Delaying Seven, director rankings, MAP tilt, Gunns, AGM schedule, Manningham, pokies, McCrann, Rich List, classic Cornwall and much more

April 26, 2010

Dear Readers,

it's been a while - the last bumper email edition went out on March 28 - but there's plenty to get your teeth into below and those following us on Twitter won't be surprised with some of the interesting territory covered. Click here for access to Tweets going forward.

The past month has seen plenty of drama at council, a few speeches, some Crikey stories, an appearance last Friday on Sky's Business View program, plus some lively action on the shareholder activism front given the mini-season which is unfolding.

Also, check out this compilation of our favourite videos, including last Wednesday's Lateline Business on the Seven Network EGMs.

Stalling Kerry Stokes over the long weekend

And speaking of Seven, we took our shareholder activism into the courts for the first time on Friday and appeared to score a victory of sorts.

After last Tuesday's EGMs in Sydney (see this account for Crikey on Wednesday), the Stokes camp was expecting Justice Peter Jacobson to rubber stamp the Scheme of Arrangement in court on Friday.

Shareholders had until 5pm on Thursday to lodge any objection and seek to appear. This sworn affidavit along with the notice of appearance was duly lodged right on the deadline, ensuring ASIC and Seven's legal team would spend a bit of time considering the issues raised on Thursday night.

Seven's QC Tom Bathurst formally submitted my affidavit in court on Friday as I was an apology due to a long-standing appointment to present for an hour at an Economic Development Australia conference in Melbourne.

As Susannah Moran noted in her coverage in the The Weekend Australian:

Seven shareholders will find out on Tuesday whether a merger with WesTrac will be approved by the Federal Court, with a judge saying he needs time to consider extra material he received at a hearing yesterday.

The extra material was this affidavit and a valuation analysis on Westrac's China franchise by James Wu, who spent 20 years working for Caterpillar.

Wu spoke at length as a proxy for two relatives at Tuesday's meetings but didn't have formal status in the court on Friday. However, I'd given him the email address of the judge's associate and it seems his material was being considered as well over the weekend.

I've booked a flight to Sydney for Tuesday morning and look forward to seeing whether the judge will run with the issue of promises to renew the board, the legal enforceability of the deed poll and the performance of management at Seven's EGMs which were meant to be all about the independent directors.

The Australian referred to the fact that ASIC presented an affidavit to the Federal Court as well on Friday, but it has been disappointing that no-one has sent it through yet, despite emailed requests. As a party to the proceedings it would be nice to know what the corporate plod is saying.

Ranking the best directors - male and female

The performance of the non-executive directors of Seven Network, the lack of action at Gunns over the years, the continuing presence of people like ABC Learning chairman David Ryan on blue-chip boards and the fact that women still constitute less than 10% of public company directors all strengthen the argument for something fundamental to change in the directors' club.

We're seeing more talk than ever before on the gender diversity front with the AICD's mentoring program getting a big run last week. Check out the full press release, along with the list of 56 nominated mentors, only 11 of whom are female.

The problem with the mentors list is that too many of them are either failed directors themselves or on the way out. What self-respecting woman on the rise would want to be mentored by David Ryan, who chaired the ABC Learning audit committee since he joined the board in 2003.

Similarly, Peter Mansell is on the list when he was the Zinifex chairman who botched the Oxiana Resources merger, the WA News chairman who led the premature capitulation to Kerry Stokes and, worst of all, a director of Great Southern Plantations when it collapsed.

Rather than offering to mentor others in such a high profile way, he should be out the door of all public company boards.

Whilst AICD initiatives to improve gender diversity are to be applauded, it is time that the investors took charge of the director selection process, rather than leaving it to the self-selecting club.

I've been having some discussions with institutional investors on this front recently and have decided to invest considerable time in a director ranking system.

You've previously seen our rankings of the top female directors but this has now been expanded into a top 75, with a further 25 who are noted but not ranked.

The new piece of research we unveil today is this list of the top 100 male directors, plus a further 25 names in the next division who are not ranked. Whilst the women are directly ranked from 1 to 75 based on their records and, more importantly, the current responsibilities they carry, the blokes are for now just a top 100 in alphabetical order.

We'd love your feedback and suggestions on both of these lists to and we're really hoping that this exercise can eventually help deepen the gene pool, remove poor performers and provide greater diversity in board rooms across Australia.

Backflip city from Kevin Rudd

It seems quite a while back that Barack Obama was heaping superlatives on Kevin Rudd through Kerry O'Brien on The 7.30 Report. Since then we've had broken promises and backflips on foreign housing, child care centres and pink batts with the PM nowhere to be seen. Here's what Cornwall thinks:

Full marks to Max the Axe at MAP as tilt beckons

After 40 contested public company election tilts, it still never ceases to amaze what lengths companies go to to tilt the playing field against the challenger. Rio Tinto was a classic example as was explained in this Crikey story on February 10.

Therefore, it came as a pleasant surprise indeed when MApGroup, the old Macquarie Airports, decided to be very helpful when faced with a board tilt from yours truly.

First off the bat we had prompt and informative replies to emails requesting information as to the rules surrounding a contested election. But the real surprise came with this email from general counsel Sally Webb two Thursdays back when she wrote:


In your letter you have requested a copy of the register. Do you want a copy of the register as at today's date or closer to the meeting date? I will arrange for Computershare to provide you with a copy.

Sally Webb

Normally in this situation a company first ignores the request and then, if you insist, they attempt to charge you thousands of dollars for a copy of the register. Once they agree to supply something you get lectured about not using the list to flog shareholders steak knives or some other commercial purpose and then what eventually comes often ends up being pretty useless because it is in hard copy or not searchable.

These things are usually directed by the chairman so I can only congratulate MAp's Max Moore-Wilton and presume that his history in politics taught him a few basics about the importance of running fair elections.

Besides, Max the Axe knows full well that I've got Buckleys chance and that Macquarie won't vote its controlling 23% stake in favour of the challenger so why bother putting petty roadblocks in the way of a fair election process?

Max has also been receptive to having a meeting before the May 27 AGM and the notice of meeting is expected to go public on Tuesday morning, so check it out here.

Given all the good dealings so far, we're expecting this proposed platform will be run in full:

Stephen Mayne, age 40. Bcom (Melb). Stephen Mayne is a Walkley Award winning business journalist, professional shareholder advocate and an elected local government councillor in the City of Manningham in Melbourne's eastern suburbs. He publishes the corporate governance ezine and has long argued that Macquarie Group's model of externally managed listed funds was fundamentally flawed from a governance perspective. Mr Mayne believes the $345 million divorce payment to Macquarie Group from MAp last year was excessive, especially when compared with the comparable arrangement negotiated by the independent directors of Macquarie Infrastructure Group. He believes the MAp Airports Ltd board needs a clear majority of directors independent of Macquarie and some fresh independent directors who were not associated with the $345 million payment.

Institutional campaign must sack Gray-Gay duo at Gunns

It has been a big few days for news as was demonstrated by the territory we covered during this appearance last Friday on Sky's Business View program.

One story we didn't get to was this announcement from timber giant Gunns released at 4.41pm on Friday afternoon. That was because the Sky program finished at 3pm. You don't expect big news to break after the market closes on a Friday but those cynics at Gunns, currently advised by Sue Cato's spinning outfit, often take the corporate governance low road. There was pretty thin coverage in Saturday's papers, plus no AFR at all given the long weekend. However, the story was ironically broken by The AFR's website earlier on Friday afternoon, which might have brought forward the announcement.

Gunns shareholders have been calling for executive chairman John Gay to resign ever since he sold $3 million worth of shares at more than $1 each last December, just two months before the company announced a dreadful result which sent the share price tumbling by more than 40%.

The stock will probably fall below 50c on Tuesday given that Friday's announcement included another profit warning. The average analyst forecast for 2009-10 was an EBIT of $40 million but Gunns now says the full year figure will be between $30 million and $40 million.

However, the bigger element of the announcement was Gay's promise to resign before the October AGM. Former Tasmanian Liberal Premier and staunch Gay supporter Robin Gray has also promised to go by June 30.

But there's a catch. Both men want to stay on the board of a new company to be called Southern Star Corporation which will be at least 51% owned by Gunns and will strive to deliver the pulp mill project.

The institutional investors who remain on the register - led by Perpetual with 14.5% - need to get tough with Gunns. Gray and Gay need to be completely gone as directors from all Gunns entities before the end of the financial year and new credible directors must be found before any more damage is done.

With two Greens in the new Tasmanian Cabinet, the old tactics of doing deals with Labor and CFMEU just won't cut it. Gay has lost all credibility with the investment community and his fire-sale of stock was the last straw.

Perpetual have been aware of their responsibilities for a long time. Have a listen to the spray we gave the board at their 2007 AGM. If nothing has happened at Gunns before October then it will be time for some direct action at the 2010 Perpetual AGM.

Cornwall on the boats and Chinese tankers

Forthcoming action on the shareholder meeting front

We're right in the middle of the mini-AGM season for companies with December 31 balance dates but so far in 2010 have only managed to attend the Seven EGMs along with two earlier meetings in February as this list attests.

There have been a few flights books but most haven't been boarded because competing events keep cropping up at Manningham council and elsewhere.

Thursday of last week was going to be the Melbourne leg of the Rio Tinto AGM but the Icelandic ash forced the delay of that until May 26, which is a little bit annoying because it will clash with the Sigma Pharmaceutical AGM.

Equally annoying is May 27 because the Westfield AGM starts at 10am at Darling Harbour and then we have the MApGroup AGM across town at the Sheraton on the Park from 11pm which can't be missed given the board candidacy.

The forward agenda for AGMs is listed in full here and at this point we're hoping to attend about a dozen of them, although we'll keep the details quiet just so the surprise factor for boards isn't diluted. That said, here's a bit of a tease on the key dates, issues and histories of those gathering with shareholders this mini-AGM season.

QBE Insurance: 11am, March 31, Westin Hotel in Sydney
Failed to board the 6.45am flight after tumultuous public council meeting. Biggest news was handover of chair from John Cloney to Belinda Hutchison. See package from the 2009 AGM where ran hard on capital raising fairness.

Rio Tinto: April 15 in London and Australian leg delayed from April 22 until May 26 at Sofitel in Melbourne due to ash.
Remuneration report could go down and see package of highlights from previous exchanges.

Coal & Allied: 11am, April 16, Westin Hotel in Sydney.
Still yet to open the account which is a shame given all the carbon issues.

Seven Network: 10am, April 20, Westin Hotel in Sydney.
Plenty of highlights as you can see here. See package of highlights from previous exchanges.

Bell Financial Group: 11.30am, April 21, KPMG offices in Sydney.
They scurried off to Sydney after we dominated last two AGMs in Melbourne. See package of highlights from previous exchanges.

ERA: 10am, April 21, Sky City Casino in Darwin.
Never been to an AGM in Darwin. Back when they used to meet in Sydney this uranium miner's 1998 AGM was the first I ever asked questions at - see Daily Telegraph.

Caltex: 10am, April 22, Wesley Conference Centre in Sydney.
Couldn't make it this year but see package of highlights from 2009.

APN News & Media: 11am, April 30, Westin Hotel in Sydney.
Have appointed a proxy given 82 year old Ted Harris is seeking another term and RiskMetrics is opposing Gavin O'Reilly. See notice of meeting and Crikey article from 2007 about the day private equity failed again.

Harvey Norman (EGM): 11am, April 30, The Tattersalls Club in Sydney.
Flights were book but then meeting canceled as Gerry Harvey didn't have the numbers to issue 17.5m options.

Woodside Petroleum:
10am, April 30, Convention Centre in Perth.
Too hard to get to Perth to grill chairman Chaney. Only went in 2002 where hedging losses was the major concern.

Hutchison Telecommunications: 10am, May 4, Conference Centre St Leonards in Sydney.
Attended two in the past which was more than enough.

Australian Shareholders Association:
2pm, May 4, State Library Building in Perth.
Am working more co-operatively with them at the moment and may even become a formal monitor for some Melbourne-based companies.

10am, May 6, Adelaide Festival Theatre in Adelaide.
Never been and hoping to break the drought this year.

Alumina: 9.30am, May 7, Auditorium Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
Always a fixture at the lunch club AGMs. See package of highlights from previous exchanges.

Iress Technology: 12pm, May 7, IRESS Head Office, Melbourne.
Attended last year and biggest issue remains potential ASX takeover bid.

GPT: 2pm, May 10, Westin Hotel in Sydney. See package of highlights from previous exchanges.
Will be in Sydney anyway for a speech on internal audit so hoping to get along.

STW Holdings: 10am, May 14, Ogilvy House, St Leonards in Sydney.
Singo is out of there so won't be the usual knockabout debate such as our last round in 2006. Also, see Crikey article after the 2001 AGM.

Boart Longyear: 9am, May 11, Museum of Sydney in Sydney.
A Macquarie-sponsored shocker chaired by BCA chair Graham Bradley so would be nice to attend, especially given chair is up for election.

Haoma Mining: 9.30am, May 11, Morgan at 401 Collins St in Melbourne.
EGM to approve buy back of BHP's 5% stake courtesy of yet another Gary Morgan loan.

Ausenco: 9:30am, May 11, Stamford Plaza in Brisbane.
Would love to grill chairman Wayne Goss if get a chance, especially given he's up for election.

AMP: 10am, May 13, State Theatre in Sydney.
Flights are booked but may not go as MAP CEO is in Melbourne for shareholder briefing.

AXA Asia Pacific: 10am, May 18, Jeff's shed in Melbourne.
Attend most years and this year will be extra interesting with all the takeover battles. See package of highlights from previous exchanges.

Australian Agricultural Company: May 19, 10am, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.
After all the recent board battles this would be fun.

Oz Minerals: 2pm, May 19, Sebel Playford in Adelaide.
First time they've left Melbourne. See package of highlights from 2008 after the merger with Zinifex.

Sigma Pharmaceutical: May 26 in Melbourne.
Still yet to release notice of meeting but this will be a corker given recent profit warning and departure of CEO.

May 27, 10am, Parkside Auditorium, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Clashes with MAP so will probably miss. See package of highlights from previous exchanges.

MAP Group: May 27, 11am, Sheraton on the Park, Sydney.
Running for board this year and last attended in 2008.

Spark Infrastructure: May 28, 11.30am, Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney
See package from our first encounter at the 2009 AGM.

Finally, check out this package of favourite AGM audio highlights since we launched The Mayne Report in 2007. They are largely snappy 2-3 minute affairs and well worth a listen.

* Click on the link at the bottom of every story on the public website if you fancy donating and making a contribution to the travel expenses that have to be met getting to all these AGMs, including the Seven Network Federal Court hearing in Sydney tomorrow.

Which dodgy Maine-chancer was Terry McCrann talking about?

Terry McCrann has been the strongest of all the commentators on the question of Australia's wild west capital raising system which saw billions of dollars transferred from retail punters to institutional investors when that $100 billion-plus of fresh equity was raised during the global credit crisis.

Indeed, we tracked some of the major columns at the time and you can see McCrann's record for itself. Mirvac's $350 million placement two weeks ago prompted McCrann to return to the theme in his Weekend Australian column and we were most amused to read this line:

The reason companies went down the placement/entitlement route is that the whole system has promoted those means of raising equity. And this institutional practice is actively encouraged by both the law and the regulator. This is done by making rights issues cumbersome and untimely and through the use of seductive, seemingly equity-creating follow-on SPPs (small shareholder "share purchase plans'') to validate placements/entitlement issues. SPPs do nothing of the sort. They are a further, quite insidious turning of the inequity screw. They are another layer of non pro-rata uncompensated dilution for many retail shareholders and they opened the door to unscrupulous main-chancers to join the very profitable wallowing.

Hmmm, did McCrann really mean "unscrupulous Mayne-chancer" after our strong gains playing the capital raising margins since January 2009, as is disclosed here?

For the record, we've gone harder than anyone on the question of the need for pro-rata capital raisings as these AGM exchanges attest.

World's best retail shareholder activist takes on Chinese authorities

Hong Kong resident David Webb is clearly the best retail shareholder activist in the world. After all, who else can claim to have been elected by shareholders to the board of the local stock exchange.

Webb's occasional governance updates are always worth reading and so it was recently when he sent out this story arguing against the Hong Kong authorities in their attempt to tighten control over Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.

With only six of the 13 directors appointed by shareholders, the government already has way too much power and Webb lays out a persuasive argument against the move. Have a read here.

Cornwall on the health negotiations

Victorian Libs enjoying strong share market performance

Campaign finance has long been one of the biggest sources of political scandal around the world and a quick Google search reveals recent blow-ups in places such as Jerusalem and Iowa.

The scene has gone reasonably quiet in Australia since the annual deluge of data was released on February 1 but the rising stockmarket is certainly helping the Victorian Liberal Party which now has a share portfolio worth more than $62 million.

With Victorian and Federal elections due later this year you can rest assured that the political bag carriers are working hard to build up a war chest big enough to provide victory.

I was involved in a public debate about corporate ethics with Tom Elliott and Alan Kohler last Thursday night and we covered campaign finance in some detail.

After Tom brought up Stephen Conroy's skiing trips with Kerry Stokes I observed that grovelling to media moguls was the highest form of corruption in Australia and both sides of politics had been shamelessly doing it for decades.

There was also a solid backhander for the institutionalised corruption of cash for access functions that the major political parties heavy developers to attend.

Finally, check out this this package of material on our past campaign finance coverage in various outlets.

Woolies should learn the lessons of Melbourne Storm

News Ltd is paying a heavy price for the behaviour of its employees at Melbourne Storm and with BHP-Billiton also copping a hiding over these unspecified allegations being investigated by the SEC, corporates right across the country should be sitting up and taking notice.

The press can be savage and the community don't like cheats.

Which brings us to the campaign to persuade Woolworths to ditch its colourful business partner Bruce Mathieson and stop being Australia's biggest pokies operator.

Heaven forbid, even Tattersall's CEO Dick McIlwain declared the following about pokies last week: ''I am not unhappy to be getting out of the poker machine business; they are not the sort of business I want to be in long term and they're on the nose all around the world.''

How does Woolies defend pushing on when even 100% gaming companies reckon the pokies are the worst form of gambling.

The Sunday Herald Sun has blazed the trail on pokies lately, as was explained in this recent Crikey story. They had another strong editorial yesterday calling on the Brumby Government to run a far more transparent auction process for the new licences which are currently up for grabs.

Meanwhile, have another listen to pokies billionaire and Woolworths partner Bruce Mathieson on March 30 when he told 774 ABC Melbourne morning host Jon Faine that Nick Xenophon, Tim Costello and Paul Bendat were the "three imbeciles" who keep raising the issue of pokies. Only three people? Make that four Bruce, with Dick McIlwain now on board.

Finally, as we contemplate Storm's rorting, consider what News Ltd's James Campbell wrote about the way Woolworths, which also happens to run Storm's pokies operation, wrote about the retailing giant's tax planning techniques a couple of weeks back:

Take the case of the North Melbourne Giants Basketball Club Ltd. This company was incorporated in 1996 to promote and encourage the sport of basketball, to pursue its "best interests and traditions" and to support the North Melbourne Giants basketball team. On this basis, it pays no income tax.

Alas, the North Melbourne Giants basketball team no longer exists and what the company does these days to promote the "best traditions" of this noble sport is somewhat mysterious. In the normal course of events, you may have expected the supporters club for a defunct basketball team to wind itself up, but it continues to exist because of another privilege awarded to not-for-profit clubs - the right to operate poker machines and to have the revenue from them taxed at a lower rate than pokies in pubs.

According to its latest ASIC filings, the company's principal activity nowadays is operating as a "gaming and social club".

Because the company is a not-for-profit club, Victorian law says it is entitled to a social club liquor licence at the Richmond Tavern. And because the Richmond Tavern - despite its appearance as a normal pub - has a social club liquor licence, Victorian laws also says it is entitled to poker machines under the quota allotted to clubs.

And because it is a club, the turnover on those machines is taxed at lower rate by the Victorian Government than if they were operated by a pub. And at the end of the year, any profit the club makes is tax free under Commonwealth law too.

The company has only two directors, one of whom told me he thought it was a shelf company that did nothing these days. However Ross Blair-Holt of the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group - the club's landlord at the Richmond Tavern - insisted to me it has 120 members, though he was somewhat vague when I asked him how I went about joining.

Contacting the club is somewhat difficult as ALH is listed as the contact with ASIC and it isn't in the phone book. Of course, both the AFL and the North Melbourne Giants Basketball Club Ltd are entitled to arrange their affairs to minimise their tax. But I fail to see why governments are letting them get away it.

Well said, indeed, James. Last but not least, check out our collection of videos covering various pokies issues, along with Paul Bendat's Pokieact website.

Craig Ferguson's currency and stock tips

Craig Ferguson is director of strategy for Antipodean Capital Management and an analyst whose views I certainly respect.

The former global technical strategist for JP Morgan in London returned to Australia to work for ANZ and then, as Bloomberg reported at the time, set up a currency hedge fund in 2006.

These days, Ferguson has just launched a research service for Australian stocks so check out the first edition.

And Ferguson recently spoke about his forecasts for the Euro and US dollar with Haslinda Amin from Bloomberg. Watch the video here.

Cornwall on Tony Abbott

Mad as hell for decent disability support services

Whilst we normally focus on corporate governance issues, Manningham Council has opened the eyes to a broader spectrum of issues and there was also a strong focus on disability issues around the 2006 Victorian election.

Sue O'Reilly is a journalist and the mother of a 20-year-old son with cerebral palsy. Over recent weeks she has been involved in launching Mad as Hell, a national, grassroots, web-based political lobbying campaign in the lead up to the forthcoming federal election, aimed at "encouraging" both major political parties to commit to the introduction of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

When compared to the type of protection offered to people injured in car accidents or at work, Australia's disability support system really is third world and the campaign is worth supporting. Check out the website:

Tales from the talk circuit story - don't miss AIA conference in July

Lunches with former Manningham councillors are always good fun but I was late to the event on April 15 courtesy of a one hour speaking commitment to the local University of the Third Age. U3A's stock market class heard a one hour rant last year as well and I've agreed to go back again towards the end of the calendar year.

In other talk circuit action a group of about council officers involved in economic development were subjected to two one hour rants on successive days last week.

The first was an after-dinner affair which remained reasonably light-hearted, but then the following morning the same audience plus about about 50 more were subjected to another hour on how councils can get economic development moving.

I've given more than 300 speeches over the years but never has one audience copped such excessive exposure. That said, they didn't seem to mind.

As for upcoming gigs, there is a keynote on governance to the big internal auditors annual conference in Sydney on May 10, which should dove-tail nicely with the GPT AGM later that day.

And looking further ahead there is the Australian Investors Association National Investors Conference from July 25-28 at The Marriott on the Gold Coast.

Details of this conference are on the AIA website, along with the program. Based on past experience, it is well worth attending, although a one hour rave from this correspondent might be hard to endure. The agreed topic is as follows:

With Australia being one of the world's great shareholder nations and a federal election just around the corner, Stephen Mayne will assess the Rudd Government's record on corporate governance, disclosure, class actions, superannuation and executive pay. Do shareholders have the tools necessary to hold boards to account and are they using them effectively? Are just how good are the directors of Australia's major public companies?

For a full list of upcoming speeches, click here and to make an inquiry email the long suffering wife on

Donations needed to supplement speeches revenue

Since making The Mayne Report free in 2009, speeches have become a more important revenue source to keep this $100,000 a year venture afloat. We're also relying on donations, so click on the link at the bottom of every story on the public website if you fancy making a contribution to the travel expenses that have to be met getting to all these AGMs, including the Seven Network Federal Court hearing in Sydney tomorrow.

The Cornwall collection

Former Fairfax and Crikey cartoonist Mark Cornwall has been contributing his satirical commentary to The Mayne Report since March last year. Here is a collection of his best cartoons and there are now also some amusing animations.

Manningham Council's big nursing home debate

We had a bruising three hour debate about the proposed tripling of the On Luck Chinese Nursing Home chaired by Manningham's deputy mayor Fred Chuah at the last council meeting on March 30, but I've not said boo about it to the media or online over the past month in an attempt to calm the situation down a little.

However, it is a little difficult to completely ignore and we've got our next public council meeting tomorrow night.

Without giving a blow by blow description of what happened, it is fair to say that the tone was set by Labor councillor Ivan Reid's opening contribution which was an almighty spray about bigots, heartless bureaucrats and various other harsh descriptors for those who wouldn't endorse the project and its controversial planning approach which didn't involve all councillors and instead went straight to the Planning Minister.

All councillors responded to Reid's motion and you can hear each effort below:

David Ellis opposes Reid motion
Stephen Mayne opposes Reid motion
Graeme Macmillan supports Reid motion
Meg Downie supports Reid motion
Emotional mayor speaks to Reid motion
Geoff Gough opposes motion
Grace La vella opposes motion
Ivan Reid closing statements
Full debate

After almost an hour on this, we then had another 90 minutes of scrapping over two more associated nursing home motions put up by Greens councillor David Ellis before we got to the most informative part of the night once the deputy mayor came back into the room for question time which unfolded as follows:

Fred Chuah answers series of David Ellis questions
Fred Chuah answers three Stephen Mayne questions
Ivan Reid's provocative questions to Crs Mayne and Ellis

The transcript of the deputy mayor's contributions make for interesting reading and it was great to finally hear from the man himself on the whole saga.

Thankfully, tomorrow's council meeting will be the first in a while without a motion from an individual councillor. We've already had 12 motions or rescisions so far in 2010 as you can see from this list.

That doesn't mean the nursing home saga won't be raised in question time, but with a Councillor Conduct Panel under way and all the bad blood of recent months, it would be nice to get through tomorrow's meeting without revisiting last month's messy proceedings.

The Mayne Report Rich List

BRW magazine does a great job with its various Australian Rich Lists but we've broadened their efforts to track any Australian who has ever been worth more than $10 million. We've got more than 1400 names with those who've fallen back below $10 million now italicised. Below are our latest new or updated entries:

Michael Coombes:
divisional director at Macquarie Group who owns 18% of the ocean front land on Mona Vale headland in Sydney, along with investment properties in Japan.

Paul McCullagh: founding managing director of successful private equity firm PEP who originally hailed from Ireland and sits on boards such as Emeco and share registry firm Link. Has been active in Australia since 1986 as head of Prudential Securities and later Salomon Bros, all gigs which paid exceptionally well.

More Cornwall cartoons for The Mayne Report

Former Fairfax and Crikey cartoonist Mark Cornwall has been contributing his satirical commentary to the Mayne Report since March 2009. Here is a collection of his best cartoons and there are now also some amusing animations. Check out some of his latest offerings throughout the edition:

Federal bonds issues and ASIC jailings list

This list tracks all bond and treasury note issues by the Rudd Government since it was elected in November 2007. There has now been more than $50 billion raised since the second stimulus package was unveiled on February 3 last year.

The latest federal bond issues are as follows and you'll note that interest rates are still north of the 4% assumed in the budget papers. Sky-rocketing public debt is a worry and here is the detail from Canberra's latest efforts:

Friday, April 23, 2010: $500m tender of 9 year bonds expiring in March 2019 were sold for an average yield of 5.77% and was over-subscribed 2.9 times.

Thursday, April 22, 2010: $1.5bn worth of 3, 6, and 9 month notes were sold for yields ranging between 4.4% and 4.58% and with coverage ranging between 3.83 times and 5.32 times.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010: $700m tender of 10 year bonds expiring in April 2020 were sold for an average yield of 5.85% and was 2.69 times over-subscribed.

Friday, April 16
, 2010: $750m tender of 2 year bonds expiring in November 2012 were sold for an average yield of 5.21% and was 4.6 times over-subscribed.

Wednesday, April 14 , 2010: $800m tender of12 year bonds expiring in July 2022 were sold for an average yield of 5.94% and was 3.7 times over-subscribed.

Friday, April 9 , 2010: $500m tender of 7 year bonds expiring in February 2017 were sold for an average yield of 5.70% and was 3.4 times over-subscribed.

Wednesday, April 7 , 2010: $950m tender of12 year bonds expiring in July 2022 were sold for an average yield of 5.96% and was 3.2 times over-subscribed.

Wednesday, March 31 , 2010: $500m tender of 11 year bonds expiring in March 2021 were sold for an average yield of 5.82% and was 4.2 times over-subscribed.

Friday, March 26
, 2010: $700m tender of 4 year bonds expiring in June 2014 were sold for an average yield of 5.40% and was 2.8 times over-subscribed.

Wednesday, March 24 , 2010: $500m tender of 9 year bonds expiring in March 2019 were sold for an average yield of 5.65% and was 3.8 times over-subscribed.

The rather thin ASIC jail list

Is ASIC an effective corporate cop? You be the judge as this is the list of 346 people they have sent to jail since it was established in January 1991. There were only 19 incarcerations in 2009, but so far in 2010 we're doing better with 12 people locked up, albeit none of them very well known. Below are the new additions since we last reported:

9 April 2010 - Mr Gregory Barnes, the former managing director of gold exploration company, Chameleon Mining, was sentenced in the NSW District Court to nine months imprisonment with a non-parole period of six months after being found guilty of permitting false and misleading information to be given to the ASX.

9 April 2010 - Mr Landan Roberts, the former director and secretary of Chameleon Mining, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment with a non-parole period of five months, for permitting false and misleading information to be given to the ASX.

29 March 2010 - Mr Atan Kassongo, of Castle Hill, New South Wales, was sentenced in the District Court of New South Wales to two years imprisonment, to be released after eight months, for unlawfully allowing the early access of superannuation benefits. Mr Kassongo's release is conditional upon entering a $1,000 security to be of good behaviour for a period of three years.

25 March 2010 - Mr Oswyn De Silva a former Macquarie Bank Portfolio Manager, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment with a non-parole period of six months for contempt of court. On Friday 26 February 2010, ASIC obtained ex-parte orders from the Supreme Court restraining Mr De Silva, 36, a resident of the United Kingdom, from leaving or attempting to leave Australia because of an ongoing ASIC investigation into Mr De Silva's trading between 2006 and 2007. On 1 March, Mr De Silva attempted to leave Australia from Perth but was stopped by the Australian Federal Police.

19 March 2010 - Mr Geoffrey Newing of Hawthorn East, Victoria was sentenced to a total of 22 months imprisonment and was ordered to serve six months of this sentence before being released on a recognisance release order. A former Genetic Technologies chief operating officer, pleaded guilty to five counts of market manipulation.

Capital raising plays and the world's largest small share portfolio

There has been a slow increase in capital raising offers during April but the only result we had was as follows:

April 15
$10,000 into 15,000 SPP at $6.31. Exited at $6.56 for gain of $400.

Meanwhile, here is a list of offers we're currently committed to

Catalpa Resources: $10,000 into entitlement offer at $1.25 with overs. Closed April 16 and trades April 27. Heavy scale back.

K&S Holdings: $500 so far into $15,000 SPP at $2.56. Closes May 11 and trades May 18.

Kings Minerals: $10,000 into 1-for-5 entitlement offer at 6c with overs. Closes April 30 and trades May 11.

MMC Contrarian: $10,000 into 1-for-1 entitlement offer at 50c with overs. Closes April 27 and trades May 6.

Assessing the capital raising pipeline

And here is the list of known offers in the pipeline which remain open and we're considering:

AFIC: $15,000 SPP at $4.90 or 2.5% discount to VWAP. Closes May 26.

Ausdrill: 1-for-10 entitlement offer at $2. Closes April 29 and trades May 6.

K&S Holdings: $15,000 SPP at $2.56. Closes May 11 and trades May 18.

Kings Minerals: 1-for-5 entitlement offer at 6c with overs. Closes April 30 and trades May 11.

Integrated Legal Holdings: $15,000 SPP at 10c after placement. Closes May 7 and trades May 12.

Mirvac: $15,000 SPP at $1.40 after $350m placement. Closes May 6 and trades May 14.

Perseus: $15,000 SPP at $1.94 after placement.

Sundance Energy: $15,000 SPP at 13.5c after placement. Closes May 6 and trades May 18.

All the recent share trades

Check out all the trades so far this year and here's the world's biggest small portfolio along with most of the recent trades below:

April 16
Victoria Petroleum: sold 1,990 at 31.5c
Axiom Properties: sold 15,990 at 3.1c

April 15
Argo: sold 1,585 at $6.55

April 13
Biotech Capital: sold 1,990 at 21.5c
Citadel Resources: sold 1,240 at 38.5
Cochlear: sold 7 at $74.70
Katana Capital: sold 705 at 72c
Logicamms: sold 535 at $1.05
Oceania Capital: sold 268 at 83c
Pro Medicus: sold 648 at 64.5c

April 12
Carbon Energy: sold 760 at 55c
Data#3: sold 47 at $8.40
Rivercity Motorway: sold 2,118 at 11c
SAI Global: sold 132 at $4.10
Seven Network Pref: bought6 at $85.50
Tribune Resources: sold 680 at $1.21

March 30
Gazal Corp:
sold 390 at $1.43

From the press room: Crikey, ABC radio, Sky and RRR

Let's start with recent radio discussions:

RRR The Breakfasters - discussing farcical Seven Network EGM and women on boards.

774 ABC Melbourne - discussing the Seven Network EGM on April 21.

774 ABC Melbourne - discussing Rio Tinto, falling Sigma and the "three imbeciles" of the anti-pokie world on March 31.

Then we wrote these four Crikey stories over the past month:

Mayne: Why the judge should make further inquiries on Seven deal
Wednesday, April 21

The final insult: Stokes refuses to attend Seven EGMs
Monday, April 19

Stokes crafts a sensible compromise, now for the new directors
Tuesday, April 13

The ‘three imbeciles' call a Woolies EGM to remove chairman
Thursday, 1 April

Sky's Business View: check out edited highlights from the appearance last Friday

Meanwhile, click on the link below to get the latest radio and AGM audio:

Mayne Report video blog

We have added more playlists to this collection of special edition videos. Check out the new News Corp playlist and the Super Ratings Conference speech. Watch these special edition videos here.

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We have only been twittering for a few months, but now have 1,232 followers and are regularly dropping out the latest developments from AGMs, capital raising plays and even Manningham Council. Sign up by clicking above to get the latest updates from all our activity and check out some of the tweets since the last edition:

8.15am Apr 21: RRR radio with The Breakfasters discussing the farcical Seven EGM and women on boards

10.39pm Apr 20: Just watched Lateline Business story on Seven EGMs online. Hilarious. David Leckie will be spitting chips, See:

1.09am Apr 20: Just home at midnight after monster day. Up at 5am for trip to Sydney for fiery Seven EGM. Then 5 hours of council briefing tonight. Stuffed

10.39am Apr 19: Seven Network refusing to webcast Sydney EGMs tomorrow. Even more pathetic with Kerry Stokes not turning up to front small investors. Shame

3.30pm Apr 18:
Am coming out all guns blazing in Crikey etc after learning Kerry Stokes is refusing to attend tomorrow's Seven Network EGMs. What a joke.

9.57pm Apr 17:
Spent 7 hours and $200-plus at Templestowe Festival today. Great weather, big crowds, fabulous acts and happy traders. Well done Gus and co.

10.11pm Apr 16:
Just watched East Doncaster, sponsored by Mick Gatto's Elite Cranes, beat Donvale to win Mary Wooldridge Cup in local footy derby. Top game.

2.18pm Apr 14: 7am council meeting then exited $10,000 Argo SPP at $6.58 for gain of $400. Long time between drinks! See:

2.22pm Apr 13: Another 5 hour council briefing session last night, then informal chats into the early hours. Didn't get through agenda but meeting okay.

9.28pm Apr 12:
Dumped another 6 stocks for $3000 today and wrote Crikey story on Kerry Stokes peace deal. Getting ready for 3hr council meeting tonight.

7.58pm Apr 12:
All Ords closed over 5000. Getting expensive so dumped 5 stocks worth $2500 today. Don't be greedy, leave something on table for next person.

10.15am Apr 12: Kerry Stokes compromise is not bad but there will be important issues to watch over integrity of 2010-11 accounts given performance payment.

6.15pm Apr 10:
Just back from fun 9 day family holiday on Gold Coast. Feeling overwhelmed going through huge pile of mail courtesy of 750 stock portfolio.

2.21pm Apr 8:
Feeling sorry for Christine Nixon. Still think she's a good addition to Foster's board given social insights and woeful Oz gender imbalance.

9.37am Apr 1: Great to see Chrstine Nixon appointed to Foster's board. Perfect fit for former Vic police commissioner given social issues around drinking.

6.30pm Mar 31: 774 ABC Melbourne discussing Rio Tinto, and the "three imbeciles" of the anti-pokie world

4.08pm Mar 31: the "three imbeciles" to call Woolies EGM on pokies. See press release

That's all for now. Better stop editing and start sending given the kids have been asleep for five hours and will be up in another five and we've got a big day of public holiday activities planned.

Until next time, do ya best, Stephen Mayne

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