From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Crown staffer, responsible gambling man. Let’s join some dots here. Sean Armistead — a fine individual, we’re sure — has, a Crikey reader informs us, been drafted to the Victorian Liberal government’s Responsible Gambling Ministerial Advisory Council. It is no secret that Armistead works at gambling den Crown — his LinkedIn page says he’s the company’s group manager of indigenous programs. And isn’t that a nice appointment for the company?

But it’s worth noting, too, that Armistead is a Liberal himself; he ran against Green Adam Bandt in the seat of Melbourne at the last federal poll. Now, we’re just asking the question: how independent can the advice on responsible gambling from a Liberal-voting Crown employee ever be? We can only imagine.

Sports stars feel better on Swisse? What a weekend for Australian sport. And what a weekend for drug-pushers Swisse. The hyper-marketed vitamin empire certainly knows how to pick winners: it backs the victorious Ashes cricket team and veteran tennis scrapper Lleyton Hewitt, who managed to knock off Roger Federer on Sunday to claim the Brisbane International title.

Clearly you do feel better on Swisse, despite what those so-called experts might say. Remember, the company has in the past offered to financially supplement doctors who recommend its products. It also whipped out Delta Goodrem ahead of a contentious court ruling into whether or not its capsules were “clinically proven”. In 2012 the Therapeutic Goods Administration told Swisse to stop broadcasting television advertisements that claimed consumers would “feel better on Swisse”. In the end, Swisse won its appeal in the Federal Court. With Australia’s complementary and alternative medicine industry worth around $4 billion annually, it seems Swisse’s investment in Aussie sporting stars has finally paid off.

The uni heads can just FUC off. Yesterday we brought news that staff at the grandly named Federation University in Gippsland, Victoria, were warned not to use the university’s rather unfortunate acronym. Well, another campus mole notes: “Staff are also been urged to avoid abbreviations when making references to Federation University Churchill.” FUC? What’s wrong with that …?

Happy birthday, from your local MP. We’ve heard of pollies dispatching congratulatory letters for centenarian constituents, but how many MPs send birthday wishes for the not-so-big 3-0? Victorian state MP Clem Newton-Brown does, which the (grateful) recipient thought was rather odd …

“As you transition into another stage of life, I hope you do so with great memories of your roaring 20s and with anticipation of what adventures are still to come.”

Aw, isn’t that nice? And at minimal cost to taxpayers, no doubt. We do love a pollie letter — have you found one in the letterbox worth scanning? Drop us a line if so …

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

Peter Fray

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