The Mayne Report 16th July.
Here is the latest Mayne Report contributed by Stephen Mayne of www.maynereport.com. Stephen regularly writes the Mayne Report. We highly recommend that you subscribe for his very informative newsletter. Click Here to subscribe or to view the full report..
Pokies push, by-election, Murdoch, Paul Howes, Doncaster Hill, Xenophon party, Herald Sun, preference deals, Bolt, Manningham, ASX changes, Tweeting and then some
Dear 15,436 Mayne Report readers,
Shock, horror, after no service for two months this is the second comprehensive email edition in a week. There must be an election on, as was explained last Tuesday. Today’s missive includes plenty on our two greatest passions – the need for poker machine reform and the problem with power abuse by the unethical Murdoch media empire. If you’ve had enough, click here to unsubscribe. Alternatively, if you enjoy the content, click here for the URL and share it with your friends.
Cranking up the pokies message in Melbourne
A tougher line on poker machines is the key message being pushed in the Melbourne by-election and hasn’t it been a big few days for media coverage of the issue. ABC1′s flagship current affairs program 7.30 went in very hard with the following two powerful stories last week:
It would be nice to know what millionaire Packer family fixers from the NSW Right, Graham Richardson, Mark Arbib and Karl Bitar make of all this social misery caused by Crown along with their friends in the pubs and clubs.
I’m getting some blue t-shirts produced for booth workers on polling days with the message: “STEPHEN MAYNE: Stop the pokies”
It was disappointing Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber didn’t hammer the pokies message when he was asked by Barrie Cassidy on Insiders yesterday to explain his party’s values and key differences with the ALP.
The pokies is one of the biggest differences.
The Greens wouldn’t mind if pokies disappeared altogether, whereas Labor’s cynical approach sees it captured by the enormous gambling industry lobby and raising campaign funds by directly operating more than 1000 machines in Sydney and Canberra.
If you want more detail on that, see the following:
Belconnen Labor Club: 272 machines
City Labor Club in Canberra: 58 poker machines
Ginninderra Labor Club: 93 poker machines
Weston Creek Labor Club: 63 poker machines
Revesby Workers Club: 509 poker machines and chaired by Federal Labor MP Darryl Melham
Keneally concedes at ALP’s Randwick pokies venue
Goulburn Workers Club makes $4m from pokies, slams reform proposal
This is what the CEO of the Revesby Workers Club, Ed Camilleri told The Australian last year before Julia Gillard did her slippery deal with the Speaker and ditched her commitment to Andrew Wilkie:
“At a lot of clubs like Revesby Workers Club, it’s in our charter to support the ALP. We’ve helped candidates at a federal, state and local level, helped them to get into the campaigns, rounding up support from the members.”
So, if members of Labor-owned pokies clubs can be rounded up to support the party in key campaigns, presumably it is just fine for people who are concerned about poker machines to campaign for an end to this insidious relationship.
Therefore, if anyone fancies sending the ALP a message on Saturday and handing out cards for the independent anti-pokies candidate trying to influence the outcome in a key by-election, drop us a line to Stephen@maynereport.com.
Elisabeth Murdoch shows dad how it’s done
We sent the following two tweets out on Saturday morning:
“Elisabeth Murdoch is best of breed. Sends dad a message by resigning as Shine CEO and staying on as chair. Why can’t News Corp do this too?”
“Memo to dad: ‘As Shine diversifies, it requires the chairman & CEO roles to be distinct & separate,’ Ms Murdoch told The Financial Times.
Indeed, why won’t Rupert Murdoch surrender either the chairman or CEO role at News Corp after almost 60 years in the top job? It is poor governance to combine the positions and now even his own daughter has made the point.
This Crikey story on June 29 predicted that Rupert would use the forthcoming News Corp publishing de-merger as an opportunity to lock in succession planning. It included these lines:
Always remember this: Rupert Murdoch loves newspapers and is a control freak who fanatically obsesses about sustaining his family’s powerful dynasty. Therefore, his belated embrace of a publishing demerger should be viewed as an opportunity to shore up the family’s control over key assets and succession.
For all this talk of Chase Carey winning the internal argument, the baseball-loving American’s power has actually been reduced. Rupert Murdoch turns 82 next March and shortly thereafter he will become executive chairman of the separated entertainment business, with Carey remaining as his clear understudy at a smaller business.
At the moment, News Corp lists 16 directors on its website, although long-time corporate adviser Stan Schuman is “director emeritus” who doesn’t face annual election. Rather than facing a board coup over the phone-hacking scandal, Rupert has now created a unique opportunity to shuffle the deck on family succession and hand pick future non-executive directors who agree to family dominance.
Those who talked of corporate governance reforms could well find themselves on the outer.
For starters, you would expect Elisabeth Murdoch, who was paid $US1.7 million last year to manage the successful Shine television production division, to join the board of the entertainment company.
The resignation as an executive clears the way for Elisabeth to join the main News Corp board and don’t be surprised if she is also positioning herself to one day succeed her father as chair, albeit in a non-executive capacity.
How can Lachlan compete with News Corp on NRL bid?
We’ve reported many times about how inappropriate it is to have Lachlan Murdoch as a News Corp director and a substantial shareholder in Ten Network Holdings who has also served as acting CEO and now non-executive chairman. Indeed, the following appeared in Crikey on February 8 this year:
Andrew Bolt and Mark Day reveal how Lachlan Murdoch is breaching cross-media laws
Perhaps the most striking recent example of Australia’s supine cross-media ownership laws was the decision by ACMA to allow Lachlan Murdoch to remain as a director of News Corp while clearly influencing Network Ten. The argument presented was that Lachlan was exerting no management influence over News Ltd in Australia where John Hartigan was an independent executive chairman.
If you believe Mark Day’s column in The Australian on Monday, it was Lachlan Murdoch who engineered the appointment of his mate Kim Williams as News Ltd CEO. Similarly, Day claimed that Rupert’s appointment as non-executive chair of News Ltd is just keeping the warm chair for Lachlan.
Given that Lachlan also personally controls 50% of radio company DMG, it is clearly unlawful for him to simultaneously exert management influence over Network Ten and News Ltd.
Thanks to these useful disclosures by long-time Murdoch loyalists Andrew Bolt and Mark Day, ACMA has the material to now intervene and extract Lachlan’s resignation from either the News Corp or Network Ten boards. ACMA did precisely that with David Evans in 2009, where he was forced to resign from the Fairfax board.
Let’s hope a different standard is not applied by ACMA to the Murdochs, just because there is no more powerful family anywhere in the world.
As if to confirm the point, Lachlan Murdoch joined his father attending Herb Allen’s famous media conference in Sun Valley over the past few days. Did they talk about Network Ten potentially being a challenger to the Fox Sports-Nine Network consortium that is bidding for the NRL rights at the moment?
Check out the photo gallery of the event, including the Murdoch boys, on Huffington Post.