Chairman Vaile looks for Tinkler

Chairman Vaile looks for Tinkler

Could a deal between Whitehaven Coal and its embattled largest shareholder, Where's Wally of mining Nathan Tinkler, be in the works?

CBD hears talk that last week Whitehaven Coal chairman Mark Vaile took a trip to Singapore, the tax haven Tinkler calls home after abandoning the Hunter Valley.

Tinkler's 19.5 per cent stake in Whitehaven is up for sale - as is his vast horse racing empire and his luxurious Queensland estate. But finding a buyer for a big block of shares is always tricky and the situation was further complicated last week when liquidators of Tinkler's Mulsanne Resources lodged a legal bid to freeze the highly geared former electrician's assets, including the $450 million worth of Whitehaven shares.

If Vaile was in the Lion City to talk to Tinkler, there's no guarantee he found him. He's so elusive sometimes even his own PR flack, Tim Allerton, doesn't know where he is.

And Vaile wouldn't be the only person looking for Tinkler. Back in Australia, corporate advisers BKK have struck a deal over a $440,000 bill, but CBD hears at least one other creditor also wants to have a friendly chat about payment terms.

Peter the greatest

Gathered among the ancient relics at the Melbourne Museum on Friday night were the Liberal Party faithful, brought together to wine and dine the man repeatedly referred to during dinner as "Australia's greatest treasurer", Peter Costello.

With victory in September so close as to be fragrant, the presentation of life party membership to Costello drew a big crowd including Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, many of his frontbench and Victorian Premier Denis Napthine.

Notably absent were former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, who called Costello "disloyal" a few years back, and the man to whom Costello played second fiddle, former PM John Howard.

However, both appeared in a video package introduced by Costello's son Seb, a reporter with the Nine Network. "You're the best treasurer Australia ever had," Howard said, to a handful of boos.

Abbott thanked Costello for teaching by example during the Howard years, saying that after cabinet meetings, Costello would say: "Tony's just channelling B.A. Santamaria again."

These days, Abbott said, he channels only Peter Costello.

Accepting his life membership, Costello said public service was a calling and after doing your job for the country you should step aside to make way for others.

CBD can't imagine who he had in mind.

For under-75s

Santa-who? Readers who still have most of their own teeth may be unaware of the political legacy of Bartholemew Augustine Michael Santamaria, born in 1915 in Brunswick. Suffice to say he was a staunch Catholic anti-communist who played a key role in the split in the Labor Party in 1955. No correspondence will be entered into on this matter as nobody under 75 cares.

HSBC drops ball

Goodbye cauliflower ears, hello flowers. That seems to be the marketing strategy for global bank HSBC, which has all but abandoned sports sponsorship in this country in favour of community support programs.

HSBC ditched its sponsorship of AFL team Hawthorn last year and will say ta-ta to the Tahs in October when its sponsorship of rugby union's Waratahs ends.

Up for renewal next month is HSBC's deal with Sydney's Domain. But that deal, worth about $100,000 looks more likely to survive - along with a host of other feel-good community programs.

It looks like HSBC backs only sports with international reach - such as the British and Irish Lions - and it has naming rights for many golf and tennis championships.

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