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Australian embassy move to Jerusalem would sabotage Middle East peace process, Palestinians say

<br><div> <!--endnoindex--> <p class="published"> Updated <span class="timestamp"> October 17, 2018 08:50:30 </span> </p> <div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/silwan-resident-sahar-abbasi/10385392"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10385378-3x2-700x467.jpg" alt="A woman wearing a religious head covering stands in front of a mural that contains Arabic text" title="Silwan resident Sahar Abbasi" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/silwan-resident-sahar-abbasi/10385392" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> Residents in the Arab neighbourhood next to Jerusalem's Old City like Sahar Abbasi want Australia to remember that Jerusalem is "an occupied territory". <span class="source">(ABC News: Eric Tlozek)</span> </a></div> <p>Palestinians have reacted with shock and dismay to the suggestion Australia could move its embassy to Jerusalem.</p><div class="inline-content wysiwyg right"> <div class="inner"> <h2>Key points:</h2><ul><li>Morrison using short-term, domestic considerations to set foreign policy, senior Palestinian official says</li><li>Decision sparks surprise and disgust in the Arab neighbourhood next to Jerusalem's Old City</li><li>Israeli media report Australia acknowledges East Jerusalem could be future Palestinian capital</li></ul></div> </div><p>While Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the move could advance the Israel-Palestine peace process, Palestinian representatives say Australia's action would sabotage it.</p><p>Senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said Mr Morrison appeared to be using short-term, domestic political considerations to set his foreign policy.</p><p>"Politically, this destroys the chances of peace," Mr Shaath said.</p><p>"This doesn't really help, [but] it might increase the chances of the Government winning Wentworth in Australia.</p><blockquote class="quote--pullquote"><p>"If this is the way you do politics in the Middle East, in order to win a by-election in Australia, please allow me to be very negative towards the policy of that Australian Government."</p></blockquote><p>There is ongoing dispute over the status of East Jerusalem, the part of the city seized by Israeli forces in 1967 and considered by the United Nations to be under military occupation ever since.</p><p>The UN has denounced the building of settlements in the city and attempts to change its demographic composition, ie to move more Jewish people into Arab neighbourhoods and displace Arab residents.</p><h2>Decision evokes surprise and disgust</h2><p>In Silwan, the Arab neighbourhood next to Jerusalem's Old City, where recent Jewish settlers and longstanding Arab residents live uncomfortably close to each other, the decision evoked surprise and disgust.</p><p>Jawad Syiam runs the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre in Silwan, which monitors the movement of Jewish settlers into Arab neighbourhoods.</p><p>"Australia has always given the impression that they are neutral, which was OK with Palestinians," Mr Syiam said.</p><p>"But now we see Australia as following the devil, Donald Trump.</p><p>"So this is a very stupid decision from a country that wanted to keep away from any attacks, from any problems."</p><div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/jawad-syiam-in-silwan/10385422"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10385402-3x2-700x467.jpg" alt="A bearded man sits next to a sign that reads "I love you Silwan" with Arabic text above and below" title="Jawad Syiam in Silwan" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/jawad-syiam-in-silwan/10385422" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> Jawad Syiam at the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre in Silwan. <span class="source">(ABC News: Eric Tlozek)</span> </a></div><p>Silwan resident Sahar Abbasi said Australia should recognise that Arabs in East Jerusalem — who were mostly "residents" rather than full citizens of Israel — faced ongoing discrimination.</p><p>"Don't forget that it's an occupied territory, don't forget the people who are being occupied in this land and those are us Palestinians and actually lately we're being totally ignored, like we don't exist," Ms Abbasi said.</p><p>While the Israeli Government welcomed the Prime Minister's comments, the reaction within Israel has been muted, with Israeli media noting that an Australian Government statement acknowledged East Jerusalem could be the capital of a future Palestinian state.</p><p>Former Israeli diplomat Lior Weintraub, now the vice-president of advocacy organisation The Israel Project, said that was a sensitive matter in Israel.</p><p>"Recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, I think, is very natural and placing the embassy — if you want to avoid any controversy — in a place where under any peace agreement will be part of Israel, is the right approach," Mr Weintraub said.</p><blockquote class="quote--pullquote"><p>"Recognising west and east and to start talking about borders, this is very sensitive and delicate, especially at times when unfortunately this track (the peace process) is at an impasse and there's no discussion taking place."</p></blockquote><p>Israel passed a law in 1980 saying the whole of the city of Jerusalem was the country's "complete and united" capital.</p><p>That was denounced by the UN Security Council, which said the law breached previous UN resolutions.</p> <p class="topics"> <strong>Topics:</strong> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/world-politics">world-politics</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/government-and-politics">government-and-politics</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/elections">elections</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/federal-government">federal-government</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/palestinian-territory-occupied">palestinian-territory-occupied</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/israel">israel</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/australia">australia</a> </p> <p class="published"> First posted <span class="timestamp"> October 17, 2018 07:48:53 </span> </p> <!--noindex--> </div> <br> <br><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/australian-embassy-move-could-sabotage-middle-east-peace-process/10385252">Source link </a>

Canberra schools went six months without formal response to child approaches, documents show

<br><div> <!--endnoindex--> <p class="published"> Posted <span class="timestamp"> October 17, 2018 08:55:45 </span> </p> <div class="attached-content"> <div class="inline-content photo left"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/students-at-risk/10385564"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/6741846-3x2-340x227.jpg" alt="Blurred students on an oval at a school." title="Students at risk" width="340" height="227"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/students-at-risk/10385564" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> The ACT Government has defended its communication with schools over child approach reports. <span class="source">(ABC News)</span> </a></div> </div> <p>It has been revealed it took six months for the ACT Government to enact a formal response to reports of men approaching, stalking and grabbing students.</p><p>But the Government has defended its communication with schools over the incidents.</p><p>Document obtained under freedom of information (FOI) laws show in late July Canberra public schools enforced a standard response to the ongoing incidents.</p><p>By this time, schools had received at least a dozen serious stranger-related reports, with ACT Policing first warning the wider public about the approaches as early as March.</p><p>The response included requiring the affected schools to immediately text the ACT Education Directorate, do a risk assessment, contact police, write an incident report and notify nearby school communities.</p><p>The partially redacted documents suggest most of these actions were taken in the majority of reports made before the response was enforced, but not in all of them.</p><p>Text messages and emails between schools and the directorate also showed confusion over communication processes with school communities and police.</p><p>That confusion appeared to cause delays in some instances.</p><p>An Education Directorate spokeswoman defended the Government's communication processes, saying "the safety of each and every one of our students and staff is very important".</p><p>"Whilst ACT Policing lead the communications, the directorate's standard response procedure ensures there are no gaps in communicating with the school community," she said.</p><p>"The ACT Education Directorate implements a process for reporting and managing incidents. This includes communicating with the school and their community when incidents occur.</p><blockquote class="quote--pullquote"><p>"The standard response ensures that schools are responding consistently and that school communities are receiving a consistent and relevant message, particularly in regards to advice provided by ACT Policing."</p></blockquote><h2>Taskforce has received 20 child approach reports</h2><p>While the spokeswoman did not specifically address the timing of forming the standard response to the child approaches, she said all communications were carefully considered as the Government and police were conscious of unduly alarming students, parents and the broader community.</p><p>But she said the affected school was always required to notify its own community of a report for safety reasons.</p><p>"Schools in the surrounding area are notified by the directorate when an incident occurs," she said.</p><p>"The decision to scale communications across multiple schools or across the system depends on a range of factors including severity of incident, number of incidents and geographic location, and on the advice of ACT Policing in line with their communications approach."</p><p>ACT Policing launched Taskforce Tydeus in September to investigate what has now reached 20 child approach reports since February.</p><p>That taskforce has made three arrests over acts of indecency, with three men appearing before the ACT Magistrates Court.</p><p>The FOI documents reveal schools received 28 stranger-related reports between February and August.</p><p>Those reports include instances of two adults photographing and filming children through a primary school fence earlier this year.</p><p>On another occasion, a Woden school student was lured towards a white van with multiple people inside, while someone also in a white van offered a student a lift home, claiming the bus had broken down.</p><p>In another case, a man asked a child to get some lollies from inside a black car parked on school grounds at lunchtime.</p><p>ACT Policing has been patrolling schools in light of the incidents and is urging parents to talk about stranger danger with children, while the Education Directorate advised primary school students not to walk to and from school alone.</p> <p class="topics"> <strong>Topics:</strong> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/states-and-territories">states-and-territories</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/schools">schools</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/safety">safety</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/canberra-2600">canberra-2600</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/act">act</a> </p> <!--noindex--> </div> <br> <br><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/canberra-school-child-approach-six-months-until-formal-response/10385376">Source link </a>

Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to her first child

<br><div> <!--endnoindex--> <p class="published"> Updated <span class="timestamp"> October 17, 2018 08:56:47 </span> </p> <div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/pregnant-pippa-matthews-(middleton)/10385488"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10379388-3x2-700x467.jpg" alt="A heavily pregnant Pippa Middleton arrives at a wedding wearing an olive green coat and matching facinator" title="Pregnant Pippa Matthews (Middleton)" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/pregnant-pippa-matthews-(middleton)/10385488" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> Pippa Middleton arriving at the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank. <span class="source">(AP: Pool)</span> </a></div> <p>Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, has given birth to her first child, a boy.</p><p>Ms Middleton, 35, first came to public attention when she acted as maid of honour at the 2011 wedding of her sister Kate to Prince William, who is second in line to the British throne.</p><p>A spokesman for Prince William and Kate Middleton said they were "thrilled" for Pippa and her husband.</p><p>Ms Middleton married financier James Matthews last year.</p><div class="inline-content right"> <a href="https://twitter.com/scottygb/status/1052217004592128002"><span><strong>External Link:</strong> oh my god @BBCSimonMcCoy just announced that Pippa Middleton had given birth and it was PEAK SIMON MCCOY</span> </a></div><p>The BBC reported that the baby was born on Monday at 1:58pm local time,<strong> </strong>weighing 8lb 9oz (3.88 kilograms).</p><p>The new baby will be a cousin to William and Kate's three children — George, 5, Charlotte, 3, and 5-month-old Louis.</p><p>Ms Middleton announced her pregnancy in a column for Waitrose Weekend magazine, telling readers that keeping the "happy news" secret had been "hard".</p><p>The baby was born on the day the palace announced that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are expecting their first child.</p><p>The pair are in Australia for the Invictus games and are set to visit the New South Wales town of Dubbo today to meet with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and farmers struggling with persistent drought.</p><p><strong>ABC/wires</strong></p> <p class="topics"> <strong>Topics:</strong> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/royal-and-imperial-matters">royal-and-imperial-matters</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/human-interest">human-interest</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/united-kingdom">united-kingdom</a> </p> <p class="published"> First posted <span class="timestamp"> October 17, 2018 08:07:58 </span> </p> <!--noindex--> </div><script async src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <br> <br><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/pippa-middleton-sister-of-the-duchess-of-cambridge-gives-birth/10385446">Source link </a>

Perth Zoo's transformation from concrete jungle to leafy sanctuary

<br><div> <!--endnoindex--> <p class="published"> Posted <span class="timestamp"> October 17, 2018 08:17:02 </span> </p> <div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/perth-zoo-sun-bear/10384198"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10383132-3x2-700x467.jpg" alt="A black bear sits against a tree in a zoo enclosure filled with plants." title="Perth Zoo sun bear" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/perth-zoo-sun-bear/10384198" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> A sun bear sits in its enclosure at Perth Zoo. <span class="source">(Supplied: Perth Zoo)</span> </a></div> <p>Perth Zoo's founding director Ernest Le Souef sometimes kept snakes in the oven of his home on the grounds of the South Perth park to keep them warm.</p><p>His great-granddaughter Anna Le Souef, who is one of the zoo's veterinarians, said that was not the only story she remembered about her ancestor.</p><p>"One of the stories was when they needed to go and pick up a group of flamingos from the port, and my great-grandfather took one of the girls, one of his daughters with them, and she recalls being sat in the back with the flamingos on the way back to the zoo," she said. </p><p>"Obviously, things would be done pretty differently now."</p><div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/perth-zoo-sun-bear-old-photo/10384196"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10383136-3x2-700x467.jpg" alt="A black and white photo of a bear in an old enclosure behind a barred door and rock wall." title="Perth Zoo sun bear old photo" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/perth-zoo-sun-bear-old-photo/10384196" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> The old sun bear enclosure was like a small, barred cave. <span class="source">(Supplied: Perth Zoo)</span> </a></div><p>On the 120th anniversary of the zoo's opening, a wander through its 17-hectare grounds shows how radically it has changed since it opened in 1898.</p><p>The first exhibits included small, barred caves for a sun bear and a golden jackal — which have been preserved to show how not to care for animals — and other bleak enclosures with no natural surrounds.</p><p>"It's so different now," Ms Le Souef said. </p><p>"I think they did the best they knew how to in those days, they had the best intentions.</p><blockquote class="quote--pullquote"><p>"But our ideas of animal welfare and conservation are entirely different now, so it's a very different place, but I guess the same spirit."</p></blockquote><div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/dingo-at-perth-zoo/10384192"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10383248-3x2-700x467.jpg" alt="A dingo sits on a rock surrounded by trees and plants." title="Dingo at Perth Zoo" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/dingo-at-perth-zoo/10384192" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> Dingos and other wild dogs are kept in natural surroundings at Perth Zoo. <span class="source">(ABC News: Nicolas Perpitch)</span> </a></div><div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/an-albino-fox-at-perth-zoo-old-photo/10384190"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10383256-3x2-700x467.jpg" alt="A white dog and a black dog sit either side of a barred door set in a rocky wall." title="An albino fox at Perth Zoo old photo" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/an-albino-fox-at-perth-zoo-old-photo/10384190" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> Wild dogs including an albino fox once had primitive, rocky enclosures at the zoo. <span class="source">(ABC News)</span> </a></div><h2>'It's not a concrete box anymore'</h2><p>Ric Dunlop started working at the zoo more than 30 years ago and now supervises the elephants and other large animals.</p><p>"Pretty much as I started in '88, zoos were moving into what you see here," he said. </p><blockquote class="quote--pullquote"><p>"It's not a concrete box anymore, aesthetically it looks much better. It's got better design principles for trying to give the animals what they need as enrichment, as housing, and of course we supply all medications."</p></blockquote><p>The evolution of the zoo has seen keepers move from basic care for a wide variety of animals to highly specialised care for one group of animals.</p><p>Animal welfare is the highest priority, and the keepers try to create enclosures that simulate natural environments which are healthy for the animals.</p><div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/orangutans-at-perth-zoo/10384186"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10383328-3x2-700x467.jpg" alt="Orangutans climb on a metal and rope structure with trees in the background." title="Orangutans at Perth Zoo" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/orangutans-at-perth-zoo/10384186" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> Animal welfare is the zoo's highest priority. <span class="source">(Supplied: Perth Zoo)</span> </a></div><div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/orangutans-at-perth-zoo-old-photo/10384194"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10383242-3x2-700x467.jpg" alt="An orangutan mother holds her baby on a concrete surface behind a wire fence." title="Orangutans at Perth Zoo old photo" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/orangutans-at-perth-zoo-old-photo/10384194" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> An orangutan mother and baby before the change to more natural surroundings. <span class="source">(ABC News)</span> </a></div><h2>Animals are 'ambassadors' for their species</h2><p>Conservation programs to preserve natural habitats and fight poachers, along with breeding programs for endangered species, are also a crucial part of the zoo's work.</p><p>It has managed to bring western swamp turtles back from extinction, and also works with numbats and other Australian mammals and reptiles.</p><p>The zoo is also part of an international program to re-introduce a wild population of orangutans into the Sumatran jungle. </p><p>There are still sun bears at the zoo, but they are rescue animals. One of them, Jamran, was brought to Perth after being found tied to a pole outside a restaurant in Thailand, where his paws would have been used for soup.</p><blockquote class="quote--pullquote"><p>"[The zoo] still holds the entertainment value, but there's a huge focus on conservation in the whole collection that we hold," Mr Dunlop said. </p></blockquote><p>"I think people need to understand that these guys are kept more or less as an ambassador for their species, and the zoo industry invariably is putting money into programs that are conservation-based outside of the zoo and potentially in South East Asia and Africa."</p> <p class="topics"> <strong>Topics:</strong> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/zoos">zoos</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/zoology">zoology</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/animals">animals</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/perth-6000">perth-6000</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/wa">wa</a> </p> <!--noindex--> </div> <br> <br><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/120th-anniversary-of-the-perth-zoo-opening/10379436">Source link </a>

Telstra's board may be angry about the protest vote, but they have only themselves to blame

<br><div> <!--endnoindex--> <p class="published"> Updated <span class="timestamp"> October 17, 2018 06:27:12 </span> </p> <p>Telstra chair John Mullen turned up to front his shareholders at the 2018 AGM in a far from chipper mood. He was a beaten man.</p><p>The proxies for the company's remuneration report had been counted and even without the final tally being added up, Mr Mullen knew he was heading for one of the biggest AGM defeats meted out to an Australian blue-chip corporation.</p><p>How big? A 62 per cent vote against a remuneration report may not be quite a record, but it is still bigger than the <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-10/amp-agm-investors-vent-their-wrath/9746798" target="_self" title="">61 per cent protest vote AMP received earlier this year</a>.</p><p>And AMP had accrued quite a rap sheet before shareholders went ballistic; its chair, chief executive and head lawyer were forced out. Its board had been gutted and its shares had tumbled 30 per cent in a matter of months.</p><p>Then there was the disquieting issue of potential criminal charges being laid for a series of scandals unearthed in a royal commission.</p><p>In the recent history of the "say-on-pay" legislation — also known as the "two strikes rule" — drawn up by the Rudd government eight years ago, the Telstra 2018 AGM vote has no equal in the ASX top 20.</p><p>The 51 per cent protest vote CBA chalked up as details of the "pay-for-no-service" scandal emerged in 2016 is the next best, or worst, depending how you view things.</p><p>However, in the longer history of Australian non-binding shareholder votes on pay dating back to the inelegantly named "CLERP 9" reforms of 2004, it drops to second place in terms of shareholder anger against a top-20 outfit.</p><p>The clubhouse leader remains — drum roll, please — Telstra's 2007 AGM.</p><p>Back then 66 per cent of the vote was marshalled against Sol Trujillo's combative and very expensive leadership.</p><h2>'Not a poor performance'</h2><p>However, Mr Mullen's beef was not with the 1 million or so small retail investors, although they seem a fairly cantankerous bunch at the moment.</p><p>They may be many in number, but there's not a lot of voting firepower in the so-called "mums and dads" and self-managed super fund sector.</p><p>Mr Mullen's anger was directed at the big institutional investors, super funds and the proxy-advisory companies employed to provide guidance on annoying details, like corporate governance policies and whether shareholders are getting bang-for-their-buck from management via what are becoming increasingly complex and opaque pay structures.</p><p>Mr Mullen's venting was fairly forthright compared to the usual anodyne and largely unquotable offerings<strong> </strong>dished up by chairs at AGMs.</p><p>Firstly, there was little sense of contrition in terms of the 40 per cent slide in Telstra's share price over the 2018 financial year, or the 8 per cent drop in profit or the 30 per cent dividend cut.</p><p>No, Telstra was a victim of circumstance, collateral damage in a Federal Government's determination to re-nationalise a large chuck of the nation's telecommunications infrastructure via the NBN.</p><p>"Firstly, I hear the critics say that Telstra's performance has been poor this year. I believe that this simply is not true," Mr Mullen told his shareholders/critics.</p><p>Indeed, he found any criticism of the senior executive remuneration scheme an affront, given the time and effort the board and devoted to the tortured subject.</p><p>"This is deeply, deeply disappointing to my board colleagues and me," he complained.</p><blockquote class="quote--pullquote"><p>"Some observers out there seem to think that directors sit around like the Witches of Macbeth scheming as to how they can manipulate incentive schemes to give improper benefit to already excessive executive salaries.</p></blockquote><p>"Let me tell you that nothing can actually be further from the truth."</p><h2>'Executive salaries are too high'</h2><div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-16/telstra-chair-john-mullen-speaks-at-2018-agm/10381496"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10381472-3x2-700x467.png" alt="Telstra chair John Mullen speaks at 2018 AGM" title="Telstra chair John Mullen speaks at 2018 AGM" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-16/telstra-chair-john-mullen-speaks-at-2018-agm/10381496" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> Telstra chair John Mullen says Australian executives are generally paid too much. <span class="source">(Supplied: Telstra)</span> </a></div><p>Indeed the whole idea of attracting, "incentivising" (sadly the Oxford Dictionary recognises it as a word) and keeping executives was a very vexing subject for an old-school executive like Mr Mullen, who spent a couple of decades building up a considerable CV in transport businesses like TNT, Toll and Asciano.</p><p>"I am old enough to remember when a CEO just earned a big salary and that was it," he said.</p><blockquote class="quote--pullquote"><p>"I personally believe that executive salaries are too high across the board, but changing this takes time and needs to be embraced by all of corporate Australia, not just one company."</p></blockquote><p>As for the perplexing pay structures with their LTIs, STIs, EVPs, cash, share options (restricted and unrestricted) etc, you could almost hear Mr Mullen pleading for mercy.</p><p>Telstra's 2018 remuneration report ran for 20 mind-numbing pages, and the collective conclusion from shareholders was that it was a hopelessly inadequate document.</p><p>"We thought that we had got it right," Mr Mullen glumly told his largely unimpressed audience.</p><p>Mr Mullen essentially fingered the problem as the outcome, rather than scheme itself.</p><p>The outcome the remuneration scheme delivered Telstra chief Andy Penn and his executive colleagues was a result totally out of whack with what had been a really bad year for shareholders.</p><p>If things had gone swimmingly for Telstra — rather than the company sinking like a stone last year — Mr Penn could have received a base salary of $2.4 million, plus 200 per cent of that, or another $4.8 million in bonuses.</p><p>Plugging a range of financial metrics the into the Telstra remuneration calculator, it found Mr Penn was entitled to around half his maximum bonus, or $2.3 million, and total remuneration of $4.7 million.</p><p>The board realised that was a bit a bit rich and cut Mr Penn's bonus by a third again to $1.6 million.</p><p>Mr Mullen was stating the obvious when he said, "clearly, however, many shareholders thought that this was not enough" — of a cut, that is.</p><p>"Although often dressed up in other language, therefore, the issue here is clearly the outcome, not the scheme, and this means that we can make all the changes we like to the scheme and we will never please everybody," he said.</p><p>That is may well be, but the board, with help from its very well-paid external advisers, came up with scheme that produced an unacceptable result.</p><p>Telstra bosses are unlikely to accept one of their technicians blaming their tools for a stuff-up or network outage. The big investors are in an equally unforgiving mood about Telstra's board and executive team.</p><p>The big shareholders basically told Mr Mullen and his board, "You have got to be kidding", and exercised their democratic right to vote down the report.</p><h2>Two strikes and the board could be out</h2><div class="inline-content photo full"> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-16/telstra-agm-2018/10384204"> <img src="https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/10384170-3x2-700x467.png" alt="Telstra AGM 2018" title="Telstra AGM 2018" width="700" height="467"/></a><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-16/telstra-agm-2018/10384204" class="inline-caption"><strong> Photo:</strong> The entire Telstra board could be spilled if the protest vote was repeated at next year's AGM. <span class="source">(Supplied: Telstra)</span> </a></div><p>It is of course a non-binding vote and largely symbolic.</p><p>A second strike — and by Telstra's standards a 25 per cent protest vote isn't a big hurdle — could precipitate a spill of all boardroom positions.</p><p>It's a possibility, but highly unlikely.</p><p>An exasperated Mr Mullen even floated the idea of junking the executive of bonuses and incentives.</p><blockquote class="quote--pullquote"><p>"Maybe there is a case for doing away entirely with all these complex schemes and just going back to a fixed salary commensurate with the difficulty of the role," he said.</p></blockquote><p>But Telstra under Mr Mullen is unlikely to make that bold leap back into the past.</p><p>"This next year is also going to be a difficult year for Telstra as everyone knows," Mr Mullen gravely informed the AGM, "but we cannot change direction every time a proxy adviser or shareholder finds a new fault with our approach and we cannot say to management that there will be zero variable remuneration this year even if you do a great job."</p><p>The more immediate issue, as one big investor told the ABC, was the vote was more a "non-binding" referendum on Mr Penn's performance, rather than what he was paid, and the board may be more inclined to change the executive rather than the pay structure to get the shareholders back on side.</p><div class="inline-content full"> <a href="https://tmsnrt.rs/2PzAwIh?abcnewsembedheight=430"><span><strong>External Link:</strong> Telstra's share price since privatisation</span> </a></div> <p class="topics"> <strong>Topics:</strong> <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/company-news">company-news</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/corporate-governance">corporate-governance</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/telecommunications">telecommunications</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/stockmarket">stockmarket</a>, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/topic/australia">australia</a> </p> <p class="published"> First posted <span class="timestamp"> October 17, 2018 06:21:22 </span> </p> <!--noindex--> </div> <br> <br><a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-17/telstra-board-should-take-the-blame-for-record-protest-vote/10383828">Source link </a>

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