“The Don is the head of the organisation … a dictator who has the power to order anything and everything from anyone in the ‘Family’.”
Photo: The Urban Developer on Meriton entering the Melbourne market.
Harry Triguboff … could he have instigated the Property Ponzi?
THE Founder of Meriton, Australia’s most prolific apartment developer, Harry Triguboff.
When interviewed on ‘One Plus One’ by Jane Hutcheon when she enquired if Harry had a hand in the way the Sydney landscape has changed he responded:
“Well, since I am not a modest person I say I had the biggest hand in it because I devoted myself to Sydney. I did a little bit in Queensland, but absolutely I am Sydney!”
In an interview with Robert Harley from the Australian Financial Review in October 2016 Harry said he was not worried about the oversupply of apartments … ‘There will be oversupply when rents are going down … ‘Then I will bring in more migrants’. Said Mr Triguboff!
Apparently the Federal Government does not set the Migrant quotas! But the Don does!
THIS is how Harry, it seems, has been able to continue to source his client base from China and its 1.4 Billion population when interviewed by the AFR in July 2017 Harry said:
“The problem with Australians is they are very slow. They ask their lawyer, they ask their financial adviser, they ask their family, they ask everybody.TheChinese don’t ask anybody, they come off the plane, buy their unit and go.”
So Harry not only runs NSW through the Urban Taskforce Australia, but through his business model in high immigration and economies of scale!
Property billionaire Lang Walker says greenfield estate areas are particularly undersupplied. Photo: Edwina Pickles
IS LANG WALKER‘THE LIEUTENANT’?
The Lieutenant is described as the second-in-command in the organisational hierarchy of the Australian Property Family … the M.fia?
His level of authority varies … is that because others too from the developer lobby groups, the PropertyCouncil of Australia, the Urban Taskforce Australia and the Urban Development Institute of Australia … are all ready to stand in for The Don (the Boss) at any given moment?
It could be that Lang is the second most powerful man in the M.fia. However, the Boss is the only one that has power and authority over the Lieutenant (the UnderBoss).
IF the Don dies (86) … normally the UnderBoss would take the reigns … but hey he doesn’t look to be far behind? Oh, he’s only 73 or 74 … all that wealth, power and authority is ageing …
Photo: Daily Telegraph
DOES it seem that The Mob are ensuring Sydney runs out of land having driven the Librats Population Ponzi? As they promote ‘the end of the backyard‘! Their population Ponzi has fuelled the explosion of apartment precincts across Sydney … and land is expected to run out within a decade!
When billionaire developer Lang Walker talks property, everyone listens. In June 2019 Lang’s hot tip for the future … Masterplanned Communities of house and land packages … the consequence sadly … the destruction of the Koala habitat, urban fringe farmlands of the Macarthur and Wollondilly.
Lang: ‘Now those old-time big blocks have been cut into three … ‘
Are greenfield areas (the Greenfield Housing Code allowing lots as tiny as 200M X 6M wide) under-supplied because they cannot meet the foreign demand? Cough … cough …
THIS SUMMER’s Bushfires have shredded core koala habitat, the campaign to protect the crucial colony west of Sydney has become even more important!
IT is up to the People of Australia to demand a stop to The Mob’s overdevelopment and destruction for their foreign buyer market … time to Lobby … it can start in your street! And spread across the Nation … there arestill more of us than ‘the $uits’ …
WHO IS ‘THE CONSIGLIERE’ … the Advisor, or Counselor?
The Right-hand Man, is it Meriton’s General Counsel, Joseph Callaghan?
Because Joseph is very powerful in the Meriton organisation, he must be a close and trusted friend and confidant of the Family Boss, The Don, for strategic information, diplomatic counsel, and sound advice.
The Consigliere is someone who the Boss trusts and goes to for advice, counsel or information regarding the organization, operations, or businesses.
Unlike the underboss, the consigliere is chosen solely for his abilities and the amount of vast knowledge, and intelligence he possesses. Generally, only the boss and underboss have more authority than the consigliere in the property family … the m.fia …
The Consigliere is very powerful in the command hierarchy, he is the “third in command”.
THUS … a summons was filed in the Land and Environment Court of NSW against four respondents – the Premier of NSW; the Minister for Planning; Secretary for the Department of Planning & Environment and the Greater Sydney Commission.
AND a Media Release was issued!
Closing with the threat …
‘There is a bigger picture here. A thriving residential construction industry is a key indicator of the economic success of NSW, but both sides of politics seem to be in a race to the bottom when it comes to stirring up anti-development sentiment. They show no real leadership on this issue and I tell you one thing, they’re going to miss the stamp duty when it’s gone.”
THE DON … using the threat of the loss of stamp duty coffers to maintain the enormous wealth of the Property Titans (the M.fia … )as they destroy where we live … with high-rise slums or terraces as many as 10 on a 600M2 lot … meaning Millions X Sewage … as the Communists displace our Communities …
AUSTRALIAN HOMES are being ‘banked‘, demolished for medium-density
IT was put about early in the term of the NSW Libs that SYDNEY WAS GROWING … we have to have higher density to meet the population growth … that this would be addressed by developing high-rise Precincts near railway stations, and on bus routes …
BUT that has not been enough … with Millions of ‘buyers’ overseas …
Former Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson in a 2018 media release reported that ‘30% of dwellings in Sydney are apartments with 14% being townhouses and 55% detached houses.
By 2024 the detached homes will have dropped to 49% and apartments grown to 34%.
In 40 years-time apartments are predicted to be 50% of Sydney’s homes with 25% as townhouses and 25% as detached houses.‘
WHERE have all the buyers come from? For both high-rise and urban sprawl … as our Australian Heritage and neighbourhoods are demolished for ‘Exempt and Complying Development’ … of terraces, townhouses, triplex and duplex
‘The Chinese Vision Times‘ writes:
‘ … almost 4.2 million people moved to Australia between 1945 and 1985. These people built homes inspired by their European backgrounds and contributed heavily to the aesthetic and architectural culture of Australia. Today, these post-war homes are increasingly being demolished.’
Property prices in Australia have almost rebounded back to their peak levels after falling for several months. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)
WITH yet another surge of overseas buyers from China and Hong Kong …
‘Australian’s today have no use for such big homes so they are being bulldozed.‘
Australian’s today have no use for such big homes so they are being bulldozed. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)
And there have been so many beautiful Heritage and Mid-Century homes bulldozed for fugly development of duplex, townhouses and terraces now devouring where we live as more fly in … to launder their ‘hot money’ for their Permanent Residency …
The Liberal Party voted down a 2017 Labor push to ban property developers from councils, but is considering putting in ban before September’s local government elections.
IT would seem obvious that their family members, business associates and political lobbyists should equally be banned!
PERHAPS this is now being floated by the Libs following World-wide media reports of … tottering towers … the Opal Tower … Mascot Towers … toxic sites … damp … mould … water ingress … cracks … defective wiring … combustible cladding and Towering Infernos … the buyer resistance with ‘new apartments’ 85% defective on completion …
STRATHFIELD has boulevardes of beautiful Australian Heritage Homes now threatened by the Berejiklian Grubment rezoning, and higher density of high-rise and medium-density of terraces … perhaps a step too far even for this government?
AND if this MOB are not banned from Councils … how will the Berejiklian Government even make their way out of this mess … this time?
Liberal mayor: ‘Brothel owners treated better than developers’
Strathfield Mayor and property developer Antoine Doueihi’s argument that brothel owners are being treated better than property developers within the Liberal Party has been slammed as “crass and illogical”.
Ben Pike, Urban Affairs Reporter, The Sunday TelegraphSubscriber only|February 23, 2020 12:00amClosePauseLoaded: 44.94%Current Time 0:15/Duration 2:13FullscreenNOW PLAYINGResumeConcrete Kings of Sydney: the developers who cashed in on the property boom2:13UP NEXT
‘Strathfield Mayor and property developer Antoine Doueihi has blasted his party’s moves to ban property developers and real estate agents from running on local councils.
The 70-year-old — who recently completed a 24-unit development in Sutherland worth at least $15 million — said property developers are okay to be on councils “as long as they are not being bribed by someone”.
“So a brothel owner can sit on the local council but a property developer can’t,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.
“According to this idea, it doesn’t matter if he is a brothel owner. I don’t think this idea will survive in the high court.
“You can’t live without property developers; they build everyone’s home.”
*Mr Doueihi, who was endorsed by the NSW Liberal Party so sit on both Strathfield and Burwood councils, is still being investigated by the NSW Office of Local Government for not declaring his interest in at least 11 companies.
*The investigation into 20-year Liberal Party member has been running since December 2018 and relates to failures to declare property interests on his pecuniary interests register.‘
-Mr Doueihi said his decision not to contest the upcoming local government elections is because of “family reasons”; unrelated to the OLG investigation
-that it is not related to the party’s push from Don Harwin to ban property developers from running on councils
Strathfield Council Deputy Mayor Matthew Blackmore said:
“Property developers by nature are intimately involved with local councils for their daily business – brothel owners are not,” Mr Blackmore said.
“Brothel owners have also not been banned from making donations to political parties since 2009.”
-2013 Mr Doueihi was fined $43,000 by the L & E Court after pleading guilty to carrying out development without development consent
-four additional boarding house rooms were added to his Burwood Road, Burwood development; for a potential net extra income of $hundreds of thousands
-often seen with Liberal Party insider and lobbyist Joe Tannous but denies doing business with him
‘The Liberal Party voted down a 2017 Labor push to ban property developers from councils, but is considering putting in ban before September’s local government elections.
A senior Liberal told The Sunday Telegraph “information like the Antoine Doueihi matter will weigh heavily on the decision of the Liberal Party about whether to endorse candidates at the local government elections in September”.’
FEAR OF MISSING OUT! SO SAD! We saw their glum faces yesterday … among them young professionals competing with buyers from overseas at ‘Open Houses’ across Sydney yesterday … Saturday …
RE Agent says
“There are people who are feeling like they’ve missed the boat or are going to if they don’t purchase straight away. I don’t know where that’s come from.”
NOT MUCH YOU DON’T!
WHAT the real estate sector don’t talk about …
With the corrupt SCUMMO government exemption from Anti-Money Laundering Laws for Real Estate Gatekeepers … inticing your foreign clients to launder their ‘Hot Black Money’ in Australia’s domestic housing … no doubt there is much fear and loathing among aspiring Australian First Home Buyers!
‘But that’s not stopping first-home buyers getting into such markets, with 70 stamp duty exemptions and concessions granted for the lower north shore over the same period.
The majority, though, have to spend well over the caps, unless they want an unrenovated one-bedroom unit or studios, Mr Scarpignato says, with first-home buyers generally spending from $900,000 right up to $1.6 million, which would secure a two-bedroom apartment or a one-bedroom with parking.
“Even in some of the more expensive areas there are a decent share of units being sold under the cap, but of course that proportion is falling quite rapidly,” said Domain economist Trent Wiltshire.
Almost 30 per cent of apartments sold in inner Sydney were under the cap, as were about one-third of units in and around Marrickville and Botany and half of apartments in the Ryde region and Cronulla area.
However the pool of eligible properties across Sydney would shrink to about 27 per cent of homes if the current rate of price growth continued, Mr Wiltshire said. Add further competition from potential interest rate cuts and another 10,000 scheme spots, and first-home buyers are feeling the pressure to get in.
In the Ashfield area, where almost two-thirds of units are selling below the cap, Jackson Cox of Richard Matthews Real Estate is seeing huge first-home buyer demand, particularly for older units.
“I’m seeing more than double the first-home buyers … than what there was at the end of last year,” he said. “I think that there’s probably quite a bit of urgency.
“They’re really trying to target that $650,000 price point to avoid stamp duty, but will go up to $700,000 if they can,” he said, noting an auction for a two-bedroom unit last week drew four first-home buyers who pushed the price up to $699,000.
Among them is Tom Armstrong, who has three months to buy with his scheme spot. While “super small” apartments in the city were not completely out of reach, he quickly decided to turn his search to Ashfield and Croydon in the inner west, then further afield to Parramatta to try to get a two-bedroom apartment.
“It’s been pretty full-on, a lot of [the properties] have line-ups at the door, especially the inner west ones,” the 30-year-old said. “I definitely want to get in as soon as possible while there is stuff I like, three months isn’t that long if you’re too picky.”
While most scheme spots nationally were being used to buy houses, Mr Armstrong said that was not viable in Sydney unless you moved really far out.
Mr Wiltshire said the government would likely need to revise price caps next year if it continued with the scheme, but noted this might only put further upward pressure on prices.
“Yes, it will help those people that get to use the scheme, get into the market earlier … but overall it’s not really helping housing affordability because it’s pushing prices up.”
Nearly $60 million worth of real estate in one of Toorak’s most-exclusive streets has been reduced to a patch of dirt, with mystery surrounding what’s going to happen to it.
On well-heeled St Georges Road, where two grand mansions once stood side by side, sits a couple of Melbourne’s priciest vacant blocks after bulldozers razed both properties.
Melbourne real estate records were smashed a few years ago when a Chinese buyer paid just under $40 million for the 1920s Mowbray mansion at 18 St Georges Road.
The palatial six-bedder, sitting on 5000sqm with a swimming pool and tennis court, succumbed to the dozer blade in recent months after it was damaged by fire and vandals started getting inside the vacant property.
The gates bearing the Mowbray name are still standing.
Title documents show the property belongs to a buyer by the name of Qi Yang.The Australian Financial Review reported at the time that Mr Qi won Foreign Investment Review Board approval to buy the land, which came with a hefty $5 million stamp duty bill.
The City of Stonnington said no plans had been lodged for the property after a demolition permit was granted in May last year.
Under the council’s planning scheme, a building permit is only required for two or more dwellings or a subdivision.
There is no sign of tradies next door either, since the Idylwilde mansion was controversially torn down in 2015, prompting an outcry in the community over lost heritage.
Bought for $18.5 million in 2013, the former landmark 1913 estate at 16 St Georges Road is now chock full of weeds and surrounded by security fencing.
*The lack of action has prompted speculation about landbanking.
*Owner Xiaoyan “Kylie” Baoput the property on the market last year with a $40 million plus price guideafter plans to build a grand $18 million home were shelved.
However, one buyers’ advocate who deals with high-end property said the owner would be lucky to get anywhere near that.
“They paid way over the top,” the property watcher said.
Those two vacant blocks could soon be joined by another, if a third mansion is demolished further down the street.
A 7200sqm block at 29-31 St Georges Road is quietly up for sale after sitting dormant for nearly three decades.
*The rumoured asking price is as much as $75 million, after the property was bought by the Yu family for $5 million in 1991.
A chunk of change like that would obliterate the property record established by Mowbray and later eclipsed when Australia’s former government house, Stonington in Malvern, sold for $52.5 million in 2018.
Several planning applications have been knocked back over the years to build units on the land, however there might finally be a change of ownership around the corner.
A half-built French Renaissance-style house on the land would probably be knocked over, according to selling agent Andrew Baines.
“It’s purely land,” he said.
Toorak Village Residents Action Group president Eddie Young said the neighbours were waiting to see what would happen with the properties.
He said he had been told that a single dwelling would be built at 18 St Georges Road, which locals were pleased with.
Next door, however, was another story.
“It’s a mystery,” he said. “And it looks dreadful.”Play Video
COMMUNITY ACTION ALLIANCE FOR NSW (CAAN) provides a a recent Chronology of how this took place!
IN July 2018 … The Law Council of Australiaopposed the extension of the Anti-Money Laundering Laws, the second tranche of the Legislation.
Executive board member Konrad de Kerloy said lawyers were already heavily regulated and the implementation of new AML laws would fall on professionals in rural and regional Australia.
“Whilst no lawyers want to be involved in wittingly or unwittingly in money laundering, the question is really, does the cost justify the imposition of an extra layer of regulation on lawyers?” Mr Konrad said.
The Real Estate Institute of Australia is also concerned about the cost of new legislation.
President Malcolm Gunning said the institute supports changes to AML laws but said real estate agents will need training to bring them up to speed.
“The Real Estate Institutes are not opposed to it, but the concern is the responsibility that goes with it and the education that is required to be able to enact that,” he told the Business in an interview.
“Real estate agents aren’t lawyers, they don’t study the law in depth, so if we are to be gatekeepers as with the conveyancers and say, necessarily the accountants and the advisers, then we need to be better educated.”
CAAN: This begs the question if ‘Real Estate Agents’ are not lawyers … and it is submitted that they will need training to bring them up to speed on the AML … how come they can command such excessive commissions?
Is their very large commission solely based on the inflated cost of housing? Cough … cough …
Their job is not up there with the complex work of a Solicitor, a Doctor, a Structural Engineer, or an Architect …
The real estate agent has access behind the Great Firewall to an exclusive audience of Chinese buyers on Juwai.com
There are numerous Chinese newspapers circulated esp. in Sydney largely advertising Australian Real Estate including ‘The Chinese Vision Times’ and the ‘Epoch Times’ … and there are Chinese Property Papers … FFS!
Photo: From ‘The Chinese Vision Times‘; Good Ol’ Post-War Australian Homes Face the Bulldozer. ‘ … almost 4.2 million people moved to Australia between 1945 and 1985. These people built homes inspired by their European backgrounds and contributed heavily to the aesthetic and architectural culture of Australia. Today, these post-war homes are increasingly being demolished.’
NOTE … all too numerous attractive mid-Century and Heritage homes have been demolished to make way for redevelopment and a ‘Permanent Resident Visa’
AUSTRALIA … What does that tell you? Cough … cough … as the ‘Race Card’ is pulled …
Photo: The Chinese Vision Times; Australian’s today have no use for such big homes so they are being bulldozed. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)
AUSTRALIAN HOMES are being ‘banked‘, demolished for redevelopment of more medium-density to house foreign buyers particularly from China and Hong Kong
CAAN Photo: 10 Townhouse development by Chinese developer where there was a home and a market garden.
With access to the Australian press, social media including WeChat, agency websites, and videos promoting sales … Real Estate is not rocket science … nor is it difficult with open house sessions.
We did a search and came up with this information …
IN NSW the average commission is 2.46 per cent of e.g. a property priced at $775,000 would cost $16,275 in Agent’s commission. Agents can charge a flat fee or a tiered commission (based on a percentage of the sale price)
Some agents include advertising and marketing costs in their commission, while for others this is an additional fee.
Search for: finder.com.au typical real estate agent fees
View: ‘Australia a place of choice for Money Laundering due to lack of Regulation: ANZ’
This is the same Malcolm Gunning ... who proposed in September 2018 ‘Get two jobs’ and the Propertygandist’s advice for people struggling to pay rent
Was he gunning for Aussies? … Not only does he propose Millennials work two jobs … where the bloody hell are the jobs? Yet he implies “migrants” are more industrious.
IT would seem the “generation selfish” Gunning is talking about are Millennial RE AGENTS cruising around in their BEAMERS & AUDIS … in their designer suits splashing out on international holidays and smashed Avo … or is that passe?
*In October 2018 … unbeknowns to most …
‘The Scomo Govt exempted (excluded) the Real Estate Gatekeepers from the Anti-Money Laundering Laws in October 2018’ *
Enabling the Real Estate Gatekeepers to continue to market and seal deals with foreign buyers particularly in China and Hong Kong, andallowing the foreign buyers to splash their cash, their ‘hot money’ in our domestic housing to gain a Permanent Residency Visa along with Medicare benefits!
Following in February 2019it was reported in the Australian Financial Review that REAL ESTATE AGENTS with the backing of the Law Council of Australia pulled off this Sting …
They were able to weasel their way out of this legislation allegedly on the basis that ‘imposing the full AML/CTF (the second tranche of the AML Laws) may create conflicts with the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality and the principle of client professional privilege!
President of the Law Council of Australia Arthur Moses, SC, said their profession was already extensively regulated by the states and territories under a comprehensive and robust regulatory system.
“The Law Council is concerned that imposing the full AML/CTF regulatory regime may create conflicts with the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality and the principle of client professional privilege, as well as increasing the cost of legal services to the community,” he said.
CAAN asked these questions …
WHY is it with the purchase of real estate there should be some difference compared to buying or selling a vehicle, why is it different?
Why is it difficult to apply laws to the purchase of real estate?
Why is that compromising a lawyer? Why should real estate be any different to any other matter?
If there are laws governing real estate so be it. It should not make any difference to a lawyer. If lawyers have a matter before them that involves a crime they have two choices:
-do it for their client knowing their risk
-not do it
View: ‘Labor to Target Lawyers, Accountants, Real Estate Agents’
In June 2019 the new President of the Real Estate Institute of Australia, Adrian Kelly said that others should also bear the regulatory burden.
“We are working with government on an approach that minimises the impact on agents because much of the information can be sought from others involved in the transaction process, including the banks and their conveying process.”
Further, Mr Kelly said they had been working with governments on any changes and that “in essence, we don’t have a problem” with Tranche 2 of the legislation.
“But what we do need to remember is that most estate agencies across Australia are very small businesses … we need to be mindful of the costs and red tape which might come about from whatever changes government decides,” he said.
CAAN Photo: Mid Century home demolished to be replaced by fugly medium-density redevelopment
WHERE is the mindfulness concerning the inflated cost of housing beyond the means of very many Australians? ... A Whole Cohort of Australians … pushed aside by foreign ‘black money’ laundering in our domestic housing market … with buyers particularly from China and Hong Kong and their Proxies taking over our suburbs, communities, neighbourhoods, and shopping centres … and the jobs?
PLEASE … Boycott these brands! Seek alternatives of Jalna, Tamar Valley for yoghurt; Farmers Own (NSW Manning Valley) for milk; other Australian-owned dairy, and Juice products … check the labels!
THIS article should have been front page headlines! Not hidden away in the Business Section!
WHAT is it with the unrelenting ‘SALE OF AUSTRALIA’?
WE thought the idea was for AUSTRALIA to be the FOOD BOWL FOR ASIA … meaning we OWNED AND OPERATED OUR DAIRY AND AGRICULTURE … and onsold Our Products to China and elsewhere thus keeping the profits in Australia …
SHAME ON THE SHAREHOLDERS, THE GOVERNMENT, THE ACCC
IT would be great to see the FIRB redeem itself … thank you Andrew Wilkie … otherwise this TAKE-OVER will …
-reduce Australian ownership of our dairy market to a few smaller regional firms who are unable to compete on a national scale; this should have been opposed by the ACCC
-reduce Australian sovereignty in a key industry so the FIRB must oppose this buyout
JUST goes to show the lease/sale of the PORT OF DARWIN to a foreign corporation will be easily eclipsed by this buyout!
Disgraceful … we are witnessing the wholesale sell-off of the assets of Australia, a time we will live to regret!
WHY should we line the pockets of COMMUNISTS when we buy an ice cream or 2 litres of milk?
WILL the FIRB redeem itselfby rejecting this take-over?
The Foreign Investment Review Board is facing pressure from independent MP Andrew Wilkie to reject a Chinese diary giant’s bid for Lion’s dairy and drinks business after the competition watchdog gave the $600 million offer the greenlight.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) decision not to oppose the deal between China Mengniu Dairy Company and Lion was criticised by Mr Wilkie, who said Australians were concerned about foreign ownership of ‘‘leading brands’’ and strategic assets.
“Australians are also concerned with the Chinese in particular and their disproportionate involvement in the Australian dairy industry. Clearly it is undesirable that the supply and price of dairy products in Australia is increasingly at the mercy of companies under obligations to the Chinese government,” he said.
*Mengniu would acquire big-name Australian dairy and juice brands including Dairy Farmers, Big M, Pura, Daily Juice and Berri under the proposed deal, which still needs FIRB approval.
*The fast-growing Mengniu is listed in Hong Kong and the Chinese government-owned entity Cofco owns about 16.2 per cent of the company.
Lion is owned by Japan’s Kirin Holdings.
*The proposed deal would also extend the reach of Chinese business operations into Australian food and agriculture.
Lion owns dairy processing facilities at Morwell in Gippsland and Chelsea in Melbourne.
Mengniu, through a subsidiary, has an indirect interest in the dairy processor Burra Foods, which has a facility at Korumburra in South Gippsland.
The ACCC found that while Burra and Lion competed for raw milk, they were not close competitors and farmers were unlikely to switch between the two processors.
Mr Ridgeway said a merged Mengniu-Lion entity would “be constrained” by the two largest dairy processors operating in Gippsland, Saputo and Fonterra.
“Even combined, Burra and Lion Dairy & Drinks will be acquiring less than 25 per cent of the raw milk available in Gippsland,” he said.
A Mengniu spokesman said: “We are pleased with the decision by the ACCC to not oppose the proposed acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drinks and continue to work through other regulatory approval processes. The transaction remains scheduled to complete in the first half of 2020.”
A Lion spokeswoman said the sale was subject to ACCC and FIRB approvals, as well as other standard closing conditions.
“We note that the ACCC has today announced it will not oppose the proposed acquisition. We welcome this outcome, which is an important step forward, and look forward to moving through the remaining regulatory approvals and completing the sale,” she said.
Rabobank senior analyst Michael Harvey said buying the Lion assets gave Mengniu a “good footprint in Australia. And I think there’s also an attraction about looking to build an export business into Asian markets.”
Wealthy businesswoman Jan Cameron, the founder of Kathmandu, could face up to five years in jail after the corporate regulator alleged she lodged a misleading statement regarding her interest in infant formula company Bellamy’s.
In a bombshell announcement on Friday, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said Ms Cameron would appear in the Hobart Magistrates’ Court on criminal charges following an ASIC investigation.
She could face up to $40,250 in fines over two alleged breaches of corporations law.
In a statement ASIC alleged that when Bellamy’s listed on August 1, 2014, Ms Cameron had a substantial holding of 14 million Bellamy’s shares through herself and the Black Prince Foundation.
The market regulator claims that several days later Ms Cameron “failed to disclose” the interest, equal to 14.74 per cent of Bellamy’s shares, as was required under corporations law.
The Black Prince Foundation is an entity domiciled in Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean.
Additionally, ASIC alleges that around mid-February 2017, “Ms Cameron lodged with Bellamy’s an initial substantial holder notice that was misleading on the basis that it failed to properly disclose her true and complete relationship with Black Prince and the basis upon which she had an interest in 14 million Bellamy’s shares”.
The push followed a tumultuous time for the company, with Bellamy’s shares entering a trading halt in late 2016. after it was revealed the company’s market share in China had plunged, and that it was facing pressure on its sales after new Chinese regulations on infant formula took effect.
Ms Cameron’s coup was partially successful, with a resulting extraordinary general meeting putting two of her delegates on the board after a spill, though she missed out on a board seat herself.
The charges are listed for a mention hearing before the Hobart Magistrates’ Court on March 12. The maximum penalty for a misleading substantial holder notice under corporations law is a five-year jail term, and or a $36,000 fine. The maximum penalty in August 2014 for failing to lodge a substantial holder notice as required was six months’ imprisonment, and or a $4250 fine.
The action is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age contacted Ms Cameron for comment.
The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have also contacted the law firm Murdoch Clarke for comment. The firm’s Ben Swain has acted for Ms Cameron in the past and is listed as the trustee for the Elsie Cameron Foundation, a charitable organisation established by Ms Cameron named after her mother.
A Bellamy’s spokesman said: “Bellamy’s is no longer an ASX-listed company and has no comment, it’s a matter for Jan Cameron.”
Bellamy’s has made headlines over the past two years as its plans to expand in China hit a major roadblock. Bellamy’s had applied to Chinese regulators in late 2017 for approval to sell its organic infant formula products in Chinese shops, but it could not gain approval. The setback weighed on the company’s revenues and profit in 2019.
The company revealed a $1.5 billion takeover bid from China Mengniu Dairy Company. The deal won regulatory and shareholder approval and was completed in December.
Ms Cameron never publicly stated her position on the deal, but a change of substantial holder notice to the ASX in November disclosed the sale of millions of Bellamy’s shares. Observers took the move as a sign that she was unlikely to oppose the takeover.
The November statement revealed that Ms Cameron’s holding, direct and indirect, had moved from 17.13 per cent at the time of her previous notice to 13.06 per cent. The statement also showed the sale of almost 3.5 million Bellamy’s shares in September, just days after the Chinese takeover deal was announced.
Ms Cameron was a Bellamy’s director between May 2007 and May 2011.
Following the airing of the 8 to 1 Developer Political Donations to the Librats … the Sports Rort … and now this!
WATCH THIS SPACE!
… it may meet its nemesis …
NEWS Over the past year, the government has allocated nearly $5 billion through measures hidden from public view, bypassing the senate. Experts now warn this may be illegal. By Karen Middleton.
GOVERNMENT SPENDS ‘UNLAWFUL’ BILLIONS
The federal government is allocating billions of dollars in grants and making significant policy changes in a way that is likely unlawful, legal experts warn, using a mechanism that bypasses parliament and obscures decisions from public view.
Some of the Coalition’s own senators are starting to push back forcefully against the growing use of such regulations – also known as “delegated legislation” – to authorise a stream of government grants and other policy moves.
In the past 12 months, almost $5 billion was allocated this way – nearly half of that immediately before and after last year’s federal election. This does not include the hundreds of millions more dollars handed out through the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program – which is at the heart of the sports rorts scandal – and via other separate schemes across government.
One of Australia’s most eminent constitutional experts, Sydney University law professor Anne Twomey, says the legal authority for governing by regulation is increasingly flimsy, in most cases – especially when allocating public money.
“Effectively, the Commonwealth is spending potentially billions of dollars unlawfully,” Twomey told The Saturday Paper this week. “The way the system is set up is that the Commonwealth knows there is pretty much no one with an interest who is going to challenge this.”
*Issuing a regulation allows the government to change laws without parliament having a direct say, though each regulation must link back to a main piece of enabling legislation.
*The only way the senate can influence a regulation is to vote to disallow, or reject, it within 15 sitting days of it being tabled.
*In the federal election period between March 1 and May 23 last year, almost $2 billion in grants across 20 programs were effectively rubberstamped through regulations. A further $1.75 billion in low-interest agricultural loans to farm flood victims was also authorised during the same period.
*A separate regulation tabled in February last year granted specified “researchers” access to voters’ unlisted mobile phone numbers and their associated postcodes.*
Primarily said to be for health research, it included access for registered political parties and candidates, giving rise to privacy concerns.
*While the parliament was out of session over the summer – between December 4, 2019 and January 16 this year – the government tabled regulations authorising another $476.145 million in grants to be rolled out over the next four years.
Before that, between November 21 and December 3, regulations authorised $79.5 million more in grants, including two one-off $10 million allocations to establish scholarships in memory of former prime minister Bob Hawke and former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer. There was also $19.8 million to establish the new Australian Space Agency, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened this week in Adelaide.
Historically, this funding would usually have been included in standalone legislation, meaning parliament would debate and amend if necessary before a vote.
Among the more recent spending allocations by regulation was the November bailout payment for a Victorian country nursing home – which subsequently closed anyway – in a Nationals-held electorate.
*The government refused to disclose the amount it gave the DP Jones home, arguing it was commercial-in-confidence.
It is reported to have been about $400,000.
“IT’S NOT APPROPRIATE TO BE SPENDING IT BASED ON WHERE A MARGINAL SEAT IS OR WHETHER IT IS TARGETED OR NOT. IT IS ABSOLUTELY APPALLING. THIS IS COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT TO WHAT IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.”
*A separate $345,000 grant was made recently to News Corp to set up and run a children’s news website and competition called The PM’s Spelling Bee.
In total, since March 1 last year, the grants authorised by regulation were valued at $4.69 billion.
Some of these grants have been publicly announced and others have not.
The figures come from the senate standing committee for the scrutiny of delegated legislation, which is tasked with examining every regulation and alerting the senate to any concerns.
*For the past year, the six-member committee of Liberal, Nationals and Labor senators – formerly chaired by now-retired Nationals senator John “Wacka” Williams and now chaired by Liberal senator and former minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells – has been sounding an alarm about the use of regulations, including their constitutionality.
These warnings have increased in recent months.
The committee has declared an intent to disallowa number of regulations while awaiting explanations, and in some cases changes, from relevant ministers.
It is yet to follow through and call for a disallowance vote on one of the government’s measures. But Fierravanti-Wells says she, her deputy chair, Kim Carr, from the ALP, and their colleagues are willing to do so if their warnings are not heeded. “Scrutiny of delegated legislation … will ensure that we not only respect the institution of the senate and the work of its committees, but we also uphold and promote the principles of parliamentary supremacy and the rule of law,” she told The Saturday Paper.
“This scrutiny includes examination of instruments, placing of notices of motion for disallowance in the senate and, where necessary, pushing for disallowance of instruments that fail to comply with these principles.”
*While praising the committee’s work,Professor Twomey said her legal concerns about regulations were twofold.
*She queried whether the government has the statutory authority to engage in the kind of spending increasingly included in regulations – specifically, whether some of these regulations actually align with criteria in their enabling legislation. She also doubts that they fall properly under the various constitutional heads of power that authorise federal government activity.
*One power frequently being relied on to pass regulations is the “nationhood” power, which indirectly authorises the Commonwealth to engage in activities for the benefit of the nation that can’t be carried out otherwise.
*But there are limits to that power and Twomey argues they are regularly being exceeded. “The Commonwealth has never really profoundly taken in this notion that they can’t just spend money on whatever they want to spend it on,” she said.
*The High Court reinforced that principle in what has become known as the Williams case, which was in fact two cases involving a challenge to the Commonwealth government’s expenditure of taxpayers’ money to fund chaplains in public schools.
The plaintiff, Ronald Williams, had four children attending a Queensland state school that was part of the chaplaincy program.
The then Labor government had signed a contract with the Scripture Union organisation to deliver chaplaincy services at the school. In 2012, Williams challenged its authority to do so.
The High Court agreed that the federal government had exceeded its constitutional authority in the way it made the grants. A second case followed, confirming the principle.
An earlier case about tax bonuses, brought in 2009 by lawyer Bryan Pape, also highlighted problems with the way government payments were made.
*“How many court cases does it take for the Commonwealth to accept that a lot of its spending is unlawful and to stop doing it?” Twomey asked. “We’ve been through three High Court cases and they’re still doing it.”
*In the wake of these cases, governments have been more careful to either obtain authority from parliament via legislation or create an instrument – a regulation – each time, linking back to legislation already passed.
But the practice has become more and more loose, infringing various rights as well as potentially breaching the law, as the senate committee protested in a report last year from an inquiry it held on the subject. “As parliamentarians, we owe it to the Australian people to act independently, and to remove from the statute book delegated legislation which does not respect individual rights and liberties or the right of parliament to control the content of the law,” its report said.
*It made a series of recommendations aimed at improving accountability and transparency.
*The government accepted only part of one of the committee’s recommendations, rejecting the rest.
*When the committee sought then to strengthen its own powers of scrutiny – including adding the power to scrutinise on constitutionality – the government tried to block Senator Fierravanti-Wells from speaking in the chamber.
*With Labor and the crossbench in support, the committee’s changes went through.
The committee has warned repeatedly that new grants programs require new appropriations bills and must not be slipped through as “the ordinary services of the government”using a regulation the senate can’t amend.
The senate has a constitutional right to amend proposed laws that appropriate revenue for matters beyond ordinary services and has resolved previously that the definition of those does not include spending on new proposals.
The committee publishes reports every parliamentary sitting week, outlining all regulations about which it has concerns. Last week, it highlighted controversial new dairy industry regulations drafted when Bridget McKenzie was Agriculture minister.
Since Fierravanti-Wells took over in mid-2019, the committee also publishes a full list of every spending regulation and how much is involved.
Where it has concerns about these or any other regulations, it writes to the relevant minister and demands an explanation and response. Queries may include why the measure does not have its own piece of legislation, any privacy implications, whether the public has free access to relevant information and whether the regulation is constitutionally sound.
There are now about 1700 regulations produced every year.
*Anne Twomey’s legal concerns go to the nature of the federal spending – in many cases, community-level grants for basic infrastructure that would normally be funded by state or local government.
“It’s completely and utterly wrong,” Twomey said. “It’s not appropriate to be spending it based on where a marginal seat is or whether it is targeted or not. It is absolutely appalling. This is completely irrelevant to what is in the public interest … The public would rightly think that public money would be spent in the public interest.”
Attorney-General Christian Porter rejected any suggestion that the Williams decision had been ignored. “Great time and resources are devoted to assessing the constitutionality of government spending of a variety of types,” he told The Saturday Paper. “Not only is Commonwealth expenditure rigorously evaluated as a matter of course before any money is spent, but all delegated legislation authorising expenditure is also subject to public scrutiny through the senate committee process. The results of that scrutiny are published by the committee and accessible to the public at large.”
*However, Twomey’s legal concerns are echoed by two other eminent jurists – Melbourne University laureate law professor Cheryl Saunders, who is an expert in public administration, and Bret Walker, SC, a constitutional lawyer and among the nation’s most accomplished barristers.
“There’s all sorts of reasons to be concerned about delegated legislation,” Saunders said this week. “In the context of spending, the Commonwealth parliament’s reaction to Williams was unsatisfactory. The parliament did not take the opportunity to really clear up spending then … It’s never been cleaned up and, if anything, it’s got much worse in these new initiatives that are using grants for political purposes, which was never being done before.”
She said it undermined a valuable commodity: people’s faith in government.
Bret Walker represented Ronald Williams in his two High Court cases. He says any regulations authorising spending must clearly demonstrate their legal authority more directly than they often do.
“I strongly agree that is an essential test for the propriety of government spending and if it relies on delegated legislation, everything has to be lined up constitutionally and also as a matter of simple legislated authority,” Walker told The Saturday Paper.
“You can’t get authority to spend only by delegated legislation. It’s a really basic part of the machinery of government.”
Walker supports the use of legally sound delegated legislation.
But he is concerned about the growing resort to secrecy for everyday governance and governments’ increasing reluctance to face public scrutiny.
Last week, giving evidence to an unrelated senate inquiry into press freedom, Walker outlined his views about the need for scrutiny in the “free and confident society” that Australia purported to be.
“Freedom is, at least in comparative terms, something we might feel relaxed about,” Walker said. “I’m not at all relaxed about whether we are a confident society. That is, in relation to understanding what is being done in our name and understanding how the processes of government are actually achieving executive action – and in particular whether the rule of law is being observed as intimately as it should.”
He said he was particularly concerned about statutory authorities.
“I earnestly think that legislators should have towards the top of an agenda something which … is chronic. This is not a crisis, it’s something that we, bit by bit, boiling-frog style, are losing and that is an expectation – part of being free and confident, particularly confident – that we will have means of finding out what’s being done in our name and what’s being done, if you like, to us.”
It’s a reasonable expectation. The government doesn’t always make it easy.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Feb 22, 2020 as “Government spends ‘unlawful’ billions”. Subscribe here.
”It’s a matter of historical fact that the CCP has been busy trying to corrupt Canberra.” Wrong: The CCP has already corrupted Canberra. Canberra sold out long ago:
– Julie Bishop’s “Glorious Foundation” sold out for $450,000 while she was foreign minister. – Bob Carr also got richer in a similar way. – Andrew Robb sold out on trade deals and the Port of Darwin for $800,000 – The current LNP government owes it majority to CCP member Gladys Liu.
Magellan legend demands Canberra kowtow to Beijing
Magellan Financial Group chairman and chief investment officer Hamish Douglass has accused the nation’s parliamentarians of whipping up “xenophobic” sentiment about China and playing “national security out as a political issue”, undermining Australia’s most important economic relationship.
…”I don’t see the coronavirus issue being in any way tied in the geopolitical and economic issues between and Australia and China. The coronavirus is largely a short term economic impact that won’t have longer term ramifications,’’ Mr Douglass said.
Echoing the warnings of former prime minster Paul Keating and Kerry and Ryan Stokes about the dangers of demonising China, Mr Douglass said any moves to undermine the nation’s open and productive economic relationship with its biggest trade partner “would be incredibly damaging to the long-term future of Australia”.
Lordy. What xenophobia? If Douglass means Andrew Hastie and company’s observations about the Nazi parallels in the CCP then he’s way off base.None of those objections target the Chinese people. They aim to defend them. Describing such as xenophobic is preposterous.
Perhaps Douglass means the pushback against CCP bribery and largesse in Canberra? It’s a matter of historical fact that the CCP has been busy trying to corrupt Canberra.
Defending the integrity of your democracy is hardly xenophobia either.
To be honest, I don’t know who Douglass is attacking. Or why.
If anything, the Government has gone out its way to abuse Australians for being racist for being concened about openly dodgy MPs like Gladys Liu or worrying about coronavirus. *
A word of advice, Hamish. I wouldn’t be too trusting of the CCP. When you’re investing in China, make sure you’re very liquid. You never know when the CCP will turn its baleful gaze upon you and simply close the exit, as it did in 2015/16 stock market crash.
David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.
He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.