Bank royal commission, ASA, Piccinini flying high, Woodside, Copyright, pokies, campaign finance, Federal ICAC, Cabcharge and Kevin Andrews

April 11, 2016

Dear Mayne Report readers,

Greetings for the first time since our last bumper email edition on March 22. If you'd rather not receive these occasional email newsletters, click here to unsubscribe. If you like it, share this web version with your friends.

Financial services royal commission vs Federal ICAC

First things first: Australian needs a Federal ICAC. If Malcolm Turnbull wants to trump Bill Shorten's bank royal commission he should commit to the Federal anti-corruption body which the cross-bench has been calling out for in recent times.

But that doesn't mean a financial services royal commission won't also be useful. Australia has a unique financial services industry courtesy of having $1.5 trillion in compulsory super, four big vertically integrated banks, vertically integrated unions offering financial services and the world's most indebted households.

There has been a few banking scandals and there is excessive pay, but Australia has generally been well served by its financial services sector since the HIH collapse more than a decade ago. Risk management has been pretty good but Australians still suffer from one of the world's most concentrated and expensive banking systems. How do the Big Four banks spend $37 billion a year running their Australian and NZ franchises and what sort of competitive market structure allows them to generate about $40 billion a year in pre-tax profits?

Financial services is hugely material to the Australian economy and investors, so a Royal Commission may produce some worthwhile reforms, such as getting the Big Banks out of wealth management to reduce complexity and conflicts of interest.

From an investor point of view, the biggest mistake anyone has made in the past 25 years has been selling the Big Four banks, unless you did it over the past year.

The Big Four are today capitalised at $347 billion, having dropped almost $150 billion from their collective peak 12 months ago.

The Weekend Australian ranks the top 150 by market capitalisation each Saturday citing 12 month highs and lows. Here is the data from Saturday's paper:

CBA: 12 month high $95.27, Friday close $70.76: current market cap: $121 billion
Westpac: 12 month high $39.85, Friday close $28.52: current market cap: $95.1 billion
NAB: 12 month high $37.75, Friday close $25.13: current market cap: $66.5 billion
ANZ: 12 month high $37.25, Friday close $22.28: current market cap: $65 billion

As things stand today, Gail Kelly and Mike Smith are the geniuses of the financial system, timing their exits to perfection. Each walked away from Westpac and ANZ respectively with about $80 million in gross salary, bonuses and equity holdings. Taxpayers have collected more than $30 million from each, which is a pretty tidy contribution as well.

There has already been a lot commentary about the bank Royal Commission and I'm particularly enjoying this recently published book by Craig Ferguson, one of the best analysts I've come across in Australia.It's called Debt, Defaults, Disinflation & Demographics: How to survive and prosper during the market meltdown of 2016-17.

If Ferguson's gloomy outlook comes to pass, bank share prices have a lot further to fall and the Royal Commission will be a most unwanted distraction during tough times for global financial markets and Australian investors.

City of Melbourne transparency update as Federal ICAC push gains momentum

The transparency and accountability push at the City of Melbourne continues apace and it was nice to get some recognition from Tony Walker, International Editor of The AFR, when he wrote the following in his Saturday column:

In Melbourne this past week the Melbourne City Council – at the urging of councillor and shareholder activist Stephen Mayne – backed the establishment of a federal independent anti-corruption commission.

Mayne should be given credit for his campaign to improve transparency in council deliberations, and for his role in seeking to encourage public debate about the need for a federal anti-corruption body.

He has got the issue on the agenda for a meeting of the municipal councils of Victoria on May 13, and from June 19-22 when some 300 local government bodies meet in Canberra and at which Turnbull and Shorten are expected.

Finally, an alarming slippage in Australia's rating on the International Corruption Index should not go un-remedied. Since 2012 Australia has dropped six places in Transparency International's ratings to 13th place from seventh – with further to fall.

This is not good enough.

At City of Melbourne, we all voted at the start of our current term to have a goal of making our operation one of the most open and transparency councils in Australia. So when is Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull going to get together and declare that they both aspire to have Australia regarded as one of the least corrupt countries in the world? This tumbling corruption rating is most disappointing for Australia.

Cranking up the fight against corruption is certainly not an aspiration shared by grumpy old Gerard Henderson, if you can be bothered getting to the bottom of his latest nasty Friday rant on The Australian's website.

When it comes to accountability, remember anyone can come along on the first or third Tuesday of the month and ask a question at the start and the end of City of Melbourne committee meetings.

And check out this list of the 50-plus transparency reforms that City of Melbourne has implemented over the past 3 years.

4 Corners weighing in on campaign finance reform

I've previously been a critic (see recent Crikey story) of the ABC for failing to cover Australia's woeful campaign finance laws, so it was great to hear on the grapevine last week that 4 Corners has unleashed gun reporter Quentin McDermott to have a look at the issue for a program which talent is being told is likely to air some time in late May or early June.

Part of the challenge with this issue is the refusal of donors and the major parties to speak on camera.

Surely, the Lib-Lab duopoly won't be able to get away with refusing to offer up a talking head to Australia's premier investigative television program leading into a double dissolution election where governance and corruption are front and centre in the debate.

If anyone out there reading this wants to provide some input or offer themselves up for an interview, go here on the 4 Corners web page.

And don't miss tonight's episode which is likely to finish off Clive Palmer, although it would take a lot to save his reputation.

Woodside and Perth visit as WA debates council governance

The flights have been booked and there will be a visit to Perth on April 21 for the Woodside Energy AGM, where the company's ongoing excessive political donations will no doubt receive plenty of attention.

ASA's Woodside monitor and deputy chairman, Barry Nunn, wrote the following in his voting intentions report ahead of the AGM:

Despite ASA challenges for some years, Woodside continues to make political donations. This year for the first time Woodside has published the amount of donations, in its separate, non-circulated ‘Corporate Governance Statement' and ‘Sustainable Development Report', both available on the Woodside website. Donations amounted to AU$266,829, an increase of 8% over 2014.

The ongoing relationship with Shell will also be of interest. Indeed, the newest Woodside director, former Shell executive Ann Pickard, has had an impressive and sometimes colourful Shell career, as this piece in The Guardian last year explains.

The Woodside AGM will be followed by a breakfast speech the next morning hosted by the City of Vincent to local government councillors and officers on transparency reforms at the City of Melbourne.

After the WA faction lead the charge against City of Melbourne's good governance motion at last year's ALGA conference in Canberra, I've been looking for opportunities to try and expose poor disclosure practices at WA councils.

This scandal involving Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and her undisclosed travel is exactly that. City of Perth is arguably the most secretive WA council, but this is already starting to change after the Scaffidi scandal.

The local media is up in arms after she launched a facebook rant against former 60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett referencing his alleged "bad breath" and "botox".

Taking over $100,000 worth of undisclosed international trips - some of which were funded by third parties - is poor form by any capital city mayor.

At City of Melbourne we require council approval at a public meeting of all international trips, even if there is no cost to council. We also require a public report afterwards. This "sunlight is the best disinfectant" approach maintains good practice because any excesses are automatically disclosed.

Some reforms are already apparent at City of Perth and the move to no longer receive free tickets as part of sponsorship arrangements has attracted some interest at City of Melbourne. Should we follow suit? Some of the Perth councillors appear to have breached state regulations with earlier freebies, according to this piece in Saturday's edition of The West Australian.

The Perth visit, even though it is partly a private shareholder activism endeavour which won't cost Melbourne ratepayers a cent, will be disclosed and voted on at an open committee meeting next week.

ASA board nomination likely to put an end to board tilts - for a while

Once again, just as occurred in 2011, one particular board tilt is going to lead to an end to corporate board tilts.

This is because I've nominated for the board of the Australian Shareholders' Association and have been endorsed by the board after a very thorough 50 minute phone interview with 4 of the directors.

However, to get endorsement (much appreciated) I was required to undertake not to nominate for any public company boards without ASA board endorsement. Past ASA boards have never endorsed the activist tactic of running for public company boards so, if elected by the ASA members at the May 17 AGM in Sydney, this list of our 48 unsuccessful public company board tilts won't be added to for a while.

And nor will this list of the 20 most biased ballot papers we've seen from public companies facing a contested election.

The ASA board have run a good process with this election. The three candidates have each been given 250 words to spell out their respective platforms and the ballot paper and proxy materials are fair.

If elected, I'll be looking to assist ASA step up its advocacy, all the while working constructively with fellow board members.

Tap into ASA's excellent research lists

Any retail investor worth their salt should be a member of the Australian Shareholders' Association. The ASA website has an interesting list of research lists, some of which are member-only behind the paywall. Here are a few favourites:

Longest serving ASX 200 directors

New CEOs who embrace write-offs

Measuring independent chairs for "skin in the game"

Capped SPPs which were then expanded

How retail investors do worse with separate bookbuilds

The 100 most important remuneration protest votes

30-plus examples of where retail investors gathered 100 signatures

ASA published voting intentions reports free on its website in 2015, but they have been locked again in 2016. However, "trial members" who merely give their details get plenty of access to more material so that's definitely worth doing.

And if you want to see all the research plus the full archive of AGM reports and voting recommendations since 2009, you really should become a member. Click here.

Cabcharge: an example of reform assisted by a board tilt

The Cabcharge board has now been completely overhauled with none of the old Reg Kermode loyalists surviving. Back in 2014, they were still in control and I'd like to think that the board tilt that year assisted the case for renewal. Here's an example of a letter sent to Lazard, one of the key institutional shareholders at the time. It was a shame fund manager Rob Osborn never bothered to reply:

Hi Rob,

We haven't met but I've nominated for the Cabcharge board and have been in dialogue with the company, shareholders and other stakeholders ahead of the November 26 AGM in Sydney. Given Lazard is the second largest shareholder, I'm obviously reaching out to you as well.

The notice of meeting spelt out the basis of my candidacy but events have progressed and my updated position as a “short-term governance change agent” is outlined below.

If you have time, I would be happy to discuss this situation with you, in particular the vital issue of selecting new long-term directors to serve on the board.


Chairman Russell Balding brought in one of his closest friends, Rod Gilmour, as a consultant to Cabcharge three years ago when he joined the board. The board hasn't disclosed what Mr Gilmour was paid over the past three years and in June he was appointed to the Cabcharge board as a non-independent non-executive director.

This was very poor governance and he should be defeated at the AGM on November 26. If Mr Gilmour is really good, he could return to consulting work.

Shareholders should not similarly vote out chairman Russell Balding given that he is independent and there is no obvious successor on the board.

However, the defeat of Mr Gilmour would send a strong message to the board and especially chairman Balding. Effectively they would be on notice to get on with the job of appointing 3 new independent directors with governance, technology and payments industry skills.

However, without a majority of shareholders voting for a spill, there wouldn't be a lot of leverage or a trigger on the remaining 5 directors to get on with the program of rebuilding the board with appropriate talent.

Therefore, my pitch is simple. If elected to the board, I would commit to only stay for one year and then retire along with Donn McMichael at the 2015 AGM after the 3 new directors have been safely elected by shareholders and there is a clear majority of skilled independent directors and a comprehensive overhaul of the current committee system.

If elected, I would seek to immediately be appointed to the Corporate Governance committee alongside long-serving non-independent directors Neill Ford and Donn McMichael.

The pressure would then be on to immediately get on with the job of recruiting strong new directors and I would consult with institutional shareholders such as Lazard before any appointments were made.

It is important not to cause any unnecessary grief with the various powerbrokers in the taxi industry who are well known to messrs Ford and McMichael. Therefore, their exits should be managed delicately and collegiately.

Rather than any forced exits, the goal should be to push ahead with new board appointments (including to the key committees) so as to dilute their influence and then allow them to retire gracefully at the end of their current terms.

Chairman Balding has gone to ground with stakeholders and, consistent with that, hasn't made himself available to meet with me.

In light of this, there may be merit in Lazard attending the AGM, listening to the debate and then making your voting decision on the floor after you've heard what has been said.

In terms of my governance credentials, I am chairman of the Finance and Governance Committee at the City of Melbourne, a large institution with about 2500 employees, more than $600 million in annual revenues and net assets of $3.6 billion.

A wide range of governance reforms have been pushed through council since I was elected two years ago and these are summarised in the following edition of my newsletter which was sent out earlier this week:

As mentioned, I'd be happy to discuss these issues further on the phone or in person if you are available.

Yours Sincerely

Stephen Mayne

Election coming, so councils should get on board the ‘Pokies Play You' campaign

With the Federal government having failed to act and state governments largely addicted to pokies revenue, it is time for local government to really step up in the campaign to end Australia's sad position as the most gambling addicted nation.

City of Melbourne is having budget deliberations this week and I'll be putting the case that we should financially support the Alliance for Gambling Reform.

Check out their latest video explaining how the addiction machines fleece Australians of $12 billion a year.

The ‘Pokies Play You' campaign being run by the Alliance is designed to re-focus discussions in Australia and New Zealand around poker machines. It is being driven by the likes of Tim Costello, Monash University's Prof Charles Livingstone and a group of Victorian councils (see this City of Monash release) but has aspirations to play on a national stage.

Industry and state government campaigns to date have been deliberately crafted to take any focus, or accountability, off the industry and to allocate the blame for all the harm caused by poker machines to people who use them.

The notion of 'responsible gambling', is designed to encourage people to wrongly assume that a player of poker machines is irresponsible if they become addicted.

This allows manufacturers, providers and enablers to avoid any responsibility for making, supplying and legalising a misleading and deceptive product. These products are deliberately manufactured to create addiction.

The notion of ‘responsible gambling' needs to be contested and thoroughly discounted, if any discussion around poker machines is to properly advance.

Rather than criticising gamblers who unwittingly fall prey to a machine that is dishonestly represented as harmless, the ‘Pokies Play You' campaign explains how machines are designed to turn recreational gamblers into addicted gamblers.

The industry currently uses the word “play” in an attempt to make poker machine use seem harmless, child-like and fair. In reality, it is none of these things.

Instead the word “play” is used in the Alliance campaign in the context of manipulation. People do not like to be played. The campaign exists to inform people that they are being deliberately manipulated through machine design, which is engineered to cause addiction to the poker machines.

The notion of people “being played” by the machine is also important in establishing the understanding that, unlike in a normal game of chance or skill, poker machines are designed to be unfair. They are not a game, in any normal sense. You don't play them like a game. They play you. Your eventual addiction in not an accident. It is the result of very specific and measurable programming features.

Australian university research has found that poker machines are the second highest cause of crime in the community after the illicit drug trade.

People who fall victim to poker machines regularly steal from small businesses. They rob venues and steal from friends and family members including their own children. Organised crime gangs regularly target poker machine venues.

Local governments are unfairly blamed by ratepayers for the proliferation of poker machines in the community and get none of the revenue.

Many ratepayers mistakenly believe that local governments can control the location of poker machines, that Councils profit from losses on poker machines, or both.

As you can see from this list of Alliance supporters, many councils are already on board but more should follow.

Litigation against the industry is afoot and there is a new push for individual councils to contribute up to $25,000 to take the Alliance to the next level of capacity.

If you want to get involved or learn more, visit the Alliance for gambling reform website.

And check out this inspirational video (be patient, it's a big file but worth the wait) explaining why councils need to step up on this issue.

Finally, listen to this anti-pokies campaign speech from the 2008 Woolworths AGM for a solid example of straight-talking pokies activism which has seemingly had little impact on our biggest pokies operators.

And try watching this 30 second anti-pokies ad made by Paul Bendat a few years ago featuring our daughter Alice, who was 6 at the time:

Putting the pressure on Kevin "Mr Pokies" Andrews to retire

After almost 25 years as the Member for Menzies, the pressure is mounting on Abbott loyalist and backbencher Kevin Andrews to retire.

The arguments were all spelt out in this recent Crikey piece.

There's no doubt that Menzies is safe Liberal territory and Andrews will have a plenty of cash for his campaign, particularly after Clubs NSW gave him $20,000 after he helped kill off Federal pokies reform. But Andrews is still presenting himself as a key part of the internal opposition to Malcolm Turnbull.

He recently told The Manningham Leader that a future leadership challenge was in prospect and he failed to turn up to Turnbull's Victorian infrastructure announcement last Friday. After claiming his local paper took him out of context, the audio of the interview was published here.

Removing Kevin Andrews would certainly help offset the growing perception that the Coalition is overly dominated by right wing social conservatives.The same goes with Barnaby Joyce - hence Tony Windsor's entry.

If a pro-Turnbull independent stood against Kevin Andrews, there'd be plenty of people who would choose to send Andrews a message and it would force him to publicly endorse Turnbull and existing government policies. Alternatively, anti-pokies campaigner Nick Xenophon could field a candidate, as he is doing against Tony Abbott in Warringah.

Another option for renewal would be if Michael Kroger and his fellow Victorian Liberals disendorsed Kevin based on continuing disloyalty to the party cause.

All it would take is for two thirds of the Victorian Administrative Committee to agree with this proposition and he could be removed.

If the party doesn't do this, there is an outside change that the seat could be lost, such as is the local frustration with Kevin.

Keeping an eye on the directors club: who will succeed Jac Nasser at BHP Billiton?

It is much harder to get into the directors' club, then out of it, but BHP Billiton chairman Jac Nasser is rapidly rising up our list of "time to go" corporate leaders, as was explained this Crikey story last week.

However, the recent appointment of the highly regarded Malcolm Broomhead as chairman of Orica was a bad sign. It suggests the most obvious successor to Nasser doesn't have the numbers on the BHP board.

Chairman succession is a dark art usually played out in private boardrooms with little public or investor transparency.

For instance, who is going to succeed Michael Chaney when he retires as Woodside Energy chairman next year?

Any decent chairman should nurture at least two viable internal successors to take their place, but many don't as they succumb to the conflict of interest of trying to maximise their tenure at the top by rejecting competing talent.

This is where shareholders, including the likes of the ASA, need to step up and insist that chairman succession is handled in a timely and independent manner.

Finally, here are links to some interesting lists related to directors:

Surprising lack of protest votes against non-independent executive chairs

ASX-listed chairs rushed into the job from outside

Tracking tenure and gender balance of AFL club boards

Companies which tried to make it harder for outsiders to run for boards

What happens to directors in takeovers

Bank royal commission and fighting for a fairer deal in capital raisings for retail shareholders

It has been somewhat of a lonely battle but here are links to 8 years worth of articles about how retail investors get ripped off by Australia's anything goes capital raising system.

Now that Bill Shorten has committed to a financial services Royal Commission, it would be good if our capital raising system was included in the terms of reference.

Perhaps the ASA should invite Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull to attend their annual conference in Sydney on May 16-18 to present their credentials in this area.

Big Four banks not complying with Australia's copyright laws

Speaking of bank conduct, I was pleased to discover last year that Macquarie Group is forking out a six-figure annual licence fee to Copyright Agency Ltd, so it can reproduce the work of artists and creatives internally.

However, the downside of this tale is that none of the Big Four banks are licensed, even though every state, territory, school, university and the Federal Government are making annual licence payments to CAL.

Councils and listed companies are the two biggest categories of non-compliance for CAL and I was very happy to propose this unanimously supported motion last year to sign up City of Melbourne.

If new CAL chair Kim Williams and his hand-picked CEO Adam Suckling, who spent many years working together at Foxtel and News Corp, want some assistance in the name and shame to reduce copyright non-compliance, I'd be happy to help.

The Big Four banks are an obvious starting point as they should be collectively paying more than a $3 million a year to CAL. Now is the time to ask them given this is basically a compliance breach and compliance will be front and centre in the royal commission debate.

A trip down memory lane on our Youtube channel

When The Mayne Report first launched in 2007 we were posting daily videos on our Youtube channel. Alas, the cost and time of in-house video production, plus the lack of any revenue, made this model unviable.

However, when you look back at all the video we've got spanning our own productions, one-off interviews, profiles or lengthy interviews, or webcasts of AGMs, it turns out we've got a rather large library of material, some of which is now available on our Youtube channel.

Some of the playlists on our video site including the following:

Macquarie model a dead parrot

Video packages of battles with Rupert Murdoch

Speech about women on boards at Intelligence Squared debate in Melbourne

Skewering Col Allan on Channel Nine's Sunday program

Cracking a few bad jokes after OZ Minerals and Zinifex merger

Donate to help keep us going

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Thanks to the two readers who collectively contributed $120 after the last edition, plus to the former journalist who is donating $40 a month through Paypal.

The Mayne Report loves lists and here are a few favourites

We love a good list at The Mayne Report and here are a few favourites we've worked up over the years:

18 years of remuneration excesses by the Murdoch family

120 local govt councillors who made it into Parliament

The great honorary doctorates list

Prominent Australians who have sued for defamation

Claimed assets of companies at time of collapse

The great Australian cheque-book journalism list

The Mayne Report Rich List (needs updating)

From the press room

The media tart has been up and about in the past week. It must be election season, a cynic might say.

There was a chat this morning with Sally Warhaft on 774 ABC Melbourne about the financial services royal commission.

There may be something on A Current Affair tonight or tomorrow about councillor expenses. Here's hoping they run a favourite line - "sunlight is the best disinfectant" - and point out that City of Melbourne only has 6 council-issued credit cards, compared with a ridiculous 230 at the City of Greater Geelong.

The Age ran this piece last week on the exciting Lend Lease plans for Collins Wharf and 3AW also called for some grabs on this issue after council voted to take on responsibility for the wharf last Tuesday, provided Lend Lease agrees to pass through some special charges to help with the maintenance.

The AFR covered council's important VCAT win against Tony Brady, a developer who pushes the boundaries more than most and even the Herald Sun ran our push for a Federal ICAC, along with The Age which twinned it to the Lord Mayor's campaign finance plans.

As mentioned earlier, there was also this Tony Walker column in The AFR on Saturday making the case for a Federal ICAC, along with a masochistic engagement with Gerard Henderson over corruption fighting institutions such as ICAC.

Throw in an hour wrapping the week for Sky Business two Fridays back and there's been no rest for the wicked of late.

Crikey yarns since last edition

Since Crikey was sold in March 2005, the freelance contributions to Australia's best known and longest running independent ezine have continued as follows:

2016: 26 stories so far
2015: 108 stories
2014: 51 stories
2013: 19 stories
2012: 56 stories
2011: 71 stories
2010: 64 stories
2009: 50 stories
2008: 264 stories
2007: 354 stories
2006: 295 stories
2005: 257 stories

Here are links to the Crikey stories since our last Mayne Report edition on March 7:

Inside mayor Doyle's credit card snafu
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Just what is Twiggy up to?
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Murdoch culture opposes corruption fighting and investigative journalism
Monday, April 4, 2016

Can Lib-Lab duopoly keep resisting a Federal ICAC?
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

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From the member edition archive

If you're a relatively new Mayne Report reader, here are links to some of the more interesting email editions sent out over the past eight years.

2016 - 2 editions so far

Turnbull, Warburton, pokies, AICD, IOOF, Quills, internal audit and much more
Monday, March 22, 2016

2015 - 8 editions

AGM season, PAITREOs, pokies, MAV, Copyright, Piccinini sisters, ANZ carbon and transcripts
November 5, 2015

Global Integrity Summit, Macquarie, pokies, council update, AGM season and family news
October 12, 2015

Battling Slaters, a Stokes shocker, council, CBA litigation, ASA conference and RACV reforms
April 30, 2015

Tenth anniversary of Crikey sale, Aristocrat AGM, council transparency and then some
March 9, 2015

Why Ministers should support the Liberal leadership spill
Monday, February 9, 2015

2014 - 8 editions focused on back half of the year post ASA gig

Special edition on the Victorian election result
Sunday, November 30, 2014

Vic election, Herald Sun, Rupert votes, Tex, Xenophon and much morey
Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rupert AGMs, Cabcharge, Costello, Bolt, Ten and Victorian election
Sunday, November 16, 2014

CBA tilt, LA visit, Rupert AGMs, Cabcharge and state election
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cabcharge, donations for Rupert visit and governance reforms at City of Melbourne
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tilts, Fairfax, CBA, Brickworks, Albert Park, ASX, Woolies, pokies and Crown
Friday, September 20, 2014

We're back: inside a post-ASA election season blitz
Monday, September 15, 2014

2013 - 10 editions with 5 favourites below

Capital raisings, Ansell, IAG, Packer, pokies, Rich List, City of Melbourne and ASA update
Monday, December 23, 2013

Franking robbery, East West trust breach, BHP bonuses, John Gay and plenty more
Sunday, August 25, 2013

ASA policy paper, Kevin Andrews on the pokies, Senate preferences and much more
August 19, 2013

ASA, Billabong, Westfield, Newcrest, Shorten, Turnbull, pokies and then some
Monday, July 22, 2013

Rudd v Gillard, referendum, Labor sleaze, Clive Palmer, ASA, City of Melbourne and plenty more
Monday, June 24, 2013

2012 - only 9 editions given council and ASA commitments

Backing Rudd, Lachlan, Bob Brown media debate, Manningham governance, Gunns and St Kilda AGM
Monday, February 20, 2012

The OZ goes mad, Murdoch piracy, AFR, pokies double rate, Gina, council super, BoQ rip-off and power speech
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2011 - 21 editions but slowed down after elected to ASA board in May

Murdoch special, media inquiry, pokies, Manningham, Zara, secretive Shortenite crs and Vodafone take-down
Thursday, September 15, 2011

Elected to ASA board, pokies, Rio, Santos, RHG, Hartigan, Manningham, capital raisings and Rich List
Thursday, May 19, 2011

2010 - 39 editions and last year with paid staff

Paperlinx, Packer, Murdoch, Manningham, pokies, Rich ex wives, foreign takeovers and much more
Saturday, October 23, 2010

DJs, women on boards, ex Lib goes no pokies, preferences, Pratt-Shorten, Labor's debt and Manningham council audio
August 3, 2010

Director rankings, Rio, Westfield, MAP, Manningham, Paatsch, state election, rich list, pokies and much more
June 9, 2010

Political donations, Stokes, Westfield tower, Richard Colless, Manningham nursing home, state debt, Rich List and Grand Prix
February 23, 2010

2009 - 40 editions but was slowed down by Manningham council

Seven AGM, crazy Perth visit, Fairfax, Telstra, Transfield, capital raisings and much more
November 9, 2009

News Corp AGM, Packer, Fairfax, James Strong, Woolies, Eastern Golf, Kohler-Gatto and much more
October 20, 2009

Bad Bendigo, Mark Day, Manningham, pokies, NAB, Asciano, Rich List, Paladin and hostile EGMs
September 15, 2009

Macquarie AGM, Melbourne's decline, Asciano EGM, capital raisings, Goyder's pokies and AGM diary
July 28, 2009

2008 - 172 editions in our first and best full year of operation as the GFC hit and before we got overloaded at Manningham

71% backing at Centro, $11bn backing at BHP and huge Qantas protest
November 28, 2008

Combank's $700m ABC Learning debacle
November 13, 2008

Toll board skewered over $55m executive rort
October 30, 2008

Rupert's accountability dodge, Macquarie's Italian hit, Babcock funds revamp, and rich lists.
October 20, 2008

BHP and Woolies tilts, AFIC push on Stan Wallis, ASX-Kohler yarn and new Rich Listers
September 26, 2008

Macquarie videos, Stokes raid, new board tilt, Oz Minerals, share trading and much more
July 25, 2008

Owen Hegarty payout rolled, history is made
July 18, 2008

Great debate at the Babcock AGM
May 30, 2008

Our liveliest edition yet
Thursday, May 8, 2008

Burrows quits Fairfax, Rupert, donations, long-serving directors and much more
January 31, 2008

Markets tumble, Rupert book deal, Centro, Rich List, Xenophon, AFR tips and our buying spree
January 17, 2008

2007 - 15 editions as we launched shortly before running in Federal election

Fortescue Metals AGM: time for Twiggy and FMG to grow up
Sunday, November 8, 2007, 10.30pm

How $5bn worth of votes backed us against Rupert's dodgy gerrymander
Saturday, 20 October, 2007, 7.20am

Mayne family news: Patricia Piccinini flying high in Brazil

The Piccinini sisters are such an interesting duo - it is an exciting privilege to be part of their lives.

Paula Piccinini, the artist formerly known as "Mrs Crikey", is working hard at her new job running the legal service at Intouch, a wonderful organisation that provides support to migrant women who are victims of family violence. Given the heightened profile of the issue at the moment, one of the challenges is securing enough on-going funding to cope with surging demand.

Our three kids loved seeing their mum on ABC television recently, talking about her amazing older sister, the artist Patricia Piccinini.

The ABC documentary - Patricia Piccinini: a dark fairytale - brought back so many memories and generated a few tears in our household. It is only available on Iview until 10.30pm this Wednesday night so do check it out while you can.

Patricia is back in Brazil at the moment - her third visit in 12 months. The Canberra Times recently covered the Skywhale's success in Brazil, but it has been her wider show across the three biggest cities in Brazil which has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors. Here's hoping an equivalent show can be seen in an Australian gallery some time soon.

Even The New York Times recently published this profile on Patricia's amazing artistic creations.

The kids are all well. We had a lovely Easter Break at RACV Cobram and really enjoyed visiting this cactus farm.

Phil is back at school today and the girls tomorrow.

Tonight we commence what will be the craziest winter of sports juggling yet. Philip has a 5.30pm school basketball game and we are scoring. Alice is returning to basketball and has her first training session is tonight at 5.15pm, following by a football practice match at 6.30pm and Laura has a practice match at 7.30pm. Both the girls are also meant to be attending a regional football training squad tonight from 7pm, but will have to miss. The same goes with tonight's swimming squad for Alice and Phil, which we'll be dropping at the end of the month as winter sets in.

That's all for now until next month's edition when we'll have more on the Federal election and developments at ASA, plus plenty of other material.

Do ya best, Stephen Mayne

* The Mayne Report is an email newsletter and website which promotes transparency and good governance in the corporate, political and media worlds. It is published by Stephen Mayne, the founder of, shareholder advocate and City of Melbourne councillor. To unsubscribe from this email list, click here.