Next time you play monopoly with the kids and you pick up the CHANCE card which says "pay tax on all your properties", spare a though for poor Denis O'Neil. Big Den used to own quarries and Hymix and is now into developing hotels in Sydney's Kings Cross. Recently he's reported to have paid $6 million for a Point Piper marina and ordered a 12 seater Lear Jet. Why does he need a Lear Jet? To fly to the Whitsundays of course: that's where he parks his $5 million motor yacht "Illusions".
HARVEY NORMAN'S DOUBLESPEAK
After forking out $270,000 to cover legal costs paid by the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission (ACCC) in prosecuting his company for misleading or deceptive representations that were in breach of the Trade Practices Act, Harvey Norman kingpin Gerry Harvey says he now wants to make peace. "Since Mr Fels (previous ACCC chairperson) has gone we have had no problems with the ACCC and that's pleasant. Hopefully the new regime and Harvey Norman will have a long and happy relationship" he gushed to the media. However, it's a different story if you're an ACCC inspector who walk into a Harvey Norman store.
In a memo to franchisees entitled "ACCC Alert", John Skippen the retail consumer electronics finance director recommends how staff are to handle suspected undercover visits by watchdog staff: immediately report to head office all suspected approaches to staff, include date and time of visit, what questions were asked, what products were purchased and for what prices, where they were delivered and how they were paid for.
But wait...there's more.
"Should you or any of your staff be suspicious that a customer could be from the ACCC be sure to take a photo of the person with a digital camera clearly showing their face...". If this how you treat people you want to have a "happy relationship" with, what would you do if you were harassing them?
DO YOU WANT TO SEND A FARTING DOG TO THE HOUSE OF REPS?
Mambo the T shirt and leisurewear maker is worried (now that it's big) that it's seen as conservative. What to do? Why not launch a political party. What to call it? Farting Dog? Dickheads Rule? Nah. The Abuse of Power Party sounds better.
Reinforces the credo of the middle class: that all politics stinks. Just hide your head in the sand, keep spending most of your money on overpriced clothes and it'll all go away. Check your local street corner for further developments.
WHAT KIND OF ADVICE WOULD YOU EXPECT IF YOU PAID $34 MILLION FOR IT?
Here's what Ahmed Fahour (who's just been appointed chief executive Australia for the NAB) had to say when asked what he would be doing. "There will be some realignment of the organisation around customers: some people will be doing different things in different ways". Any of the counter staff at any National Bank branch could have told us this and they get less than $20 an hour. And Mr Fahour? He'll pocket $13.5 million for having his contract with Citibank paid out, plus a likely $20.5 million in salary, maximum bonuses and performance incentives over the next four years. So what do these guys in Armani suits and shiny shoes really do for the bank vaults of gold they're paid? They sack people. In the thousands. While they keep smiling. The money makes them bulletproof... for now.
WHEN YOU RULE THE COMPUTER WORLD, WHAT'S A CULTURAL GAFFE OR TWO?
Tom Edwards is a Microsoft staffer. He's playing King Canute to Bill Gate's tidal wave. You see, Tom's job is to run Microsoft's "geopolitical strategy unit" (and you thought it was just to make as much money as possible selling a bug magnet called Windows is not beyond stuffing up other people's software). Here are some gems from Tom Edwards' presentation to the International Geographical Union in Glasgow recently.
* Eight out of the 800,000 pixels used in the Indian version of the Windows logo were dark and not light green to "represent Kashmir as non-Indian". This led to the product being banned in India. Cost? Untold millions
* Koranic chanting was used in the soundtrack for a segment in a computer game called Kakuto Chojin released by Microsoft in 2002. When the royal house of Saud complained, Mr Edwards consulted a Muslim linguist who "went ballistic". Result? 75,000 copies of the game had to be trashed.
The original Encarta 95 Encyclopaedia had a map of Turkey that included the label "Kurdistan" which just happened to be positioned in an area the Kurdish people who live in Turkey claim as their own. Certain eminent Turks were offended and the Microsoft distributors were arrested. So Microsoft fixed it. All reference to Kurdistan was removed. Which led to protests by the Kurds.
By Lynn Smith