We’ve just walked out of Federal Court and are pleased to say that there will be an Extraordinary General Meeting of Woolworths to discuss and vote on making the company’s high-loss poker machines safer for communities.
— In a nutshell, Woolworths was today unsuccessful in denying GetUp members and Woolworths shareholders the right to an EGM about poker machine reform. They did however manage to buy some extra time before that meeting; it will now happen in November. —
Woolworths sought the court’s permission to deny the Extraordinary General Meeting GetUp members requisitioned to discuss pokies reform. During the course of the hearing, it became clear that application would be unsuccessful, and Woolworths withdrew it.
Woolworths will now be the only top company in Australian history to be forced into holding an EGM on a social justice issue.
We know this separate, ‘extraordinary’ meeting is important because of our experience at last year’s regular Woolworths Annual General Meeting. Woolworths shareholders and GetUp members — including some who had lost loved ones to gambling addiction — attended the AGM and challenged the board on their dangerous high-loss poker machines, but the company did everything they could to minimise the issue.
This meeting will be very different. Woolworths will have to contact all 432,000 of their shareholders with a 1,000 word letter from GetUp members, making the ethical and business cases for limiting the company’s poker machines to $1 bets. Allshareholders will then be able to vote on a motion to change the company’s constitution to enforce such a change.
We didn’t get everything we hoped for today. Justice Yates granted Woolworths a time extension to save Woolworths “unnecessary costs” and travel time for the company’s directors. That means the EGM will be pushed to November, when Woolworths hold their AGM.
We maintain that the meeting request was legitimate and that its cost was reasonable, amounting to less than Woolworths pockets from addicted problem gamblers in a single day.
From here, we’ll be ramping up the campaign for safer poker machines in advance of the EGM, so stay tuned for stories from some of our most courageous members who are speaking up with the hope of influencing the vote of shareholders and the position of the Board of Directors.
the GetUp team.
PS – If you have a story you’d like to share with us (and haven’t already) about high-loss poker machines, like the ones Woolworths’ owns and operates, and how they have impacted you or a loved one, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org we can include it in the booklet of stories we’re putting together in advance of the EGM.
GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you’d like to contribute to help fund GetUp’s work, please donate now! If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to www.getup.org.au. To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here. Authorised by Simon Sheikh, Level 2, 104 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010.