Monday, April 15, 2013

South Australian stores Foodland, IGA to get troubled food maker Spring Gully out of a pickle

Makers of Beerenberg tomato sauce, Bickford's lime cordial, Spring Gully mustard pickles etc. 

Coles and Woolworths are the oligopolists of the Australian grocery trade so largely have monopsony powers.  It may therefore not be economically irrational to support products not offered by them

FOODLAND and IGA are mobilising to support troubled Spring Gully Foods as independent grocers operating under "The Mighty South Aussies" banner rally to help the family-owned SA company in its hour of need.

The brands, which represent more than 200 stores in South Australia, will dramatically increase their volume of Spring Gully products to help boost the fortunes of the 67-year-old SA firm which has gone into voluntary administration.

Foodland chairman Roger Drake told the Sunday Mail the independent chain will also flex its promotional muscle by putting Spring Gully products on the cover of their latest catalogue.

"Spring Gully products are walking off the shelves and I like to think it is because the public is supporting a quality South Australian company," Mr Drake said.

"As chairman of Foodland I have taken the onus to increase our volume of product and we will also put it on the front of our catalogue.

"We are owned by South Australian families and want to help another South Australian family company. We will buy whatever stock they need to help them out and won't be increasing margins."

IGA committee chairman Joseph Romeo said the stores would help with displays and specials to try to help Spring Gully survive.

"A lot of our customers say they shop with us because we are South Aussies, and I believe people will get behind Spring Gully because they are a quality SA company," he said.

Wholesalers Metcash which supplies the Foodland and IGA has also swung its support behind the community rescue.

In a bonus for shoppers and Spring Gully, Metcash will cut its margins so Spring Gully receives the usual price for its products, but the retail price will be cheaper.

The Foodland/IGA move comes as the public floods social media urging fellow shoppers to buy Spring Gully.

Spring Gully, the award-winning family-owned company - founded in 1946 - entered voluntary administration on Thursday with debts estimated at more than $3 million after losing contracts with Coles and Woolworths that saw turnover plummet.

Managing director Kevin Webb thanked Foodland and IGA for their support and said the fate of the company and its 43 staff is largely in the hands of shoppers.


Gillard is missing the point about class warfare

Today's poll confirms that the Gillard government remains on track to lose the election due in 153 days. It also shows that one of its main escape plans is not working.

The government thought it was onto a winner when it decided to pitch the old concept of "soaking the rich". It turns out to be wrong.

In a striking finding in the latest Fairfax-Nielsen poll, most voters oppose the government's proposal to increase the tax on superannuation earnings of the people the government called "the very wealthiest".

Specifically, 1400 respondents were asked: "Do you support or oppose increasing taxation on personal superannuation accounts holding $2 million or more?" Fifty-two per cent opposed the policy; 45 per cent supported it. Why?

Pollster John Stirton suggested: "It's the aspirational idea - 'I might have $2 million in my super one day'." One instructive detail was that the idea was not only opposed by older people. Former Labor leader and Gillard cabinet minister Simon Crean said last week of Gillard's election strategy that "she's gone the class warfare".

If so, the Nielsen poll finding strongly suggests that it's failing. This suggests that former prime ministers, Labor and Liberal alike, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard were more politically astute than the current prime minister. These former leaders, who collectively presided over a generation of economic reform, all have said that class warfare, or envy-based politics, is dead in Australia.

Under the old economic structure half the workforce was fated to forever remain as employees in manual labour. Under the new structure, blue collar workers are much freer to follow trades as independent contractors.

That is, blue collar workers are no longer limited by union-negotiated wage rates but free to become small business people.

The old barriers have dissolved and the Hawke-Keating changes took Australia "very much in the direction of a classless society", as Crean remarked. Only 18 per cent of Australia's workforce is now unionised; 19 per cent is self-employed.

The Gillard government has missed the point. As Keating said in 2005: "The Labor Party has given up the middle-class, middle-ground, sole-employer, self-employed, small-business voter that Bob Hawke and I generated for it." We see the newest example in Gillard's education plan, increasing funding for schools by taking it from universities. This again plays on the old class concept, that the "working class" will support more school funding while seething with resentment at the pretentious elitists in universities.

But the "working class" family is as keen as any other that the kids get a university education.

The evidence is that Gillard is playing a losing game on an outmoded construct.


Women "having it all"

If boozing and marriage breakdowns is part of "all"

In a seismic shift from a decade ago, family lawyers say more men are pointing to their wives' excessive drinking and drug use when filing for divorce, with an increasing number of husbands being awarded sole custody of their children because of it.

Senior family lawyer at Slater & Gordon, Heather McKinnon, said about 30 per cent of the firm's cases before the Family Court involved substance abuse.

Of these, about half now related to the female partner, something that was "practically non-existent" 10 years ago.

"That's a really huge shift in my lifetime in the job," she said.

"Dads that have applied to have children living with them are now succeeding in about half the cases, and that's because there's deficits in the mother. I think this is a very serious shift."

Ms McKinnon points the finger at so-called "Sex and the City syndrome" - the normalisation of binge drinking among teenage girls and young women that carries through to adulthood.

"If you go to any social setting in a capital city or a large regional town on a Friday or Saturday night you will see young women at the bar downing shots - that is a generational change," Ms McKinnon said.

"Girls are at an early age starting to abuse alcohol, they drink heavily through their twenties and by their early thirties they've become fully-fledged alcoholics. They don't stop drinking when adolescent experimentation is finished."

Neither is the problem restricted to the poorer classes as it once was; two of the four cases Ms McKinnon currently has before the Family Court involve professional women from middle to upper class families.

Head of family law at Armstrong Legal, Peter Magee, agreed there was a growing problem and said court cases may only be scratching the surface.

"Allegations of mums abusing substances is on the rise, but only a fraction of the allegations would ever play out in court," he said.

"You need to have a case that is so strong to say 'I need the kids to live with me', before we will raise it."

The 2010 National Drug and Alcohol Household Survey shows that while men overwhelmingly drink more than women, the number of women aged 20 to 29 drinking at risky levels increased between 2007 and 2010, while girls aged 12 to 17 outdrink boys by one-and-a-half per cent.

Relationships Australia counsellor Denise Reichenbach said drinking was becoming a more common way for women to deal with stress.

"What we often hear about is people who drink get more aggressive so anger can come into it, violence can come into it," she said.

"The children often feel quite responsible for the parent who is drinking as well, and the level of concern for that person gets really high."

There were 48,935 divorces granted in Australia in 2011, with the average age of divorcees falling between 40 and 44.

The number of divorces across the country has fallen nearly 12 per cent in the past decade.

Hit US TV comedy-drama Sex and the City ran from 1998 until 2004 and followed the very social lives of a group of four women - three in their mid-thirties and one in her forties - in New York.

It was widely popular in Australia and re-runs still air on pay-TV.


More multiculturalism at work

DISGUSTED comedy fans stormed out of Melbourne's Hamer Hall when visiting American comedian Tracy Morgan let fly with a sexist rant on stage at the weekend.

An outpouring of anger hit social media after Morgan's two sold-out shows on Saturday night, with guests urging others to boycott future performances citing extreme misogyny and lack of humour.

The controversial comedian has a huge following as the star of hit TV show 30 Rock and was performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival as part of a national tour.

His expletive-riddled show was saturated with offensive material about women and graphic sexual references, leading to about 50 people walking out and many more to express their revulsion and demand refunds.

Sue, who was at the show, said the performance "went beyond the gutter".

"It was all sexually related. He said he was a pervert and this is the sort of stuff he liked and then it went on from there,” Sue told 3AW radio.

"It was like a horrible experience.

"He went everywhere, he discussed disabled people having sex, what his experiences were, everything he discussed was just disgusting."

Leading women's rights campaigner Melinda Tankard Reist said she was appalled degradation of women was still considered entertainment.

She said her action group, Collective Shout, would campaign against Morgan's remaining shows in Australia.

"We have government-funded campaigns to stop violence against women and yet this behaviour continues in mainstream popular culture," she said.

"What message is he sending to other men?"

Herald Sun journalist and comedy reviewer Megan Miller, who was at the show, said it was "truly awful" and full of "old lazy jokes".

"I'm up for crass and non-politically correct, but this was just disgusting and not at all funny," she said.

UK comedy guide Chortle has described Morgan as a "pathetic dinosaur with ideas (and jokes) that the civilised world has left behind".

Many international comedians are paid to perform in Melbourne as "guests" of the festival.

But Morgan was here with independent entertainment company Live Nation.

Festival director Susan Provan said she was not aware of the outrage surrounding Morgan's Melbourne shows.

But she defended his inclusion in the festival.

"Tracy Morgan is a very high-profile comic with a huge fan base so is an appropriate participant in a broad-based international comedy festival," she said.

"His solo stand-up is very different from the character we see on TV in 30 Rock and his controversial material has been widely reported on," Provan said.

Morgan's Melbourne publicist, Hannah Watkins, said ticket sales to Morgan's show came with clear warnings about language and subject matter.

After performing in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, Morgan's only remaining shows are in Perth today and tomorrow.


No comments: