Oops, that wasn't in the flight plan
By · 29 Oct 2013
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29 Oct 2013
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Oops, that wasn't in the flight plan

Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti knows how it feels when the wrong name slips out. So he will feel for NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner, who was at Sydney Airport to welcome a long line of head honchos from China Southern who had flown from Guangzhou on the airline's inaugural A380 service.

After declaring "ni hao, g'day", Stoner went on to welcome the "inaugural A380 flight by China Air", before quickly correcting himself. China Airlines is the flag carrier of Taiwan, which has had somewhat strained relations with its mainland cousins over the years.

Fortunately, the large crowd - which included Tourism Australia chairman Geoff Dixon, its departing CEO Andrew McEvoy, Sydney Airport boss Kerrie Mather and the China Southern delegation - laughed off the Deputy Premier's slip.

In 2011, Borghetti made a stumble he would rather forget when he hosted a press conference where swimming legend Ian Thorpe revealed his return to the pool. In the gig at Virgin for less than a year, the Italian stallion told the audience at the time how Thorpe was going to win "many gold medals for Qantas".

As we all know, Thorpe won no more gold - for either Australia or Qantas.

Foster in Fiji?

Fugitive conman Peter Foster popped up on Monday, claiming to be in Fiji and sending in a proof-of-lifestyle photo of himself with a Fijian Sunday paper to prove the point.

Wherever he is, Foster will no doubt soon be back in business flogging some kind of miracle product.

Anyone considering investing in his latest scheme should bear in mind the cautionary tale of Gold Coast dentist Christopher Waters, who gave evidence for the prosecution at Foster's recent trial for contempt of court. The sad story was well told by Federal Court judge John Logan in his September 27 guilty verdict.

After falling in love with Foster's niece Arabella, Waters backed the Foster family's most recent caper, weight-loss spray SensaSlim.

"He sought to enhance his income by investing in a business," Justice Logan said. "This hardly makes him unique amongst the ranks of those practising a learned profession. Sometimes, such additional activities prosper; sometimes, in hindsight, all they prove is that it is better just to practise the profession for which one is trained. The latter proved to be Dr Waters' experience."

The dentist lost both the $200,000 he had pumped into SensaSlim and his relationship with Arabella.

It is not known how much was lost by two other rather more colourful investors, underworld figure Mick Gatto and his business partner John Khoury.

Advice on Aurizon

The John Prescott-led board of rail company Aurizon might have escaped the wrath of one proxy adviser over its executive pay card but it has not been let off the hook entirely.

Proxy adviser ISS has urged shareholders to vote against Aurizon's remuneration report, while CGI Glass Lewis has called for its large institutional clients to support the pay card despite "inadequate disclosure and justification for the large increase" in the fixed pay of chief executive Lance Hockridge.

Until Monday afternoon, CGI was going to urge a vote against the re-election of Gene Tilbrook to Aurizon's board because of concerns the board has not appointed to its audit committee an independent director "with the necessary accounting or financial expertise". But CGI changed its mind and now says "yes" to Tilbrook.

Another adviser, Ownership Matters, has yet to reveal its hand.

All of which will make for an interesting annual meeting for the company formerly known as QR National in Brisbane on November 13.

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