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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 2945..


MR STANHOPE: As the auditor has found and as we have discussed, there has been a range of very serious shortcomings in the management of Rhodium Asset Solutions. That is a matter of enormous regret to me, a matter of great disappointment to me personally and indeed to the chairman, Bob Samarcq, and members of the board of Rhodium Asset Solutions.

The government created Rhodium consistent with the Corporations Law. It appointed a board of directors headed by Bob Samarcq, a very significant and widely respected Canberra manager—an incredibly senior and experienced board, including Ian Meikle and Margaret Coaldrake, directors of unparalleled reputation and capacity. The chairman and the board of directors are, consistent with their obligations under the corporations legislation and with their charter as chairman and board members, charged with responsibility for the management of Rhodium. In that context, they appointed a chief executive officer who appointed senior management and staff to run Rhodium Asset, a fleet business.

It is consistent, of course, and entirely appropriate that, as a shareholder, I responded to the board. I responded through its annual reports and its statutory reporting requirements. I approved its statement of corporate intent, along with my fellow shareholder, and I took periodic reports from and held periodic meetings with the chairman and the board. At no stage until this affair developed earlier this year was I as a shareholder or either of the shareholders informed of the events that were occurring within Rhodium. To the extent that the board was not aware of any of these things prior to around February of this year, as I understand it, it is fanciful, absolutely fanciful, to suggest that a shareholder would be aware of the day-to-day management issues.

Mrs Dunne: No, the auditor said the shareholders failed to lay down directions.

MR STANHOPE: No, it is—

Mr Smyth: So the auditor is wrong.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth!

Mr Smyth: Page 3.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth!

MR STANHOPE: It is absolutely fanciful, if not nonsensical, to suggest that the shareholder of a company appropriately constituted and over which there is a chairman and a board of directors would be expected to or would appropriately involve himself in the day-to-day management of the company. That is fanciful. It is not just fanciful; it is entirely inappropriate, it is inappropriate in the extreme, to suggest that a shareholder would override or supersede the responsibility of a board of directors and involve himself in the day-to-day management of a company. That is fanciful and absurd. I do not, and have never, involve myself in the day-to-day management of Actew. I have not, and will never, involve myself in the day-to-day management of the TAB.

Mr Smyth: But you did give directions.


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