From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Harold Holt alive and well (and communist)! Yes, you read that right, a new film promises to “blow the lid off the Harold Holt mystery” once and for all. Don’t get too excited, though — it’s no doco but a “live action short espionage film” based on Soviet footage supposedly of Harold Holt sent anonymously to filmmaker Scott Mannion. According to the press release for “Holt”, the former PM definitely went red:

“When Mannion digitised the 35mm film, what he saw was earth-shattering. The scratchy but well-preserved film clearly showed Harold Holt, very much alive in Russia, 2 years after he disappeared and was presumed dead. But no matter how hard he tried, Mannion could not discover who sent the film or why the sender had chosen him as the recipient. Despite this, the possibilities and far-reaching implications of its content inspired Mannion to craft a compelling espionage short film about what he thought became of Harold Holt.”

Like all good independent films, it has a Kickstarter project to raise money to further the venture. We hope the fundraising efforts have more chance of success than this footage has of actually being of Holt …

Books and bargain bins. We hear from a tipster in the know about publishing that discounting of Julia Gillard’s book is not that much of a big deal for a title that is expected to sell well:

“Not unsurprisingly, Miranda Devine (Tips, yesterday) has no idea about the selling of books. No, Julia Gillard’s new book is not in ‘the Big W discount bin already’. It is common practice for Big W (and other big chains) to do deals with publishers to buy a given number of new books at just above cost so they can sell them below the RRP. The publisher gets its money, Big W makes a profit and the author still gets royalties. Gillard’s book is NOT ‘already discounted’.”

Vote for me! A tipster received this letter from the RACV alerting him to the upcoming board elections, which of itself is not all that exciting. But our RACV member, who says he like the club very much, found it strange that the board members told him which way to vote — i.e. for themselves and not their challengers. The letter claims that it is “good corporate governance practice”, but our tipster took umbrage at being told which way to mark his ballot.

Waiting lists down — but who takes the praise? We’ve been told to look out for a new advertising campaign coming from Queensland Health in coming weeks claiming that waiting times are down across the sunshine state for dental and cochlear implants. It sounds like good news, but according to our tipster these are Commonwealth initiatives and not from the state government’s work. If you see them, let us know.

Carbon taxes going to the tip. Following Monday’s tip that Wollongong City Council had $4.4 million in collected carbon taxes with no way to pay them to the federal government, we heard from a tipster that many local councils contract out their waste disposal to private companies, meaning they would have collected the carbon tax money. According to our tipster, the money is “all windfall now — with no ways for the councils to get back their money”. Do you know of a local council that contracts out its waste disposal? Let us know.

See you there, Scotty. Members of the press gallery were bemused this morning to get a press release from the office of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison advising them that a press conference would be held at “Parliament House”. It seems the minister’s directions have become as vague as his information about asylum seekers in detention. While reporters did manage to get there and ask the hard questions about the government’s plans for temporary protection visas, now we’re wondering — is the location of Parliament House an “on water” matter? Why the secrecy?

Jumping the gun in Yan Yean. We know that preparing for an election is pretty tough work but, it seems like someone at Liberal Party HQ in Victoria chose the wrong letterhead for Sam Ozturk, the candidate for the seat of Yan Yean. Ozturk isn’t an MP (but could be on November 29) — that would be Danielle Green, from the ALP. While we thought it was awkward, Green told her Facebook followers that it was “plain bad manners”. Mind those Ps and Qs, pollies (and wannabe pollies).

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

Peter Fray

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