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Aug 10 2019

Helping with missing Black Top memorabilia 

NATIONAL Coursing Association president Kevin Gordon has moved quickly to help Jewells couple Barry and June Butler attempt to recover their Black Top memorabilia lost amid the changeover of managers at The Gardens.
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The Herald contacted the Butlers on Monday about the removal of memorabilia from The Gardens greyhound racing track at Birmingham Gardens last week.

June is the niece of the late Frank Holmes, who trained 1960s legend Black Top, which has a bar and group2 race named in his honour at The Gardens.

June and her husband Barry realised on Friday that Black Top memorabilia they had loaned to the track for display had been mistakenly removed and donated without their permission to Cardiff Greyhound Social Club.

They recovered items on Saturday morning but framed Black Top racing papers and rugs remain missing.

Upset over the losses, the Butlers wanted help in regaining the pieces.

The drama comes after Greyhound Racing NSW deregistered the NCA as a racing club over financial concerns and the Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers’ Association was installed as interim manager of The Gardens.

Gordon, who signed a letter authorising the removal of NCA memorabilia from the facility, contacted the Butlers yesterday morning to tell them he did not know they owned the Black Top items and it was an honest mistake.

He said he would run a notice in NCA publication The Greyhound Recorder requesting the return of the memorabilia with a ‘‘no questions asked’’ guarantee.

Gordon said he knew Holmes well, he had established the Black Top race and had put $100,000 into the event through his Multicam business.

Gordon, who withdrew his sponsorship of last week’s Black Top race, said he and the NCA had no issue with the GBOTA over the change of management at The Gardens.

As for the memorabilia removal the week of the group2 Black Top final, he said he had asked the Cardiff club to take The Gardens memorabilia for safe-keeping three weeks ago but a letter of authorisation had been requested.

June Butler said she accepted Gordon did not know the framed items were only on loan to the track.

She appreciated the free notice in The Greyhound Recorder and hoped it would help them regain the framed items.

‘‘It certainly wasn’t meant to start World War III, it was just a matter of trying to locate them and put them back where they were,’’ June said.

June has since been told the framed items had not hung on the walls of the Black Top bar for at least two weeks, meaning they were likely taken or misplaced before last week’s removal of memorabilia.

June Butler with Black Top memorabilia. Some souvenirs of the greyhound’s career are still missing.

Aug 10 2019

Lean’s champion effort for Terrace

IAN Lean created history on Saturday by becoming the first Raymond Terrace bowler to win the prestigious Newcastle District Champion of Club Champions Singles.
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Lean convincingly beat the giantkilling Brett Gemmell (Lowlands) 31-19 in the final.

Gemmell started the match brilliantly, leading 6-0 after five ends, but then dropped 11 shots on the next five ends to trail 11-6 after 10 ends.

The turning point in the match came on the 22nd end with Lean leading 18-16.

Gemmell was holding three shots but Lean with his last bowl drew the shot and then never lost the ascendancy.

■ The Newcastle reserve side narrowly defeated the Newcastle under-25 side 77-68 in the annual fixture played on Friday evening.

Rink wins were shared two each, with the successful reserve skippers being Chris Evans 23-17 over Joel Roche and Trevor Aitchison 18-13 against David Hutchison.

The triumphant Under 25 skippers were Australian representative Matthew Baus and Jack Ryan.

Baus edged out Michael Abel 20-19 and Ryan beat Gavin Kelly 18-17.

■Beresfield started its defence of the Newcastle District No.1 Grade Three Threes Competition with a solid 62-47 first round victory over Toronto Workers winning on two of the three rinks.

Michael Beesley defeated Jason Snowden 27-18 and Mick Brown downed Barrie Winslade 19-12.

2013 No.1 Grade Pennant champions Valentine No.1 displayed its strength with a big 97-31 win over Boolaroo. The successful skippers being Brendon Baker, David Govan and Bill Ahoy.

Govan, Peter Clarke and Greg Tilden scored a rare nine against Don Conn, Brian Sager and Graham Soper.

The other impressive winner was Raymond Terrace No.1 97-38 over Charlestown, with Matthew Baus, Jason Stokes and Lennon Scott all recording comfortable wins.

This afternoon in the match of the round Valentine No.1 host Raymond Terrace No.1, while Beresfield travel to Swansea Workers, who last week beat Wallsend No.1 65-49. Barry Aubin’s 25-14 win over Geoff Horton proved decisive.

■ St. Marys RSL and Blacktown City will next Friday, Saturday and Sunday host the annual State Inter-Zone Sides Championship. Newcastle (Zone 2) will play Zones 8 (Riverina-Albury), 9 (North Sydney) and 15 (Central Coast) in its three Sectional matches at St Marys RSL.

Newcastle have a strong side with the skippers being Matthew Baus (Raymond Terrace), Martin Ball (Alder Park), Australian representative Terry Antram (Soldiers Point) and NSW representative Jason Stokes (Raymond Terrace).

The semi-finals and final are scheduled to be played at Blacktown City on Sunday.

■ Raymond Terrace and Beresfield will host the Newcastle Section of the State Rookies Singles Championship on Saturday and Sunday.

■ Valentine has vacancies for its Super 10s Tournament on September 10, 12 and 13.

Windale-Gateshead women are still accepting nominations for their master fours on September 23 and 25.

Ian Lean in action last year.

Aug 10 2019

Haynes leads Magic to final

BROADMEADOW striker Peter Haynes received a message at the end of last season from Lambton Jaffas coach David Tanchevski, asking him what were the chances.
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The Jaffas were planning a maiden assault on the Northern NSW State League with the immediate purpose of avoiding relegation.

Haynes, a Jaffas junior and the 2011 state league player of the year, would have been an ideal man to lead the charge.

Twelve months on, Haynes is preparing to lead Broadmeadow Magic against the Jaffas in the grand final.

It is a strange but satisfying scenario for Haynes on two fronts.

‘‘I got a text from Dave Tanch last year, I think a day after they won their grand final, saying, ‘What are your chances,’’’ Haynes said.

‘‘But I think we both knew it wasn’t going to happen. I’m a Magic guy now.

‘‘But I’m really happy they are there. They’ve done so well and are a great club.’’

Haynes played his junior football at the Jaffas until age 11 and said the connection to his grand final rivals had already put him in the firing line.

‘‘My uncle Scott [Haynes] was quite a good player and played at KB United,’’ he said.

‘‘He played at the Jaffas and still supports them, so he’s been into me this week as well.

‘‘We had a Father’s Day dinner the other night and he was poking me, trying to give me a bit of stick.’’

Defending major premiers Magic will go in as clear favourites after beating the Jaffas 4-0 in the major semi-final two weeks ago.

The Jaffas hit back on Saturday with their second penalty shoot-out win over Hamilton in two weeks to set-up a dream first-season, grand final appearance. It is remarkable effort, given the Jaffas’ immediate goal this year was avoiding relegation.

Haynes, though, said his side would not take the Jaffas lightly.

‘‘I don’t know if I buy into the fairytale any more. It’s hard to be a fairytale when you come second in the league,’’ Haynes said.

‘‘They’ve overachieved in terms of what people thought they’d do, but they’ve finished second and won two semi-finals, so you can’t buy into the underdog tag too much anymore.’’

He also believed their recent win had painted the wrong picture.

‘‘I think we got a bit lucky there,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s not too often you win 4-0 and your goalkeeper gets man of the match. That must tell you something about the game.’’

Haynes expected the return of Jobe Wheelhouse from suspension to boost the Jaffas, who have come through a gruelling finals campaign and will be without Abe Wheelhouse due to an ankle injury. Micheal Sessions (back) and Paul Devine (knee) are also in doubt.

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Broadmeadow Magic striker Peter Haynes, No.9, celebrates scoring with his teammates. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Aug 10 2019

Uni students’ racism experiences: poll

NO RACIAL ATTACKS: University of Newcastle students of nuclear medicine Ali Alabdullah, left, and Ahmed Abdullah. Picture: Simone De PeakBAD news travels fast among international students.
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So when Kuwaiti nuclear medicine students Ahmed Abdullah and Ali Alabdullah heard reports of racism in Newcastle while researching study options three years ago, they were a little anxious.

‘‘My friend was talking to his family on the phone and someone heard him speaking in Arabic and told him to speak English not Arabic and then they punched him in the back and ran,’’ Mr Abdullah said yesterday.

‘‘But in the end, it didn’t stop us from trying it out and seeing for ourselves and we didn’t have any problems.

‘‘We’ve been here for three years and haven’t seen any abuse.

‘‘We come over to Jesmond a fair bit for lunch and our friends live in the suburb and we’ve been fine.

‘‘I think stuff that happened to my friend only happens rarely.’’

Their comments come after Malaysian student Vishnu Vigneswaran told the Newcastle Herald on Monday that racism was so bad in Jesmond and Birmingham Gardens that he had become numb to abuse and taunts.

He was speaking in the wake of two attacks on students with Asian backgrounds – one an Australian the other an international student – within 2 hours on Saturday night.

Opinions among Jesmond residents and visitors to the suburb’s shopping centre were split yesterday, with half of those surveyed saying they thought racism was rife. South African-born Jesmond student Elmari Smit said she had seen kids as young as 10 abusing international students at the Blue Gum Road bus stop.

‘‘I go to university four times a week and I walk through Jesmond to go to uni so I see it four times a week,’’ she said.

Other domestic and international students told the Newcastle Herald they had never witnessed racist attitudes or behaviour in the suburb.

ON THE STREET

We asked:Do you think the suburbs surrounding the University of Newcastle have a problem with racism?

ANGELA FALL Birmingham Gardens

I’ve heard stories but I haven’t had any problems with racism or seen anything myself. I know there are a lot of international students in the area but I haven’t witnessed any racially motivated abuse or attacks myself.

JARROD VAN-DER-BAAN Nelson Bay

Not at all. I don’t really see it around. I don’t know if it goes on between younger people or older people, I just never see it. I see a lot of international students, but I don’t think they have a bad time of it.

SUMATHI VENKATESWARN Maryland

I’ve lived in Newcastle for 10 years and shop in Jesmond quite often and I’ve had no problems with racist abuse. Some people do ask me whether I was born with my Bindi which is a bit disappointing. But people should understand that it could be something related to fashion before they ask that.

ELMARI SMIT Jesmond

I moved here a few years ago from Taree, which is a smaller town, and moving here I could definitely tell that there is a lot of people who are bigoted. They think they are better than anyone basically but especially overseas students. People will yell derogatory terms, mainly around the bus stops because a lot of students catch the bus.

ASHLEIGH BUTLER Birmingham Gardens

We were talking about it the other day – our friends get verbally attacked and it’s so shocking. I wouldn’t even think of that, it’s so crazy. There is definitely a problem here. It’s sick, it’s horrible. It’s just ignorance and unnecessary.

NICK PHILLIPS Birmingham Gardens

We’ve got international friends and they’ve told us that they’ve suffered abuse. They’re not actually from overseas, they were born here, but they look like they are from overseas, which doesn’t really matter to those who are being racist. There’s definitely a problem.

Aug 10 2019

Williamtown, Singleton key defence roles

THE pivotal role played by RAAF Williamtown and Singleton army base to bolster the NSW defence industry and ensure national security will be reinforced on Wednesdayin the State Government’s new defence position paper.
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Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner will launch the paper on Wednesdaymorning at Williamtown following a major push by the Hunter Business Chamber and HunterNet to snare a bigger slice of the defence pie through their Hunter Defence Strategy.

Mr Stoner said yesterday that NSW was the most significant defence state with RAAF Williamtown and Singleton’s military area playing a ‘‘critical role’’ in supporting jobs and business in the region.

‘‘We will aggressively make the case for … defence facilities in NSW and the Hunter, advocating the importance of the NSW defence sector to the nation’s defence efforts,’’ he said.

The government estimates defence brings the state 30,000 jobs, $5billion in turnover and $1.4billion in value-add across defence and related industries.

Newcastle MP Tim Owen, who with former chief of army and defence force vice-chief Ken Gillespie provided key advice on the position paper, said the document highlighted the government’s focus on supporting defence players.

‘‘Past governments have given it scant regard but this is very much focused on across-government support for the defence industry,’’ he said.

In February, the Hunter Defence Strategy – which aims to turn the region into a major national defence hub, create jobs and diversify the local economy – was presented at the Avalon airshow in Victoria.

Its targets included a push for Headquarters Air Command to be moved from the Blue Mountains to Williamtown, the establishment of a defence-oriented business hub at the RAAF base and identifying a Defence-capable role for the Port of Newcastle.

Hunter Business Chamber president Richard Anicich said the development of the government’s position paper followed the chamber’s push for a comprehensive, state-based industry action plan.

‘‘A strategic approach to defence planning is critical and we were pleased to be involved in the development process,’’ he said.

Wiliamtown RAAF base is strategically important.

Jul 10 2019

Body discovery crushes girlfriend

UTTERLY DEVASTATED: Anika Haigh was the girlfriend of missing British-born man Gary Tweddle. GRIM TASK: Police rescue officers unload a stretcher.
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THE girlfriend of a man missing in the Blue Mountains for more than seven weeks was no Tuesdayfacing the grim reality that it was his body recovered from remote bush that same day.

‘‘The sun is beginning to rise on a day that we have all been hoping would never come,’’ Anika Haigh posted on the Facebook page she had devoted to the ‘‘most beautiful, loving, kind and caring man’’.

Ms Haigh, who grew up at Valentine and attended school at St Mary’s Gateshead and St Francis Xavier at Hamilton described how she had been left ‘‘utterly devastasted’’ by the loss of her British-born partner Gary Tweddle.

The couple, both 23, had been together three years and were living in Sydney when Mr Tweddle disappeared from a work conference at a Blue Mountains resort on July 15.

Ms Haigh had moved to Sydney to pursue a career in events management, although her family still live in the Hunter.

Mr Tweddle was working with a computer company and the pair had met in a Sydney pub.

‘‘No day is the same without you,’’ Mr Haigh posted on Facebook after his disappearance. ‘‘There is a hole where you used to be but please know my heart is full of amazing memories of you.’’

On Monday a NSW Ambulance Service helicopter discovered a body near where Mr Tweddle was last seen at the end of Sublime Point Road, Leura.

Ms Haigh travelled down from Queensland, where it is believed Mr Tweddle’s mother lives, to be in Leura while emergency services recovered the body on Tuesday.

Police abseiled down a cliff face to retrieve the body and take it to Glebe morgue in Sydney for formal identification.

The nightMr Tweddle went missing he had been out for dinner with work mates before returning to the resort where they were staying in a taxi.

He was captured on security footage running from the building without his glasses or jacket moments later and was last heard from during a 17-minute mobile phone call with work colleagues.

He told them he was lost and didn’t know where he was. Shortly after, his phone cut out.

The incident sparked the biggest search in Blue Mountains history, with more than 1000 volunteers combing the landscape.

Ms Haigh organised the Facebook page called ‘‘Have you seen Gary Tweddle?’’ in an effort to garner exposure.

More than 4600 people liked the page and condolences have been flooding in.

On Tuesday morning Ms Haigh posted: ‘‘Your time of hide and seek needs to end now though please. Time to come home where you belong. I love you.’’

Jul 10 2019

IOOF joins battle for Trust Co

The battle for Trust Co is now reaching seven months and three suitors, with IOOF the latest to throw its hat in the ring for the small-cap financial services company.
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IOOF chief executive Chris Kelaher told BusinessDay it behoved the Trust Co board to accept its ”clearly superior” offer ”sooner rather than later”. It has offered guaranteed cash of $6.03 for each Trust Co share, plus a 22¢ dividend, or 0.74 IOOF shares for each Trust Co share. The guaranteed cash consideration is capped at $100 million.

Mr Kelaher said Trust Co offered an attractive path into fast-growing sectors such as self-managed superannuation and philanthropy.

But Equity Trustees, the party that put Trust Co in play in February, still hopes to seal the deal and said it was keeping open the option of a cash component of its bid.

Financial services giant Perpetual will hear the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s verdict on its bid by September 19.

News of the three-way tussle put a rocket under Trust Co’s share price, its shares soaring 12.8 per cent on Wednesday to close at $6.54.

Baillieu Holst analyst Nick Burgess said: ”The ultimate successful bidder is difficult to determine.”

Excluding synergies, Mr Burgess valued the Equity Trustee bid at $5.93 a share, Perpetual’s at $6.16 and IOOF’s at $6.34 cash or $6.64 in shares. But, taking synergies into account, he said, Equity Trustees offered Trust Co shareholders ”the most long-term upside in theory”.

”That said, the lack of a cash component and lower headline value on a pre-synergies basis are practical barriers for Equity Trustees,” he told clients. ”IOOF’s position, with a higher bid than Perpetual, no ACCC concerns, as well as a proven, long-term track record of adding value through acquisitions looks strong.”

Deutsche Bank analyst Kieren Chidgey estimated there was a 50 per cent chance that Perpetual would nab Trust Co, by offering a 10 per cent premium to IOOF’s offer, or about $7.22 a share.

Equity Trustees chief executive Robin Burns told BusinessDay it was offering Trust Co shareholders a 60 per cent stake in the combined company, rather than the small stake in a large company offered by Perpetual and IOOF. Asked if Equity would consider a cash component to its bid, he said: ”The option of looking at our bid remains open.”

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Jul 10 2019

IOOF throws its hat in the ring

It is sometimes argued that Australian companies are well placed to expand in Asia because they carry light political baggage: Australia’s lack of notoriety in the region makes them less controversial acquirers of assets. So the theory goes.
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A similar informal rule applies in Australia’s financial sector. Financial giants find expansion avenues blocked, as NAB discovered in 2011, for example, when it tried and failed to take over AXA Asia Pacific. Smaller financial fish like IOOF swim clear of the competition regulator’s takeover net. Growth by acquisition is easier for them – and with his latest expansion attempt, a $203 million bid for The Trust Company, IOOF chief executive Chris Kelaher is again positioning his group as an alternative to a takeover that has met regulatory resistance.

In 2011 he offered IOOF as a remedy for concerns the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had about NAB’s proposed $13 billion takeover of AXA.

The ACCC opposed the takeover partly because it would deliver control of AXA’s new funds management platform, North, so IOOF and NAB announced that IOOF could buy North from NAB, with fund management mandates attached.

The ACCC believed that North would be less powerful in IOOF’s hands than in either AXA’s hands or the hands of AXA’s other suitor, AMP. It nixed the NAB takeover again, NAB withdrew, and AXA fell into AMP’s hands: under AMP’s control North has grown, but not spectacularly.

This time Kelaher is acting unilaterally, and turning a battle for control of The Trust Co into a three-sided contest.

It began in February when another trustee services company, Equity Trustees, launched a share-exchange offer that valued The Trust Co at $5.28 a share, or about $177 million.

Equity Trustees pressed on with its bid despite being spurned by The Trust Co’s board, but in May The Trust Co announced that it was endorsing another, larger suitor, the Perpetual group. Perpetual also offered shares, but the bid value was higher at $6.39 a share, and it was also prepared to pay out up to $60 million in cash.

Equity Trustees came back a week later with a sweetened bid that it said valued The Trust Co at $8 a share. Synergies of $15 million that the merged trustee group could extract were worth more to The Trust Co’s shareholders than synergies of $15 million promised by Perpetual, it argued, because the Equity Trustees share-exchange bid would deliver 62 per cent of the merged company to The Trust Co’s shareholders, compared with only about 8 per cent in a merger with Perpetual.

The Trust Co’s directors re-endorsed Perpetual’s offer late in July, after receiving a report from Ernst & Young that identified only $7.5 million of merger synergies in a merger with Equity Trustees, compared with $14 million in a merger with Perpetual.

On August 1 however, regulatory risk reared its head. The ACCC reached a preliminary finding that Perpetual’s takeover of The Trust Co could harm competition in the trustee sector.

IOOF had quietly conducted due diligence on The Trust Co in May, around the same time as Perpetual, and on Tuesday, with the other suitors in the open, its June-year results in the bag and Perpetual’s regulatory hurdle evident, it proposed a share swap acquisition that valued The Trust Co at $6.34 a share.

It also topped Perpetual by setting aside $100 million for a cash alternative of at least $6.03 a share: another 39¢ is available in both cases from dividends the Trust Company ”may wish to declare”, it argued.

Kelaher is edging Perpetual on price and, as he did in 2011 when he proposed buying the North platform from NAB, he is presenting IOOF as the key to a regulatory door that is closing.

Perpetual is already Australia’s biggest trustee services provider, with funds under Trustee administration of about $264 billion, about 52 per cent of the market. A takeover of The Trust Company would lift its share to about 72 per cent or $367 billion, enough to raise ACCC concerns.

IOOF’s funds under supervision are only about $32.6 billion or 6.4 per cent of the industry. Its trustee market share would be about 25 per cent if it bought The Trust Co, not enough to worry the ACCC. The regulator might, in fact, see the market as better balanced.

The contest has run for more than half a year, and with trustee services in demand, as self-managed super expands, for example, it may develop further.

If The Trust Co’s board decides that IOOF’s proposal is superior, Perpetual will get three days to match or beat it. It may do so on price. Whether it can do so on the regulatory front is unclear.

IOOF could then re-bid, and The Trust Co has also kept its dialogue with Equity Trustees running. Since mid-August the two companies have been conducting mutual due diligence and, like IOOF, Equity Trustees is off the ACCC’s radar. It has trustee funds under supervision of $27.6 billion. But it probably needs to develop a cash alternative to stay in the hunt.

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Jul 10 2019

Horse trading in trademarks

Nicole Kidman-endorsed Swisse Wellness has mortgaged its famous brand names to a tax haven subsidiary of Goldman Sachs to secure a high-interest $100 million loan.
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CBD can reveal that Goldman Sachs Investments Holdings (Asia) Limited, which gives as its address in an industrial estate in sunny Mauritius, has registered a claim to more than 30 of Swisse’s brands, slogans and logos.

Official databases show that Swisse’s much-advertised logo and its relentlessly upbeat slogans ”You’ll feel better on Swisse” and ”Celebrate life every day!” are among trademarks ready to be hoovered up by Goldie’s famous blood funnel should Swisse fall behind on its payments.

Also part of the mortgage registration blitz, which started in the middle of last month and was still going on Tuesday last week, are some of Swisse’s more obscure trademarks, such as Benefishoil (can’t imagine why that one never caught on) and CBD’s personal fave, ”Sexiest Tan Alive!”

But key product line names are also mortgaged, including Trimshot and the Ricky Ponting-endorsed Ultivite.

There is also a general charge over all the assets of the company and another over a car (make and model not disclosed).

All this is security for the line of credit Swisse has secured from Goldman Sach’s Special Situations Group, which invests the vampire squid’s own money in mid-size companies. It’s expensive dosh, costing Swisse interest in the low teens, but a quick look at the company’s balance sheet shows … nothing, as Swisse is now more than nine months late in filing its 2012 accounts.

CEO Radek Sali dropped some 2013 numbers earlier this week covering revenue and earnings but didn’t disclose a profit figure or give a sense of the company’s assets and liabilities.

Failing to file accounts is a crime, and while corporate regulator the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has so far yet to take any concrete action against scoff-law Swisse, it is said to be aware of the issue.

Bear in mind that a woman who fell pregnant on the day Swisse’s accounts were due would already have given birth.

Did CBD mention pregnancy? Swisse has a range of potions and lotions for that called Pregcel.

The Pregcel name is, of course, mortgaged to Goldman Sachs.Black and blue

Fancy paying $540 to listen to an ex-con talk? That’s how much the Public Knowledge Forum is charging to attend a yakfest starring Conrad Black, also known as Baron Black of Crossharbour or Prisoner number 18330-424.

Strangely, Black’s official bio on the forum’s website omits to mention his stint in a US prison for fraud after being found guilty of embezzling from his media empire, Hollinger.

Instead, the blurb waxes lyrical about Black’s biographies of Maurice Duplessis, Franklin D Roosevelt, and Richard M Nixon (who, convicted felon Black recently insisted, boasts a record ”that puts him very close to the nation’s greatest presidents”).

And there’s also no mention of Black’s other great achievement: taking control of BusinessDay’s owner, Fairfax Media, in 1994.

Michael Smith, who lasted only a few months as editor of The Age under the Black regime, wrote about the experience for the ABC’s Drum website in 2007.

”Conrad Black’s contribution to Australian newspaper publishing was historic and cannot be overestimated,” Smith said.

”He introduced changes that caused The Age’s circulation to plummet 10 per cent almost overnight. No one has ever managed that before or since.”

Black is to appear alongside Annabel Crabb, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and Atlantic correspondent James Fallows at the Sydney Opera House on November 3.

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Jul 10 2019

Post-election rally may be wishful thinking

ASX: There will be very few peaks and troughs as a result of the election. Photo: Andrew QuiltyMost analysts are tipping a clear win in the federal election will bolster the economy and reignite consumer confidence. But with the poll just days away, that prediction may be little more than wishful thinking.
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Research from Goldman Sachs has dampened hopes of a post-election fillip on equity markets, saying that historically there is little evidence to support that theory.

Goldman strategist Tim Toohey said changes of government in the past had actually had the opposite effect, resulting in a period of slower, rather than accelerated, economic activity.

”The assumption that elections lower confidence and delay spending in the lead-up to the poll date is not supported by the economic data,” Mr Toohey said.

”[And] we find little evidence to suggest that the passing of a federal election results in a surge in retail spending, confidence and asset prices.

”Typically, the $A declines, equity markets decline, bond yields rise, and the path of economic indicators is mixed in the months following the result.”

Mr Toohey said in the past three elections in which there was a change in government, the equity market sold off 1.2 per cent a month before the poll, was 0.2 per cent in the week afterwards, down 0.9 per cent in the fortnight, and a month later was down 2 per cent.

In the case of the Australian dollar, Mr Toohey said a change of government had historically resulted in a 2.6 per cent fall in the week after the election and held onto those losses for the first month of the new regime.

Bond yields, meanwhile, have risen on average 4.2 per cent in the month afterwards.

Mr Toohey said it was possible there would be a lift in some measures of confidence but it would be mild.

He said it was unlikely that business conditions would recover without a broad-based recovery in consumer spending, adding that ”slowing household income growth suggests a cautious consumer will persist. Recent easing in financial conditions and the rise of household wealth through 2012-13 will help, but the lags from both forces are long and in the interim they will have to navigate further fiscal drag.”

But despite Mr Toohey’s conclusion based on hard evidence, talk of happy days on the ASX after the poll is still swirling.

RBS Morgans chief economist Michael Knox said in a client note that regardless of who won the election, a clear result would boost the sharemarket.

”A look back at the last 30 years and 11 elections has seen the Australian stockmarket increase by 1.31 per cent each month on average in the three months following an election. That equates to an almost 4 per cent gain for the quarter immediately following an election,” Mr Knox said.

”This increasing confidence acts like a reduction to the risk premium and is similar in its effect to an interest rate cut in that the flow-through to GDP has a lag of about five quarters. Therefore, we should see the more long-lasting result from an election outcome continuing on throughout 2014.”

But Ig Markets strategist Evan Lucas agreed with Mr Toohey, saying whatever happened on Saturday it was unlikely that Monday morning would ”see a scorched-earth or grass-is-greener moment”.

Mr Lucas said the markets were more likely to react to global issues – the US Federal Reserve meeting on September 17-18, where it is widely tipped the central bank will agree to start winding back its $US85 billion-a-month stimulus; the German election on September 22; and the Syrian conflict.

”This election from a market perspective is a non-event,” he said.

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