Sunday, August 05, 2018

Gang of African thugs are on the run after threatening a man with a gun during a dramatic daylight carjacking

Seven African thugs allegedly threatened a man with a gun before taking off with his vehicle during a dramatic daylight carjacking in Melbourne.

The gang allegedly accosted the victim as he was sitting in his parked Holden Commodore Sedan in Packenham's central shopping district about 2.40pm on Friday.

'One of the men produced a firearm and demanded the victim get out of his car,' a Victoria Police spokeswoman told The Australian.

After the man got out of his car one of the alleged offenders took off with it, later dumping it five minutes away on Gallery Way. 'One offender then left in the vehicle. The others fled on foot.' The alleged offenders are still on the run.  

A woman who lives on Savage Street told The Age the incident was 'incredibly worrying'. 'It's incredibly worrying to think this is going on, it's just lucky no-one was walking down the street and became involved … an innocent victim,' she said. 'It's extremely disturbing to think it's going on right where we live. It's frightened me enormously.'

The alleged victim was not injured.

The carjacking follows a similar incident last week where two men allegedly smashed a woman's mouth with the butt of a gun while stealing her car. 

The 57-year-old woman was driving in Narre Warren South when her car was hit by a four-wheel drive, before the men got out and allegedly assaulted her.


'Slowly but surely, everything's becoming more off-limits': Why this pork ad featuring an elderly couple could be BANNED as advertising watchdog cracks down on gender stereotypes

A pork advertisement featuring an elderly woman unwittingly shouting a sexual innuendo in the waiting room of a doctor's surgery could one day be banned.

The Australian Association of National Advertisers has released new guidelines banning gender stereotypes.

Under section 2.1 of its code of ethics, advertisers will be banned from portraying a woman cleaning up or a man struggling with being a father.

The advertising industry's director of policy and regulatory affairs Simone Brandon said this was so ads didn't 'unwittingly reinforce negative stereotypes'.

While the code won't prevent advertisers from showing men doing home renovations, an advertising agency behind a provocative pork industry commercial was worried it would make ads bland in future.

Monty Noble, a co-director of Noble Brands Worldwide, said he had had to justify almost every ad they've made for Australian Pork over the past decade.

'Slowly but surely, everything's becoming more off-limits,' he told Sydney radio 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley today.

'I don't think we're fighting back as an industry enough in order to keep doing what we do best, which is promoting Australian brands and services.'

In one of his agency's funny commercials, an elderly woman unwittingly utters a sexual innuendo as her husband greets her in the waiting room of a doctor's surgery.

'Everything right?,' her husband asked.

She replied: 'Yep, but the doctor says we should pork more often.'

A secretary behind the desk of the doctor's surgery spits out her coffee.


Time to Drain Australia's Energy Swamp

By Viv Forbes

The Australian electricity market has become a stinking swamp covered with a tangled net of treaties, laws, rules, obligations, prohibitions, targets, taxes and subsidies. The swamp conceals the rubble of demolished coal generators; another plant destined for destruction (Liddell) is gradually sinking in the green ooze.

The way out of the energy swamp is to retrace the way we got in.

First, get to the root of the problem – UN Climate Alarmism. Disown the Paris and Kyoto Treaties and dump all the obligations, costs, hobbles and distortions they have created. Stop their pointless war on carbon energy. Carbon dioxide does not control climate but it does support all life on earth.

Abolish green energy targets and renewable energy certificates – they belong in museums beside the WW2 ration cards.

Then de-fund and boycott the rotten core of climate alarmism - the UNIPCC. Shun their never-ending climate conferences and cease funding all of their green tentacles. Cancel the tax exempt status of political activists posing as honest scientists.

Then unravel the electricity regulations mess. Stop politicians from banning or promoting their energy favourites – speculators should be free to build wind, solar, geothermal, wave, coal, gas, nuclear or pig-poo power generators free of all special taxes, subsidies and market mandates. But no electricity distributer, retailer or consumer should be forced to accept unreliable or expensive electricity.

Then abolish all guaranteed returns on inflated capital for those who gold-plate power lines and poles, or expect big returns on under-used connections to remote wind farms or other green energy toys. Consumers should not be saddled with these hidden green taxes.

All electricity producers and retailers should face competitive market prices, get no special subsidies and obey the same tax laws. But they should be encouraged to enter into long term contracts to supply base-load or peak power at agreed prices. Such contracts could underpin construction of new reliable generation capacity.

De-centralise decision making. Politicians should stop backing losers. Test energy theories properly by letting green states go deep green on intermittent energy, while others place their bets on long-term contracts from new HELE (High Energy Low Emissions) running on solid reliable black “fossil sunshine”. Allow isolated communities to try sealed transportable nuclear power packs.

The choice for our crippled electricity industry is stark – swift surgical reform and practical innovation; or let the lights go out as our once-cheap-and-reliable grid drowns in the smelly regulatory swamp.


There’s a corporate rebellion brewing over fanatical social justice movements

Corporate Australia is often a dozy kind of place. Lots of fancy lunches, corporate retreats, board dinners, endless handshakes and backslapping, polite chitchat and quiet grumbling about this and that. Most directors on big boards are independent, and that means they are risk-averse, treating their jobs as safe spaces. Few want disagreement. Even fewer would front up in a fight. Until now.

There is a corporate rebellion brewing in this country. And this week it boiled over. Speaking to The Weekend Australian, some reputable businesspeople have taken their private concerns public. They are saying “enough is enough” to an intrepid bunch of social engineers intent on transforming corporate Australia.

Mention corporate governance and eyes normally glaze over. Not this time. The ASX Corporate Governance Council’s frolic into social justice territory is so misguided that the battle over corporate governance is more akin to another chapter in the broader culture wars. And who wins has ramifications for just about every Australian because most of us own shares, directly or through a superannuation fund. The combatants are gambling with our money.

If the social engineers get their way, their colonisation of our culture will move closer to completion. Having secured older, more traditional territories in education, public bureaucracies and other areas that draw on government coffers for funding, their next targets are the profit centres of Australia. They are leading a subterranean push to force Australian companies to mirror their social visions in a way that will alter longstanding legal and commercial principles about the purpose of a company.

This stuff used to happen behind closed doors. Speaking to The Weekend Australian the day after meeting a proxy adviser, a chairman of an ASX 100 listed company said: “In days gone by, (the proxy adviser) would grill me on strategy, financial returns, CEO succession plans etc. But yesterday it was all about diversity on the board and in middle management appointments, our policy on renewables, recycling plans, sustainability and of course climate change.”

Another experienced corporate insider recalls meetings where investors and their representatives ask about diversity policies and remuneration reports “and nothing in between”. The Corrigan letters are another example of a fanatical social justice movement seeping into corporate Australia. The letters, sent by industry super funds and other corporate activists to Chris Corrigan when he chaired logistics giant Qube Holdings, were out-and-out bullying aimed at putting women on boards, regardless of merit. Rather than succumb to intimidation, as most do, Corrigan quit and exposed the harassment.

Activists already flexing their muscle over diversity and social responsibility are about to get a shot of social justice steroids thanks to a new set of ASX corporate governance rules. And that explains the insurrection by some business leaders. They are horrified by pages of new prescriptions imposing slippery concepts such as a “social licence to operate”, and acting in a “socially responsible manner”. The new draft suggests it is not socially responsible to engage in “aggressive tax minimisation”. It is socially responsible to offer a “living wage”. There are four long pages, equally vague, expecting companies to deliver, measure and report on diversity targets through­out the company.

The new draft reads like a document drafted by dreamers at a UN conference rather than regulators at a stock exchange.

The deficient thinking in the new draft is rife: companies are expected to report environmental risks that include any “perceived impact” by the company on the environment. As Graham Bradley, former president of the Business Council of Australia, points out in his personal submission to the Australian Securities Exchange: “Logically, if there is no actual impact, there can be no negative consequences.” So scrap that, he suggests.

Bradley, a highly regarded director and chairman with two decades of experience, and a supporter of diversity in companies, is also perplexed by undue emphasis on gender diversity as distinct from other considerations pertinent to board composition. And the push for positive discrimination in the new rules creates all sorts of problems, legal and practical. “All companies should have a non-discriminatory employment policy,” Bradley writes in his submission. “But this is a very different thing from a policy to explicitly ‘embrace’ (a vague term!) such ‘facets’ as ‘gender identity’, ‘physical abilities’ and ‘cultural backgrounds’.”

Bradley says it would be an invasion of privacy for a company to require employees to disclose religious beliefs, describe their cultural backgrounds or their socio-economic circumstances. “How then could a company have a meaningful policy to ‘embrace’ these features of its workforce?”

A KPMG study mentioned in the new rules that claims gender diversity lifts corporate performance is another pointer to the daftness of drafters. There may be correlation but no proven causation, and it covers a single year. “Quite frankly,” says Bradley, “this is laughable for any reader familiar with sound quantitative analysis principles.” The report draws conclusions based on revenue growth, not company profits which is, Bradley notes, “reminiscent of the errors of Emma Alberici”.

Bradley was heavily involved in drafting earlier versions of the corporate governance principles and told The Weekend Australian the language is too subjective and the rules too prescriptive. He agrees social engineers on the ASX Corporate Governance Council have weaponised social agendas, inviting activists, proxy advisers, industry super funds or any vocal NGO to point to the new rules and demand compliance from listed companies.

Nicola Wakefield Evans, a non-executive director of Macquarie Group, Toll Holdings, Lend Lease and BUPA, is concerned that many of the new draft rules are inconsistent. Expecting companies not to engage in “aggressive tax minimisation” conflicts with the tax code. Tax minimisation is legal; tax avoidance is illegal. Expecting companies to discriminate according to gender, disability and so on flies in the face of anti-discrimination laws, says Wakefield Evans, who was appointed chairwoman of the 30% Club in June.

And expecting directors to govern in the interests of investors and “other stakeholders” is inconsistent with the Corporations Law. “We are required to act in the best interests of the company, and more than 200 years of court decisions about companies have defined that as acting in the best interests of shareholders as a whole,” Wakefield Evans told The Weekend Australian.

If regulators believe the law needs reforming, let them make that case. That is the honest route to law reform. The ASX way of re-imagining laws using new words is sneaky and unaccountable. It effectively legislates a series of ambiguous terms that will leave dir­ectors confused about their dut­ies, will blur lines of management accountability and, worse, will leave investors wondering whether their interests are paramount any more.

Some in corporate Australia hope that reason will prevail on the ASX Corporate Governance Council. But don’t hold your breath. Sensible voices on the council did not prevent the current draft from reading like a manifesto for social change drafted by the Greens. And when you start from an extreme position, the best case is ending up somewhere less extreme. Arriving at somewhere sensible would be a triumph of naive hope over experience.

How else then should corporate Australia respond to this cultural takeover of corporate gov­ernance rules? Speaking to The Weekend Australian last week, AMP chairman David Murray canvassed his answer: don’t comply. Murray says the “if not, why not” basis must mean something.

The former Future Fund chairman and former chief executive of Commonwealth Bank who also led the Financial System Inquiry has thrown down the gauntlet to corporate Australia and the ASX.

“I think companies should feel free to say to their shareholders that they have designed their governance system for the circumstances of their company,” he says. “And if that results in them not complying with ASX corporate governance principles, then that is simply the case because they are acting in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. And just leave a state­ment as simple as that because if you go into deep explanations then the gang will come out of the woodwork, won’t they?”

In other words, tell investors and ASX regulators to figure out for themselves how a corporate governance report doesn’t comply with the rules. “Someone has to do it,” he says. “And then you say to the ASX, ‘Well, if you’re unhappy, delist us — just delist.’ ”

All eyes are on AMP leading the insurrection. But if the Australian Securities & Investments Commission gets its way, Murray’s suggestion that a company ignore ASX governance rules that are not in the best interest of the company won’t be an option. In its submission to the ASX, Australia’s top corporate regulator has sided with the social engineers.

ASIC does not raise a word of concern about adding another layer of prescriptive rules around a social licence to operate, diversity measures and so on. In fact, it suggests the ASX consider making some or all of these ambiguous new governance principles man­datory for larger listed companies by elevating them into listing rules. That means they become even more powerful weapons backed by law for activists and regulators to prosecute companies over faddish social agendas.

If ASIC and the ASX are in cahoots to become sneaky backdoor legislators, we need to ask a lot more questions about them.

Who are they, who elected these de facto legislators, and what legitimacy do they have? The risk is that we end up being governed by bureaucrats of second-rate intellect but first-rate ideological zeal — unelected and unelectable activists with an insatiable demand for yet another layer of regulation because they are too incompetent to enforce the legislation they already have.

The grassroots rebellion from inside Australia’s most presti­gious corporate boardrooms points to the waning influence of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, which is a member on the ASX Corporate Gov­ernance Council. To be sure, the AICD lodged a sensible submission with the ASX this week, and AICD chief executive Angus Armour told The Weekend Australian the new rules marked a “substantial shift”. But clearly the AICD voice counted for nought at the initial drafting stage.

Murray says the AICD should be an effective “champion of company directors” but “someone has to turn the AICD around first”. Given what is at stake, he says it is time to hear from the Turnbull government. Malcolm Turnbull? Scott Morrison? Kelly O’Dwyer? Is anyone in the ­government willing to front up, on behalf of ordinary shareholders, to say they do not support the push from the ASX and ASIC to impose another layer of vaguely worded prescription that alters the core purpose of a corporation, causes confusion about the duties of directors, leads to less accountability of management and worsens corporate governance in this country?


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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