Smith can't resist a little advice

Smith can't resist a little advice

ANZ boss Mike Smith is hardly known for holding his tongue when it comes to federal politics - or any other subject, for that matter. So it was surprising when he seemed to be restraining himself from commenting on the coming federal budget.

"I don't ask Wayne Swan for advice on how to run the bank - he sometimes gives it - but I don't think it's appropriate for me to give him advice on how to run the country either," the jet-setting head teller said during a media call on Tuesday.

This from the man who has previously compared Liberal treasurer-in-waiting Joe Hockey to Venezuela's late socialist president, Hugo Chavez, and declared federal Labor was part of the "weak government club".

However, after signalling he wouldn't lecture the government it took mere moments for Smith to, er, lecture the government.

"You've always got to have a mix of looking at the income and the cost side but tax increases generally do not create economic growth, they have a restraining or indeed a contracting effect on the economy," Smith said.

"If I was him [Swan] I'd be looking to reduce taxes I think. Certainly costs are an issue and costs have to be looked at."

Smith, the highest-paid big bank boss, also bungled his billions on an earlier call with analysts. Responding to a question on whether ANZ could raise more on wholesale debt markets, he said: "I think that we have an ability to probably do maybe five bucks more in that space, sorry five billion. What's a billion here or there, you know?"

Hang on, isn't that the same attitude that's got Swannie's budget into so much strife?

Storm in a cup

Stand down, mining industry: Rio Tinto's missing coffee cup has been found. CBD has solved a mystery that has gripped Perth's oil and gas sector and travelled, via the magic of email forwarding, as far afield as Canberra and Melbourne.

The saga started on March 20, about 10.30am, when someone nicked a coffee cup belonging to an analyst in Rio Tinto's Perth iron ore office - CBD will call him Mr X.

About an hour later, Mr X laid out details of the felony in an email to office administration staff:

"1. I brought my cup to the men's washroom

"2. I left it next to the washroom sinks

"3. I then proceeded to use the bathroom stall

"4. In that time, I know someone entered and exited the room, and I know after that person used the urinal, they grabbed a few pieces of paper towel

"5. I exited the bathroom stall afterwards

"6. My cup was then missing"

A crime that naturally outraged Mr X: "I apologise if this sounds trivial to you and it wastes your time, but this is my personal item and I cannot believe the audacity of someone to do that," he wrote. "Please find attached a slide which includes a picture of my cup."

His workmates were only too happy to help, forwarding the email on ... and on and on. It migrated through a dizzying array of companies before finally making its way to CBD's inbox.

Mr X said the cup was returned within "a couple of hours" of him hitting send. "The email flushed the guy out," he told CBD. "I don't know why it went viral."

Jacksun tunes in

He may be in legal strife for allegedly falling $US30,000 behind on child support payments, but that hasn't stopped Jackson 5 member Jermaine Jackson - if that is his name - harmonising with listed Australian ISP GoConnect.

GoConnect is to provide its IPTV pipeline to the joint venture, Go JLJ Entertainment, while Jackson is to provide content.

The JV is also pitching two reality TV shows to networks here and overseas, GoConnect CEO Richard Li told CBD.

ASIC records show Go JLJ Entertainment was set up on Tuesday with directors including Li, Jackson's producer Dirk Gibson and one Jermaine LaJuane Jacksun. Hang on, Jacksun?

"He changed his name to Jacksun for artistic reasons," Li said. "Apparently it works for him. I'm sure he'll be coming to Australia a lot more frequently as a result of this."

While Jackson may reckon that when it comes to Australia it's a case of I'll Be There, if LA child support authorities have their way it will be more Never Can Say Goodbye. They want him to serve 60 days' jail if he doesn't pay his bill by August.

Li reckons Jackson has access to "thousands of hours" of material, although "some of it might have to be reworked". Acquiring 40 per cent of this potential-packed enterprise was apparently as simple as ABC: GoConnect paid nothing for its stake.

"It's a matter of who you know, isn't it?" Li said. "It's a matter of chemistry - we just clicked."

And how much is this entertainment extravaganza worth to GoConnect's shareholders? "The ASX asked me that question, too," Li said. "Obviously we're not doing this without a significant amount of revenue in mind, but we're aware there's a lot of hard work ahead."

Aid fund in need

Sharemarket discussion forum HotCopper is the latest to jump on CBD's favourite bandwagon, the freedom of speech express, setting up a fighting fund to protect its members from the depredations of defamation lawsuits. It follows threats of legal action against Empire Oil and Gas shareholders who post on the forum, made by Empire directors Craig Marshall, Bevan Warris and Neil Joyce.

But the discretionary trust will need a bit more cash if it's to meet its stated purpose. The trust deed, sent to HotCopper members including CBD on Tuesday, shows it was set up by the website's managing director, Greg D'Arcy, on April 2 with seed capital amounting to a grand total of $10.

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