial director David Fagan, but he wasn’t keen on shifting north. Not so, said a News spokesman: “Phil was not offered David’s job.” Gardner was previously set to head up an integrated Fox Sports/News Ltd sports desk. That plan was watered down after Rupert Murdoch, following fierce resistance from his newspaper editors, kyboshed it.

Hockey charm offensive. Prepare yourself for a rash of profiles on treasurer-in-waiting Joe Hockey. Crikey hears bandanna-wearing columnist Peter FitzSimons is filming a piece on Hockey for Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program. Although Fitzy undoubtedly leans Left, the north shore denizens are mates. Hockey was a guest at FitzSimons’ Australia Day barbecue this year in Mosman, and was reported telling guests he’s keen to take over from Tony Abbott one day. Tony Boyd is also penning a profile of Hockey for The Australian Financial Review Magazine. This follows a friendly spread last week in The Australian’s Deal magazine — a slimmed-down Hockey starred on the front page.

Big pay day for the Libs. “Want some goss re Liberal Party fundraising?” asks one anonymous tipster. Well, of course …

“I met with a regional Chinese business association director through work on Friday and he told me he’d decided to make a $100,000 donation to the Liberal Party. He said that this was the largest donation of any non-profit association to the Liberal Party for the election. The members of the association he was representing are local and Chinese businessmen and companies with interest in real estate, property development, agriculture, milk powder processing and mining. The organisation though seems largely to act in the interest of overseas businessmen looking to invest in Australia.”

Seems like a lot of cash for no obvious reason. Do you know anything more? Tell Tips (and you can stay anonymous).

Alby thanks Gina for the good times. We’ve been following the farewells in Parliament over the last week. It was Liberal MP Alby Schultz’s turn to deliver his valedictory speech yesterday, including a shout-out to one famous Australian …

“I have had the good fortune to meet some very interesting and wonderful Australians who have, for different reasons, become very close family friends. This is going to surprise a few people here because my background is a poor working-class background …

“One of those two women was Gina Rinehart, a wonderful and successful Australian much maligned by the chattering class, bigoted class-warfare politicians and the bottom end of left-wing journalists ensconced in and beyond the Canberra commentariat.”

Remember, Schultz even went into bat for Rinehart with her own family — urging, along with Barnaby Joyce, her warring offspring to drop a legal case against their mother. It didn’t work. Schultz now has the time to join Rinehart’s legal fight in a full-time capacity.

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

Peter Fray

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