Jack Tilburn versus Qantas

Qantas decided that Canberra was a suitable venue for its meeting on
October 13 but at least it was webcast so dedicated shareholders could
hear the notorious Jack Tilburn rail against the board. After 108
minutes, Tilburn was introduced for a second time and you could hear a
shareholder say “oh no” before Jack yelled, “we live in a democracy
mate, not a dictatorship run by you.”

Whilst Tilburn’s
ranting is unfortunately a fixture at too many AGMs, few companies
offer the complete webcasting, which is a shame given such a small
proportion of shareholders turn up each year, let alone do the research
to ask useful questions.

Qantas, to its credit, does have the entire AGM on its website here. It
will be interesting to see if News Corp does likewise after Friday
night’s fireworks.

Interviewing Peter Morgan
corporate writing gigs are not something that a freewheeling spray merchant
normally enjoys, but an interview with Australia’s most vocal equity
fund manager, Peter Morgan from 452 Capital, was an interesting process.

2000 word piece was spread out across the annual report of 452’s listed
vehicle Century Australia which holds its AGM in Sydney tomorrow. Check
out the result here.

Austereo’s cynical Oakes Day AGM strategy

The Village Roadshow-controlled Austereo radio group has continued its
tradition of attempting to minimise debate at its AGM by calling the
meeting for Oaks Day in Melbourne – the big race meeting on the
Thursday after the Melbourne Cup. This year the gathering starts at
10am on Oaks Day, which will make it five in a row.

Crikey got half a dozen questions in at the first Austereo AGM in 2001
but since then it has been plain sailing for the board. When Crikey
turned up 30 minutes into the 2003 Austereo AGM, it was
already over and one of the Kirby boys was delighted there had been no
questions and pleased his Oaks Day strategy had kept many shareholders

Austereo’s parent company Village Roadshow has long held its
shareholder meetings at 9am at the Roxy Theatre at Movie World on the
Gold Coast, which happens to be almost half way between the airports at
Brisbane and Coolangatta. With free days passes for all shareholders it
becomes a race for the exits and serious debate rarely takes place.

In 2002 Village Roadshow made a big concession and moved the meeting to
Brisbane but having a 2pm start on Melbourne Cup Eve was also designed
to avoid attention. When it comes to avoiding shareholder scrutiny, the
Melbourne-based Kirby family are Australia’s finest performers.