Lord Kennedy of Southwark PC Australia speaking tour

08 September 2023

The Rt. Hon. Lord Kennedy of Southwark PC, opposition chief whip in the UK House of Lords, was in Canberra earlier in the month, together with BCCM CEO Melina Morrison, as part of his BCCM speaking tour to shine a spotlight on the need for government to implement policy that creates a world-class business environment for co-ops and mutuals and to support the ongoing operations of all of our members.

Lord Kennedy (second from right) and Melina Morrison (middle left) visited Australian Parliament House for a policy roundtable hosted by Andrew Leigh MP (third from right), with attendance from BCCM members Mark Genovese, CEO, Westfund (second from left); Ruth Moore, Treasury (third from left); Sheena Jack, CEO and Managing Director, HCF (middle right); Adam Vise, Group Treasurer, Australian Unity (far right); and Peter Hunt, Managing Partner, Mutuo (far left).

 

He met with ABC’s senior business correspondent, Peter Ryan OAM, to discuss landmark new law in the UK protecting mutuals and co-operatives from stealth takeovers leading to their demutualisation and how Australia could adapt this legislation.

 

Roy Kennedy was in Sydney in August, where the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Co-ops and Mutuals hosted our policy lunch. The meeting was attended by The Hon. Anoulack Chanthivong MP, the minster responsible for co-op registration in NSW.

NSW Parliamentary Friends of Co-ops and Mutuals hosts Lord Kennedy of Southwark PC
(Left to right) Sam Byrne, Secretary, The Co-op federation; David Mehan MP; The Hon. Anoulack Chanthivong MP; The Rt. Hon. Lord Kennedy of Southwark PC; Melina Morrison, CEO, BCCM; Clayton Barr MP; Tim Crakanthorp, MP.

Our meeting took place against the backdrop of the release of the Intergenerational Report. Co-ops and mutuals are intergenerational businesses designed to return wealth and benefits to members rather than profits to shareholders. The combined income of the 10 largest co-ops and mutuals in NSW returned more than $8 billion to the State’s economy last year, 100 per cent of which was reinvested in the local economy, through member benefits, community donations, local jobs, export earnings and tax. But they remain neglected orphans of business regulation. Co-ops and mutuals want to step up to the challenge of providing a fairer, more equitable economy for hard working Australians. It’s time to take off the shackles that are barriers to growth and innovation and recognise co-ops and mutuals for the good work that they do in the economy and the communities they operate.

We were fortunate to have a Lord Kennedy in Australia to talk to us about why and how both sides of government in the UK have policies to grow the co-operative economy as part of their election policies.

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