Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hatred of charitable donors who don't do what they are told

We see below a simple outpouring of hate against successful people. There is NOT A WORD about the reasons why they opposed what others sought. Could it be that conservative businessmen created an alternative to the Left-dominated Melbourne university and did not want to lose that?

A SMALL but powerful group of Melbourne establishment figures, including ANZ Bank chairman Charles Goode, has scuttled a proposal to create one of the world's top business schools. In a deeply embarrassing setback for the star-studded Melbourne Business School board, the donor members who helped establish an independent MBS in the 1980s spurned the directors' unanimous recommendation yesterday to merge with Melbourne University's faculty of economics and commerce.

With recrimination thick in the air, one observer commented: "This is a gigantic f**k-up; it's like the board of a blue-chip company unanimously agreeing to a takeover, only to have their own shareholders vote it down."

Three key players, all called John and listed in Who's Who as Melbourne Club members, lobbied heavily against the merger, which required a change to the MBS constitution that called for a 75 per cent voting majority, The Australian reports. Former ANZ chairman John Gough, 81, former Woolworths chairman and Corrs corporate lawyer John Dahlsen, 74, and MBS founding dean John Rose, 73, mobilised their longstanding business networks. But the critical individual, according to close observers, was Gough's protege, Goode, also a Melbourne Club member, who succeeded him as ANZ chairman.

The 79 MBS donor members, most of them large corporates, were allocated votes according to the size of their contributions. In a poll, 54 of them have a total of 16,512 votes and 25 individual donors retain one vote each. Goode, 71, was critical because he is chairman of both ANZ and the charitable Ian Potter Foundation, each a large MBS donor. No one ever had any doubt where the foundation's loyalties lay - Rose and Gough are also on its board of governors.

The three Johns, as they will be forever known, were said to have marshalled a blocking stake of more than 25 per cent, relying on ANZ, the Ian Potter Foundation, the Dahlsen holding and a couple of other like-minded organisations. The merger resolutions will now not be put to the planned MBS extraordinary meeting on October 7.

For this generation of the Melbourne establishment, the MBS battle was probably the last power play. Consistent with its signature style, there was no one to comment yesterday. Networks were activated, business was conducted behind closed doors, influence was wielded, an outcome was achieved and that was it. Dahlsen, Rose and Gough could not be reached for comment, and Goode is now overseas for two weeks.


Silence on red tape due to red tape

Leftist politicians usually talk the talk about "openness" etc. but they don't walk the walk

THE NSW Government cannot talk about its attempts to cut red tape due to … red tape. A freedom of information request for details of the Government's efforts to cut red tape has been denied, because they remain subject to ''cabinet in confidence provisions'' before any public announcement.

The Premier sent a memo to all government departments to report efforts to cut red tape by July 24, but the Government is refusing to disclose the responses. After years of lobbying, the Government set a target of reducing red tape by $500 million, but progress is unclear.

The freedom of information request, lodged by the NSW Business Chamber for details of the departmental responses to the Premier's memo, was refused because "many of these initiatives are subject to cabinet approval or have been approved by cabinet but are yet to be announced", the Government said. The Government said there was ''strong public interest against disclosing the information'' sought.

The chief executive of the NSW Business Chamber, Stephen Cartwright, said: "The NSW economy is bringing up the rear of all the states and territories, and yet the State Government is holding back on announcing much-needed changes while it waits for the right time in the media cycle.''


Stupid breast fear again

A MELBOURNE mother says she was left in tears after a Tiger Airways flight attendant repeatedly asked her to hide her breastfeeding baby from other passengers on a flight earlier this month.

Kathryn Ward said she was feeding her three-month-old son, James, on a flight between the Gold Coast and Melbourne when a crew member asked her if she had a blanket to cover him. ''I didn't say anything because at the same time she asked me she saw a padded insert underneath him and put it on top of him without asking my permission,'' Mrs Ward said. ''She said, 'I know it's natural, but some people may not like to see it.' ''

Mrs Ward said she told the attendant that she had a right to breastfeed, but was asked again to cover her baby because a man seated near her ''might not like to see it''. ''I said to [the man], 'Does this offend you?' and he said, 'No, not at all.' [The flight attendant] said, 'Well, people walking down the aisle might not like it.' '' The mother of two said she felt embarrassed and humiliated after the incident.

A spokeswoman for Tiger Airways said the airline had reviewed the incident and planned to apologise to Mrs Ward for the error. The flight attendant had been disciplined and informed of a new policy as a result of the complaint. ''All relevant staff will undergo training immediately to ensure this situation does not occur again.''

Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission chief executive Helen Szoke said six formal complaints had been received about discrimination over breastfeeding last financial year, although ''that's just the tip of the iceberg''. She said the law protected women breastfeeding in public, including at work, in shops and on public transport.


Hard Leftists boo religion

The organizer of this little shindig was Meredith Burgmann, a long-time hard Leftist. Her audience would undoubtedly be similarly oriented

AN evangelical church pastor who blamed the Victorian bushfire tragedy on the state's abortion laws has taken out the annual top gong for sexist comments. Now in its 17th year, the Ernie Awards are bestowed on those whose public utterings are regarded as the most sexist. The winner is determined by how loud the crowd boos and hisses.

About 250 women who attended the gala [galah?] event at NSW Parliament House last night decided that comments by Pastor Danny Nalliah, head of the Catch the Fire Ministries, were worthy of the top prize, the Gold Ernie. Shortly after the deadly February bushfires, the pastor said: "God's conditional protection has been removed from the nation of Australia, in particular Victoria, for approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb.''

Second prize, the Silver Ernie, was shared among several men, including shock jock Kyle Sandilands, as well as the NSW Police Force for exhibiting outstanding sexism.

The police force came under fire from equality groups in September after reports an employee was made to work overtime for every minute she spent expressing breast milk for her baby.

Sandilands, who also took out the Clinton repeat offender award, earned his Silver Ernie for his response during a radio stunt in which a teenage girl revealed she had been raped. Sandilands replied: "Right, is that the only experience you've had?'' before the interview was brought to an end. His award was cemented by his second blunder for the year, in which he said actress Magda Szubanski could become skinny if she was in a concentration camp.

The Sporting Ernie, the Warnie, went to Newcastle under-20s centre Simon Williams who insensitively remarked on recent NRL scandals involving group sex: "It's not during the act, it's the way you treat them after. (It) could have been avoided if they had put them in a cab and said thanks.'' The club said his comments had been taken out of context.

The most hostile response at the awards is often reserved for the winner of the Elaine - the woman whose remarks were regarded as "the least helpful to the sisterhood''. This year's Elaine went to journalist Miranda Devine for writing in a comment piece: "Decades of androgynous feminism have stamped on chivalry, deriding men who opened doors or stood back for women as being sexist and patronising. It would have been better for women if feminism had appealed to men's better natures.''

Organiser Meredith Burgmann said Pastor Nalliah was a deserving winner, but he was nearly pipped by the NSW Police Force.


People power: Vegemite 'iSnack2.0' is toast, says Kraft

It's actually not the first such backdown. Vegemite was once called "Parwill" -- for equally ludicrous reasons

JARS of Vegemite labelled 'iSnack 2.0' are destined to become collectors items after Kraft announced today it will change the name. Just four days after Kraft announced the name of the new Vegemite, the company has issued a press release admitting that Australians “just don’t like the name”.

Kraft chose the name from more than 48,000 suggestions collected from a public competition. But the name - announced during the AFL Grand Final on Saturday - attracted an unprecedented outpouring of derision from Australians. About 3 million jars of the new, creamier version of vegemite have been sold since it was launched in July.

“The new name has simply not resonated with Australians - particularly the modern technical aspects associated with it,” Kraft corporate affairs boss Simon Talbot said. “At no point in time has the new Vegemite name been about initiating a media publicity stunt. “We are proud custodians of Vegemite, and have always been aware that it is the people's brand and a national icon."

The “iSnack 2.0” jars would not be recalled and thousands of jars already containing the new label would continue to be distributed around the country for several months. A second vote would be held to decide a new name, Mr Talbot said.


Unrest over illegal immigrants on Christmas island

Community leaders on Christmas Island say they are being treated like second-class citizens in comparison to asylum seekers arriving in Australian waters by boat. Islanders blame the $400 million immigration detention centre at North West Point - where all sea arrivals are taken for health and security checks - for many of the problems facing the remote Australian territory. Inflated food prices, a lack of accommodation for tourists, a shortage of rental cars and even crumbling roads are all due to the immigration detention centre's growing hunger for resources, they say.

Almost 1,500 people on 29 unauthorised vessels have been picked up on their way to Australia this year. There are currently 890 asylum seekers and 16 crew members being held on Christmas Island, which is 2,600km northwest of Perth and just 500km south of Jakarta. Some 726 are behind barbed wire in the detention centre itself. Another 145 are in the unfenced Phosphate Hill and construction camp facilities while 35 are living in the community. They're generally processed and flown to the mainland within three months.

This week, Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce visited the island and declared the asylum seekers ``seem very happy here - which is a concern''. Many had arrived with multi-vitamin tablets, an indication, Senator Joyce declared, that they were economic migrants rather than genuine refugees. Immigration department figures suggest otherwise: 641 people sent to Christmas Island have been found to be genuine refugees this year, while just 29 have been returned home. The rest are still being processed.

The island has a 1,500-strong permanent population, including large ethnic Chinese and Malay communities. Many are sympathetic to Senator Joyce's view. Local Islamic Council president Zainal Abdul Majid says the federal government uses taxpayers' money to look after the detainees while the islanders are neglected. ``They are being very well looked after, whereas the local community has got nothing out of the detention centre,'' Majid said. ``We feel as if we are second-class and not being looked after as well.''

Like most island leaders, Majid doesn't want the detention centre closed down now that it's been built at such expense. Rather, he wants more money to flow into the pockets of locals. ``Even if one per cent of the total amount spent on detainees is invested into the local community then they will say there's a balance and the government is looking after both sides.''

Christmas Island councillor Nora Koh, who is also president of the local women's association, claims food prices have increased 50 per cent since the new detention centre opened in late 2008. ``The traders are taking advantage of the increase in the population,'' she says. ``They know the economy on Christmas Island is up now but the refugees may not stay here long.'' Koh believes the island's four stores are essentially making hay while the sun shines.

When Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor visited earlier this month she pleaded for him to subsidise freight so fruit and vegetables could be sold more cheaply. It could be funded by increasing taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, which are currently duty free, Koh said. Others have suggested locals should be given an ID card that allows them to purchase goods at a discounted rate compared with the asylum seekers living in the community.

Those not locked up in the detention centre receive cash, phone cards and access to a store account equivalent to 90 per cent of the Newstart Allowance. That equates to $410 a fortnight. O'Connor says the assertion that the immigration department's increased presence on the island has pushed up food prices needs to be tested. ``We'll look at that,'' the minister said, adding that it could form part of the work of a newly formed commonwealth taskforce which is examining the economic and environmental sustainability of Christmas and nearby Cocos islands.

On a recent trip, journalist David Marr found prices weren't as high as claimed. ``But the food argument is as much about passion as price, and the feeling there should be something in this for them,'' he wrote.

The immigration department itself insists it goes to great lengths to ensure its presence on Christmas Island doesn't inflate prices. ``The department monitors any impact on the community very carefully and takes appropriate steps such as freighting in food as required to provide for staff as well as the people that are in detention,'' a spokeswoman said. ``The arrival of a large number of asylum seekers doesn't affect the community's food supply.''

There are 50 departmental staff working on the island. About 100 locals are employed by the contractor which runs the detention centre, the food caterer and maintenance companies. Immigration says the ``vast majority'' of staff travel to and from work in a mini-bus provided by the department. It also sponsors a community bus service. But sometimes the department does hire rental cars, which are in short supply.

Tourism association development officer Bill Tatchell blames immigration for monopolising cars and accommodation beds. The island turns away more tourists than it accepts due to capacity constraints, he says. ``We don't have the resources to deliver because the resources are being used by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.'' Like the Islamic Council and shire councillor Nora Koh, the tourism association wants the immigration department to invest in the island and build ``key infrastructure''. In particular, islanders say the road to the detention centre needs to be upgraded before it crumbles from heavy use.


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