The coups are coming thick and fast at the moment and stand by for another one tomorrow when Tattersall’s shareholders are expected to veto the proposed $1.4 million ex gratia payment to ousted CEO Duncan Fischer.

Fischer has made more than $20 million from his involvement with Tattersall’s over the years and given there is absolutely no legal basis for the additional payment, institutions are expected to withhold their approval at tomorrow’s AGM.

The Tattersall’s board is no stranger to getting rolled. Last year’s AGM saw long-standing director Peter Kerr defeated and two unendorsed representatives of the George Adams Estate beneficiaries, Julian Playoust and Mike Vertigan, elected to the board.

Kerr is one of the four former Tattersall’s trustees suing for $100 million and Playoust is leading the charge against this outrageous claim, despite the rest of the Tattersall’s board just wanting the messy dispute to be settled.

The question of getting onto a gaming board arose this week when Tabcorp’s proposed new rules on board nominations was rolled by shareholders and rejected by the NSW Government.

It took former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski almost eight months to receive probity clearance from various state-based gaming regulators before he was able to join the Tabcorp board a few weeks ago.

However, the new Tabcorp constitution required unendorsed candidates to give 75 days notice and for this to come after all probity clearances had been obtained. Most boards only require 35 days notice.

Therefore, to crack the Tabcorp board you would literally have to start work a year earlier. And why would you bother with an eight month probity process, only to have the board and shareholders reject your candidacy anyway?

Tabcorp announced Ziggy would be joining the board before the probity process commenced, so why on earth can’t a candidate be elected to the board by shareholders and then commence the probity process if successful?

Anti-pokies campaigner Gabriela Byrne was forced to withdraw her Tabcorp board candidacy this week due to a lack of probity clearances, yet fellow anti-pokies campaigner, Professor Linda Hancock, is running for the Tattersall’s board tomorrow and her candidacy has been allowed to stand.

It will be interesting to see if Hancock, a former head of the Bracks Government’s Gambling Research Panel, receives much support from shareholders given all the scandal and chaos that has engulfed the company in recent weeks.

Peter Fray

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