May 8, 2018

Don’s Dynamite – The Winter of Discontent

Winter will soon be upon us and it looks more and more like a ‘Winter of Discontent.

What a surprise to find out that the banks and financial institutions have been acting in a funny way – not that funny though if you’re one of the victims of the inexcusable display of outright theft and unconscionable conduct by the banks. 

So why did the government take so long to establish the Royal Commission?  One would have thought that it was plain common sense.  Maybe the government didn’t know what everyone else in the community did, and I would never be one to suggest that our leaders are out of touch with what happens in the communities we all live in.

Government ministers running here and running there, sticking to a script which was clearly not sustainable and then ultimately a collapse of the government’s position. How silly does this all look now?

Not much kudos for the opposition either – they may have started a push for a Royal Commission but let’s get real – who says that the banks and financial institutions have only just started all this nonsense.  No doubt it was just as rampant during the time the opposition was in government.

So, then we have the people at AMP.  They got their independent lawyers to correct their independent assessment something like 25 times – all at the request of the Chairperson of the Board. Wow – I bet we all wish that we could get paid to do independent assessments which would only require us to ask the Chairperson as to what was required in the report.

So much for the big end of town – we all know that they really care for the little people like you and me.

And, the Chairperson of AMP has resigned – but it sounds like she has retained her directorships at the other publicly listed companies. It might be comforting for shareholders of those companies to know that they have such a worthy person on their board. So how is it that with the debacle of AMP behind her she retains those directorships?

Then for the cream on the cake – out of the swamp and slime come the lawyers – the same old tune is being played – ‘calling all players for a class action’.  Well don’t get me wrong – I see the need from time to time for class actions but when you get large law firms advertising, under the guise of wanting to assist the little man, then just leave me alone.

Let me fess up, I am a shareholder of AMP. So, hence my disgust at how inane the large law firms are. Anything for a large fee – forgot the morality and all those other things that lawyers are supposed to stand for.

Just assume for the moment that you held 10,000 shares in AMP. Then, given the argument made by one large law firm (when trawling for victims for the class action) that, had AMP told potential shareholders the true state of affairs of the company, then the shareholders might not have acquired shares in the company at all. Alternatively, they would have acquired shares at the then true market value of the shares – $1.00 per share less.

I don’t want to make light of a sum like $10,000.00 but this is hardly a sum worth launching a legal claim over, unless of course you are a big firm lawyer.

But here is the kicker – what did the large law firms really miss?  If there is a claim say for millions of dollars by unhappy shareholders, then where will the damages to be paid come from?  Obviously from the assets of AMP and the result will be –  that the value of the shares you hold in AMP must be devalued.

Members of the local Fraser Coast community will recall that the same genius argument was raised in relation to a claim made against the rating processes of the local council.  Some residents claimed that the council should refund them the rates they had paid.  Well get a load of this – if you don’t pay rates [due to an administrative failure by the local council] then who will pay for the services which are provided by our local council and who will pay the refunds to the ratepayers????.

Being smart or sensible is not a pre-requisite to be on the board of AMP, nor a claimant nor to entitle someone to make silly and pointless comment on topical issues.

We can only hope that those promoting the class actions recede back into the swamp and slime from whence they came.

The most obvious sanction against those who have erred is by penalty imposed by courts, even if at the whim of the toothless tiger, ASIC. So, let the government give ASIC some real teeth and the skilled staff to enforce the law.

The election that everyone hoped might just go away…………………..

So, the race for a replacement mayor is over.

And the winner is George Seymour. Ratepayers can sleep the sleep of contentedness knowing that George is at the helm.  Strong leadership is all but assured.

Given that it was the election that none of us wanted and certainly one that none of us wanted to participate in, then let’s not self-harm ourselves anymore – let’s just move on.

It is only with trepidation that electors went to the polling booths – quality candidates were probably hiding over the horizon.