Fixing political donations disclosure, Menzies update, Four Corners, back on the ASA board, fighting the pokies and family news

May 23, 2016

Dear Mayne Report readers,

Greetings for the first time since our last email update on May 7 when we launched our campaign to unseat Kevin Andrews at the July 2 federal election. If you'd rather not receive these occasional email newsletters, click here to unsubscribe. If you like it, send this URL to your friends, particularly if they live in the Federal seat of Menzies.

Don't miss Four Corners tonight

The long campaign to improve Australia's shoddy system of political donations disclosure reaches a critical point tonight when Four Corners puts its special investigation to air.

They have footage from the donations debate with Frank Lowy at the recent Westfield AGM in Sydney, plus I also did a sit-down interview with reporter Quentin McDermott.

I've comprehensively previewed Four Corners in this Crikey story today, which includes disclosure of my biggest donor so far. Sadly, we won't know the identify of many major party donors until February 1, 2018, if at all.

With front page stories on "donations for visas" issues in The Age and the Herald Sun today, plus revelations in The Age on Saturday about Andrew Robb's Chinese fundraising activities during the China free trade agreement processes, there has never been a better opportunity for reform.

The key will be media pressure on the big parties for specific policies announcements. Are they proposing to retain the world's weakest system of disclosure after the election and how do they defend that?

Kevin Andrews has never answered the question as to why pokies behemoth Clubs NSW gave him $30,000 for his 2013 re-election campaign, but with multiple candidate forums in Menzies being lined up, surely he won't be able to sustain his silence for the next 40 days.

As for Four Corners, it is just unacceptable that so many political leaders refused interview requests.

They should be named and shamed on the program tonight. Don't miss it at 8.30pm on ABC1.

Menzies campaign update

Peter Brent produced this interesting table suggesting that Kevin Andrews had the highest personal vote of any Victorian Liberal MP at the 2013 election given that his primary vote of 58.9% exceeded the Liberal senate vote in Menzies by a healthy 5.5%.

The goal of this campaign is to get the Andrews primary vote down into the 40s and generate one of the biggest swings in Australia against an incumbent MP. Sportsbet seem to think the swing could be on as they are only offering 11-1 if I win, whereas Labor and the Greens are both on 26-1.

Based on these emails of support pouring in from Menzies voters, there is quite a groundswell of anger and resentment against Kevin for staying around too long, undermining Malcolm Turnbull, branch stacking and trying to impose his 1950s social views on voters.

The Manningham Leader gave him a solid touch up with two negative stories on page 5 last week about branch stacking and homophobic flyers at his Abbott fundraiser, plus they ran my letter in full as follows:

Not impressed

What is going on in the office of Kevin Andrews?

After newspapers reports of ethnic branch stacking, electorate officer Andrew Ananievski resigned within hours on May 6.

Then, Mr Ananievski popped up in last week's Manningham Leader criticising former Manningham mayor Jennifer Yang for not resigning from council quickly enough after she was preselected onto the Labor Senate ticket.

But why didn't Mr Ananievski disclose to readers that he was a taxpayer-funded partisan staffer of Mr Andrews at the time he wrote the letter?

After 25 years, it's time for a different sort of liberal to represent Menzies.

Stephen Mayne
Former Liberal staffer
City of Melbourne councillor
Independent candidate in Menzies

Elsewhere, we've emailed hundreds of Menzies voters so far, plus delivered flyers in Bulleen, around Westfield Doncaster and in Park Orchards on Saturday. The response from door-knocking has been very warm and there's a real appetite for change.

Most people get the problem of safe seats being ignored by Canberra and understand that if an independent Turnbull supporter wins the seat, there is far greater leverage .

The sorts of issues on the table in a hung parliament scenario were outlined in this Crikey story last Monday.

If you fancy giving us a hand over the coming weeks, please email and our existing $35,000 campaign program will need more crowd-sourced support if we are going to pull this off. We're up against a Kevin Andrews machine that will spend more than $500,000 to defend the seat. At the 2013 election, the pokies donations even helped fund overnight security guards to protect the best spots for Kevin Andrews advertising material at the various polling booths.

City of Melbourne transparency revolution continues

Firstly, check out this list of the 50-plus transparency reforms that City of Melbourne has implemented over the past 4 years.

We're not finished yet as a package of audit transparency measures are going to the May 31 council meeting, along with this motion which, if supported, will effectively introduce an online continuous disclosure regime for donations and gifts above $150.

None of this would have happened without the support of council colleagues from across the political divide.

There is a possibility I will resign from City of Melbourne in June some time to focus on the Menzies campaign but it has been a fabulous reform experience so far and fingers crossed we can get a get a couple more things done, such as greater visibility of the longer term capital works pipeline in the final 2016-17 budget. The draft budget was a little threadbare in this regard, as there is resistance at both the officer and councillor level based on concerns about raising community expectations as to what will be delivered in the longer term.

Back on the ASA board

Any retail investor worth their salt should be a member of the Australian Shareholders' Association and I was delighted to be elected to the ASA board at the annual meeting in Sydney last Tuesday.

Here are the final results of the poll. Support from 93% of the votes cast was slightly up on the 89% support when I first ran back in 2011. Fairfax's Colin Kruger carried a few paragraphs on the ASA AGM at the bottom of this gossip column, which also references the exciting $100,000 donation which ASA will soon be receiving. The details of this are a great story which is yet to be told.

We had a 7 hour board meeting in Sydney last Wednesday and there's no doubt that the quality of board material is up as compared with my last stint on the board.

ASA is well led by chair and former KPMG partner Diana D'Ambra and I'm looking forward to making a positive contribution in the period ahead.

The ASA website has an interesting range 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

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.

Fighting the pokies, particularly in Bulleen

So, Roger Corbett is back on the board of ALH, the pokies joint venture between billionaire Bruce Mathieson and supermarket giant Woolworths.

There are seven pokies venues in the City of Manningham, which largely replicates the Federal seat of Menzies, and we have the highest concentration of ALH machines of any seat in Australia.

ALH is the largest pokies operator in Australia with more than 13,000 in the portfolio and its shareholders control 5 of our 7 venues in Manningham.

The suburb of Bulleen is particularly problematic as it has 3 pokies venues and no state government primary schools, courtesy of the mass school closures by the Kennett Government back in the mid-1990s.

Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy is the member for Bulleen and no doubt he has read this recent Manningham council report called Live well in Bulleen, which identifies the heavy concentration of pokies as a social problem.

Kevin Andrews won his 1991 Liberal preselection in one of Bulleen's current pokies venues, the Yarra Valley Country Club, and held his recent Tony Abbott fundraiser in another one just down the road called The Veneto Club.

Finally on the pokies, listen to this 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 check out this 30 second anti-pokies ad made by Paul Bendat a few years ago featuring our daughter Alice, who was 6 at the time:

Pushing for a fairer deal in capital raisings for retail shareholders

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

We had a recent engagement with Perth-based nickel miner Western Areas after it proposed capping its share purchase plan at $10 million.

Thankfully, this was lifted to $15 million. A good result all round.

As the ASA regularly advises companies, the fairest way to raise money is by a pro-rata renounceable entitlement offer which treats all shareholders equally and compensates non-participants.

The likes of Western Areas really should consider making the change to this model, rather than continuing its long tradition of selective institutional placements, which haven't always been followed up with an SPP for retail, let alone a decent offer which isn't capped and scaled back.

Donate to help keep us going and hold Kevin Andrews to account

The Mayne Report is free. If you fancy giving us a hand to help fund our activism and keep us going on the political and AGM circuit, just click on the image below:

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Account number: 130897

Or, you can send a cheque to PO Box 925, Templestowe 3106.

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

And here are a few lists specifically focused on public company directors in Australia:

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

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: 29 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, all focused on the Menzies campaign, since our last Mayne Report edition on May 7.

Revealing the Menzies campaign for Crikey
Monday, May 9, 2016

Minor parties and independents should disclose hung parliament intentions
Monday, May 16

Can Four Corners kick-start some campaign finance reform?
Monday, May 23

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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 - 3 editions so far

Announcing Menzies tilt as Kevin Andrews embroiled in stacking scandal
Saturday, May 7, 2016

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

Bank royal commission, ASA tilt, Copyright, Piccinini, pokies, Kevin Andrews and Cabcharge
Monday, April 11, 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

Family news - lots of sport but not on election day

Kids sport is keeping us very business on weekends at the moment, with 5 games of basketball on a Saturday and two games of football each Sunday.

The girls are football playing together in the U15s and both were thrilled to be selected in the regional team that will soon take on the best players from across Victoria.

Our eldest, Laura, is just 14 and has shot up to be almost 5 foot 11. She's doing well in the ruck and kicked three goals on Sunday, including two from marks in the goal square.

Alice is up from the U12s and is enjoying mostly playing in the forward line, kicking two goals on Sunday.

Phil had a tough game sharing the rucking duties on Sunday, sustaining quite a few scratches and knocks. However, he did notch up 50 games the week earlier and loved running through the banner with two other boys who shared the same milestone.

There's fair bit of excitement in the house about the Federal election. Phil even came out for some door-knocking in Bulleen but the girls are resisting so far.

However, now that the kids are older, the girls are pitching to some of their friends to assist with handing out how to vote cards on polling days.

And with July 2 falling on the middle Saturday of the school holidays, there will be no sporting distractions on the day.

That's all for now.

Don't miss Four Corners tonight and we'll be back with another update next week.

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. Authorised by Stephen Mayne, 90 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000.