Spell cheques for Nicholls' dimes

Spell cheques for Nicholls' dimes

There won't be wet eyes in the house when Qantas chairman Leigh Clifford addresses that driest of clubs, the H.R. Nicholls Society, at its annual dinner in December.

That is, if the right-wing industrial relations warriors have the right Clifford. Oddly, he appears to have changed gender to "Leah" in an email inviting members to the $120-a-head dinner. In what appears to have been something of a spell-check disaster, the veteran business hack Robert Gottliebsen's name is also misspelt.Worse, he is described in the web version of the invitation as "the Founding Edgar Allan Poeitor of Business Review Weekly".

The electronic snafu has left president Adam Bisits "livid". "We've just got to fix it up," he said. "It's quite serious, and I'm sorry."

Clifford, who has long attacked the previous Labor government's IR regime as a barrier to improving business productivity, will be giving a speech that Bisits promised would be "modest in length, because we don't want to bore people", before taking questions from the audience.

The society also plans to honour the Family First senator-elect for South Australia, Bob Day, at the December 5 dinner, to be held at Gary Morgan's Melbourne venue, Morgans@401.

Before turning to Family First, Day was a member of the Liberal Party, resigning in 2009 after losing preselection for Alexander Downer's old seat of Mayo. Bisits reckons business is in the mood for IR deregulation, following what he called the "reversals" of John Howard's WorkChoices and Kevin Rudd's Fair Work regimes.

But if they want to discuss revolution, members will have to perform an unfamiliar manoeuvre. To get into the function room, they'll have to turn left.

One for the rogue

He is no captain of industry, a la Clifford, but the Irish business diaspora at Sydney's Lansdowne Club do have a pirate of finance, the rogue trader Nick Leeson. The man who caused the collapse of the English institution Barings Bank in 1995 will speak at the Sydney Convention Centre on November 12. Tickets are half the price of the H.R. Nicholls do, but you only get canapes.

Good square Neill

Actor and keen architect Sam Neill added a touch of panache to the festivities to celebrate the opening of 8 Chifley Square in Sydney on Tuesday night.

Mingling with an array of property heavy hitters, including James Patterson, of CBRE, and Jock Gilchrist, of Colliers, among others, Neill took in the welcome to country and the presentation by architect Lord Richard Rogers. Mirvac boss Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz hosted partners Keppel REIT for the ceremony on level 25, which is soon to be the new home of Quantium.

It's oil very well

If all goes to plan, the Commonwealth of Australia will soon cease to be the third-largest shareholder in dinged-up mining explorer World Oil Resources.

The government ended up with 35.5 million shares in the company in April, after the Takeovers Panel ordered them seized because the owner, Melbourne's Silman family, had secretly accumulated a 29.1 per cent stake in the company.

Bell Potter has the gig and is selling the stake - about 6.2 per cent of the company - on market.

Silence is golden

An alphabet soup of investigators (the ATO, the AFP and the ACC) were out in force on Tuesday, searching gold bullion and precious metal businesses as part of a probe into $65 million in suspected GST fraud.

CBD has learnt that premises in the Melbourne suburbs Richmond and Armadale were raided, but with mouths sewn shut in the small industry, efforts to find out exactly who got a visit from the rozzers were a dismal failure.

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