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Gina going great guns with gongs

Iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart was keen to hammer home her credentials in her stump speech as candidate for election to the Ten Network Holdings board on Friday.

Iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart was keen to hammer home her credentials in her stump speech as candidate for election to the Ten Network Holdings board on Friday.

"I've been recognised this year with a global leadership award, CEO Masterclass, to add to other, earlier awards, including the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year awards for Australia," the nation's richest person said. "Why do I raise this?

"Because these awards were given to me for turning the Hancock Prospecting company group into the growing enterprise it is today, despite considerable difficulties."


Approached by a CBD operative after the meeting, Rinehart was clearly pleased at winning her first election to the board of an ASX-listed company.

Asked if she had expected any protest against her, she mused: "I don't know, 97 per cent [in favour] before I arrived here was not much of a protest. That was for, not against! The media might think that's against, but it's not. Especially your organisation!"

Which was somewhat disconcerting, given Rinehart is one of Fairfax Media's largest shareholders, with a personal stake of about 4 per cent.

Rinehart wouldn't comment on her intentions for her stake in Fairfax - or her 10 per cent of Ten, for that matter - and reflected the fact she'd lost money on both investments was a sign of the times.

"So many investments right throughout Australia are under water right now," she said.

"I hope you've heard what Lachlan [Murdoch] delivered today. I think we've so repositioned the channel this year [so] that it's positioned really well with these fabulous new programs, for a brighter future," Rinehart said.


There was one unscripted moment on Origin Energy's media tour of its coal seam gas projects in Queensland's Darling Downs last week.

A peanut grower, Simon Drury, who allowed the media to inspect a patch of dirt on his property where Origin was about to drill some holes, was asked about the Queensland Liberal National Party's idea of making all dealings between coal seam gas companies and farmers transparent - including the amount paid to access their properties.

Drury let all present know it was problematic. "Believe it or not, I actually talked to [Campbell Newman, the LNP leader] about that. I don't think it could work," he said.

"As far as transparency goes, if you get a person whose property is worth $3 million, and the other person's is worth $3 million, this person is anti-coal seam gas and this person is pro-coal seam gas, if the parties got the same amount of money, would that be fair to the person who's supporting the industry?

"Dunno, I just thought I'd say that." Journalists on the tour were quickly loaded back on the Origin media bus, which left quick smart.


The Reserve Bank governor, Glenn Stevens, is not reading much significance into the decision by the Occupy Sydney movement to choose the front of his Martin Place headquarters for its protest focus.

After giving the inaugural memorial lecture in honour of the former University of Sydney economics professor Warren Hogan last week, Stevens was asked if the Reserve Bank had suggested whether "it might be better" for the Occupy protesters to camp instead down at the Macquarie Bank end of Martin Place.

But Stevens suggested the location of the protests could be partly attributed to its topography. "I think it's just that that precinct of Martin Place where we are, being nice and level," he explained. "But no, we just leave them alone and they leave us alone, mainly," he said.

Stevens, after taking a question from his former lecturer's son, ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan jnr, also hinted at which sorts of people he prefers to take questions from. "I will take that as a question from an economist rather than from a banker, Warren," he said. Stevens, unlike the federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan , did not appear too fussed about the controversy surrounding the trend by the big four banks not to pass on every cut in official interest rates in full.

"I would observe that the period in which announced changes in mortgage rates tracked the cash rate decision, actually that hasn't been the case since time immemorial," the governor said. "We've tended to, somehow, come to feel that it was the norm but, in the broader sweep of history, the connections were not as close as that."

Stevens, apart from his $1 million pay packet, also appears happy in his role heading Australia's central bank. "I've yet to meet a central bank governor from another country with whom I want to swap," he said after his speech on Thursday night.


Phew. The board at the earthmoving equipment concern Emeco Holdings has been spared a "strike" due to "some apparent anomalies" in the proxy votes lodged at its recent annual meeting.

The 26.3 per cent vote against the company's remuneration report at its November 15 annual meeting has been revised below 25 per cent, and so Emeco will avoid facing a potential spill vote at the annual meeting next year if another strong vote is recorded against its remuneration report.

In an announcement late on Friday, Emeco said it had discovered the shares of two institutional shareholders had been double-counted.

"The correction of this error would result in an 'against' vote of less than 25 per cent in respect of the advisory vote on Emeco's remuneration report," the company, chaired by former CSR managing director Alec Brennan, said.

"This has been confirmed by an independent scrutineer."

But Emeco said it acknowledged the strong vote against its remuneration report and would be reviewing its executive pay structures.

Brennan has already acknowledged shareholder concern over Emeco's practice of paying dividends on unvested shares held in its executive long-term incentive plan.

One wonders if the Emeco announcement could inspire other companies which have recorded votes of more than 25 per cent against their remuneration reports (such as Cabcharge, BlueScope Steel, Crown and Pacific Brands) to do their own recounts.

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