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Crikey is going to stand for the Optus board on an anti-cash for comment platform to try to embarrass them into dumping Alan Jones from his up to $500,000 contract. But we need your help as the Optus constitutions requires an outsider to be nominated by 50 different Optus shareholders.

In the grand tradition of Crikey’s poorly researched candidacies, we announced out intention to stand for the Optus board on an anti-cash for comment ticket and then discovered we have to find 50 shareholders to nominate me.

The AMP only required 25 shareholders but they all had to be on the forms provided by AMP which meant we had no option other than to hang out at the Stock Exchange building in Collins St and solicit.

The AMP also required you to own 2000 of their shares which meant an investment of $30,000 just to be allowed to nominate.

The Optus AGM is at 2pm at the Wesley Centre in Sydney on August 17.

However, we have until July 4 to get the 50 signatures to Optus which, despite being a modern telecommunications company, will tolerate nothing than less than authentic signatures. Emailed and faxed authority is out.

Optus has about 100,000 shareholders so we are going to give it a shot.

And we reckon Optus is reasonably good value at anything below $5 so why not buy a few and lend a hand to stamping out cash for comment.

If you do believe cash for comment is an inherently bad thing for the public interest and you’re an Optus shareholder then please do the following.

State your name, address and HIN or SRN number on a piece of paper along with a statement that you support my nomination for the board. Please don’t forget to sign and mention how many shares you have also.

Send it to :

Optus Board Nomination

PO Box 2095

Templestowe Heights 3107

Include an email address and phone number as well so we can get in touch with you. Please indicate if you would like a free Crikey.com.au and shareowner.com.au subscription as a thank you.

Given that tee-shirt supplies are tight and Crikey’s cashflows still relatively small, we won’t be dishing out a free tee-shirt with each of these subscriptions.

But you’ll get access to all our archives, the shareowner.com,au site and the sealed section emails. And you’ll also be contributing your little bit to getting rid of that disgraceful practice known as cash for comment in Australia.

Fancy Australia’s Olympic radio broadcaster in the host city having two such soiled and discredited individuals calling the games.

Obviously I won’t get elected given that Cable & Wireless PLC owns more than 50 per cent of the stock but a little bit of embarrassment and pressure can go a long way in these sorts of situations. Afterall, they pay big money for positive comment and now they will getting a flurry of negative comment for trying to buy positive comment.

We are also planning to raise the millions that Optus has paid to Alan Jones over the years at the London AGM of parent company Cable & Wireless PLC on July 7.

We’ll buy some shares if we have to but given cash constraints would rather go as someone’s proxy so if anyone knows of a Pom with the stock, could you ask them to appoint me their proxy.

And tune in to Sydney’s all-powerful 2UE and listen to all those free Optus plugs and Telstra attacks by Jones. What a disgrace.

Peter Fray

This crisis will cut hard and deep but one day it will be over.

What will be left? What do you want to be left?

I know what I want to see: I want to see a thriving, independent and robust Australian-owned news media. I want to see governments, authorities and those with power held to account. I want to see the media held to account too.

Demand for what we do is running high. Thank you. You can help us even more by encouraging others to subscribe — or by subscribing yourself if you haven’t already done so.

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Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

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