Carefree holiday turns to mirage

Chaos at the resort Christopher Skase built, courtesy the Commonwealth Bank.

Chaos at the resort Christopher Skase built, courtesy the Commonwealth Bank.

CBD hears that security paranoia surrounding a top-secret conference held by Ian Narev’s financial behemoth at the Sheraton Mirage resort in Port Douglas turned carefree holiday fun in the sun into a ordeal of wire-mesh fences, barricades and even – horror of horrors – closed the breakfast buffet.

With rooms at the Mirage, corporate crook Skase’s sole positive contribution to the world, costing up to $1000 a night, it’s no wonder guests were upset.

Set right next to Four Mile Beach, one of the loveliest stretches of sand in far north Queensland, the resort boasts an 18-hole golf course, fancy restaurants, tropical gardens and an aquatic driving range.

But according to one guest, many of the facilities were off-limits when the CBA’s marauding hordes descended on July 28.

‘‘They erected these Cyclone fences on the way to Four Mile Beach,’’ the traumatised tourist told CBD. ‘‘There were barricades on the main entrance to the resort.’’

CBD’s source said that to move around the resort at night, guests had to run a gauntlet of flashlight-wielding security guards, apparently brought in for the occasion. This turned a simple trip to the bar for a cocktail into an arduous trek – and, on arrival, it turned out the bar was closed to all but conference-goers.

And all this was allegedly sprung on guests without warning. ‘‘CBA had booked the whole hotel to keep it secret,’’ our source said.

A CBA spokesman said the shindig was ‘‘a national third party and mobile banking broker conference’’.

‘‘In order to minimise impact on hotel guests, their accommodation was upgraded to private villas and some were offered additional hospitality benefits by the resort managers,’’ he said.



Board record

It was easy to miss amid all the hoopla of reporting season, but CBD could not help but note the extraordinary general meeting of Perth minnow Baru Resources this week. There’s quite a bit of buzz surrounding the company now that the corporate plod is taking a good hard look at its IPO and just what happened to all that investor money, especially regarding a takeover deal for a company called Argosy Minerals.

Rather than answer questions from shareholders, the board of Baru appointed a lawyer for the day to address investor concerns.

And no run-of-the-mill Perth pettifogger, either, but high-profile legal eagle Martin Bennett.

Regular CBD readers will recall that Bennett has been lawyer for Mick ‘‘Manynames’’ Shemesian. And Leo ‘‘The Gun’’ Khoury. And Perth Glory owner Tony Sage.

Bennett now has a record he can add to his LinkedIn profile – one of the shortest directorships in Australian corporate history.

According to those at the meeting, Bennett was appointed as a director at 12.16pm and resigned two hours and five minutes later. He answered all questions directed at the board, while chairman Peter Avery, chief executive Matt Bull and executive director Kevin Nichol sat silent.

A glorious day for corporate governance.



Vote for Squirty

Politicians are often derided as clowns so kudos to the Family First Party for cutting out the middleman and running an actual clown for office at September 7’s election.

The right-wing party’s candidate for the Victorian lower house seat of McEwen is one Barry Newton, also known as ‘‘world renowned entertainer’’ Squirt the Clown.

According to a blurb put out by the party on Wednesday, Squirt is concerned at the effect ‘‘the current cost of living pressures is having on families in the community’’.

Key pressures must surely include the cost of clown car fuel, squirty flowers and oversized shoes.

Got a tip?

bbutler@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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