1. Did any of the 5 main proxy advisers - ACSI, Ownership Matters, Glass Lewis, ISS and ASA - recommend a vote against any of today's resolutions? Have their been any material proxy protest votes? Will you disclose the proxy votes before the debate on each resolutions? Also, why not disclose the proxies to the ASX with the formal addresses ahead of the AGM like Afterpay, Brambles, Carsales, JB Hi Fi, NAB, Origin Energy, Seek and Viva Energy have all done in the past and Sims Group did only yesterday? That would allow for a more fully informed debate, wouldn't it?
2. John Howard and Peter Costello foolishly sold off two thirds of the Reserve Bank's gold reserves at historically cheap prices shortly after being elected in 1996. This stupid move has cost Australian taxpayers billions. How important is central bank reserves to a strong gold price and have we lobbied the new Albanese Government to set some funds aside to rebuild the Reserve Bank's gold reserves. Also, which central banks have the biggest gold reserves and just how much gold is owned by governments around the world?
Answer: the chair agreed it was a "stupid" move - watch this video via Twitter.
3. Well done for running a hybrid AGM today to maximise transparency and shareholder inclusion. Could Mr Bainbridge please comment on why this hasn't also happened at Beach Energy this year, where he serves as an independent director. Beach is holding a physical only AGM later this month. Will he advocate for hybrid AGMs at all the listed boards he sits on?
4. Could the CEO summarise his past LTI grants as to whether they have vested or lapsed. Also, has he ever sold any ordinary Newcrest shares or bought any on market without relying on an incentive scheme to build his equity position in the company?
5. Overall, Australian non-executive directors are underpaid when compared with the fortunes pocketed by many CEOs and senior executives over the years. Therefore, no problems with this proposed lift in the fee cap but could you please clarify when the last actual increase incurred and when the next increase will be implemented along with the likely size. Don't be afraid to give yourselves a solid pay rise given the importance of your jobs for shareholders.
6. Given the interesting discussions across a range of topics today, including this remuneration report, could the chair undertake to make an archived copy of the webcast plus a full transcript of proceedings available on the company's website? The likes of Nine, AGL, ASX, ANZ, Domino's and Lend Lease all produced their 1st AGM transcripts in 2021, but Newcrest has never provided a transcript or an archive of the webcast. Why not?
7. A question for the auditor Why did two audit partners, Trent Van Veen and Richard Bembridge, sign the accounts this year and could the outgoing audit signing partner please summarise the handover he is proposing to give to the new audit signing partner. Whilst on his feet, could the outgoing auditor explain why our claimed net asset position of $11.7 billion is well below the current $16.2 billion market cap. What is the market valuing that we aren't and doesn't this excessively conservative balance sheet confirm that we went over the top with excessive Lihir write downs a few years ago?
8. When disclosing the outcome of voting on all resolutions today, could you please advise the ASX how many shareholders voted for and against each item, similar to what happens with a scheme of arrangement? This will provide a better gauge of retail shareholder sentiment and was a disclosure initiative adopted by the likes of Metcash, Altium and Dexus last year and Webjet and Tabcorp so far this AGM season. We have around 80,000 shareholders and it would be good to know how many voted, even if you don't disclose how they voted. Retail voter participation in Australia is tragically low at less than 5% and increased transparency would hopefully drive participation.
9. Six of our eight directors are engineers. Could the two non-engineers on the board, including Vicky McFadden, who is seeking re-election today, comment on whether we need more diversity of qualifications.
10. Final question. Why aren't we following an agenda and when are we going to see the proxies. The process of treating questions as one job lot as a bit disorienting, particularly when you have a drop down box which forces shareholders to pick an agenda item to fire in a question.
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