Month: November 2019

Fair Dinkum Virtue Signaling

Atlasssian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has been a huge advocate of renewables. So much so he has stated he wants to be a net exporter of wind and solar. Fair Dinkum Power (FDP), the company he helped set up, had a manifesto which stated the following,

We are a movement. We are a brand for Australia’s energy future. We are a rallying cry for all who believe in the power of the wind, the sun, the waves and – most importantly – the power of the people of Australia.

For energy to be fair dinkum, it must be honestly good for our wallets, good for our economy and good for our planet.

So to CM’s surprise today, the AFR noted,

“The Atlassian co-founder applied to deregister Australian Fair Dinkum Power Pty Ltd on November 27, almost exactly a year after he set it up in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison referring to coal as “fair dinkum power” in comparison to solar or wind.

A spokesperson for the Rich Lister said the Fair Dinkum Power cause, which advocates for Australia to be 100 per cent powered by renewables and export as much again, would live on in the form of a website, an online petition (which has more than 90,000 signatories) and a Facebook page.

The company never undertook any business activity and the spokesperson said there had never been any intention to start any, despite rumours that Mr Cannon-Brookes would launch a retail energy supplier under the Fair Dinkum banner.

One can only imagine that the realities of the free market meant that it was never going to be good for wallets or the economy. CM awaits the media to conduct a full investigation into this sad outcome with all the gusto they did at FDP’s inception.

Fair Dinkum Virtue Signaling!

It was only several months ago that Mike Cannon-Brookes (MCB) was on a campaign to get the already left-leaning board of BHP to ditch ties with groups like the Minerals Council of Australia. But why?

CM believes that nothing shows the prosecution of a cause than leading from the front. MCB should use the might of Atlassian’s $32 bn market cap and seek to buy a controlling stake in BHP whereby it can behave like an activist shareholder and achieve those goals from within. A bit rich to demand a company like BHP fold to the whims of another listed corporate which has no direct business with it. That would be terrible governance for BHP to pay MCB any mind.

How would MCB react if BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie turned around and demanded that Atlassian cut ties with ANZ for being embroiled in the Hayne Banking Royal Commission? MCB would rightly tell him to take a hike.

One doubts that MCB has much of his superannuation buried in BHP shares but why pick on the Minerals Council of Australia? After all, if he had a good look at what Australia’s mineral industry enables, Atlassian should be a backer not a knocker. Why not influence the debate by being part of it?

Here is a list of 30 things Australian minerals companies provide, including vital materials used in wind farms and solar panels, the very forms of renewable energy MCB wants Atlassian to rely on 100% to power its future. MCB’s Tesla is reliant on Aussie minerals to make the batteries. So does his smartphone, tablets, laptops and desktops. And so do the white goods that chill his food and the copper pipes that deliver hot water in his lovely mansion in Sydney. His dentist uses those minerals to maximise his oral hygiene.  The list goes on.

No one can take away the success MCB has achieved in the corporate sphere. However, it would appear that being an expert in the software world doesn’t always translate to being a sage on the environment much less hold any authority to dictate the boardroom discussions of a company that is more crucial to its existence than the other way around.

Harvey Norman Derangement Syndrome

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CM attended today’s Harvey Norman (HVN) AGM as an observer. This was a 2-hr lesson in HVN Derangement Syndrome by a handful of shareholder activists.

Two key takeaways – 1) there was overwhelming shareholder support for reappointments to the board, & 2) agitator and activist Stephen Mayne did little more than draw the ire of the audience as he rattled off what he believed to be a value-added commentary on the company’s approach to governance and supposed lack of independence, neither which he made a credible case for.

The ultimate irony expressed by Mr Mayne was his confession that he and his proxies would be voting FOR the reappointment of CEO Katie Page as a director, despite his constant interjections at the questionable state of governance at the firm. Seems 91% of shareholders want her to stay. Hardly a vote of no confidence.  Surely if he believed the board is the worst on the ASX for governance, why own shares at all? Crikey!

The flipside was the proposal for Mayne’s appointment to the HVN board received a 91% rejection by shareholders, reflective of their desire to maintain a winning formula. Chairman Gerry Harvey quipped, “who are the 8% of shares that voted for you?

Perhaps the area of focus by the media will be when Gerry Harvey decided to demolish Mayne by running through his trail of digital footprints, including one which described the activist ranking Aussie female politicians by looks with lewd comments such as “oozing sex and fun”, “very very tasty” and “dark, sensual and very attractive.” The chairman questioned whether Mayne was a “sexual predator?” Inappropriate? Whatever one’s personal view, Harvey and most present won’t be losing any sleep over it. Mayne can’t complain at being deprived of time on the microphone. Harvey was harsh but more than fair. It was not lost on anyone.

Mayne said to the media afterwards that, “He’s the worst in the market for governance and he’s only proved it here.” CM only hopes for more Gerry Harvey’s in the market. The leaders that don’t bend to all of the ridiculous woke causes which prioritise irrelevant factors over shareholder returns. As we pointed in an earlier CM, those industry super funds which prioritise social responsibility have all underperformed the ASX200.

It was hard not to be impressed by the global expansion. Katie Page ran through the enhanced footprint throughout Malaysia, Singapore, Ireland, Croatia and the poshing up of stores domestically to a premium standard.

This company has 18% compound returns since its listing. Dividend yield at present is 8%. One for the SMSF. This is a quality business. Management has conviction. There is a tangible track record.

Who on earth would want the likes of an activist who has now been rejected 50 out of 50 times to join ASX boards to occupy a spot at HVN? With such a resounding defeat, will Mayne sell his minuscule shareholding and move on? There are plenty of companies that will indulge Mayne’s desire for woke practices. This was nothing more than a display of Harvey Norman Derangement Syndrome.

When equal pay turns into the demand for preferential treatment

Pity poor Sam Kerr. The $2m. p.a. Australian Matildas player was not allowed to board a Jetstar flight due to her damaged passport. After the attainment of equal pay with the men’s side (Socceroos) in the last month, it seems Kerr doesn’t understand that the airline gets fined (c.$3,500) for allowing passengers to travel with damaged documents. Was she aware of this?

While the damage to her passport might look superficial to us and as much as we might think of Jetstar as a one star airline for service, she should have taken better care of the document. Get over it.

What is it with the Qantas group and grumpy passengers in the last few weeks? Another sign of the self-entitled taking to Twitter to air grievances when they are in the wrong.

ScoMo does Westpac a favour via first home buyer scheme

What a joke our government is. Whack Westpac over the head again because it has been a “very naughty boy” by banning it from the government’s first home buyer deposit scheme. While it might look good in front of voters to bash a bank, what they don’t realize is Westpac actually wins.

Westpac should count it’s blessings. Honestly. Piling first home buyers in at the top of the property bubble is hardly the best scheme for prudent risk management. Given the banks haven’t been granted the ability to properly risk adjust for these buyers, it works in Westpac’s favour to be booted from this ridiculous plan.

Here is the deal. Although ‘owning’ one’s own home has always been part of the Game of Life in Australia, at what point will our law makers look to failure in policy as a reason kids can’t join the property ladder instead of trying to grant their wish and saddle them with negative equity right around the corner? Perhaps address productivity, tax reform and unnecessary red tape as opposed to bash a bank, tighten the regulatory noose and eject them from the sandpit by subsidizing a future car wreck.

In reality the scope of business Westpac may have made from this scheme is likely to be so small it would be a rounding error to the group. Yet more virtue signaling from our political class. Utter. Waste. Of. Time.

More Dems getting cold feet over impeachment – WaPo

What an utter clown show. WaPo’s Rachel Bade suggests that more Democrats are getting  “cold feet” behind closed doors over going through with impeachment.

Yet further evidence that the Trump Derangement Syndrome driving so many of the Dems is not shared with the more centrist individuals within the party.

Now the entry of Michael Bloomberg into the primaries only exacerbates the rift in the party. No cohesion. Watch the hard left of the party seek to persecute Bloomberg in the debates.

To think they thought impeachment was a forgone conclusion. If the Dems don’t move to impeach they risk having more egg on their face than they already do.

Until there is one “consistent” message from The Dems for America, Trump looks the more consistent and on message candidate, as hard as that may be for many to swallow.

Red rag to a bull

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CM will be doing Christmas shopping like nobody’s business on Black Friday. If these sanctimonious unwashed time-wasters want people to boycott then CM feels obliged to do the opposite. Sick to death of being told what to do, how to eat and what to say. Then again they only need to look at the hypocrisy of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) leadership to work out that not all pigs are equal. The funniest part of this video is to do with transportation to the studio.

What XR should realise is simple – allow Black Friday to be exactly that and gauge the public perception of the climate emergency. If sales are up, then that is a better indicator of the lack of fear factor XR always wails about. Every time that XR boycotts something, CM will buy/consume the very products these cultural Marxists hate.

Lazy Journalism 101

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News reports, “Australians are becoming increasing worried about climate, with their concern on the issue doubling since 2018…Researchers for the latest Mapping Social Cohesion Report asked Australians to name their biggest concern off the top of their heads, with 19 per cent saying climate change.”

From the Mapping Social Cohesion report of 2017, “Environmental issues have declined from a peak of 18% in 2011 to 7% in 2017, close to the level of the previous
four years.

So essentially the above search took CM less than a minute. Effectively depending on the start point, we are near as makes no difference the same as we were in 2011 in our views on climate change. If the media outlet wanted CM to do their sensationalism for them they technically could have run a “near trebling from 2017” headline.

Typical media clickbait but we’ve proved they aren’t even any good at it. Hopeless alarmists.

The greatest showman on earth

While he deserves all the credit in the world for his pushing the boundaries, this is where the “snake-oil” salesman in him grates the nerves of CM.

In his Cybertruck release, he had a tug-of-war with the world’s best selling pick-up truck, the F-150. AutoBlog noted that the Tesla truck pulling the F-150 was disingenuous for a number of reasons.

  1. it appears to be the F-150 STX model which is a base model with a 325hp 2.7l eco-boost engine, not the full-fat 450hp version.
  2. the F-150 appears to be the 2WD version as it only spins the rear wheels, not the 4WD where the Cybertruck most certainly was.
  3. We don’t know what version of the Tesla Cybertruck it was. Most likely a twin or tri-motor which would not be a strict apple for apples comparison.
  4. The F-150 would be a lighter vehicle than the Cybertruck.
  5. A higher motor-spec Cybertruck should still have been able to defeat a 450hp version of the F-150 but it wouldn’t have had the visuals of kicking sand in a wimp’s face.

As ever these stunts always call into question the governance of the company. Integrity matters. Or does it nowadays?

However Tesla disciples won’t care. 200,000 orders guarantees that. They’ll frolic in the pond of early adoption and cast scorn on the Neanderthals like CM who still love internal combustion.

CM has long said that governments should not be “forcing” adoption of EVs. We all know the results of, “Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help!

The best solution is to hand over complete technological freedom to the engineers at auto firms and allow their creative juices to hit zero emissions by whatever means possible. As Milton Friedman once said, “Einstein didn’t discover his theory by an edict from a government bureau

Elon hits 200k Cybertrucks

200k Cybertruck orders. As CM wrote this morning, the biggest loads these pick-ups will probably ever carry are double shot grande soy lattes. This car is a fashion accessory, not a work horse.

As a bonafide petrol head, CM hates the whole concept of EVs but this maybe the one product that might sway CM to the dark side. Matte black looks good.