Director rankings, Rio, Westfield, New Matilda, MAP, Manningham, Paatsch, state election, Darebin, Moreland, rich list, pokies and much more

June 11, 2010

Dear Readers,

Greetings for the first time since our last email edition on May 25. There's been plenty happening including this 15 minute discussion about shareholder activism with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live last week.

There was also an appearance on 4 Corners on Monday night which did well, attracting a healthy 772,000 viewers to its examination of the RSPT. The full program is available on the 4 Corners website and our contributions have been edited down into this playlist, along with Paul Barry's 4 Corners story on James Packer from last year.

This latest edition includes plenty of lively content spanning women on boards, the AGM season, pokies, local government, a possible state election tilt, the Rich List and, sadly, more revelations about the performance of some councillors at the City of Manningham.

Westfield and Rio highlights in a lively AGM season

The AGM season for company's with December 31 balance dates finished with a lively flurry at the end of May and we had an eventful two day trip to Sydney to round off proceedings.

A lively cameo at Westfield

This Crikey story on May 28 summaries part of the action from the Westfield and MAPGroup AGMs.

Westfield's 50th AGM started at 10am at Darling Harbour and after an excellent tribute video and Frank Lowy's speech I was first to the microphone at about 10.50am.

The 50th was much bigger than the 40th back in 2000 where I was probably a little bit too tough on Frank if you can believe The Australian's coverage at the time, which began as follows:

Frank Lowy may have been hoping to cruise through Westfield's 40th annual meeting in Sydney yesterday on the back of its strong performance but what he got instead was nothing short of an inquisition. For more than an hour, Mr Lowy was grilled on a number of issues ranging from his $8.4 million package, to the Ken Hooper affair and a new development at Bondi Junction in Sydney's east.

But the most sensitive line of questioning related to a perceived conflict of interest between the company and the Westfield Trust. Shareholder activist
Stephen Mayne argued that since 1990 the Westfield Holdings share price had increased 25-fold but that in the same time the Westfield Trust unit price had not even doubled.

etc etc - read the rest here.

My hostility to Frank Lowy largely ended in 2004 when he cleaned up the obvious governance flaws by internalising management courtesy of that three way Westfield merger creating the world's biggest shopping centre company by market capitalisation.

Whilst you can still quibble about excessive donations to political parties and Frank's inflated salary, the rough and tumble tactics of the past have mellowed just as the quality of Westfield's shopping centres has continued to improve. Look no further than Westfield Doncaster, the best shopping centre in Melbourne.

Frank also deserves credit for creating things such as The Lowy Institute along with his marvellous effort cleaning up soccer in Australia.

There was no webcast of the 2000 AGM, but Westfield has been good enough to send through the audio which is well worth a listen because it certainly rates in the top 10 of my 364 AGM debates.

Fast forward 10 years and Westfield put on arguably the highest quality AGM webcast we've ever come across and the full nine-minute exchange with Frank and son Steven is available here. Most of the media lapped up Frank's defence of his $15 million pay packet, but with the remuneration report protest vote doubling to 17%, the signs are looking ominous.

Here are the edited audio highlights from Westfield, but we do recommend the video below that:

Congratulations on reaching the top of the Rich List, now is the time for a pay cut.

Manningham is feeling railroaded by your decision to ignore the council vote and proceed with 10-storey residential development

Audio highlights from Rio Tinto AGM

The Rio Tinto AGM held in Melbourne on May 26 had it all.

This Crikey story straight afterwards was bit rushed given deadline pressures and we've now got the full edited audio highlights which unfolded as follows:

What is the current level of Australian ownership and have you considered relocating back to Australia?
London-based South African tobacco industry veteran turned Rio chairman Jan du Plessis gave this one short shrift, as did his snooty predecessor Paul Skinner when I raised it at the 2008 Rio AGM.

Have Chinalco supported all resolutions today and why have you doubled short term bonuses?
No comment, but it appears the Chinese saved the remuneration report from defeat.

Sam Walsh should be CEO but not a WAN director. The board has totally mishandled foreign ownership ship after plenty of warnings
The best spray of the day

Congratulations for raising capital fairly during GFC but what's this talk of a buyback?
Rio got praise for its mega rights issue but hosed down talk of a buyback.

Mining Tax on ABC Four Corners

Sydney airport board tilt falls flat

After the Westfield cameo, it was straight over to the Sheraton on the Park for what turned into a very interesting MAP Group AGM with about a dozen different shareholders stringing out proceedings for two hours.

The audio highlights are here and the results showed the serial candidate wallowing with barely 5% support, although it was noteworthy that Macquarie veteran John Roberts copped a big protest vote, once again at the hands of RiskMetrics.

Chairman Max Moore-Wilton, John Howard's departmental chief who sold Sydney Airport to Macquarie for $5.6 billion and then went to run the facility, denied he'd been paid more than $10 million by Macquarie over the years and defended his ongoing role despite his lack of independence and Macquarie supposedly having been sent packing with a $345 million divorce payment last year.

Macquarie clearly still controls MAPGroup through its 23% stake which, unless the Future Fund finally agrees to stump up the $1 billion-plus Macquarie has been asking, won't be sold until Canberra changes the ridiculous foreign ownership restrictions which requires 60% Australian ownership of the listed MAP when the requirement for the actual airports is only 50.1%.

MAP has recently breached the 40% cap and is forcibly requiring the latest foreign shareholders to sell down, which is not exactly the best environment for Macquarie to sell into.

Despite having former Keating Communications Minister Michael Lee on the MAP board, I suggested legislative favours were unlikely to come from the Rudd Government as long as Max Moore-Wilton is in charge and the vehicle is registered in the tax haven of Bermuda.

After all, MAP only paid $12 million in Australian tax last year when it reckons Sydney Airport has almost doubled in value to $11 billion. Listen to this audio of the potential political risks of a super profits tax slug on Bermuda-based MAP being explained.

Meanwhile, check out this collection we have put together of other battles with MAP and here is the edited audio breakdown:

Campaign speech

Could the chairman explain his full history with Macquarie.

Shareholder support for our board tilt.

How are we managing regulatory risk in Canberra?

Chairman welcomes our board tilt

Could you talk about the internalisation process?

See the full discussion about the MAP tilt in the April 26 edition.

Racism claims flying thick and fast at Manningham

The following was published in Crikey last Friday.

Stephen Mayne writes:

It has been 10 weeks since the last Crikey update on Manningham City Council when racism claims were flying after Greens councillor David Ellis opposed the proposed tripling of the Chinese nursing home chaired by deputy mayor Fred Chuah in a "green wedge" zone where such development is expressly prohibited.

Since then, the deputy mayor has remained out of site due to ill-health, thus delaying investigations into the situation, but his Labor ward colleagues were back playing the race card with vigour at last week's public council meeting.

It all started when Cr Ellis expressed reservations about the proposed cultural diversity policy on the basis that we'd had sod all public response to the draft and it contained a proposal to spend $30,000 investigating the possibility of spending millions building a dedicated multicultural centre.

Cr Ellis ended up voting in favour of a unanimously backed policy but it is worth listening to his words given the explosions that followed.

Labor councillor Ivan Reid, who had just returned from a private holiday to China with Labor mayor Charles Pick, attempted to get one of the council officers to comment on whether Cr Ellis was just like Pauline Hanson. The transcript reads as follows:

CR REID: Does Ms Haddock think ...

MAYOR PICK: in her role as community services director?

CR REID: yes, in her role as director of community services and so on, that the views expressed by councillor Ellis might be shared by Pauline Hanson, and what's the definition of ...

MAYOR PICK: That is out of order! Councillor Reid, sit down. Withdraw the question. It's completely out-of-order.

CR REID: I do apologise and withdraw the question

MAYOR PICK: OK, that's enough!

CR REID: I do want to know what a redneck is though.

MAYOR PICK: you apologise for that comment too and withdraw it. It's not appropriate.

Having supposedly laid down the law against inflammatory comments, the mayor then vacated the chair and entered the fray himself with a speech supporting the cultural diversity policy, which opened with the comment that he was "rather upset and annoyed with Councillor Ellis" and finished with the observation that "we should never, ever, ever be colour-blind racists".

When it came to councillor questions without notice at the end of the meeting after the local News Ltd reporter had gone home, Cr Ellis opened up with three to the mayor about the need to be able to debate policy freely without being labelled a racist.

Cr Reid then followed up with this extraordinary question to Cr Ellis:

"Genuinely in the spirit of extending an olive branch wishing to understand his concerns, I note that he seems to be particularly sensitive on matters of race and suggestions that racism exists in our community and even, perhaps, heaven forbid, himself. Why is that?"

Cr Ellis, an eloquent and progressive Green who is the last person I'd label a racist, somehow managed to keep his cool in describing the question as "particularly nasty and loaded with innuendo".

Given the need to independently chair council meetings, mayors don't usually ask questions of other councillors but Charles Pick broke with convention and finished the evening with the following convoluted question to Cr Ellis:

"I would like to ask in the spirit of candid conversations and candid questions and frank statements, do you believe it's fair for councillors to be able to describe policies in term of the implications of what they adopt, straightly and bluntly? Do you think it's fair for councillors to play the reverse racism card which is done constantly against culturally progressive people, whenever they name the implications of a policy and then get told they are playing the race card. I find it very, very offensive, and I wonder whether you would withdraw your implications that you dreamt are inside your mind."

This triggered an exchange about witch-hunts before the mayor used his gavel decisively to close the meeting and then, after being told he was a terrible chair, goaded Cr Ellis several times to hit him with members of the public still in the chamber.

All up, it wasn't very edifying and the edited audio highlights and lowlights of the extraordinary meeting are available here.

Stephen Mayne is a City of Manningham councillor who was not paid for this contribution. See earlier Crikey contributions on affairs of state at Manningham.
Meanwhile, the Manningham Leader produced this account of the stoush in its latest edition.

Some good news out of Manningham at Doncaster Hill

As the councillors slug it out, there is still plenty of good stuff happening at Manningham courtesy of the hard working officers and none are bigger than the progress of development on Doncaster Hill.

We held an all day expo for developers, public servants, architects, planners and the like last Friday and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.

Yarra Valley Water came out with the big announcement at the breakfast that it was planning to spend $15 million building a water treatment plant on a council reserve just above Eastern Golf course so that the estimated 4000 new apartments to be built around Westfield Doncaster will have acess to a third pipe and use recycled water for toilets and laundry.

Paul Huggins, the dynamic developer of the $70 million Pinnacle residential tower on Doncaster Rd, is expected to start construction next month and has embraced the concept.

Even the big affordable housing project on Tram Rd, where construction has been underway for a couple of months, is seriously examining if it can redraw the plumbing to accommodate the third pipe.

The state government is very pleased with our co-operation regarding development facilitation on Doncaster Hill which is Melbourne's first designated Activity Centre Zone and is also likely to be governed by the first Development Assessment Committee. The only major disagreement we've had so far with Spring St was over Westfield's 10-storey residential development in Grosvenor Street, but apart from that we all seem to be on the same page about delivering a range of high rise development on Doncaster Hill.

All we need now is a commitment to extend the North Balwyn tram given we remain the only Victorian council without a rail or tram service and therefore have 2.4 cars per house, the highest ratio of any council in Australia.

Audio of Manningham's May 28 council meeting

Here is some of the edited audio from the May 28 council meeting. Check out the agenda and minutes.

Controversial debate over cultural diversity policy

Full debate on multi-cultural policy

David Ellis speech on cultural diversity policy

Cr Reid asks officer inflammatory Pauline Hanson and “redneck” question

Cr Gough speaks against city sisters and junkets

Mayor Pick's fired up claims on colour-blind racists

Questions without notice from councillors

Councillor Ellis questions mayor on race claims

Councillor McMillan questions Cr Mayne about On Luck ministerial interventions

Cr Downie asks questions about excessive cost of carols by candle-light

Stephen Mayne's question on councillor expenses

Cr Reid questions Cr Ellis on amendments and reply calls for debating tolerance

Cr Reid's direct question on racism to Cr Ellis

Montessori parent Cr Reid asks question about extending school lease beyond 2016

Mayor Pick's final inflammatory question of David Ellis

All councillor questions at end of the meeting

Other edited audio files from May 28 council meeting

Supporting Beverley St apartment development

Capital works update: how our aquatic facility costs less than elsewhere

Cr Ellis on state govt road funding with some odd objections

Speaking in favour of spending “up to $5m” on state govt roads

Mayor vs Cr Gough on what is irrelevant and to be withdrawn during dog bins debate

Mayor rumbles Cr Ellis over authority of the chair during dog debate

Supporting Downie and McMillan in rolling waste committee on dog litter bins

Mayor vacates chair for passionate speech on community safety plan

Question to Celia Haddock then supporting $20,000 rather than $50,000 on men's behaviour change program

Mayne and McMillan speaking on review into aged care services

Funding a men's behaviour change program (full debate)

Labor's contempt for Manningham

The Labor Party is not treating Manningham with much respect when it comes to the forthcoming state and federal elections.

Whilst we've got three Labor councillors at Manningham, the ALP can't seem to find a local candidate to contest any of the four seats up for grabs in the coming six months.

Councillors are the number one breeding ground for politicians in Australia as this Mayne Report list shows, yet none of the Manningham Labor councillors appear prepared to step up to the plate.

Indeed, so bereft are the ALP's ranks in Manningham, the party has been forced to import a City of Monash councillor, Joy Banerji, to take on Kevin Andrews in Menzies.

Manningham also takes in three state seats – Doncaster, Bulleen and Warrandyte – and with the election less than 6 months away the ALP still hasn't found a candidate in any of the seats.

Surely our mayor Charles Pick and the other politically ambitious Labor councillor Ivan Reid should step up and create a contest, rather than subjecting voters to another half-baked ring-in or some spotty faced student as has happened in Manningham in the past.

Ranking the top 100 women...and the men (soon)

I got a gentle cuffing from one of the top female directors yesterday for producing this list ranking the top 100 Australian female directors but failing to do likewise for the blokes.

At the moment I've only got this generic list of the top 100 males without any numbering and the women directors feel this is unfair.

Fear not everyone, the bloke rankings are coming, it's just a case finding the time. And, as was explained over coffee yesterday, the women have not copped this sort of treatment in a recent Crikey story nominating the 10 old or underperforming blokes who should stand aside for the best performing and under-worked female directors. At the of the day, we're embarking on a campaign of direct action to get female board representation up from 9% to 15% over the next two years, but this will require some uncomfortable naming and shaming for directors of both genders. The emphasis must be simultaneously on promoting quality and removing duds.

Meanwhile, we've made a couple of changes to the female rankings. Cheryl Bart has jumped up the list after her appointment to the ABC board in recent days. The citation now reads as follows:

54. Cheryl Bart: newest director appointed to board of ABC, the Sydney-based lawyer is an arts heavyweight in Adelaide who chaired Adelaide Festival and South Australian Film Corporation, along with the EPA. Also first appointed to ETSA Utilities board by Liberals in 1995 and continues to oversee the assets after privatisation as an independent director of Spark Infrastructure. The only top female director to have climbed Everest.

Also, we've added Carol Schwartz at number ten, even though she apparently has been resisting offers to join high profile public company boards. Her citation reads as follows:

10. Carol Schwarz: daughter of billionaire Marc Besen who has arguably the most impressive CV of any Australian women when it comes to the government, arts and NGO sectors. Was also chair of Industry Super Property Trust, National President of the Property Council and a director of OPSM when it was listed.

Is Cricket Australia the last bastion of male chauvinism in sport?

I've been continuing to talk with various players involved in the campaign to break down male dominance of the directors' club and a couple have pointed out that Cricket Australia remains arguably the epi-centre of male chauvinism.

How hilarious that governor general Quentin Bryce used to be on the board of Women's Cricket Australia but when the decision was taken to merge with Cricket Australia in 2001, the best the blokes could do was establish a women's cricket advisory committee.

Whilst that might have been okay in the day of John Howard, who Cricket Australia is currently championing to become the next President of the International Cricket Council, surely in 2010 it is just unacceptable to have 14 blokes on the board of a body that also runs women's cricket. Check them all out here.

Sledging the artful asbestos dodger at James Hardie EGM

Rupert Murdoch's Australian spindoctor Greg Baxter remains one of the most odious chaps I've come across over the years, as was explained in this Crikey tale about his former role calling the shots at James Hardie.

It was therefore quite satisfying to give him a backhander on the way through at the recent James Hardie EGM in Sydney to approve the change of domicile from Holland to Ireland.

The EGM was a brief affair with about 10 shareholders present, possibly due to the 9am start time. New chairman Donald McGauchie was a no show because he was already in Europe for the Dutch leg of the vote.

Anyway, here are the edited audio highlights:

How many Irish shareholders do we have? Is this a temporary move before we move again, possibly to the US?

Gratuitous sledge at Greg Baxter whilst inquiring on total bill for all shareholders for the move to the Netherlands in the first place?

Click the link below to get the latest radio and AGM audio:

The Cornwall collection

Former Fairfax and Crikey cartoonist Mark Cornwall has been contributing to The Mayne Report since March 2009. Here is a collection of his best cartoons and there are now also some amusing animations.

Cranking up the coverage in Melbourne's north ahead of possible tilt

Whilst no decisions have been made yet, I'm having a close look at contesting the upper house region of Northern Metropolitan in the November Victorian election.

There are 8 upper house regions in Victoria each electing 5 MPs with proportional representation after preferences and Northern Metro looks like the most do-able of the 5 metropolitan regions, largely because the Greens will get more than a quota and have an estimated surplus of up to 5% to distribute.

The region takes in the four strongest Green seats in the inner city, along with three of the four safest Labor seats in the state at the northern end of the electorate.

Anyway, as part of the research for this project, I dropped in to watch Darebin council perform this week and was very impressed with their cohesive and professional delivery. There were no points of order, divisions or racism claims and the ruling Labor right faction is clearly now accommodating the sole Green and two Labor left councillors because one of them was elected acting mayor.

Darebin takes in suburbs such as Northcote and Preston and parts of it have a population which is 75% born overseas.

Meanwhile, here's an amusing little news snippet for the attention of the heavily divided Moreland Council, home to independent councillor John Kavanagh who is the DLP candidate for Northern Metro.

Dean Paatsch, the corporate kingmaker who runs proxy adviser Risk Metrics in Australia, is attempting to round up opposition to SP Ausnet's push to erect 12 high voltage towers overlooking the North Fitzroy sporting club near where he lives:

As Dean writes to his neighbours:

SP Ausnet, the site owner, has lodged a planning application to drop in 12 massive towers – each 25 metres high. This will end up overshadowing the Soccer Club at the end of the street and it'll be visible for miles around. It's a bit tough dropping enormous industrial equipment smack bang into a residential street, but that's precisely what is proposed.

Local residents met last night at the soccer club. None of us oppose the idea that the owner has the right to upgrade the substation, but we're keen to get the best option for the area – given it is in a residential neighbourhood, sits on the Merri Creek and it's in an area of environmental significance. About 15 years ago most of the Eastern Suburbs (with the assistance of the Kennett Government) successfully lobbied to have overhead powerlines along local waterways put underground. This luxury wasn't afforded to Labor electorates in the North, but it still remains an option. Recently a substation in Sydney built its upgraded facility below ground.

We agreed a plan of action last night. The first step is lodging an objection with the Moreland City Council. I have included the objection form for you to fill out and fax in. Please do it asap, as the deadline is the end of this week. Only 16 objections had been received up until last week because the owner put the form out the front of the substation behind some bushes. No one knew about it ….. until now.

It's enough that you say you oppose the development, that you use the Merri Creek and park facilities for recreational purposes and believe better options are available than those put before Council.

There'll be lots more to do in the future as things unfold, so please get involved.

Regards, Dean Paatsch

This might be one to raise at the SP Ausnet AGM in July and the company controlled by the Singapore Government will still presumably see their directors recommended for re-election by Risk Metrics regardless of this piece of local campaigning.

Firing up our Youtube channel again

When The Mayne Report first launched in 2007 we were posting daily videos on Youtube. Alas, the cost and time of in-house video production, plus the lack of any revenue, made this model unviable. Besides, daily videos wasn't necessarily the best way to campaign for better corporate governance through shareholder activism.

In the end, it made more sense to channel our efforts into appearing on other people's videos, such as these two recent appearance on Ten's The 7pm Project, rather than trying to build an audience from scratch.

However, when you look back at all the video we've got spanning our own productions, one-off interviews, profiles or lenthy interviews such as Nine's Sunday program or ABC TV's Talking Heads, the monthly spot on Sky's Business View and webcasts of AGMs, it turns out we've got a rather large library of material.

Cross-posting has become much easier now, so we have relaunched our youtube channel and hope you enjoy our many playlists of material. If you have the right app, you can view the videos on the go using any mobile device - free and easy, so subscribe today!

Cornwall on super profits tax

Traffic remains healthy, with various lists leading the way

We have done an audit of Mayne Report traffic statistics since inception in September 2007 up until May 2010. In that time we have had 2.32 million page views and 1.31 million unique visits.

The Mayne Report Rich List is our number one article of interest with 89,468 page views and 76,292 unique visits. This is followed by Capital raising plays since Jan 2009 with 43,338 views and 39,927 visits, All share transactions in 2009 with 38,043 views and 34,217 visits, Revealed: world's biggest small portfolio with 20,477 views and 18,646 visits and rounding out the top 5 is Ranking the best capital raising plays with 14,135 views and 12,889 visits.

Beyond the rich list, another popular list is Everyone ASIC has ever jailed with 11,785 views and 10,421 visits.

Similar to the trend of our all time stats, in May 2010, the top 3 articles were firstly this radio spot with 6PR Perth on December 11, 2008 discussing Rio Tinto's slash and burn announcement with 11,800 views and 937 visits. It clearly has a prominent link from somewhere. Coming in second was the The Mayne Report Rich List with 5,073 views and 4,375 visits, and a new article that has gained momentum, the Top 100 women on Aussie boards with 1,248 views and 1,146 vists.

Other popular lists in May were:

Foreign-owned major resource projects 768 views and 736 visits
Everyone ASIC has ever jailed 585 views and 513 visits
Stealing the notorious Labor Party guest list 522 views and 560 visits
The top 100 male Aussie directors 514 views and 484 visits

Victorian gaming minister copping full page ad

After last month's Victorian pokies auction fiasco, the issue is once again going to be a major topic in the coming state election.

Stand by for a full page ad to appear soon in The Whitehorse Leader, targeting gaming minister Tony Robinson who holds the marginal seat by less than 2% and is a serious candidate for defeat.

There's also some more exciting developments on the Woolworths front, plus with Lindsay Tanner in his seat in Melbourne but first we need to see the formal response from the Federal Government to the Productivity Commission recommendations which would seriously reduce problem gambling if implemented in full.

Finally, check out the latest from Paul Bendat's Pokieact website and this package of our past pokies coverage.

And try watching this 30 second anti-pokies ad made by Paul Bendat last financial year featuring our daughter Alice, who was 6 at the time:

Donate to help keep us going

The Mayne Report costs almost $100,000 a year to run and we moved to a free model in June last year after struggling along seeking subscriptions for the first 21 months racking up almost $200,000 in losses.

It has been nice to receive more than $6000 worth of donations over the past few months and 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:

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:

Allen family:
paid $13 million to bus mogul Jim Bosnjak in 2009 and 2010 for two apartments at The Toaster overlooking the Sydney Opera House.

Jim Bosnjak: made his fortune through private bus company Westbus and then set a record when he sold two apartments at The Toaster overlooking the Sydney Opera House for $13 million.

Hutchinson family:
the family founded Hutchinson Builders in 1912 and is now the largest privately owned construction company in Queensland. In 2010 the BRW claims $145 million.

Mcalary family:
the late Frank Mcalary was formerly a Queen's counsel who owned parcels of rural land in WA and NSW. As a large shareholder in Felix Resources, he was paid hansomely when they were purchased by Yanzhou Coal. In 2010 the BRW claims $184 million.

Bill McCartney: pocketed $15 million when Orica bought the foood chemical business he ran, Bronson & Jacobs, for $110 million in 2004 but then had to pay $2.3 million in 2010 after a court found he breached his non-compete agreement by helping two former employees set up a new competitor.

Ross Nielson:
founder of southeast Queensland-based Nielson Properties which has over $1 billion worth of projects. He also owns commercial properties in Brisbane.

Gerry Ryan: founder of caravan manufacturing business Jayco who also sits on the board of NRL club Melbourne Storm. In early 2010 he purchased some property in Toorak for around $18 million.

Luke Saracini: the Perth-based property developer is the owner of Saracen Properties and Saracan Estates winery. In 2010 the BRW claims $288 million.

Thomas family: the SA family are the founders of T&R Pastoral, Australia's third-largest meat processor. In 2010 the BRW claims $180 million.

Harry Xydas: he founded the engineering and construction DORIC group in 1989 and he holds a 62% stake. In 20 years, he has grown the company to an annual turnover of $390 million.

More Cornwall

Tracking Kevin Rudd's debt binge

This list tracks all bond and treasury note issues by the Rudd Government since it was elected in November 2007. The latest federal bond issues are as follows and you'll note that interest rates are still north of the 4% assumed in last year's budget papers. Sky-rocketing public debt is a worry and here is the detail from Canberra's latest efforts:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010: $500m tender of 12 year bonds expiring in July 2022 were sold for an average yield of 5.43% and was over-subscribed 3.3 times.

Friday, June 4, 2010: $700m tender of 5 year bonds expiring in April 2015 were sold for an average yield of 5.09% and was over-subscribed 2.7 times.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010: $500m tender of 10 year bonds expiring in February 2017 were sold for an average yield of 5.16% and was over-subscribed 2.7 times.

Friday, May 28, 2010:
$750m tender of 3 year bonds expiring in December 2013 were sold for an average yield of 4.95% and was over-subscribed 4.4 times.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010:
$500m tender of 10 year bonds expiring in April 2020 were sold for an average yield of 5.33% and was over-subscribed 3.3 times.

A mixed time punting the market

Firstly, check out this June 9 snapshot of the world's biggest small share portfolio with 692 holdings worth $94,266. The overall paper loss was $8,376 and the average holding is worth $136.

Meanwhile, check out all the trades so far this year along with most of the recent trades below:

June 8
Mineral Deposits: sold 1,053 at 90c

June 4

Australian Foundation: bought 2,000 at $4.62

June 3
Rio Tinto: sold 98 at $68.26

May 31
Mirvac Group: sold 725 at $1.29
Myer: sold 2,900 at $3.18

May 28
Macarthur Coal: sold 400 at $11.45
Super Cheap Auto: sold 2,074 at $5.15

May 21

Macarthur Coal: bought 400 at $9.72

May 20
Staging Connections: sold 326 at 2.5c.

May 19
K&S Corp: sold 5,857 at $2.54.

May 18
Sundance Energy: sold 111,111 at 13.5c.

May 17
Mirvac Group: sold 742 at $1.35

May 14
Riversdale Mining: sold 35 at $9.36

May 12
Gunns: sold 4,990 at 46.5c

May 10
Kings Minerals: sold 41,375 at 8.7c

May 6
Harvey Norman:
bought 3,000 at $3.28

May 5
MMC Contrarian: sold 20,000 at 55c

April 27
Trafalgar Corporate: sold 705 at 84c

We've been lightening our exposure to the stockmarket during the recent tremours. Whilst a $1000 profit could have been taken in April on a $10,000 punt on Myer at $3.16 - well below the $4.10 float price - we exited last week at $3.18 to break even.

Similarly, a profit of more than $1000 went begging on our $6000 punt on Rio Tinto and we exited with a marginal gain last week.

Macarthur Coal proved a better bet after we bought 400 at $9.72 two weeks back - well below the rejected $15 a share takeover price from Peabody coal - and then exited last week at $11.45 for a gain of $800.

On the capital raising front, Super Cheap Auto has been the only recent winner with $10,000 committed to the SPP at $4.80, followed by an exit at $5.15 for a gain of $700.

The only substantial outstanding capital raising bet at the moment is $15,000 into a CSG SPP at $1.90 which closed on June 3 and trades tomorrow. The margin is currently pretty skinny.

There are two other offers marginally in the money as follows:

Bradken: $1000 so far into $5,000 SPP at $7.05 after recent placement. Closes June 16 and trades June 25.

Gindalbie Metals: $1,000 so far into SPP at 93c after placement which closes June 16 and trades July 5.

Vale New Matilda as Firth froths and Robbie Swan lets fly

As you've probably heard, the free online news service New Matilda will shut down on June 25 if a white knight fails to emerge.

The news was explained by editor Marni Cordell, who is running a series about independent publishing commemorating the demise.

P*rn pusher Robbie Swan served up this hilarious contribution earlier in the week about his tumultuous 14 months running Matilda magazine in the mid-1980s and ex-Chaser Charles Firth was less impressive with this spray claiming New Matilda was always a boring idea conceived by old people.

I've agreed to write a piece for next week and in the mean time below is the video of our various run-ins with Charles Firth over the years:

From the press room

There wasn't the regular 774 ABC Melbourne appearance yesterday as it clashed with the monthly board meeting of our nursing home in Manningham. However, below are the links to audio of five recent radio appearances, including an interesting 15 minute discussion with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live.

RRR Melbourne - discussing the mining and resources tax.

774 ABC Melbourne - discussing BP, interest rates and our economy on June 2.

Radio National -
talking with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live about the 2010 mini AGM season.

774 ABC Melbourne - discussing the Rio AGM and the 2010 BRW Rich List.

936 ABC Hobart
- discussing the departure of John Gay.

Crikey yarns since last edition

Four Corners saving the RSPT 1 million viewers at a time
Monday, June 7

Racism claims flying thick and fast at Manningham
Friday, June 4

BHP, Rio still worth more than world's biggest company
Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fairfax overcooks attacks on Macquarie
Monday, May 31, 2010

Mayne: Rio Tinto AGM had it all
Wednesday, May 26 2010

Tales from the talk circuit

There has been plenty of action on the talk circuit lately. There was a lively debate at the huge Our Community conference at Moonee Valley last week where I was required to argue that communities are indeed out of control, something the room full of community and not-for-profit workers wasn't particularly keen to hear.

We lost the debate but it was fun spraying the media for all their negative sensationalism.

Meanwhile, the mayor is crook so there was a one hour session at the Domaine Retirement Village in Doncaster yesterday afternoon.

Last week there was also a talk to about 100 lawyers put on the clerk Michael Green, which was a repeat of an apperance 12 months earlier.

Looking ahead, I'm doing a one hour keynote at the big Australian Investors Association conference at Surfers Paradise in late July as follows:

This conference is the only independent conference for investors across all asset classes. It is designed to be of value for all individual investors, whether novice or experienced, who wish to take control of their investments, whether it be through financial advisers and brokers or totally DIY. If you want high quality, value for money, truly independent education that will make you a better investor, attendance at this conference is a must. The speakers and session outlines are provided in greater detail.

Meanwhile, click here to read feedback after some speeches and click on the image below if you fancy an engagement as the talk circuit is emerging as a modest offset to the growing losses of The Mayne Report:

Mayne Report RSS Feeds

The Mayne Report now has RSS feeds for you. We have bundled our best articles into a simple and easy delivery for you. Add an RSS feed to your personal reader, iGoogle, MyYahoo, or blog. It's quick and easy to do and means you're always up to date with the latest Mayne Report activity.

Sign up for Mayne Report Tweets

With more than 1400 followers on Twitter, we are regularly dropping out the latest developments from AGMs, capital raising plays and even Manningham Council. Sign up below to get the latest updates from all our activity and check out some of the latest tweets since the last email edition:

10.29am June 9: RRR Melbourne radio this morning with The Breakfasters discussing the mining and resources tax

11.46pm June 8: Cracking Robbie Swan article in New Matilda on his time as a cowboy publisher:

11.33pm June 8: Attended first hour of Darebin council meeting tonight. More cohesive than us. Back for 4 Corners on RSPT. Lots of grabs used, a good yarn.

11.03am June 4: Spent excellent morning at Doncaster Hill expo. Great speakers, big numbers. Also, Crikey published yarn on our councillor racism claims.

3.29pm June 3:
Knocked up crikey story slamming mining fat cats and defending concept of much bigger tax grab. Available here:

11.57am June 3:
Race claims flying at last week's council meeting. Some audio available here:

11.13am June 3: Speech to 100 lawyers this morning and just bumped into former HIH chairman Geoffrey Cohen outside library at RACV Club. He seemed chirpy.

7.18pm June 2: Regular spot on 774 ABC Melbourne discussing interest rates, BP and the miners

9.45am June 2:
Chatting with Phillip Adams on the ABCs Radio National last night about the 2010 mini AGM season

11.53am June 1: Led the affirmative case at debate in front of 600 at OurCommunity conference this morning on topic: are communities are out of control.

11.39am May 31: Just submitted a Crikey story having a crack at my old mate Michael West for going too hard in his jihad against Macquarie in Fairfax press.

8.45pm May 29:
7yo daughter Alice Diana Mayne has just typed out her first tweet here and says a big hello. It's 8.45pm so time for beddy byes.

7.33pm May 29:
Just lost a game of tiddly winks to 5yo son Philip. Big Sat'day night here! Great time with kids today after 2 days in Sydney. And go Tiges!

12.01pm May 28: Only a very brief meeting with James Hardie this morning in Sydney where we asked only 2 questions

12.01pm May 28:
Just back from ABC Learning creditors. Told them we'd sold OZ business for a song and despite settlement today we still don't know price.

10.03am May 28:
James Hardie EGM in Sydney this morning and on 936 ABC Hobart discussing the departure of John Gay

2.10pm May 27:
Have listen to my campaign speech and other questions from 2010 Macquarie Airports AGM

1.00pm May 27:
Posted 'Westfield AGM' to

11.48am May 27:
Fired off a couple of questions at Westfield AGM before heading off to Austar which was finished when I arrived.

6.45pm May 26: regular chat on 774 ABC Melbourne discussing the 2010 BRW Rich List and the Rio Tinto AGM

3.39pm May 26:
New Crikey story about today's Rio Tinto AGM

1.13pm May 26:
massive protest against the Rio Tinto remuneration report of 37%. Go here to listen to the debate

7.45pm May 25:
Enjoyed good debate at 90 minute Melbourne IT AGM today and had a brief chat to director Lucy Turnbull and new chair Simon Jones afterwards.

7.43pm May 25: Strong Steve Bartho piece on Biz Spectator defending Transurban board. Should have disclosed Carnegie and Wylie advised TCL and part own BS

11.13am May 25: check out the latest bumper issue of the Mayne Report email edition

That's all for now.

Do ya best, Stephen Mayne

* The Mayne Report is a multi-media governance website published by Stephen Mayne with occasional email editions. To unsubscribe from the emails click here.