Diary for Wednesday 24th November 2010:
9am. Breakfast with whatshisname at the crap coffee house opposite the Fortune of War Hotel in the Rocks.
10am. AGM - Lynas Corporation, Marriott Hotel, Sydney.
1pm. Qantas flight Sydney - Launceston (note to self: check with Qantas staff whether plane is powered by Rolls Royce or Daewoo).
6pm. Tasrail pissup, Grand Chancellor, Launceston.
Breakfast uneventful. Next time, suggest an alternative venue - the Fortune of War still serves Tooheys Old from 6am.
Lynas AGM. Another day, another AGM. Hard plastic chairs, and soft soggy biscuits. And hotel coffee. At least the company is a ripper.
Qantas flight. Wonderful. Unlike retarded younger sister Jetstar, Qantas don’t think service is only used in tennis. (scrawled notes suggest `amusing yet elegant’‘. I can’t recall whether they relate to the Eden Valley riesling or flight attendant Sonja).
Tasrail pissup. Arrived late. Not on guest list. No matter - plenty of spare name tags, so I assume the identity of a minor Labor stooge. Plenty to drink, and plenty of company. Yet….
There are some key differences here. Lynas, an ASX listed company, offered a formal presentation to shareholders, and modest refreshments. Lynas is $3 billion company with outstanding prospects. A few hours after the AGM, the company revealed a multi-billion dollar deal with Japan to export rare earths.
Tasrail, a State-owned business, has just two shareholders. Both are Government Ministers. The company is a dog. Tasmania’s taxpayers only own the company because the former owner couldn’t locate anyone with their mental acuity damaged enough to take over the liabilities. In the first six months of the year, Tasrail lost $10 million, which although modest by Tasmanian standards, is still a loss. Presumably, as the annual report has been in the public domain for a few weeks, the two shareholders (who I couldn’t spot in the crowd) already new that the Board had announced the loss.
And about that Board… Some familiar names, and not a lot of experience in successfully running a freight operation. Still, that’s Tasmanian Labor for you. Jobs for the boys and girls.
But the drinks were great. Who cares about losing a few million of taxpayer dollars when you can belt about six Boags Premiums surrounded by real estate salesmen, failed political hopefuls and unknown minor public servants?
It would be churlish to suggest that the bill of just a few thousand dollars for tonight’s drinkies could be better spent. After all, the faithful must be rewarded and encouraged, and fixing derailments and railway crossing accidents provide their own unique form of financial stimulus to Tasmania’s economy.
Tassie is doomed. The Labor machine is out of control. If Tasrail is any guide, our State’s leadership has no idea how to run a Labor Party meat tray raffle let alone a modern economy. But perhaps we already knew that.