Archive for November 3rd, 2012

Latest campaign: Expose the truth on Woolworths’ pokies

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How low will they go? After taking GetUp members to court in an attempt to deny their constitutional right to an EGM and continuing to defend a predatory business practice of placing high loss machines in poor areas Woolworths is at it again. The company is now at risk of running afoul of the law by sending what GetUp’s lawyers call “seriously deceptive” information about poker machine reform to their own shareholders in last week’s notice about the company’s upcoming Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on the issue.

This is a serious breach of shareholder trust, and it goes way beyond the usual corporate spin.

We can’t let them get away with lying to more than 500,000 shareholders. In order to set the record straight we need to expose Woolworths, publicly, to the investor community for this breach of shareholder trust and good faith. Will you help do this by funding this ad to run in next week’s Financial Review?

In short, Woolworths has selectively and out-of-context quoted the Productivity Commission’s research into poker machine reform – in order to argue against the very reforms the Productivity Commission recommends.

Instead of presenting the facts about the proposed reforms – including that the Productivity Commission recommended $1 maximum bets and mandatory shutdown periods – Woolworths took limited quotes out of context to make it appear that there is not only a lack of evidence to suggest poker machine reforms will work, but that the Productivity Commission itself came to the same conclusion. This is patently false and outrageous given that the Productivity Commission did the exact opposite by recommendeding these specific reforms be enacted, and quickly.

Unfortunately some of the shareholders we’ve spoken with are – understandably – taking Woolworths’ information at face value. After all, the company has a legal obligation, under both the Corporations Act and the Competition and Consumer Act, not to mislead them. Only they did. Woolworths knows its shareholders are unlikely to read the Productivity Commission’s 1100-page report to discover the truth. That’s why it’s up to us to set the record straight.

With your help now, we’ll publish a full-page ad in the Financial Review, the most widely-read and influential publication for Australian investors. Help make it happen.

The GetUp member initiated EGM is now just three weeks away. Woolworths have already done everything they can to cancel, delay and downplay this critical shareholder meeting. Let’s hold them to account for their lies so they stand corrected, not smirking, for their continuous lack of regard not just for problem gamblers and their families, but for their very own shareholders.

Thanks for exposing the truth,
The GetUp Team

PS – This entire campaign has been driven and funded by GetUp members from the start – many of whom have experienced the first-hand effects of problem gambling on their lives and their families. Thank you so much. If you’ve been sent this email from a friend and want to learn more about this campaign, click here.

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3rd November 2012