CBH Group chairman Tony Critch says he cannot understand why the Wheat Growers Association (WGA) app

24 Apr, 2007 08:45 PM
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³This is a political game,² Mr Critch said.

³Growers need to be very wary of what is happening at the moment and ask why CBH is being taken over by the WGA.

³There is some kind of strange political conspiracy behind all of this.

³The people behind it are trying desperately to take us back to the past and to a system for wheat export marketing that has failed.

³We need to realise that times have changed and any new system has to take into consideration greater security, transparency and longevity.²

Mr Critch said he had no idea what that strange conspiracy was, but a letter faxed to CBH director Rod Madden and O¹Connor MLA Wilson Tuckey during the week may hold some clues.

Mr Madden was contacted by Mr Tuckey to bring the WA farmer¹s attention to comments made by National Party senate leader Rob Boswell.

Mr Boswell claimed the National Party had orchestrated the disposal of two CBH directors and were going to get rid of a third.

The third director¹s scalp is an open reference to the shareholder poll being held to ratify the appointment of CBH independent director Denis Thompson.

Mr Thompson¹s board position was approved by a shareholder vote at this year¹s CBH annual general meeting but a disgruntled shareholders group called for a shareholder postal vote on the issue.

Mr Tuckey said he was prepared to provide the names of other members of parliament who could confirm his version of Mr Boswell¹s remarks in a meeting involving Prime Minister John Howard and deputy leader Mark Vaile, in Brisbane on April 18.

³I do not know if voting members of CBH believe they were manipulated by the National Party in casting their votes or on what issues they did so, but personally I am concerned that a political party would claim to have interfered with the democratic processes of CBH in this fashion,² Mr Tuckey said.

Mr Tuckey also issued a media statement during the week, calling for WGA chairman Bob Iffla and his ³ever decreasing group of mates² to seek the resignation of AWB directors for whom he campaigned, and not CBH directors.

³It was the AWB Ltd directors who knew and sanctioned the risky futures speculation that has cost wheat growers, especially those in WA, about $375m,² he said.

³It is obvious that AWB directors, supported by Mr Iffla, have been attending public farmer meetings extolling the virtues of AWB while keeping secrets about the true position of the AWB speculative futures trading of which they were fully aware.

³There is no excuse for AWB.

³It decided to gamble in a futures market dominated by $10b of hot hedge fund money and it lost.

³They would have been safer investing in the races.

³Those, including certain politicians who continue to support the monopoly rights, over and above wheat growers¹ income, of this disgraced and now incompetent corporation should consider the cost, and support the appropriate regulation of the export industry.²

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