If you thought running in the Victorian election meant everything else
would be dropped, think again, because if anything the schedule of
public speaking engagements is getting crazier than ever.

Tuesday night was the fifth straight year of dinner talking to Geoff
Allen’s group of spin doctors who have an intensive five day training
session at the Melbourne Business School for the Centre for Corporate Public
Affairs Institute. This audience in 2003 was the toughest I ever faced
and effectively ended Crikey’s campaigning against Natasha Stott
Despoja, although the 78 spinners attending this year were quite
positive.

Tonight will be an MC role at this People Power launch function in
Melbourne at Gary Morgan’s Collins Street conference centre. Please
don’t pay the $40 to hear Nick Xenophon because he’s ill and can’t make
it, which we hope has nothing to do with the drunken abuse he suffered at the hands of a senior South Australian Labor MP earlier this week.

On 7 July there’s a trip to Canberra for ANU’s Hartnell Colloquium,
an invitation only forum about corporate regulation in
Australia featuring HIH Royal Commissioner Neville Owen and a host of
other participants who apparently get to enjoy an all-in, all-day
debate. After that there is a weekend at the seaside resort of Lorne on
15-16 July for the Municipal Association of Victoria 2006
conference
and my captivating topic is “Doing the right thing: the day-to-day dilemmas of a councillor.”

20
July is the Macquarie Bank AGM in Sydney and failed public company
board tilt number 23 and then the following week in Sydney on 26 July
we have an Association of Super Funds of Australia (ASFA) lunch retailing a few AGM war stories. Sticking with the asset management industry are a couple of panel
sessions at the big Investment and Financial Services Association
(IFSA) conference on the Gold Coast on 2-4 August, followed by another panel at an MEAA conference on public relations in Sydney on 9-11 August .

After the fun and games with Phil Burgess at the recent Chartered
Secretaries Association seminars in
Melbourne and Sydney about whether the corporate AGM is dead, we have
another CSA gig in Melbourne on 22 August dealing with the public
sector.


The Conference
of Major Super Funds (CMSF) annual gabfest has been a regular on the
fixture for the past four years so it’ll be back to Cairns on 28-30 August for
a corporate governance update to industry super fund trustees and
various service providers. Sadly, these trustees are happy to listen but
rarely use their voting power to support an outside board tilt.

15
September is a business breakfast at Tullamarine Airport for Hume City Council and then there is the International
Pokies Impact conference on
September 18-19, which will finally start to focus on an issue
relevant to the Victorian election campaign on 25 November. There’s
also a Probus Club talk on 3 October, although discussion on religion
and politics is banned, and then a Skeptics Conference on 17 November, just a week before the polls open.

Throw in a likely trip to New York in October for the News Corp AGM and
latest board tilt, a probably anti-pokies tilt at the Woolworths board,
the kinder AGM and at least 20 speaking gigs, public forums and
candidate debates during the campaign proper and I’ll probably need to
take all of December off.

Peter Fray

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