As if Wayne Swan did not have enough to worry about. Now he potentially has on his plate the loss of part of our national heritage – Fosters, Carlton Draught, VB, Reschs, Crown Lager and the whole kit and brewing caboodle is being bid for by a South African. A South African! As if Tooheys and XXXX going to Japan via New Zealand was not bad enough. This time it is a fair dinkum Australisnl icon that is at stake.
Treasurer Swan is the public custodian on such matters. Should the bid by SAB Millers be approved by disloyal shareholders then Swanny (with the aid of his Foreign Investment Review Board) is the man who will have the final say as the offer bid statement released tonight makes clear.
The politics for this Labor Government are horrible. A rational government actually committed to encouraging foreign investment would give this takeover an automatic tick but beer is not a subject that voters will be rational about. The surrender of Fosters to foreigners will dent national pride.
The Treasurer can but hope that the bid fails before it reaches him for a decision.