Malcolm Turnbull, Disingenuous Prat

Malcolm Turnbull has a unique take on populism, he eschews talk of petrol prices and the cost of groceries and instead turns his attention to the cash management trusts and meddling with shareholders’ rights. His latest gambit is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, repackaging stuff that already exists, and ignoring the reason that it’ll never work.

Malcolm’s latest idea to ingratiate himself with ‘Mum and Dad investors’ (what a condescending stupid term that is) is a proposal that shareholders be allowed to determine executive pay as a way to curb excessive salary packages. On the surface this seems like a good plan, and you’d ask why no-one’s thought of it before, but the reality is this is nothing more than spin.

Firstly, most companies already require shareholders to approve executive and board payments. These are generally determined by a remuneration committee which is charged with ensuring the conditions are appropriate, based on the company’s size, performance and what the conditions are like at their competitors. So the reality is that for the most part, Turnbull’s plan wouldn’t actually give shareholders any more rights than they have now. The only place that this would make a difference is in smaller listed companies, where outrageous compensation for execs is less of a problem anyway.

Secondly, by framing his plan the way he has Malcolm Turnbull is hoping to play off the ignorance of the average shareholder about where they fit in the shareholder registry. Small shareholders make up a tiny part of a large companies share registry, the bulk of the shares in Australia are held by financial institutions like super funds or investment houses. Traditionally, institutional investors always vote with the board. When the motions regarding executive pay come up at corporate AGMs there is usually a flurry of activity on the floor as people rush to decry the latest increase in the CEO’s pay, but when the vote comes the measure is passed with over 90% of the votes in favour. This wouldn’t change one bit under the Turnbull plan.

This latest plan is nothing more than grandstanding, Turnbull knows it, he just hopes that you and I won’t.

8 thoughts on “Malcolm Turnbull, Disingenuous Prat

  1. Good one, Dave. I’ve always suspected that Mal harbours (worships) the belief that his own excrement does not bother anyone’s sense of smell.

  2. Turnbull is trying to have a bet each way. He’s publicly vilifying the big end of town, but with a wink and a nudge, because he knows his plan is pointless.

    I expect to see more of this type of ‘policy’ from the Liberals, sadly I don’t expect to see our traditional media slice it up the way that they should.

  3. I agree whole heartedly; just talk and no substance. Now, that said, although the idea is crap, at least we now have an opposition that is prepared to make policy suggestions rather than just whinging about everything that the government does.

    I think this is why the state Labor governments have lasted so long; no matter how crap they were, the opposition looked even less substantial. Perhaps Turnbull has woken up to this. He is trying to frame himself as a viable alternative decision maker. Being the populist does not hurt the polls.

    On a separate, but kind of related topic: How much would Costello be spewing having not taken the opposition leadership. He’d be in his element. If the financial collapse happened before the last leadership spill, I reckon he would have stuck up his hand.

  4. He’s trying to set up a wedge, nothing more.

    “Why won’t the government accept our plan?”

    You can’t explain why it’s stupid and pointless in a single sound-bite so the conflict obsessed Canberra Press Gallery will declare it a ‘win’ for Turnbull and go on about how it fulfils the need for a narrative that speaks to voters.

    It’s Howard politics 2.0.

  5. Yep, the same politics that worked 4 times over and twice for Bush. I agree it stinks, but you have to be a little pragmatic and acknowledge that in opposition, that is all you have. Someone already used the ‘change’ line.

    I wish we could exist in an environment where parlour tricks were not required to frame the government. I wish that the media would be the true opposition and that the party on the small side of the chamber was an actual alternative government and I wish that campaigning was the sum total of 4 debates with an informed, non-partisan, moderator who insisted on questions being answered. Unfortunately none of these things are likely to eventuate whilst the ‘mums and dads’ and any other blockhead voter is prepared to rely upon what the latest incarnation of Ray Martin has to say. It will not happen until the majority of voters realise that there are greater things at stake than self interest, that money spent on unpopular things can still be for the greater good; and above all, that not everyone can be happy all of the time – there are just some things that the government cannot fix.

    Until these things happen, Malcolm can only get his name in lights by singing from the Howard song book. What choice does he have?

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