From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Co-payments and the Cormack Foundation. While debate continues to simmer over the government’s GP co-payment plan, one tipster drew our attention to the idea’s source. The original co-payment figure was $6, and it came from the Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR), a small think tank set up by private health funds and hospitals. It turns out that like many think tanks, the ACHR is not all that far removed from the halls of power. The ACHR board is a who’s-who of head honchos from the private health sector, including Michael Walsh, chief executive of Cabrini Health in Melbourne. Cabrini Health’s chairman is Peter Matthey, who is the financial controller for the Cormack Foundation — the Liberal Party’s biggest donor for many years. The Cormack Foundation’s influence on government policies has already been questioned this year, with Crikey revealing the foundation receives dividends from the big four banks, which lobbied the government successfully to repeal financial advice regulations.

Want some advice for free? The wise heads around the IPA and blog Catallaxy Files are champions of freedom — sorry, champions of FREEDOM! — but there are limits. Thus Catallaxy stalwart Professor Sinclair Davidson — who advocates the rule of the free market from a comfortable publicly funded sinecure at the RMIT University Business School — has recently authored a report for the Minerals Council of Australia, in which it is argued that anyone advocating divestment from coal companies by share portfolio holders should be liable under the Corporations Act.

The logic? You’re going to love this:

Got that? If you freely say that investors should freely choose to freely disassociate from things they don’t approve of, you should be prosecuted for costing them money. More proof that classical liberalism is really about property rather than persons, and sees the latter as a subset of the former. Still, as John Quiggin notes, this might be a job for FREEDOM BOY, Tim Wilson. Someone project the Reagan signal into the sky!

Switching sides in Melbourne. Melbourne activist Rose Iser started a new job in the office of state Labor MP Jennifer Kanis this week, an interesting move when Iser’s history with the Greens is considered. The former staffer for federal Greens MP Adam Bandt almost became the minor party’s candidate to challenge Kanis in the 2012 byelection for the seat of Melbourne, but was beaten at preselection by Melbourne City councillor Cathy Oke. Iser and the Greens fell out after the federal election last year, with the former Moonee Valley councillor accusing the party of discriminating against her on mental health grounds. The Greens apologised to Iser, but she left the party and continued to campaign on other issues such as the east-west link. Iser told Crikey her new role was part-time, with responsibility for constituent assistance and other outreach work.

Someone call Mel Gibson. Opening ceremonies of international sporting events are often a patchy affair, and true to form, the opening festivities of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games this morning had its fair share of highlights and lowlights. While the Scottish terriers leading out the teams were inspired, we couldn’t help but wince as God Save the Queen was blared across the stadium. Queen Elizabeth didn’t look like she was enjoying herself most of the time, but surely she must have noticed the irony of the line “long to reign over us” — Scotland will vote on becoming independent from the United Kingdom in September.

The Ministry of Magic appears. There isn’t a lot to smile about at the Broadmeadows detention centre on the outskirts of Melbourne, where asylum seeker families are held, but last night detainees were treated to a performance by Tony the Magician — organised by none other than former Victorian attorney-general Rob Hulls. Hulls, who told Crikey he had visited the centre with his own children previously, declared the event a success and said “everyone was in stitches”.

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

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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