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The top stories from ABC News - the Federal Government's plan to increase the Medicare levy to pay for disability care is looking likely to gain unanimous support with the Greens saying they will vote for it too. The Government will bring the legislation into Parliament during the week of the Federal Budget. The Coalition has offered conditional support for a levy increase.The Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, has diswended his department's handling of the case of an Australian man accused of terror offences in Saudi Arabia. Shayden Jamil Thorne has been in prison for 17 months after police allegedly found links to a terrorist organisation on a computer he was using.His family claims he's been tortured while in jail.British Police investigating jail.British Harris have interview add woman in Australia. It 's in Australia. It 's understood detectives from Scotland yard have interviewed the woman at her home north of Sydney.Rolf Harris was arrest and questioned in London last month, but has not been charged.And a group of Aboriginal actors says they were refused service by four Melbourne taxis and racially abused on a tram within a 24-hour period. Actor jarda Albert says four taxies were booked after rehearsals but each dreef away. Those are the headlines.
Tonight - another Big Australian goes offshore. US agri giant ADM has main GrainCorp shareholders an offer they can't refuse. I'm Ticky Fullerton and you're watching The Business. This Program is Captioned Live.
Bush politicians calling for a Senate inquiry with GrainCorp set to fall into US hands. The multi grain game. New players in Australia's biggest agribusiness. Risk boardroom with CBA and Wesfarmers.Over the long-term, Wesfarmers.Over the the performance of the company and the returns to shareholders the Board has to be held accountable.And the fine art auxiliary survival. The come back from a brush with the GFC. First, a quick look at the markets. Investors bailed out of resource stocks after
After disappointing manufacturing figures out of ChinaAustralia's largest grain handler GrainCorp is a step closer to being sold to a foreign multinational. Archer Daniel Midlands midst has crunched the numbers and will go ahead with its $3.4 billion takeover offer. The GrainCorp board recommended shareholders accept the bid. At least one Federal politician is calling for a Federal inquiry as Emily Stewart reports.Bill Heffernan knows GrainCorp better than most. It is his local storage facility in Junee in NSW. He says growers are disappointed it could soon be in foreign hands. Most Australians would be saddened that once again we've lost a great Australian institution to the might of foreign capitalHe's demanding a Senate inquiry to foreign takeover bid for Australia's largest grain handler. is a need for capital in Australia and capital investment in our infrastructure and better technology and better storage, but, at the same time, we have to arm ourselves against too much consolidation and monopolisation of infrastructure and ports.Illinois based Archer Daniel Midlands already owns 20% of GrainCorp and now wants to buy the rest. The offer to GrainCorp shareholders is just over $13 per share made up of a cash payment and $1 dividend. The board says the deal is too good to refuse. I think it is a very good offer. It is a premium price.ADM says it is awash with cash with $8 billion in available liquidity. It will cover the bid with operating cash flow and borrowingings. An extended drought in North America has buffeted its bottom line. Its first quarter net profit fell 33%. A AD. Mr is looking to Australia for opportunitiesIt meets our financial objectives and provide as excellent platform to serve growing global demand particularly in the Middle East t Africa and Asia.The US agri giant has moved to allay fears about access to infrastructure. In an open letter to Australian growers, ADM promises to continue with third party access to ports and to storage sites.It should access to ports and open access fairly seamless. Hope fully, if it works according to ADM's plan, the farmers may have more opportunities to sell the grain into a wider customer base with a wider set of productsSome warn smaller players would be the next to be snapped up.Card Del may be on the look out for storage and handling assets be the right price. You have a number of mid tier players in Australia, Ridley Australia, mentioned Emerald before. They'll be looking perhaps to bulk up or may be part of another play where a mid tier global grain group wants to position here. The deal needs to be approved by 50% of shareholders as well as clear regulatory hurdles.Myers Bernie Brooks is reeling from a massive PR failure in the social media department. The retail giant's chief sparked thousands of angry tweets and FaceBook comments after yesterday's saying the Medicare levy increase for the National Disability Insurance Scheme thousands would hurt savings. But the outrage fell on deaf ears since the retailers' It took until today for Myer to issue It took until today issue a clarification followed by an apologetic statement from by Mr Brooks himself. Views were mixed outside the retailers' flagship store in Melbourne.I don't think it will stop people from shopping. It is like any other tax. It could be true taking money oust people's pockets and people would have less to spend. Can I understand that.I just understand that was the most base sort of logic.Myer shares fell more than 2% today washing off 41 million dollars in value.Traditional May Day marches across Europe have seen an outpouring of anti-austerity anger. In Greece protests koib sided with a one day strike for public sector workers. 15,000 of them will lose their jobs as part of the bailout deal. Riot police and Spanish protesters clashed after banks and shops were targeted in the centre of Barcelona. It came as the leaders of France and Hitachi, the biggest anti-austerity nations, met in Paris. the Francois Hollande and Enrico Letta urged a new plan for growth given the consent of all euro nations by which they of course mean pro-austerity Germany .I'm joined now from London by David Buik, from Panmure Gordon & Co. Welcome to the program, David.Greetings to you, Ticky.We're hanging off waiting on the ECB decision on interest rates, whether it will bring them down a few points. Is it likely and will it make a difference? Ticky, I think we can more or less take a quarter percent cut down to half a percent of the represent po rate as done. As somebody put it very succinctly to me, it is like a methode veldoctor using leaches to deal with his patient. capital H. It is not enough. capital H. It is marked into the market already. We've had terrible data all week, 12.1% unemployment in Europe. PMI data figures dropping like a stone. Absolutely no growth at all part from just a whimper in Germany. It's going to need a lot more for Mario Draghi. The PR departments of the European Union and the ECB has been par excellence. Absolutely class. excellence. Absolutely first
class. It is hollow as you class. It is a shall dough and hollow as you can possibly hollow as think. Mario Draghi hollow as you can to have think. Mario to have to come up with something more stimulant something orientated than that. People are going to shrug their shoulders. We saw inflation was at 1.2% last month when we expected 1.6% so that shows you there's no demand for anything in Europe and anything really south of Ryan is hanging in ration.Mario Draghi is going to do whatever it takes, what that means. The other really negative figure this week was the shock drop in inflation. Could there be any risk of deflation in Europe, in the way that Japan has suffered from that sort of thing? I think it could. It is dangerous. We know in the long-term that any kind of quantitative easing does have inflationary EOWA effect. The demand, the fact that raw material prices have dropped means this isn't the demand for them. What I hope Mario Draghi going to do instead of implementing some of these horrific draconian efforts for the banks, to get billions of euros woth of capital put into them and tight ten up on this and that he's going to have to chill out and relax for a couple of years. The problem if he does that it is a very dangerous game to play. The implementation of austerity has taken longer than we would have liked.To where you are, Britain there's 1000 local council elections today. The business interviewed Nigel nah Raj not so long ago, the head of the UK Independence Party and he of course is driving the euro sceptic bandwagon. How much damage could he do to the Tory party? Pretty significant. I would think that he will decimate the that they will be blown away, but I Tory vote. Not to the fact but I think Nigel's party could easily but I think he's
easily get 100 seats and what he's telling David Cameron the Prime Minister is please he's telling Prime Minister is please don't treat us with contempt. We have enormous support here over Britain's attitude towards the European Union and also towards its immigration policy. Everybody says that is a pretty useless agenda for UKIP to stand and deliver but they are two key issues for us here. People believe profoundly in them. I personally, as an operator, have enormous expect for Nigel and expect him to do very well even though he's he's not of my political filtration.He's he got David Cameron who in the past referred to UKIP members as fruit cakes, he's got him offering to put an in out referendum on the euro in legislation. Even though, that wouldn't happen until potentially 2018. Is it really promising enough? That's just Nigel at his promiscuous best is the best way of putting it. What David Cameron should do is not wait until the general election is what he said, is call a referendum in 2014 saying these terms are ridiculous for the UK to remain in the European Union. They're also ridiculous for the other members of the European Union. Please renegotiate. Otherwise, we'll probably take our bow and leave.Very interesting to see what happens today. Indeed. what happens David Buik, thanks very much for joining us. Great pleasure, Ticky. Thanks for having meSome stocks of interest on the local sharemarket. Shares in Boral fell 3%. Official figures for March showed a slump of 5.5% in residential building approvals. The Newcrest shed more than 2%. Flight Centre hit a record high above $40 a share on the up above $40 a share on the profit up made before closing just a flak shun ahead. Telstra continued its bull run.Turning to currencies markets.
Board accountability and the challenges boards face as market gets tougher were hot challenges top ticks at the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors conference in Melbourne today. I spoke with two of the directors who were share their views, Bob Everly, chairman of Wesfarmers and Boral, and Harrison Young, a director of Commonwealth Bank and until recently chairman of NBN Co.Welcome to the program. Thank you. Nice to be here. Thank you.Let me start with you Bob. Today in there was a lot of conversation
about there was a about board performance about board investors can actually understand what a Board, how a board should be held accountable and, indeed, what the skills the skills of directors are. How do you answer that? Investors probably can view a company's performance mainly through its financials. The board itself is in the best position to review and critically review the performance of the individual directors. I think there's a key responsibility putting together people who have the appropriate skills to take the company and take a long-term view.There are some calls for, company for example, directors to be elected every year. Do you feel that there is a certain amount of dead wood on boards today? If a board wants to get rid of a director it is very difficult to do so, isn't it? I'm not strong supporter of annual election. I'm not strongly possessed to it either. I came back from a meeting of chairmen sponsored by Davos in Europe where annual either. elections are starting to take place, I found some feedback from some of the chairmen who said we're on laws to make long-term decision. said we're on long-term decision. With annual directors we're starting to get directors thinking short-term. Performance assessment of companies is critical and it is up to the chairman to critical chairman to do that in critical and it is chairman to do that in an effective way. No different to what we had to do in our executive days.As a board member of the Commonwealth executive days.As Bank, Harrison Young, how important do you see the role of the chairman? It is of the chairman? enormously important. I think certainly our chairman regards responsibility to
it as a continuous responsibility to be thinking about about it. One of the issues is you probably need more different expertise, if that's a word, than there are chairs at the table. One of the things we talk about on the board performance in the committee is we really shouldn't put somebody up as a director who doesn't tick a couple of boxes.There's a lot of talk about productivity at the moment. There's a suggestion from all Eslake today that one of the if you have fess at this stage that board companies have to look at is restructuring themselves for this tougher environment. Air doing precisely that at Boral. What drove that? Necessity. The company - we're looking at in terms of Boral, 30-year low in terms of housing starts which is one of the major drivers for that company in Australia, and as we well know, a sort of a 50 year low in housing starts in the US. I basically feel we need major look at our tax system and we do need to get the courage to revisit industrial relations and give flexibility in the workforce.Are you confidence that's likely to happen under this government? No.You've had some extraordinary experiences on boards, Harrison Young, nonpublic board, government owned boards.I'm not in a position to speak for experiences NBN Co any longer or for the Bank of England.I know you don't want to talk about it much, but you've got one stakeholder to deal with NBN Co.That's right.I'm looking at Peter Harrison, the Productivity Commissioner welcoming a cost benefit analysis there. Presumably you had to look to your stakeholder and what he wanted and presumably if it is a different stakeholder the chairman will react accordingly? Correct.The enterprise has is a statement of expectations from the Government which is their riding instructions and they have to figure out how to do that within the context of have being a corporation under the being Corporations Act.Bob, a lot of people talk about questionable value of the AGM. At the same time, we've got social media, a lot of different action groups like, for example, get up's attack on Woolworths and the pokies, we've seen that recently. How are boards looking at how they handle investor concerns? I think the AGM is an investor concerns? I think AGM is an important part of the
whole communication investor concerns? I think the AGM is an whole communication with
stakeholders. Despite all the frustrations, it is the one time of the year that the retail investors particularly get the tune to see their board in action, see them as real people, and I complement that by doing chairman roadshows and talk to major shareholders. I think the role of the chairman is increasing where I think the chairman is going to play a bigger role in talking to all stakeholders, regulators and
the Government. I believe stakeholders, that's a growing and increasing role for the chairman.How demanding is the chairman's role? It has grown. In the five years I have been chairman of Wesfarmers I have seen it grow quite dramatically. Also, the chairman-CEO relationship is critical because that's really the contribute between of information flow between the Board and management.You've had to hire and fire two CEOs at bore really in the last five years. Yes. I think really they are at two companies I share, the core aspect of that is culture. In Wesfarmers I think we have an orderly suck success process. That's longhandovers. We would like to see that continue. Boral we thought to see that thought we need aed a dramatic change in culture. We thought we need aed change in culture. We went
outside to change in outside to bring in a change agent. That process in changing culture in my experience takes five years. We're only three years out of five through that process.My last question is about risk which I think is a growing area of focus for boards. Harrison, how do you see the growing risk really in the global supply chain in subsidiaries as, for example, banks move into Asia now? We certainly talked about the risks we are taking by being overseas. I think we're comfortable with them, but we're very conscious that the difference business practices and different places and some of them are business practices we're not going to be part of. You have to have your eyes open and be pretty tough minded about it.Presumably training and making people wear and due diligence become very important? I pick up the culture word that Bob used. You want everybody in the company to know how we do things here and how we do things here does not include bribing government officials. It is as simple as thatWe've got this debate at the moment of parallel imports that Woolworths is pushing. How careful do you have to be, how concerned are you about bribery, corruption? Yes. Very. I'm supporting what Harrison said. There's been near must change. I've seen over the last six years since we acquired Coles we have in Shanghai for K-mart a purchasing office of 200 Chinese nationals who are buying directly from the factories.Again, that's training.It's training, it's Harrison used the word colour. We have got to make sure that the way we operate for the company is understood all the way through. You have to be very diligent. You're in areas where you have to be very mindful. We continually have people out auditing the factories we're buying for to look to make sure people are complying with safety requirements, you know, not abusing child labour rules. It is an extra demand that as the supply chain has collapsed that companies have to take on board.Harrison Young, Bob Everly, thank you very much for joining me.You are well come. Thanks Ticky.Think fine art now, think big money. At the that said the art auction market was rocked by the GFC now, of millions of dollars. Five years on there are signs of a recovery with some hammer prices once again exceeding expectations. Rebecca Nash reports.This is the Melbourne art collector's opportunity to get up close to what they may have previously only gazed from a distance. It is opening night have previously only gazed on from a distance. It is featuring works to be auctioned There
by Deutscher and Hackett. There are 138 pieces with an estimated value of estimated value of it roughly $5 million. The ought Tim chill is not deterring the crowds tonight. The auction house, though, will be hoping house, it is more than the champagne and chat that's drawing them in.Australia's arts scene felt in.Australia's the GFC keenly. It was sudden and there was quite a drought of stock. Vendor confidence took a huge dive.When we look at it now, certainly 2007 looks like aberration. It looks like a bubbleTurnover dropped from $175 million in 2007 to roughly $9 million last year.We can't go out the back and mix up more stock. We have to convince vendors to Telstra sellInsiders say the rapid downturn was in part an emotional response to the crisis engulfed other economies.They don't feel as rich as they might have done previously that. Takes effect.The loss of confidence coincided a recommendation by the Cooper Review to ban self-managed superannuation funds from investing in art. Although the ban didn't go ahead, it still had an adverse impact.It dried up because people another reason, then, not to buy another reason, then, not buy pictures.Then there was the added cost of the Federal Government's introduction of a resale royalty. Ironically, the sector most hurt was Aboriginal art. The artists the royalty was meant to protect.The market was worth something like $28 million in 2007. That's slung to $8 million.But there is a sense the that the market has very much turned a corner this year with clearance rates back above 70%. A month ago the Laverty is a, pulling in about $5 million.It is always a little bitter sweet to see a competitor do well, but because we are fiercely competitive, but no, that sent a nice ripple through the market of confidence.Passionate Collectors are still there. They've been looking for bargains and finding themJane Chapman is hoping to both sell and buy at the auction. It will help if I sell the major work that I've got up for sale this time. But it wouldn't stop me going after the two that I want to purchase.I have 7.5.Ms Chapman is outbid this time but it stunned at how well her collection sells. Overall, the auction sells nearly 80% of the works for $4.5 million. The market will lift considerably with the Grundy sale coming up also in June which is outed to do between $15 and $20 Bill million. If that's add to the total this year we could see a 20% rise in total revenues for art at auction this year.That's painting a much healthier picture for a recovery.And a and keen amateurs lined up at picture for Penfolds Adelaide Estate for their bottle of the 2008 Grange Vintage Shiraz this morning. The corks popped at 7.30 am for the first tastings. Fans were happy to part with $785 a bottle, more than $100 a glass. Originally $685, Penfolds up the price after glowing international reviews dubbed it a magic vintage.FaceBook's boasting its signed up one in six people on the planet a rise in mobile ads has boosted FaceBook's first quarter profit 58% to $217 million. Releasing its results overnight, FaceBook said users rose 23% from a year ago to 1.1 billion.And Baselworld is the glittering jewel in the crown for Switzerland's watch industry. Baselworld is The 41st trade fair is under way with top manufacturers vying for the spotlight. Times money with exports hitting a record $23 billion last year. On display everything from bargain Swatchs to Hublot's $5 million Big Bang. The ultimate will in billionaire bling which debuted last year.I tell the time properly. That's the business. Alan debuted last year.I hope they
tell the time here
the business. Alan Kohler is here with 'Inside tell the time properly. That's here with 'Inside Business' on
Sunday of the business. Alan Kohler is
here Sunday of course. I'm Ticky Fullerton. Thank you for watching. Fullerton. watching. Goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI
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This Program Is Captioned Live. Tonight on The World, accused of terrorism - the Australian brothers fearing for their lives in Saudi Arabia. I am very afraid for my safety because I've been detained before and I know how bad the situation can be. The brother in hiding tells the ABC he has no intention of turning himself in. We're not in a position to determine who's right and who's wrong. We can't run a trial, we can't mount their wrong. We can't run a trial, can't mount their defence for can't mount their defence them.Also ahead, it's 7am in them.Also Boston where prosecutors them.Also ahead, it's 7am Boston where prosecutors have
charged three teenagers including two students from Khazakstan with helping to cover the tracks of the suspected marathon bombers. It's 9pm in Canberra and in a rare show of bipartisan support, MPs will vote on the disability levy before the disability levy September election. We speak to one of the architects of the scheme. And it's the morning after the night before in New York City where stars of Baz Luhrmann's long-awaited epic, 'The Great Gatsby', have attended the film's sparkling world
Hello, I'm Jane Hutcheon. It's 2pm in Reiwoldt and the mother of two young men - it's topm in Riyadh and the mother of two young men held in Saudi Arabia is making a plea for her son's release. The family claims one man has been tortured. The younger brother is in hiding. Bob Carr has defend his department's handling of the case. In a moment we'll speak to terrorism expert Dr Anne Aly but first, David Webber reports. 25-year-old Shayden Jamil Thorne is currently on trial in Saudi Arabia. His brother, 23-year-old Junaid, has had his passport seized by Saudi authorities. The brothers left Perth 17 years ago with their mother and Moroccan step father. The younger of the pair is in hiding in Riyadh. As to our embassy, every time I speak to them it's just chitchatting. They just take what I have to say, that say, "We'll do what we can," or they promise me but I haven't seen any results, anything new, any concrete result. Their mother now lives back in Perth. She doesn't want to be identified and says her sons are not terrorists. They are Muslims and to be Muslims but, no, they're not into anything like that.Have they had any interest in fundamentalism? Not that I know of, no. I would say no.Have they had any