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Tips and rumours

Jul 15, 2014

Tips and rumours

Govt bodies for sale ... SMH calls World Cup wrong ... why is TAI in love with Palmer? ...

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Psst, want to help sell off govt bodies? The government has quietly put out a tender notice for help in flogging off ASIC (the business registry arm thereof) and the Royal Australian Mint. The tender is for groups to provide “business/commercial advisory services” to the scoping studies that will look at selling off part of ASIC and the Mint.

The ASIC scoping study will be due in October this year (what’s the hurry?) and the Mint study next January. These are just two in a raft of public bodies the government wants to sell off, but it has ruled out privatising Australia Post, and it doesn’t seem to be planning to privatise the ABC or SBS.

Whoever takes over the Mint, we’d just remind them that the five-cent piece costs six cents to produce. Surely there’s a smarter way? Perhaps we could do away with five-cent pieces altogether. Ms Tips is still holding onto her two- and one-cent pieces, waiting for them to surge in value — it’s her superannuation backup.

Brazil wins World Cup! Oh dear, Sydney Morning Herald, your journos obviously got up too early yesterday …

MP sees the light. “I come from the real world,” eager chipmunk-cheeked first-term Liberal MP Craig Laundy said ohhhhhhhh 30 times during a speech on the carbon tax. “How many economists does it take to change a light bulb?” he went on. “None. They hire someone to do it. Out in the real world, where I’m from, we change them ourselves, we don’t hire electricians.”

One would hope that is not true, since Laundy’s tenure in the real world has been as the scion of a hotelier family, with more than 30 properties across the state. Mind you, he didn’t just sit around thinking up bad jokes before ascending to a business someone else built. He went to Sydney Uni and got a degree … in economics.

A light-bulb moment, perhaps.

Lazarus rose anyway. Yesterday we cheekily asked if the reason John Howard’s autobiography Larazus Rising sold so many copies was because The Australian (happy 50th birthday, by the way) bought copies and sent them to its subscribers. Sounds like not all readers welcomed the gift …

“Yes I received a copy, being an Australian subscriber, but a Labor supporter — the book was very heavy and disposed of in the recycle bin  unread.”

It’s not the first time Howard has been recycled — he was Liberal leader from 1985 to 1989, then had another go from 1995. This Oz reader never got his copy of the Howard tome:

“I’ve been a long-term subscriber to The Australian, but haven’t received a copy of LR.”

The plot thickens; only selected Oz readers got a copy. You can read Howard’s publisher HarperCollins’ response to our tip in Crikey Comments today — a spokeswoman says the 100,000+ sales figures is “quite separate from the sort of peripheral subscription drive offers that news organisations such as The Australian and indeed Crikey regularly arrange”.

We’re not sure if we’re more offended as being described as “peripheral,” or being lumped in the same sentence as The Australian.

Speaking of the Oz Look who’s in town for tonight’s gala b’day party in Sydney, with guest of honour Tony Abbott. We love that if you’re not Rupert, you’re out of focus.

That’s the CEO of News Corp Australia, Julian Clarke, on the right. News Corp management — even older than the Oz.

Questions about TAI. The Australia Institute, a Left-leaning Canberra-based body, bills itself has having no formal political ties and being independent. So is it incongruous that the institute’s new star player, Ben Oquist, seems to be working closely with Clive Palmer? Oquist used to be former Greens leader Bob Brown’s right-hand-man, and had a similar role with Christine Milne until they fell out and he quit. Now he seems to be in charge of lobbying Palmer and arranging events for him. A tipster thinks the situation is odd:

“One wonders if The Australia Institute’s claims of being a progressive, independent think tank with no formal political or commercial ties, are still valid? Clearly supporters and donors of the Institute are also asking Oquist to justify his moonlighting with Palmer.”

The flip side is, of course, that TAI might get closer to its goal of a “progressive” Australia, involving “environmentally responsible … solutions,” if it lobbies key parliamentary figures — so why not work with Palmer? Oquist is a skilled, savvy negotiator and communicator. Perhaps a more relevant question is: should the federal Greens have listened to him and encouraged him to stay with them?

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

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One thought on “Tips and rumours

  1. zut alors

    Re Rupert being in focus, it’s surprising he’s not insisting on being snapped through gauze-covered lens at this stage.