Cooking the books OK if you back the local tennis club

SEEMS the sacrifices one makes for their local tennis club really does count for something.

SEEMS the sacrifices one makes for their local tennis club really does count for something.

Especially when you are sentenced in the Victorian County Court for falsifying the books of a now collapsed listed company and providing false information to the corporate regulator during an examination. The former chief financial officer of OnQ Peter Couper was sentenced to a wholly suspended 21-month jail sentence last Friday and a $10,000 fine.

Couper received a "sentencing discount" for helping provide evidence in the prosecution of other individuals linked to the parent company of the now defunct Bill Express. But his sacrifices to the tennis community were also recognised.

"You have engaged in a great deal of community service over the years," said Judge Liz Gaynor when she outlined the reasons for her sentence.

"You joined the Glen Waverley Tennis Club in 1974, serving there as treasurer for five years and 30 years as auditor on a voluntary basis," said Judge Gaynor, who noted how Couper joined the Templeton Tennis Club in 1978 where he served as treasurer and president.

"Your children played tennis there and you continued on in the convener role well after they had finished competing and were eventually awarded a life membership and an annual award, the Couper Award, named after you, is given to the junior

player of the season," said Judge Gaynor.

Social enterprise

Perpetual chief executive Geoff Lloyd, BankSA managing director Jane Kittel and spinmeister to the stars Sue Cato are among the list of corporate luminaries who will provide "webinar" and mentoring support for university students looking develop an idea for a new "social enterprise".

The social enterprise best known for its fortnightly magazine, The Big Issue, yesterday launched a competition where it is seeking ideas for a new program to help homeless and disadvantaged people find stable employment.

The judges who will decide the winner of the The Big Idea competition include the executive chairman of Goldman Sachs in Australia Terry Campbell, former politicians Cheryl Kernot and Natasha Stott Despoja, Telstra chief financial officer and former AXA Asia Pacific boss Andrew Penn and all-round Macquarie do-gooder and former Australian of the Year Simon McKeon.

Slow beer

The four-month-old independent body established to offer "speedy adjudication" on community concerns related to alcohol advertising seems to have a different concept of time to the alcohol industry. The Wowser Complaints Board (aka Alcohol Advertising Review Board) was launched by a group of public health advocates in March to "highlight the fact that more action is needed to pull the alcohol industry into line".

Among some of the concerns raised on the AARB website about the current industry-led Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Scheme is: "Making a complaint is difficult, confusing and the process is very slow-moving. Often a determination is made after the advertisement in question has finished its run."

Under the current system of self-regulation complaints are usually adjudicated on by the ABAC within a month. Seems several beer campaigns must have run their course in the three months since the new independent body received its first complaint in relation to a Foster's ad. The nation's leading public health campaigner, Curtin University's Mike Daube, who co-founded the new body, told the advertising industry journal AdNews last month: "We are working on our timelines, not the alcohol drink industry's.

"For our first report, we wanted to include what we thought was an appropriate amount of complaints, rather than just a few early ones."

Got a tip? srochfort@fairfax.com.au

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