In no particular order, here are some random thoughts by Crikey’s Sydney correspondent, Crullers, on his personal favourite moments in the first 1,000 days of Crikey. Hillary will be having her say elsewhere, so Crullers has concentrated on the non-politics highlights reel.

Southern Cross Broadcasting 2001 AGM – proposal to secure directors’ retirement benefits.

This one was such a stinker and caused so much outrage that even the instos argued against it and help get it pulled before the meeting.

Best Crikey publicity

The Dems public dirty linen airing probably tops this for most punters, but for mine the infamous “Parrot Blooper Tapes” takes the bikkie.

It was great to hear the Parrot claim at his press conference announcing his defection to 2GB that he found the tapes quite amusing. Yeah, right, Alan!

Most apathetic shareholders

PBL.

In 2001, when they had a shocker of a year punctuated by a $350 million-plus One.Tel write-offs, not a single PBL shareholder dared asked Young Jamie a question about the farce at the company’s AGM. Only a heavily intoxicated Crullers dared ask a few questions about it – and that was largely thanks to a fair bit of Dutch courage from the night before.

Most disappointing AGM

Westfield.

Not a single question from shareholders on ANYTHING at their 2001 AGM.

You’d think some of them would be concerned about the level of fees being ripped out by Frank Lowy, but not a squeak. You’d think some of them might also be worried about scandals engulfing the company – like the astro-turfing campaigns and the string of dodgy donations and consultancy fees paid to powerful pollies, but again, not a peep.

Worst company director

In one sense, there are so many to choose from, it is such a difficult choice. Stan Howard was bad but I’ll nominate Brad Cooper for this one.

Crullers sat through a few hours of Cooper’s testimony at the HIH Royal Commission and he has to be the single most unimpressive individual to head a listed public company that Crullers has ever had the misfortune to encounter.

Cooper’s testimony was muddled and our account of the yarn elicited quite a few emails from people who had seen him at motivational speeches and wondered why the heck they were wasting their time listening to this geezer.

It is no surprise Cooper helped leave a $5.3 billion trail of devastation in his wake.

Stupidest question at an AGM

Crullers asking Eddie McGuire whether Collingwood was concerned about its Emirates Air sponsorship given that they came from the UAE, one of the first countries to recognise the Taliban government. I knew I should have listened to the Mayne Man on that one.

Worst attendance record by a company director

Young Jamie

The younger Packer sits on the board of his family’s beloved Easts rugby league club, but in consecutive years he failed to make a board meeting. We’ll might try to reprise Hugo Kelly’s old PBL AGM party trick of leading a warm round of applause – this time for the chairman’s role in Easts snaring the NRL flag this year.

Most under-utilised Crikey resource

Microsoft Word – “Tools – Spelling and Grammar”.

Biggest Crullers clanger on Crikey

The “Kerry O’Brien eight week holiday” scandal immediately springs to mind – where Crullers thought Maxine McKew had said she was filling in for Kerry “who’s on eight weeks’ break” when she had actually said “a week’s break”.

Crullers was suspended from active duty and went into damage control meltdown, being so apologetic that he even nominated himself to Media Watch for the gaffe.

Best bitch slap by a chairman at an AGM

Fairfax chairman Brian Powers after serial board candidate Stephen Mayne failed to show and deliver his address to shareholders himself.

“And he lectures us on corporate governance””

You deserved it too, Mayne Man – if you’re going to stand for a board, at least turn up and let the shareholders know you care! You buffoon.

Most disappointing right wing media commentator

Janet Albrechtsen.

The thing that most disappoints is that Crullers would like to agree with most of her opinions, but every now and then she takes a bit too much artistic licence and puts forward a proposition that her natural enemies – like Media Watch – can drive a truck through.

Favourite Eddie McGuire moment

Personally, getting up at the Collingwood AGM, pretending to be a Collingwood member and asking Eddie a few curlies about the club’s financials but, in particular, questioning Brad Cooper’s value as a board member. It was great that Eddie gave Coops a spirited defence – 6 months later, the club was embroiled in allegations at the HIH Royal Commission and Cooper was gone from the board.

Toughest crowd to win over

Politics in the pub.

Crikey and Crullers knew they were in trouble when the first speaker said “I don’t believe in the free market””

Quickest AGM

Harvey Norman.

Gerry likes to get it done and dusted in around 3 minutes. He’s in for a rude awakening this year, with Crullers armed with proxies and intent on getting a question in before he closes the AGM.

Favourite Crikey publicity stunt

Having the 7-foot foam suit on hand at Bilia Volvo, Hawthorn, at a 3AW outside broadcast. Bombarding Bilia shoppers with Crikey flyers, sampling some of the fine Bilia pastries and seeing the Crikey Man in all his green 7-foot glory tousle the hair of young kiddies.

Worst toadying to commercial interests by a sports journo

Patrick Smith

His defence of the indefensible – the AFL’s new TV broadcast agreement with his employer, News Limited – was the pits.

His increasing cosying up to Eddie McGuire was worrying, especially given that he was one of several News Ltd hacks who went to Dubai courtesy of Collingwood’s sponsor Emirates Air. Even more strange was his bashing of the ABC’s Tim Lane – we reckon Patrick would have fawned all over respectable ABC types back when he was an Age hack, so his vicious attacks on Lane were puzzling.

Biggest dummy spit

South Sydney City Council media manager Liam Gash after Crikey had run an obvious hoax about the council levying $75 per property to bail out the Mardi Gras. Gash called Crikey – and Steve Price, who was more than happy to run the yarn – a dickhead, cancelled his subscription” but thankfully said we could keep the money. We need every cracker!

Come on Liam, come back to the fold! Our source said it looked bona fide!

Peter Fray

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