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Some things, like government making fickle decisions, never seem to change. In this 1993 column in bi-monthly publication, Australian Drilling, Ron shared some personal correspondence he’d had with a shareholder.

Let me start with the good news and finish with the good news. I am happy to report the level of exploration activity around Kalgoorlie is so high at the moment that no one has time to read, listen to, or watch politicians anymore. However, let me draw attention to a shareholder’s letter to me dated July 30 this year. It read, in part:

Dear Croesus Chairman,

It is with great regret that I put my shares on the market today. This has been done to avoid an immoral, unfair and unjust attempt by the Government to reduce my pension.

If Croesus shares remain at the present sale price until 23rd September, 1993, I would lose most of my pension. I am an ex-serviceman Disabled War Veteran Pensioner.

The Federal Government calculates that I have a capital gain which would reduce my pension by $1439, which I can’t afford to lose. Mr Dawkins says that this will only affect 30,000 pensioners, but should these pensioners have only my meagre shareholding, then $120,000,000 would be trying to leave the Stock Exchange and move into banks at 4 per cent, if they are lucky.

I therefore have no alternative than to sell my shares now. I shall miss out on receiving your reports, and having a real interest in the growth of Croesus. Good luck for the future. 

To which I replied:

Dear Shareholder,

I have delayed my reply until such time as we published our Annual Report, which now accompanies this letter. I too, am sorry to see you forced to leave our share register in this fashion, after all these years,  especially in view of the fact that the Government has since changed its mind about this ill-conceived policy.

If a professional adviser gives bad advice and causes you financial loss, you are able to seek legal remedy for damages. It may be worth considering legal-aid advice in respect to claiming damages if our shares rise, subsequent to your forced sale. 

Like most things that Governments do, the results are usually the opposite of their intent. 

Many overseas Governments actually encourage citizens to invest in their own country. This is not the case in Australia, as witnessed by the fact that our Kalgoorlie-based company has more overseas shareholders than Australians. 

However, I often find that it is better to dwell on the good news and I have two such items to report:

  1. I notice that the time span between politicians making promises and breaking promises is becoming shorter. This is making it easier for us to identify these lies. 
  2. Although over the past two decades or so, and especially over the last 10 years, we are getting more and more Government, and the amount we pay for it has been increasing. We should still be thankful that we don’t get all the Government that we pay for.

Ron Manners

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