Kevin's getting worried, campaign update, encouraging poll, News Corp dispute, political donations, pokies reform, City of Melbourne update, Carol Schwartz backing and call for volunteers

June 19, 2016

Dear Mayne Report readers,

Greetings for the first time since our last bumper email edition on Friday, June 10. If you'd rather not receive these occasional email newsletters, click here to unsubscribe. If you like it, please share this online version with your friends.

With 16 days to go, we're feeling good about the prospects of making a big impact taking on Kevin Andrews in Menzies on July 2.

The response on the first four days of early voting has been very encouraging and the fact that Kevin himself has turned up every day at the Manningham Uniting Church pre-poll centre in East Doncaster suggests that he knows there's some real competition in Menzies for the first time since he won it more than 25 years ago.

Kevin has been commendably polite at pre-poll, chatting away with all booth workers and was friendly towards our 14-year-old daughter Laura when she did the final half hour session on Tuesday night. However, he was seen on Thursday morning brandishing a hammer on the corner of Williamsons Rd and Foote St in Templestowe where one of his signs was hammered over the top of ours and some adjustments were made to another one of our "Fake Liberal" signs. Click here to see the result. This is not what you'd expect a former Defence Minister to be doing, as was noted in this AAP report on the incident carried by the likes of SBS, Yahoo7 and The Qantas Club, just to name a few.

It seems the strategy of ignoring our campaign might be changing, but to have to do this personally suggests there is not a lot of energetic local Liberal Party support for Kevin after 25 years representing Menzies whilst living elsewhere in the City of Banyule.

Even some of the Liberal Party volunteers quietly admit that he has stayed too long, taken the seat for granted and is now failing to support Prime Minister Turnbull. After one recent church visit, a parishioner took our the flyer and said: "I'm a Liberal Party member and I love what you are doing. Keep it up."
Encouraging polling ahead of first candidates debate

All eight blokes contesting Menzies have agreed to appear at the Manningham Interchurch Council candidates debate on Monday night at Doncaster Church of Christ on Doncaster Rd from 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome, including media.

Each candidate will speak for about 5 minutes and then there is likely to be an hour of questions so come on down to what is the most anticipated candidates debate ever held in the normally sleepy and ultra-safe seat of Menzies.

With the support of a third party, we commissioned a Reachtel poll on Monday night and it showed our Menzies primary vote at 7.3% (comparable with the Greens), whilst Kevin's 59% primary vote in 2013 is down heavily to 51% and poised to head into the 40s.

This encouraging poll was taken before 42,000 flyers were delivered across Menzies by PMP on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. You can see part of that flyer on our Mayne4Menzies facebook page.

A winning scenario comes into play when Kevin's vote gets below 45% and out vote tops 15%, so we're more than halfway there as we crank up the momentum over the final 16 days of the campaign. A big presence at the polling booths on July 2 will also be worth up to 3% in additional primary vote, so please read the volunteering section further down and donate if you can.
The most striking result of the Reachtel poll was the lack of support for Kevin's man Tony Abbott when compared with Malcolm Turnbull as preferred Prime Minister. This is Turnbull country with support for Abbott languishing at just 21% in a two horse race. This is the key to shifting Liberal votes as the only overt Turnbull supporter in the Menzies field.

We've got 200 new and different posters being delivered this afternoon and a second $5000 whole of electorate flyer will be distributed in the final week of the campaign. We also have this full full page ad appearing on page 4 of next week's Melbourne Weekly Eastern.

All of this activity is only possible because almost 100 people have now donated to our campaign, as is disclosed on this unprecedented real-time register of campaign contributions. If you'd like to join that list, just follow the links and instructions at the top of the donations register.

The diversity of our support has been remarkable, from councillors, to Liberal Party members, corporate governance experts, locals, school mates, anti-pokies campaigners, angry women, school teachers and even $1000 on Wednesday from a prominent ASX100 director.

And speaking of political donations, don't miss Radio National's special report on the topic on Background Briefing this coming Sunday morning. It will be interesting to see if Kevin's big donations from the pokies powerhouse Clubs NSW in 2013 gets a mention.

An endorsement from Carol Schwartz

The question of how people like Tony Abbott and his best parliamentary mate Kevin Andrews treat women is something that keeps coming up during this campaign. After all, this is the duo that thought it was appropriate to have one woman and 19 blokes in the first Abbott Cabinet and to then appoint Tony Abbott Minister for Women. And don't get us started on their anti-choice posture.

There's plenty more disturbing material outlined in this story by a Liberal moderate tracking Kevin's record over the past 25 years.

It's therefore not surprising that a number of prominent women are supporting the campaign, including former Democrats leader Lyn Allison whose endorsement was outlined in the last email edition.

Today we can report that Carol Schwartz has agreed for the following statement to appear on our July 2 how to vote card:

"Stephen Mayne has always been a vocal advocate for equality for women in the context of power sharing and decision-making at all levels. We need more individuals like Stephen in the Australian parliament."

Carol Schwartz
Founding Chair
Women's Leadership Institute Australia

Many thanks to Carol, who also chairs OurCommunity which handed over the Kookaburra Award in 2011 for our consistent advocacy about getting more women on boards. Carol has been encouraged that our great supporter Nick Xenophon is proposing the Balanced Representation Bill which supports 40% men, 40% women and 20% unallocated places for government boards and committees.

Rather than only talking about minimum numbers of women, this debate should also include open discussion about minimum numbers of men to counteract any discussion around quotas or affirmative action. It's about balanced representation, which certainly wasn't on show in that first Abbott Cabinet.

Pokies, budgets and promoting integrity at and through the City of Melbourne

As tier 1 members of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, City of Melbourne is keeping the pressure on the pokies-addicted Victorian AFL clubs (excluding North Melbourne) and it was great to see this page 17 story about "the Collingwood clause" in the Herald Sun today. City of Melbourne is negotiating a 10 year facilities access deal worth $3 million with Collingwood but the club's pokies venues will be brought up in negotiations.

We also had our 2016-17 budget submissions meeting last night, where this 109 page report was debated and then approved.

There were two powerful oral submissions by Vincent Care and Melbourne City Mission seeking capital contributions from council for new facilities to help tackle the challenge of central city homelessness.

The report was only distributed to councillors on Wednesday so we didn't make any rushed decisions but may do something when the final budget is approved on Tuesday, June 28.

As chair of the Finance and Governance committee it's important to see the budget process through to its conclusion, but I'll probably take leave from council commencing on June 29 to focus exclusively on the Menzies campaign over the final 4 days.

There will also be a 30 hour trip to Canberra next week for the National General Assembly of the Australian Local Government Association.

The main task of the trip is to win majority national council support from across Australia for the City of Melbourne motion proposing that the Federal government introduce an independent anti-corruption body as now operates in all states.

How the Lib-Lab duopoly think they can get away without such a body is an indictment on them both. We put a similar motion up at the last Municipal Association of Victoria state council meeting in May and it passed on the President's casting vote.

Finally, check out this list of the 50-plus transparency reforms that City of Melbourne has implemented over the past 4 years, as well as this list of nearly 50 motions we have put up since late 2012.

We notched up another transparency win at Town Hall last night when the 109 page submissions report (see p12-13) included a first time budget disclosure of which third party organisations receive City of Melbourne budget grants

Bumped from p4 to p20 twice - time for a refund on $10,000 News Corp spend

If you make a commercial agreement to purchase two successive full page ads which very specifically identify that they will appear on page 4, what should happen if the publisher later dumps them on page 20 and even gives over page 4 to chief rival Kevin Andrews ne of the weeks? Disappointingly, that is what has happened with News Corp's widely read local paper, The Manningham Leader, which led to this email to their regional sales director on Tuesday night:

Hi Warwick (and Bianca),

Thanks for taking the time to investigate the situation of my $10,000 agreement with News Corp for two full page ads on page 4 of The Manningham Leader on June 6 and June 13, which were both then relegated to page 20.

I accept your explanation that it was a stuff up rather than a conspiracy and that the layout order from the 1st week (“please move from p4 to p20 given the nature of the content”) was inadvertently applied to the second week as well, even though the 2nd ad was entirely benign from a content perspective.

The written agreement Bianca Weir and I struck was that I would spend $20,000 for 4 full page ads on page 4 over the month of June.

I'm disappointed that you haven't pro-actively offered any form of make-good or refund and could only come up with “we'll give you page 4 next week”, when we spoke on the phone earlier today.

On Friday afternoon I decided to spend $4606 on a full page ad on page 4 of the next edition of Fairfax's Melbourne Weekly Eastern, so that will come out of the print budget which was going to be exclusively spent with Leader Newspapers until the first ad was bumped from p4 to p20 at the last minute, with no compensation.

This means the way forward from my perspective is as follows:

There will be no ad in next week's edition of The Manningham Leader, but I'll be happy to pay $2000 (inc GST) for all of page 4 in the following edition on June 27 which would convert a $20,000 contract for four full pages ads on page 4 into a $12,000 contract for one page 4 ad and two ads that appeared on page 20.

If that is not possible I do not intend adverting again with Leader and would like a full refund for the second $5000 ad which, as you admit, was inadvertently shifted from p4 to page 20 and then replaced by a full page ad from my main political opponent, Kevin Andrews, at a key moment in the campaign just as early voting commenced and postal ballots were distributed.

As a journalist of long standing who spent 7 years working for News Corp as a business reporter, business editor, chief of staff and gossip columnist in Melbourne and Sydney, I'm acutely aware of the value of page placement.

There is no way I would have agreed to spend $10,000 of the funds donated by almost 100 supporters of my campaign, if the contract had said those two ads would be buried on page 20. Securing page 4 in a firm written undertaking from Bianca was the key determinant in my decision to commit.

We had a contract for page 4 and that contract was breached, so I ask that you swiftly change your position and agree to one of the two options proposed above so we can settle this matter and move on with the campaign.

Whilst it is not strictly relevant, I would also point out that in 2010, I was the City of Manningham councillor who persuaded colleagues and officers during one of our budget deliberations that we should switch our fortnightly half page Manningham Leader ad to a weekly ad.

Six years later this frequency has continued delivering hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra revenue which help under-write the economics of The Manningham Leader such that is wasn't one of the 7 Leader titles which was closed last week.

In light of all of this, I believe Leader should treat me fairly to resolve these matters.

If you are sensitive about being seen to be treating candidates equally during a political campaign, I am happy for no further ads to appear and the issue of compensation to be resolved after the election is completed.

Yours Sincerely,

Stephen Mayne

The best they've been able to come up with so far is a promise of better placement next week at the same full price, which is obviously not good enough. Surely they can't sustain hanging on to the full $10,000 with such a clear breach of contract!

How big parties suppress challenging outsiders

It's hard to remember another election where Australia's political system has produced so much debate about the major incumbent parties working together to make it difficult for smaller players, start-ups and independents.

First it was the Greens and the Liberals co-operating on senate voting reform to wipe out the prospects of micro-parties who get less than 2% of the primary vote.

Preference whisperer Glenn Druery is no longer able to sell hope to dozens of start-up parties courtesy of group voting tickets that transferred whole blocks of primary votes to friendly micro rivals.

This was bad news for the likes of low profile micro-party Senators such as Ricky Muir, but for those incumbent senators in smaller states who were able to establish their own parties – Jackie Lambie, Glenn Lazarus and Nick Xenophon – re-election is not out of the question. In Xenophon's case, he might even secure 4 Senators in South Australia.

Being an incumbent MP brings one big advantage that became apparent after filing this piece for Crikey last Friday ahead of the 150 ballot draws across Australia.

Having filled in the form to get a copy of the Menzies electoral roll, no disk or CD ROM was produced, as has happened in previous state and council election contests.

Alas, Menzies divisional returning officer Jen Burgess handed over a giant 498 page hard copy of the roll at about 1.30pm last Friday heading into a long weekend before early voting commenced on Tuesday morning.

So much for being able to direct mail the electorate, as that's a privilege only afforded to parties and independents currently represented in Parliament. Yes, this is 2016.

Even the likes of Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott don't have an up-to-date electronic copy of the roll. Because Oakeshott is contesting a different seat, he won't even have an old copy.

Affronted by this blatant tilted playing field, I fired off this letter to an interested partner in a law firm on Friday afternoon seeking advice from senior counsel as to whether any challenge was possible on the question of accessing a useable copy of the electoral roll.

The message came back that a strong legal point was available to be made through the High Court after the election, based on the Lange decision.

Given all this barrier to entry rubbish by the big parties, is it any surprise that candidate numbers are down by 5.3% in this election from 1717 in 2013 to 1625 this year.

The latest example of the big boys making it tough for smaller parties was the extraordinary duopoly play by Labor and Liberal to marginalise their smaller respective ideological bed fellows in the Greens and the Nationals.

The Liberals were threatening to preference the Greens ahead of Labor in certain inner city seats, in exchange for some open Green tickets in outer-suburban marginals.

Labor threatened to retaliate by preferencing the Nationals ahead of the Liberals in some tight three-cornered contests.

In the end, Liberal Federal Director Tony Nutt repeated his 2010 play with Ted Baillieu in the Victorian election and persuaded Malcolm Turnbull to go with the strategy of putting the Greens behind Labor everywhere, in exchange for Labor preferencing the Liberal ahead of the Nationals in Murray, O'Connor and Durack. Interestingly, Labor kept Indi and Sophie Mirrabella out of that deal.

The WA Nats were suitably angered that two of their target seats, including one they snatched from Wilson Tuckey, were included in the Liberal-Labor duopoly preference deal.

Nick Xenophon was also upset that Labor opted for split tickets in South Australia, rather than the traditional approach of putting their Liberal enemies behind centrist or progressive alternatives like NXT.

Volunteers needed to help Make Menzies Matter and Kick out Kevin

There is a unique opportunity to topple Abbott backer Kevin Andrews in the Federal seat of Menzies. Kevin has done little for the area in 25 years, doesn't live in the electorate and is an Abbott supporter who opposes Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull because he is too progressive on social issues, especially as they relate to women.

The campaign is going really well so far as you can see from this package of media coverage.

We've got great endorsements from the likes of Nick Xenophon, Carol Schwartz, Tim Costello and Robert Doyle (see story in Monday's Herald Sun about that), but are now getting down to the business end of the campaign which is organising volunteers to hand out how to vote cards on July 2 and at the early voting centres.

We have recruited an old friend Gabi to help manage the volunteers so if you are available, or know anyone who might be, please email her at I will also be receiving all emails to that address.

If you'd like to discuss anything about the campaign, don't be afraid to call me on 0412 106 241.

There's lots of information about the campaign here on our website.

Thanks again for all your past support and we'd be thrilled if you could help again on July 2.

Keeping an eye on the directors club

We've spent 25 years watching corporate Australia in action, particularly the directors of our major listed companies.

Here are links to some interesting lists related to directors that we've built up over the years:

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

One of the worst things that Australian public company directors do is dilute retail investors by structuring capital raisings unfairly to benefit the bigger players.

Here are links to 8 years worth of articles about how retail investors get ripped off by Australia's capital raising system.

Donate to help topple Kevin Andrews

The Mayne Report is free. If you fancy giving us a hand to help fund our independent advocacy, particularly on the question of switching Kevin Andrews onto his $280,000 defined benefit indexed pension for life from July 2, just click on the image below:

Alternatively, if you don't like Paypal for credit card contributions, donations can be transferred to our account at Westpac

Mayne Report
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Account number: 130897

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

The Mayne Report loves lists and here are a few favourites

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

125 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

Sign up for campaign and governance Tweets

Click on the image above to join almost 28,000 followers on Twitter. We are regularly dropping out observations about journalism, politics, breaking stories, local government and shareholder activism.

From the member edition archive

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

2016 - 8 editions so far

Kevin locked in, so Make Menzies Matters campaign hits top gear
Friday, June 10

Menzies update, "Fake Liberal" corflutes, AFL pokies push, gift register and much more
Saturday, June 4, 2016

Menzies update, Westfield rate dodging, The Australian's gossips and candidate betting
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Menzies update, ASA board, pokies and Four Corners
Monday, May 23, 2016

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

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

Bank royal commission, ASA tilt, Copyright, Piccinini, pokies, Kevin Andrews and Cabcharge
Monday, April 11, 2016

2015 - 8 editions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2013 - 10 editions with 5 favourites below

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

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

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

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

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

2012 - only 9 editions given council and ASA commitments

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

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

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

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

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

2010 - 39 editions and last year with paid staff

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

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

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

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

2009 - 40 editions but was slowed down by Manningham council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great debate at the Babcock AGM
May 30, 2008

Family news

Laura, who turns 15 in a few weeks, is rucking well for her regional football team which has made it through to the grand final against the strongest female footballers in Melbourne.

Alice is 18 months younger and is loving playing alongside her big sister and with some of the best players in the eastern suburbs.

Philip performed well at the regional Toastmasters primary school competition on Wednesday night, which was expertly hosted by Templestowe Rotary Club. He's also rucking for both club and school and enjoying his football.

And Paula is tolerating the campaign, but happy to escape to work where she runs a group of lawyers assisting multi-cultural women who are victims of family violence.

All up, the family are great and Daisy the labradoodle seems to be enjoying the extra attention of appearing in print as well. There's potentially even a Daisy campaign video coming, but that's a tale for another day.

Thanks again for all your support and just keep doin' 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, ASA director and City of Melbourne councillor. To unsubscribe from this email list, click here. Authorised by Stephen Mayne, 90 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000.