Bold Turnbull deserves support, Quills, Senate reform, Warburton, IOOF, MAV, pokies, audit, Kevin Andrews, Perth visit, AICD, squash and a great new book

April 11, 2016

Emailed to circa 13,000 people at midday on Monday, March 21, 2016

Dear Mayne Report readers,

Greetings for the first time since our last bumper email edition on December 7. Apologies for the sporadic service. If you'd rather not receive these occasional email newsletters, click here to unsubscribe. If you like it, send this URL to your friends.

Off to the polls for a DD election? Maybe

It's a big day in Canberra. Parliament has been recalled for April 18, the budget is being brought forward to May 3 and the cross-bench will have an opportunity to save their jobs by voting for the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which was a clear promise by the Coalition ahead of the 2013 Federal election. Don't hold your breath for the laws to be passed, as was explained in this 2CC interview with Tim Shaw.

Unlike the pro-Abbott high conflict Murdoch press and the broader left, I'm happy to say this is a good move by Prime Minister Turnbull who is systematically pushing through some "sensible centre" reforms which deserve support.

Much of the madness of the Abbott regime is being cleared away and the national conversation and tone has improved considerably in recent months. For instance, it was good to see Environment Minister Greg Hunt co-operating with the ABC last night for a story on rising climate change threats to the Barrier Reef. The attacks on the Human Rights Commission have stopped and they've even had the funding tap turned back on.

Senate reform and then a July 2 double dissolution based on an industrial relations trigger is bold political move that will potentially improve Australian governance, including in the union movement. We're going to hear a lot about Labor's gerrymandered capture by the union movement - no less than 17 of its current 25 Senators hail from the unions. That's not what you call diversity.

Self-interest is a great driver in politics and there's a small chance the Senate will agree to re-establish the ABCC. The Liberals are probably hoping this doesn't happen and instead they can proceed with the July 2 Double Dissolution to clean out the Senate and give Malcolm Turnbull the new Prime Ministerial mandate that he deserves.

We've never had a sophisticated city-based business type given a mandate to run the country. We should try it with Malcolm.

A fun night at the Quills - with IOOF mentioned in dispatches

It's always a fun night turning up at Crown for the Australian Press Club Quill awards, but Friday night was a bit more sombre than usual given the latest job cuts announced by Fairfax Media. There were some great speeches, particularly Caroline Wilson's tribute to Mike Sheahan.

Some of the Fairfax journalists - who strictly speaking were on an illegal wildcat strike - were distributing flyers to guests and got plenty of traction.

In light of this, it was good to see a few Fairfax journalists collect some of the trophies, none more so than Adele Ferguson who picked up the Gold Quill and was declared "Australian journalist of the year" for a body of work which included the cracking 7-11 wage fraud piece for 4 Corners, plus what presenter Ray Martin called "insider trading at IOOF".

The IOOF situation is pretty interesting.

This is a company which has decided to sue law firm Maurice Blackburn to recover the leaked documents which Fairfax relied on for Friday night's gong, presumably to try and stop a class action.

The documents are freely available through Scribd as you can see from package 1 and package 2, so the litigation seems strange, particularly as there is no legal action against Fairfax.

IOOF hasn't been particularly forthcoming about it, but the company is also battling a large class action brought by Slater and Gordon over the way its 100% owned Australian Executor Trustees business presided over the now insolvent Provident Capital fund.

Having read the press, looked at the Senate appearances and watched the aggressive tactics, I've reached the view that it is time for some leadership changes at IOOF, which in turn might shift the "we've done nothing wrong" culture somewhat.

Chairman Roger Sexton has been on the board for 14 years since the 2002 float and been chairman since 2012. He is not the man to lead reform - just look at this defiant address to last year's AGM.

Similarly, Chris Kelaher has been the CEO of financial services companies for 19 years, first at Select Managed Funds, then Australian Wealth Management and finally at IOOF since 2009.

There is no-one else in the Australian financial services sector who has spent that long in charge. And long term leaders are often not very good at recognising there have been mistakes on their watch and that change is needed.

An IOOF board tilt might be in the offing later this year if things don't change. Strangely, the company doesn't appear to publish its constitution online, which is standard practice these days as this half-finished list shows.

Time to lift the lid and empower internal auditors

For 90 minutes in Brisbane on Sunday March 6, 60 chief audit executives from across the government, public company and not-for-profit sectors debated how they should operate and whether more people should see their work in action. (Check out the audience evaluation.)

It was the Institute of Internal Auditors annual get together and Fairfax's Brisbane Times website managed to insult the 550 delegates by declaring their event “the world's most boring conference”.

Internal auditors do great work plugging control gaps, exposing malfeasance and acting like an internal corporate adviser. They are separate from the external auditor, who is mainly focused on the accuracy of the financials, and instead look more broadly across an organisation examining the key operations and processes.

However, too often the work of an internal audit team is buried, never getting past the audit committee and a few senior executives. And if the CEO or chair are not particularly interested, internal audit can be a wasted and ineffective endeavour. When savings are needed, this is also a function which is easy to cut.

When Robert Doyle first became Melbourne Lord Mayor in late 2008, he joined the audit committee but three hour meetings on a Friday afternoon focusing on the fine detail of operational matters soon saw him hand the gig to the deputy Lord Mayor. I joined the City of Melbourne audit committee in late 2012 and have regularly butted heads with senior management arguing that the whole process needs to open up.

At the moment, it couldn't be more closed.

When councillors were debating the Lord Mayor's $28,000 of private spending on his council credit card recently, most didn't even know there was an internal audit report on councillor expenses in 2015.

None of the audit committee's work is made available to the public, not even the annual plan. The minutes are approved in confidential sessions of council and the independent chairman of the committee, former PwC partner and ANZ internal audit chief Richard Moore, is not even given a regular opportunity to report to full council in open session, as occurs at many other councils.

If a scathing internal audit report is delivered into one department, there isn't even a system which automatically sends the report to all councillors or even the relevant committee chair.

After making little progress over three years to improve the dissemination of internal audit reports with management or the audit committee – which comprises 4 independent members and 3 councillors – I put up this unanimously supported motion to all councillors on December 8 last year:

That the Future Melbourne Committee:

Requests the Audit Committee, after consulting the internal auditor, report back to Council before the end of this Council term with suggestions on how and to what extent its comprehensive work could be shared more widely across the organisation and, where appropriate, with the wider public, in line with council's goal to be one of Australia's most open and transparent organisations.

After displaying that motion to the 60 chief audit executives in Brisbane, an interesting discussion ensued.

It turns out that South Australian councils have their audit committee meetings in public, although that arguably leads to less of a “warts and all” approach.

The City of Warringah, home council to Tony Abbott on Sydney's Northern beaches, has settled upon what looks like a model example of transparency.

The Warringah audit committee meets in private but the specific reports produced by the internal auditor (now Ernst & Young) are released publically 12 months after they are first considered, sometimes with appropriate redactions.

At the moment there are 13 of those reports on the Warringah website, spanning topics such as payroll, asset management, records management, child care and financial management.

By waiting 12 months, this puts pressure on management to demonstrate they have implemented the key recommendations from any audit. In a media driven world, it seriously boosts the gravitas and influence of the internal audit function, which should be the best friend of good governance.

Advocates of confidential audit processes argue that it leads to more co-operation and honesty by those being audited.

But surely if there was a mandate from legislation, the board, the audit committee and senior management, it would be a brave divisional manager who put up the shutters.

One interesting recent example of non-co-operation was the way the Municipal Association of Victoria fought a 2014 performance audit by the then state Auditor General John Doyle, who wrote the following in his damning report into Victoria's peak local government body.

MAV's conduct during this audit has been disappointing. It has been marked by repeated challenges to my mandate, the scope of the audit, its inability to provide evidence in a timely fashion, and sometimes its refusal to provide certain information.

For over 100 years, MAV has been a legislated public body, with much of its revenue, nearly $60 million in 2012–13, derived either directly or indirectly from taxpayers, councils or ratepayers. This audit of MAV is clearly within my mandate and it is appropriate for me to audit MAV; just like any other public body in Victoria.

MAV does not appear to acknowledge or accept that it is not only accountable to its members but that it also has broader responsibilities and obligations for the efficient, effective and economic use of public funds. It is my hope that this report provides an impetus for change.

The MAV is led by a strong personality called Rob Spence, who has notched up 19 uninterrupted years as CEO. The MAV board spent 3 hours on Friday, March 4, debating whether to extend Spence's tenure when his current contract expires in September.

An announcement is imminent and it will send an interesting message as to whether audits, particularly a scathing report from a state auditor general, should trigger leadership change at the top of an organisation.

Warburton goes so no Scentre Group tilt

The contingent board nomination is emerging as a highly effective technique when it comes to agitating for change at listed companies.

It was used to bring forward the disclosure that Shell would be reducing its representation on the Woodside board, as was explained in this recent Crikey piece.

We chalked up another win last week when Scentre Group announced that Dick Warburton was retiring at the AGM, rather than seeking another term.

This announcement came a few weeks after I nominated for the Scentre Group in the following terms to company secretary Maureen McGrath:

Dear Ms McGrath,

Please accept this letter as my formal consent to nominate for the board of Scentre Group Ltd at the 2016 annual general meeting to be held in Sydney in May.
However, please also note that this consent to nominate is withdrawn if Mr Dick Warburton is retiring from the board at or before the 2016 Scentre Group AGM.

If Mr Warburton is seeking a further term, please include the following CV and platform to be printed in the notice of meeting and distributed to security holders:

"Stephen Mayne, age 46. BCom (Melb) GAICD. Stephen Mayne is a Walkley Award winning business journalist, shareholder advocate and a councillor at the City of Melbourne, where he chairs the Finance and Governance committee.

He was the founder of Australia's best known independent ezine and now publishes the corporate governance ezine He has also previously served as a director of the Australian Shareholders' Association and was the advocacy group's Policy and Engagement Coordinator until September 2014.

Mr Mayne is standing for the Scentre Group board to give shareholders an alternative candidate to former Westfield Retail Trust chairman, Mr Dick Warburton.

Mr Mayne believes the decision by Mr Warburton to adjourn the 2014 Westfield Retail Trust scheme meeting was inappropriate and that he should no longer serve on the board of its successor company, Scentre Group.

Mr Mayne also believes it is time for Mr Warburton, 76, to retire from all public company boards and that his well-known climate scepticism does not sit well with current Federal Government policy, the agreements coming out of Paris or Scentre Group's attempts to improve its sustainability credentials.

If elected, Mr Mayne undertakes to work constructively and collegiately with the board and management team to maximise shareholder value in an environment of heightened governance and transparency.

ASA fixes governance situation, now just needs a consistent media spokesperson

I've been engaging with the Australian Shareholders' Association board in recent months and am pleased to report that the governance situation first raised publicly in this Crikey story last year has now been resolved with the conclusion of John Cowling's contract at the end of February.

It was nothing personal but with a constitution that prescribes volunteer directors, it just wasn't a good look for the chairman's husband to be getting $8000 a month as a consultant, with no public disclosure.

Further engagement with the board is now taking place with one of the issues being how the organisation can get a consistent media spokesman on either its staff or board to spread its important message.

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

Longest serving ASX 200 directors

New CEOs who embrace write-offs

Measuring independent chairs for "skin in the game"

Capped SPPs which were then expanded

How retail investors do worse with separate bookbuilds

The 100 most important remuneration protest votes

30-plus examples of where retail investors gathered 100 signatures

ASA published voting intentions reports free on its website in 2015. However, "subscribers" who merely give their details will get plenty of access to more material so that's definitely worth doing.

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

Keeping an eye on the directors club

Well done to the AICD for its recent two day governance conference in Melbourne, a first for the organisation.

The event was fully subscribed with more than 900 delegates and will be returning to Melbourne next year.

It was disappointing to be the only local government councillor from anywhere in Australia who bothered to register, even though Crs are effectively directors who hold important part-time governance positions like most of the other people at the conference.

Former Premiers Nick Greiner and John Brumby were a big hit with their straight-talking contribution to a panel on what policy reforms Australia needs. Greiner pointed out that more politicians should attend conferences like this one put on by the AICD.

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

Surprising lack of protest votes against non-independent executive chairs
ASX-listed chairs rushed into the job from outside
Tracking tenure and gender balance of AFL club boards
Companies which tried to make it harder for outsiders to run for boards
What happens to directors in takeovers

Fighting for a fairer deal in capital raisings for retail shareholders

It has sometimes been a lonely battle but here are links to 8 years worth of articles about how retail investors get ripped off by Australia's capital raising system. If Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten want to win support from retail investors, they should announce some reforms going into the coming Federal election campaign.

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

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

The arguments were all spelt out in this recent Crikey piece and there was another letter in the local Manningham Leader newspaper this week calling for him to go. It read as follows:

Time to go, Kevin

Goodbye Kevin Andrews. Having lived in East Doncaster for many years I have yet to discover something that this man has done for Menzies other than espouse his religious belief biases into the legislative processes.

Let's start an "Anyone But Kevin" campaign.

Irene Zalstein

There's no doubt that Menzies is safe Liberal territory and Andrews will have a plenty of cash for his campaign, particularly after Clubs NSW gave him $20,000 after he helped kill off Federal pokies reform. But Andrews is presenting himself as a key part of the internal opposition to Malcolm Turnbull. Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos told Insiders yesterday that he believes a re-elected Malcolm Turnbull will have more authority. However, that will all depend on the make-up of the party room. Removing Kevin Andrews would certainly help offset the growing perception that the Coalition is overly dominated by right wing social conservatives.The same goes with Barnaby Joyce - hence Tony Windsor's entry.

If a pro-Turnbull independent stood against Kevin Andrews, there'd be plenty of people who would choose to send Andrews a message and it would force him to publicly endorse Turnbull and existing government policies.

Finally, below is a summary of Kevin's last 6 wins in Menzies as he lifted his margin from just 5.4% in 1998 to a very healthy 14.55% in 2013:

2013 results
Kevin primary 58.88% in a 7 person field and 2PP 64.55%.

2010 results
Kevin primary 53.63% in a 4 horse field with 2PP of 58.72%.

2007 results
Kevin primary 51.6% in a 6 person field with 2PP of 56.02%. Independent Phil Nitschke got 3.92%.

2004 results
Kevin primary 56.79% in a 6 person field and 2PP 60.67%.

2001 results
Kevin primary 53.28% in a 5 person field and 2PP 58.94%.

1998 results
No online figures on Kevin's primary but 2PP was 55.4%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mayne Report Rich List and other favourite lists

BRW magazine used to do a great job with its various Australian Rich Lists but since the print version was closed and the website closed, it has fallen away, as was explained in this Crikey story.

Back in the early days of The Mayne Report we broadened BRW's efforts to track any Australian who has ever been worth more than $10 million. We've got more than 1500 names with those who've fallen back below $10 million now italicised.

Meanwhile, here are links to some of our other favourite lists:

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

Canberra trip and Senate reform

After the pioneering 2014 City of Melbourne People's Panel ahead of our first 10 year financial plan, Luca Belgiorno Nettis and the NewDemocracy Foundation sponsored a recent Parliament House forum on citizen juries which outgoing Federal Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan hosted.

It was good to spend some time in Canberra with Cathy McGowan, the excellent independent member for Indi who will hopefully see off Sophie Mirabella's challenge in the coming election.

After a two hour session on citizen juries, we finished up having a nice dinner in the Members Dining room, before heading to the ABC's Parliament House studio for this chat with Philip Adams on Senate voting reform.

The following three Crikey stories summarise my position on Senate voting reform which is that it needed to be done, but independent candidates (as opposed to registered parties) are still completely shafted by the system.

How senate voting stacks the deck against independent candidates
Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why is Senate voting so unfair for independents?
Friday, February 26, 2016

JSCOM powers ahead with Senate voting reform
Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It is noteworthy that Family First and the Liberal Democrats have decided to launch a High Court challenge against the new laws but they are tackling it from the wrong perspective.

As representatives of parties, they are fairly treated and will get a spot above the line in this year's election, now with the additional benefit of a party logo.

An independent candidate won't be able to have their name mentioned above the line, let alone a logo. If an independent candidate challenged this system - including the highly unfair 4% threshold before public funding of $2.70 per share kicks in - it might have more prospects of success than someone from the privileged registered party side of things.

Cranking up the output for Crikey

Since Crikey was sold in March 2005, the freelance contributions to Australia's best known and longest running independent ezine have continued as follows with more than 1400 pieces run.

Last year was our busiest since 2008 as this list shows:

2015: 109 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

And here are the links to the 24 Crikey stories so far this year:

How to revitalise the public company AGM
Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How Chaney can get the Shell men out of Woodside
Monday, January 18, 2016

Some meaty succession issues for the Lowys at Westfield
Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How board tilts can deliver for shareholders
Thursday, January 21, 2016

The "naughty nine" which delayed rem disclosure in February 2015
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Stand by for a deluge of write-downs
Thursday, January 28, 2016

Preview piece on political donations data dump
Friday, January 29, 2016

Can media help deliver campaign finance reform
Monday, February 1, 2016

Six juicy snippets from donations data
Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How media helped with Leighton insider trading prosecution
Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why the ABC is to blame for our lax campaign finance laws
Thursday, February 4, 2016

News Corp's crazy campaign against ICAC
Friday, February 5, 2016

Mark Vaile's unfounded coal optimism
Monday, February 8, 2016

Wrap of the big write-downs
Friday, February 12, 2016

Can Cormann and Stuart Robert fix campaign finance
Monday, February 15, 2016

Property taxes, rate capping and Murdoch rent seeking
Thursday, February 18, 2016

Why Kevin Andrews should retire
Monday, February 23, 2016

How senate voting stacks the deck against independent candidates
Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why is Senate voting so unfair for independents?
Friday, February 26, 2016

JSCOM powers ahead with Senate voting reform
Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Who can save Slater and Gordon?
Thursday, March 3, 2016

Rupert Murdoch's democratic triple play
Friday, March 4, 2016

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

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

Crikey editor Marni Cordell has just been poached by Buzzfeed, so it will be interesting to see who proprietor Eric Beecher parachutes into the job. Marni did a good job over the past two years so they will be big shoes to fill.

Woodside and Perth visit as WA debates council governance

The flights have been booked and there will be a visit to Perth on April 21 for the Woodside Energy AGM, followed by a breakfast speech the next morning to local government councillors and officers on transparency reforms at the City of Melbourne.

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

This scandal involving Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and her undisclosed travel is exactly that.

City of Perth is arguably the most secretive WA council, but this is about to change after the Scaffidi scandal.

I gave some grabs to the Channel Nine Perth news on Thursday calling for mayor Scaffidi to resign. The local media is up in arms after she launched a facebook rant against former 60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett referencing his alleged "bad breath" and "botox".

Interestingly, it is long-serving Julie Bishop staffer Cr Judy McEvoy who is best placed to deliver reform at the City of Perth.

Scaffidi and McEvoy are both Liberal Party members and if Julie Bishop publicly withdrew support, she would probably feel obliged to resign. A motion of no confidence by Cr Judy McEvoy would also be the end.

Kerry Stokes is another Scaffidi supporter who should withdraw support. It has been notable that Seven News and The West Australian have supported her for a long time.

Alternatively, the Liberal Government in WA is still considering the Lord Mayor's situation and could well force her resignation once a departmental report is finalised in the coming weeks.

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

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

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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.

2015 - 9 editions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2013 - 10 editions with 5 favourites below

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

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

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

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

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

2012 - only 9 editions given council and ASA commitments

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

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

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

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

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

2010 - 39 editions and last year with paid staff

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

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

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

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

2009 - 40 editions but was slowed down by Manningham council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great debate at the Babcock AGM
May 30, 2008

Our liveliest edition yet
Thursday, May 8, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Mayne family news: loading up the kids sport, Intouch and dad's golden duck

After 5 years of Little Athletics we had a our final session last weekend. Alice, 13, is our last Little Athlete and managed to finish her favourite high jump event with a PB of 137cm on Friday night. We won't miss all those high jump duty shifts.

The winter is shaping up to be our most overloaded sporting season yet with 3 games of club basketball each Saturday, plus two school sport commitments in the morning. If that's not enough, all three of the kids will be playing club football on Sunday, although at least Laura and Alice will be together in the U15s.

With Paula working, Cr Mayne is providing quite an intensive after school taxi service for the kids these days, which is fine. Car time is often the best for a good chat and you can make them listen to ABC radio's PM program.

Laura, 14, has shot up and is now almost 5 foot 11 - taller than her mum - which might mean a bit more time in the ruck this year.

Philip is loving being school captain at the local primary school and has introduced power points and joke of the week at the Monday assembly.

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

She had a good win in court last week securing 75% of the asset pool for a woman from a non-English speaking background who had been treated appallingly by her ex husband.

The family also finished an enjoyable season of U15 girls cricket this summer with dad as team coach and all three kids playing. We were often short so "Philippa" Mayne would step up to field, but did get to bowl the odd over and bat a couple of times.

Cricket coaching also led to dad getting dragged in to play 3 games with the 4th eleven, a team which largely comprised other dads from the junior club.

The opening effort was a reasonable 5 over spell and then 10 runs with the bat, but I literally couldn't run when called upon for another hit-out 7 days later.

After finally recovering by late February for one last game, I dragged the whole family down to watch and managed to feather one for a golden duck. Didn't the kids laugh at that.

Taking on the best squash player in Australia

If delusions of cricket grandeur wasn't bad enough, I stumbled into the local squash courts recently and finished up in match against the 54th best player in the world.

Rex Hedrick, 27, has recently come off the international tour and taken a role as head pro at the Westerfolds Sports Complex in Templestowe. He's the 3rd highest ranked Australian globally but the best who is based here at the moment.

Anyone can just ring him up on 0424 944 101 or email and book a one hour lesson for $50. I tried taking him on and it was a fantastic experience but quickly learnt that squash is very different to tennis.

And speaking of squash, can anyone explain the lack of local government support for the sport?

For instance, why does City of Manningham own 76 public tennis courts but has never put a cent into squash, which relies almost entirely on privately funded clubs. That doesn't seem right.

Check out Craig Ferguson's excellent new book

Without wanting to finish on a bearish note, do check out this recently published book by Craig Ferguson, one of the best analysts I've come across in Australia.It's called Debt, Defaults, Disinflation & Demographics: How to survive and prosper during the market meltdown of 2016-17.

I've been exposed to this guy's views for more than 20 years and rate him highly. A book was definitely worth doing and here's hoping there are more to come.

That's all for now.

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.