The Perpetual AGM in Sydney tomorrow is shaping up to be the event of the season as the biggest shareholder in Gunns faces a co-ordinated assault from a range of anti-pulp mill protestors.
I’ve had a number of emails suggesting a big turn up by Green groups and politicians after writing this piece — “How to put the heat on the Perpetual bad boys at Gunns” — for Crikey on 11 October.
Danielle Ecuyer, the former girlfriend of Labor’s candidate in Wentworth George Newhouse, is running as an anti-mill independent in Malcolm Turnbull’s marginal seat and has a proxy that will allow her to protest outside and speak inside the Perpetual meeting.
Ecuyer is an investment banker who has funds with Perpetual and she’s been banging her head up against a brick wall trying to have some dialogue with one of the world’s most profitable money managers over recent months. All her recent letters and campaigning material can be seen here.
The Macquarie Bank EGM for its financial restructure at The Westin in Sydney on Friday was full of burly security guards in smart suits for no apparent reason – unless they were scared of Jack Tilburn and his raves against the font size in the explanatory memorandum.
Perpetual will need plenty of security at The Westin tomorrow because we might well see a return to the glory days of Energy Resources of Australia AGMs in the 1990s when anti-uranium protestors would be hauled out by security for cat calling during the chairman’s address.
The most memorable exchange I ever saw occurred on 15 October, 1998, as follows:
Female protestor being dragged out by two security guards: “Don’t you care about our children?”
ERA chairman Campbell Anderson: “With a little bit of luck, you hopefully won’t have any.”
This became the page five lead of The Daily Telegraph the next day and if the anti-mill protestors play their cards right, there’s every chance they’ll be able to generate substantial media coverage tomorrow.
It will be interesting to see if Perpetual get all jumpy and adopt the Gunns policy of banning all visitors and media from attending.
The Gunns AGM itself should also be a corker as it takes place in Launceston on 22 November, just two days before the Federal election.
Friday’s cracking Allco Finance Group AGM is covered in today’s Mayne Report video.