Yesterday, Spartacus was reading Marcus’ contribution on energy “policy” – We Need the Government to Do What?!. (PS highly recommended to the Cats).
Marcus’ description of the exchange between Credlin, Bernardi and Reece did not really surprise Spartacus, but given some 90% of communication is non verbal (voice and face), and Marcus’ description was second hand, Spartacus wanted to go to the horse’s mouth and see for himself.
So off to FoxTel Go he went. And almost threw a shoe at the screen. Dear Marcus did not do these clowns the disservice they deserve.
But before going into the substance, one cannot but what this particular performance of Peta Credlin and get a better insight into what and why so many counselled Prime Minister Abbott to let her go. She was high handed, arrogant and wrong. But importantly, she was not in doubt.
On to substance. The key debate was on electricity and AGL and their plan to close/re-purpose the Liddell Power Station. Here is Senator Bernardi’s contribution:
The big problem we have got is that the government is too involved in this business
But then Senator Bernardi proposes that the government get further involved:
You could take out all the speculators and the only purchaser will be the government.
Does this mean the government will also get back into the distribution, billing and call centre business? Perhaps in South Australia?
But moving onto AGL, Credlin suggested that the government, unable to convince management cow tow should try to influence to the board and institutional investors of AGL. Wow. Just Wow.
Credlin has (repeatedly) mocked the Turnbull government for their attack on superannuants through the tax system but she now proposed to attack superannuants through other means. And then Credlin says this:
The company (AGL) has to act in the national interest.
Perhaps in a totalitarian state ,but to suggest that AGL had a duty to act in the national interest above shareholder interest is just breathtaking. Ms Credlin frequently likes to wave her legal credentials around, so perhaps before her next outing she should familiarise herself with the Corporations Act. If Ms Credlin happens to be a reader of Catallaxy, here is a snippet from the ASIC website talking about director duties:
General duties imposed by the Corporations Act on directors and officers of companies include:
- the duty to exercise your powers and duties with the care and diligence that a reasonable person would have which includes taking steps to ensure you are properly informed about the financial position of the company and ensuring the company doesn’t trade if it is insolvent
- the duty to exercise your powers and duties in good faith in the best interests of the company and for a proper purpose
- the duty not to improperly use your position to gain an advantage for yourself or someone else, or to cause detriment to the company, and
- the duty not to improperly use information obtained through your position to gain an advantage for yourself or someone else, or to cause detriment to the company.
IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE COMPANY!
NOT TO CAUSE DETRIMENT TO THE COMPANY!
And if the Government is going to try to force AGL to act otherwise (against the interest of the company), well there is then there is section 51 xxxi of the Australian constitution that requires the acquisition of property on just terms.
Then Senator Bernardi suggests a punitive and targeted strategy to take away all of AGL’s subsidies and Credlin says:
Giddy up. That’s it. Giddy up Corey.
Wow. Just wow. These are the people who seek to govern this nation.
Don’t get me wrong. Spartacus does no like what AGL is doing. But Australia is a country of laws and AGL is acting within the law. Private companies acting in the national interest and punishing companies for not cow towing to government. That is Venezuela. that is Cuba.
You know that there is a big problem when, in a debate between Peta Credlin, Corey Bernardi and Nicholas Reece, it is Nicholas Reece that comes across as the most sensible.
Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus