Wednesday, September 2, 2015


There is an issue developing with the way we treat people and who read what some may call subversive material. 
When I was a lad I read everything I could about homemade firearms with a view to building something which went bang!  You remember, a penny bunger down a lump of pipe with a ball bearing thrown in on top – point it at the fence and wait - only to suffer the ignominy of a hiding from Dad when a large hole appeared.  Or, reading up on how to make a boat only to launch an old door off Black Rock beach and float to glory.  Half a mile out and it dawned on our collective pea brain that we were heading into the shipping lane faster than we could paddle back to shore. Rescued by a fisherman and another hiding.  How about reading up on making a bow and arrow only to have my best ‘friend’ shoot me in the face – quivering arrow embedded in my cheek and, you guessed it, another hiding. This is normal boy’s stuff, adventure and projectiles. 
There were a plethora of books available for boys to ponder over and discuss what would be considered by today’s moral police to be subversive and indeed even anarchistic as well as deeming those evil tomes for corrupting the minds of boys leading them into the paths of terrorism and world domination!
Can you imagine what one of moral turpitude could write about my antics as a boy?  “Terrorist plot foiled by fisherman when youths caught in shipping lane on homemade boat waiting to sink American container.  These same despots have previously been caught developing home made weapons of mass destruction designed to inflict maximum damage. They have also been caught with terrorist instruction manuals. They should be immediately jailed for the rest of their horrible and unchristian lives!”
 Sounds like a big call for a couple of 10 year olds somewhat lacking in a sense of self preservation and an overinflated sense of adventure with no allergies or colds or disease or, brains.
The exampled news article from the moral high ground person was created from the very dark side of their own thoughts and desire to sell news papers turning a couple if idiot 10 year olds into perpetrators from the ‘axis of evil’.
I have read part of David Hicks book yet I don’t think I will be developing any desire to go and follow some passion in another country through and by just reading his book.  I can remember reading books by Dennis Wheatley as a kid on the occult and being fascinated but I don’t think I will be buying a pointy hat any time soon.  At our school we had a church service every morning – 2400 sessions of attempted indoctrination - yet I have no desire to pursue a role as a religious do-gooder. 
I have read the bible dozens of times and indeed have a couple of those inculcating tomes floating around the house somewhere.  Does this mean I am a religious extremist with views taken from a collection of part phrases?  Not bloody likely.
As I am scrawling this I am looking around at our library.  Right there in front of me is another mine of information allowing me to research possible malfeasant targets.  This incendiary publication is innocently called the ‘The White Pages’.  I can slobber over this whilst wearing my pointy hat and thinking of my antics as a “despot youth reading unchristian terrorist instruction manuals such as Popular mechanics”.
Then there is the internet.  That terrorist inspired publication, The White Pages’ is on-line!  God help us all.
This week a person was arrested for reading ‘subversive’ material and accused of a crime because someone somewhere deemed the material subversive and of Al Qaeda origin.  Every bloke should therefore be arrested who had read the White Pages, Popular Mechanics, The Bible, any thriller novel or has seen any ‘action’ movie over the last 50 years.
Mao Tse Tung tried to remove Chinese culture by removing books. Stalin and Hitler did the same. These delightful despots believed that if you removed people’s ability to seek information then you gain control.  The sad thing is that they nearly pulled it off and worse, their idea of censorship is still alive and well in today’s challenged dictatorships.
It has been proven time and time again that people will seek information and then disseminate what they think is right and what is wrong.
There will always be people who read into a sentence just what they want to hear and make judgements based on no fact.  Take the article written about my attempts to sail to glory as a 10 year old - nothing to do with reality.  It’s not the act but the reporting which creates angst.
It’s not what people read, it’s how they interpret it. What’s more, if too many books have been burnt then the total picture is not available and people will make decisions on limited and possibly spurious texts.  Not good.
I was lucky because as part of my 2400 church services we discussed all religions on equal terms with an overriding agenda not to judge.  Obviously, as a Presbyterian school, the preference was to guide us into the true light of that belief, but not at the expense of intellectual understanding.
The same cannot be said for other doctrines which attempt to blind and demand adherence to what is a very small section of life.
Therefore, the issue is not what they read but what they DON’T read.  Balance in everything is good whereas dictated opinion is bad.  Take ‘Reds under the beds’ and ‘George Orwell’s 1984’ as examples.
I personally don’t think it an issue that someone reads a subversive document.  Every Christian, Muslim, Mormon, Christian Scientist or orthodox Jew could also be accused of subverting another’s chosen true way if all we had to judge on was the specific written word of each doctrine.
Every one of those believers who decry other’s beliefs should also be arrested and jailed as was the person downloading alleged Al Qaeda subversive material.
Perhaps not a good thought as this act alone is heading towards Hitler’s idea of a free world.
I personally have been threatening to read the Koran.  It’s about time and like Popular Mechanics, The Bible and the White Pages, it’s an obvious terrorist book designed to subvert the masses into a proletarian uprising.
Can you imagine how the same writer who wrote the article on me as a floating kid could perceive this wanton act.
“Brainless dropkick youth previously guilty of terrorist plots grows up to continue his life of subversion and anarchy by downloading and indeed even reading the other side’s religious text!  His intentions are obviously Armageddon generated from the axis of evil.  God Help us all”
Yep, if that drivel is what we believe and those beliefs guide our actions then truly, ‘God Help us all’.
Jon Langevad   


Montsalvat - Australia is extremely lucky to have Montsalvat.  Make no mistake, this ‘artist’s colony’ built through the vision of Justus Jörgensen early last century has survived to this day and is a place people go to marvel at just how a French Gothic village could be created on a hillside in Eltham.  Not just a French low-line thatched affair but grand architecture inclusive of a great Baronial hall, a beautiful chapel, a delightful pool and some of the best ‘balanced’ architecture one could hope to see.  We are still lucky enough to have residing at the property the man who helped build this icon with his father, Mr Sigmund Jörgensen as patriarch, arts advisor, multi-hat-restaurateur and board member.
It is approaching 50 years ago, when I first stepped onto the property marvelling at the community feel by just wandering aimlessly around dodging killer geese and surly peacocks and stopping to watch artists at work perhaps to buy their wares. 
In my mind, Montsalvat must be both protected as a national icon and cherished by celebrating its history and making sure it continues in the manner visioned by Justus Jörgensen all those years ago.  In this way a zillion new people over the next 80 years can go and gawk and admire and experience a slice of living history without Walt Disney like exuberance. 
Ethos discomfort - But now, Montsalvat seems to be in some degree of ‘ethos-discomfort’.  Whilst the buildings remain and are most certainly worth a visit or ten, I am concerned that the current board and management do not understand the raison d'être behind Montsalvat and are failing to manage critical business aspects and heritage responsibilities.
As the saying goes, there is no free lunch!  To preserve Montsalvat requires vision and money and focus and clear strategies all leading to informed decisions by a coherent and transparent board.  Decisions which ensure working capital for infrastructure maintenance and development.
Board and management have failed - As I watch events unfold, monitor blog and change sites, read publicly available documents, watch everything and listen to all and sundry it seems to be increasingly clear that the current board and management are failing in their primary duty to make sure Montsalvat is protected, cherished and financially sound.  Unfortunately, there are many board and management decisions seemingly incongruous to these three very basic visions leading to profit diminishing year on year thereby curtailing infrastructure repairs let alone being able to take advantage of any ongoing strategic initiatives. 
Directors are required to make informed and independent judgments on decisions put to them [AWA Ltd v Daniels (t/as Deloitte Haskins & Sells) (1992) 7 ACSR 759] and are required to place themselves in a position to guide the company and monitor its management but Montsalvat seems to have a board riven with infighting whilst making questionable [even ultra vires] decisions in possible breach of the Corporations Act [2001] S180 etal. All board decisions seem to be treated as confidential subject to secrecy provisions inserted within the constitution. The result being the ‘self elected’ board only answers to itself with no members other than the actual board members - so there are no checks and balances.
Just a cursory look at the 2013 financial reports indicates problems like consultant’s fees, employment expenses and professional fees amounting to around 87% of gross profit, non current liabilities increased by $103,000 and the loss of a $600,000 revenue stream through gifting the popular albeit badly managed restaurant to a third party by tender for a fraction of its worth as that revenue stream. As directors have a lawful duty to be informed of the companies actual financial affairs [Statewide Tobacco Services Ltd v Morley (1990) 2 ACSR 405], how can this happen?
Just three examples:
Deliberate sacrifice of a major revenue stream - Money was and is critical to the survival of Montsalvat but revenue streams are limited.  A few years ago we worked with Mr Sigmund Jörgensen to reinvigorate the restaurant establishing a vision, mission, strategic directions, strategic objectives, change plans, spatial changes, and cuisine changes all financially documented with timelines.  We estimated a nett profit to Montsalvat from the restaurant of some $3,000 to $4,000 per week and, based on later published turnover of up to $14,000 per week, they should have easily achieved that profit and more - providing it was properly managed.  Unfortunately, management did not take any of our advice apart from some spatial changes [since destroyed] resulting in losses roughly equivalent to profits foregone in as much as $300,000 per annum was lost to forecast.  That’s a lot of maintenance and marketing money just gone.  Management must have actually budgeted for wages etal  near 90% of gross profit and a cost of sales well above industry norms to screw this up.  Much worse, instead of fixing the problems, as a board and senior management should, and given they had all the information we gave them, decided instead of actually managing the restaurant to profit, to lease the space out for a fraction of its worth as a revenue stream for Montsalvat.  How can that be acceptable?  These are not the actions of a competent board and/or management given that under the Corporations Act each and every director must exercise their power and discharge their duties with the degree of care and diligence that any reasonable person would exercise.
Wasted marketing opportunities - Mr Jörgensen had just written a book on Montsalvat launching it a couple of weeks ago at Montsalvat itself.  This major event should have been embraced by board and management, but no.  Sigmund had to do his own marketing, beg entertainment, seek his own speakers and believe it or not the entry doors remained locked until after the advertised start time leaving guests outside in the dust for no reason. I was there, being extremely underwhelmed by the board and management in their conduct towards the launch and Mr Jörgensen but far far worse, their ambivalence if not rejection of the huge marketing opportunity this launch could have provided for the future benefit of the property they purport to direct and manage.  It is shameful as this conduct seems to be driven by board dysfunction and infighting to the detriment of Montsalvat.
Destruction of heritage - An example which really strikes at the heart of Montsalvat.  When Justus Jörgensen designed and built Montsalvat he designed a beautiful pool gated from the outside world and surrounded by artist accommodation and galleries.  This pool is an integral part of the ethos of Montsalvat as are the pools at Ripponlea and Mooramong.  Indeed we were at the National Trust property, Mooramong, a little while ago enjoying afternoon tea around the unfenced pool and have enjoyed many a visit to Ripponlea around their also unfenced pool which they use for functions and receptions. These heritage pools are unfenced for heritage reasons with no requirements by council or anyone to fence same.  Yet the board and management at Montsalvat decided to erect a glass fence [which they can’t afford to pay for] around their heritage pool.  This they are doing against significant objections [] and no lawful imperative or need [no council requirement].  It is public information that the Board even lied to protect their decision to erect the fence by stating there was indeed a lawful requirement.  Heritage aesthetics are ignored and a vital part of Montsalvat’s ethos is being ripped away by a board who just doesn’t understand Montsalvat.
There are many more such examples - Montsalvat has lost its direction.

Three things need to happen starting right now to ensure Montsalvat’s protection and survival:
Stop - The current riven and dysfunctional board along with senior management must resign forthwith apart from Mr Jörgensen who, pursuant to Montsalvat’s constitution as a family member, must remain. 
Assess - An independent administrator / chair / chief executive needs to be appointed for a period of 12 months to instigate a totally independent assessment of all finances and decisions for the last 5 years.
Plan -  Develop a proper strategic plan.  During this time the board needs to be rebuilt with appropriate people after which senior management need to be appointed. 
As I said, I am very concerned about Montsalvat and its future.

Jon Langevad MBA

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Justice Heydon

There are several things which define us as people and as an advanced society.  Of prime importance is the ability to stay a course of conviction through and by focussing on key points of change. On the contrary one of the things which define a low intelligence is swapping a focus on key change points for an attack on the person in the misguided belief that this is a rational behaviour in line with our adversarial Westminster system but is instead based on a desire to win at all costs.
Events over the last few days have shown quite clearly that the unions and the labour party have gravitated to the second group whilst Justice Heydon has exhibited the strength of character demanded of a High Court Justice by staying his course of conviction.
Union officials and labour politicians are devolved to absurdity in their criticism of Justice Heydon saying quite openly that he is guilty of bias seemingly just because his commission uncovered unlawful acts in the union.  David Oliver on Lateline disgraced himself and his union members by accusing a high court justice of what is essentially an unlawful act totally abhorrent to his former role as a Justice and current role as commissioner.
Both the unions and labour politicians have disgraced themselves and made Australia a laughing stock by personally attacking Justice Heydon over him finding against them and recommending several of their number for police intervention. 

They are bordering on personal defamation against a lawful commissioner and in my opinion should be firstly prosecuted and secondly removed of any political power by resigning their posts.  They are not attacking the issues but the commissioner.  This defines low intelligence and a misguided belief that attacking the person is a valid course of debate whereas attacking the issue is the only fair game in a democratic and respectful society.