Saintly decision in Tiger country

Saintly decision in Tiger country

When powerful people choose to adopt Melbourne as their home, it is mandatory to pick a local footy club and suburb.

But new BHP Billiton boss Andrew Mackenzie's choices of suburb and team might see him wandering the streets and the footy wilderness.

Giving his maiden speech in his home town, Mackenzie fessed up to buying a house in Richmond and choosing St Kilda as his team.

"Richmond, anyway, has

proven to be a terrific choice," he told a packed crowd of politicians and business types at the Asia Society lunch.

The Saints have struggled both on and off the field this season. And even Richmond hasn't proved to be the best of 'hoods for the BHP boss - someone pinched his recycling bin last Tuesday.

"I learnt the limitations of

CEO power when someone stole

our recycle bin," he quipped. "If you see one of those bins with a

yellow lid lying around Richmond, let us know."

The Saints need not fear the defection of Australia's biggest single taxpayer.

"As I once told my wife, who was not very happy about it I might add, it's harder to change football teams than to get divorced."

Those who attended Mackenzie's coming-out party on Collins Street included British high commissioner Paul Madden, former competition regulator Graeme Samuel, former senior BHP executive John Fast, shadow finance minister Andrew Robb, Martin Ferguson, rising Liberal Party star Josh Frydenberg, Leigh Clifford, former PBL chief executive

Peter Yates and Don "Don't Argue" Argus.

An Open choice

He endured a feisty annual meeting last year and word is Mirvac chairman James MacKenzie has taken a three-month sabbatical to prepare for a return bout in November. Non-executive director Peter Hawkins is to sit in the big chair in the meantime. CBD hears MacKenzie is a keen tennis fan so perhaps he can use the time to take in the US Open, which kicks off on August 26 - three days after Mirvac is due to unveil its full-year result.

Praise for Paul

Paul Keating is the only former leader CBD can remember who's had a hit musical in his honour.

Now ex-Macquarie bigwig Mark Johnson says it might be time for the financial services industry to create its own tribute to the former prime minister.

"I think most of us in this room should, I don't know, I'm not religious, but should light a candle or put a statue of Paul Keating in a niche somewhere and leave him an offering, because of all the stuff he's done for the financial services sector," Johnson said in Sydney on Wednesday. Keating was, of course, responsible for introducing compulsory super, which guarantees the financial services industry an endless flow of money on which they can clip the ticket.

He made the comments while arguing the Australian Centre for Financial Studies needed a "grand strategy" to make sure its big ideas on funding models became reality.

One way to institute change, he said, was to identify politicians

to back the cause, like Keating

did with financial deregulation in the 1980s.

Johnson, who now works at Gresham Partners, conceded his plans might sound a bit out there.

"When you think about grand strategies like that, with very

misty objectives out there, you think, 'Well, Johnson might be old but he's also smoking young people's stuff'."

Old news flash

Uberflack Max Markson was at his breathlessly unpunctuated best in an email blast on Wednesday, keen to spread word that Larry Kestelman of Dodo fame "has funded the Australian-based Newsmodo.com, a global news agency which he says is the world's largest player for freelance journalists".

True, but not exactly news: company records show Kestelman has owned 75 per cent of Newsmodo since it was incorporated a year ago.

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