Stephen Mayne

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Stephen Mayne
Stephen Mayne.jpg
Mayne, pictured in July 2010
Born (1969-07-23) 23 July 1969 (age 48)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Nationality Australia
Occupation Journalist;
Shareholder activist
Known for Founder of Crikey

Stephen Mayne (born 23 July 1969) is an Australian Walkley Award winning journalist, local government councillor, and self-described shareholder activist.



Mayne worked for a number of media outlets and was a media adviser to the Premier of Victoria Jeff Kennett between 1992 and 1994.[1] In 1997 Mayne appeared on ABC TV's Four Corners as a whistleblower about Kennett's share dealings. In 1999 Mayne started the website devoted to complaints about Kennett in support of Mayne's abortive candidacy in the 1999 election.[2]

He is best known for founding Crikey in 2000, an online independent news service. The combination of gossip and anti-establishment reporting got Mayne into legal (and consequent financial) trouble several times. Despite considerable financial pressures, Mayne persisted and Crikey gradually attracted subscribers and a fair degree of notoriety. It was announced on 1 February 2005 that Crikey had been sold for A$1 million to another independent media operator, Private Media Partners.[3][4]

Mayne continues to write for Crikey and was a regular business commentator on ABC Radio. Mayne also regularly runs for elections to the board of directors of various Australian public companies to draw attention to issues concerning good corporate governance. He is also a trenchant critic of what he perceives as excessive conflicts of interest in corporate and political Australia.

In October 2007, Mayne launched The Mayne Report – a daily videoblog and subscription newsletter that is focused on shareholder activism and corporate governance issues.[5]


In 1999, Mayne resigned from his job at The Australian Financial Review in order to run against then premier Kennett as an independent protest candidate. After moving to Melbourne and making preparations for the campaign, he discovered he was unable to run because he was not entitled to be enrolled and was not actually enrolled. Years later he tearfully told the ABC's Talking Heads that his father disowned him at this point, telling him not to return until he had got a job.[citation needed] Mayne later ran as an independent in a subsequent Burwood by-election, caused by Kennett's resignation from politics after his 1999 state election loss. Mayne attracted a primary vote of 1,975 votes (6.63%), and Labor's Bob Stensholt won the seat.[6]

He later came to be central to the formation of the People Power party and became its largest financial supporter. The Age reported that he "would play a key role in recruiting, organising and funding the People Power campaign."[citation needed] In 2001, he ran as a candidate for the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, losing to John So;[citation needed] and in 2006 he ran as the lead Southern Metropolitan Upper House candidate for the People Power party. However, after a poor election showing, People Power folded amid much acrimony and Mayne resolved only to operate independently in future elections.[citation needed]

At the 2007 federal election, Mayne ran as an independent for the seat of Higgins against incumbent deputy Liberal leader and treasurer Peter Costello.[7] He received a primary vote of 1.98 percent (1,615 votes).

On 30 November 2008, Mayne was elected to the Heide Ward in the Manningham City Council in Melbourne.[8] In October 2012 he was elected to Melbourne City Council where he currently serves as chair of the Finance and Governance Committee and deputy chair of the Transport committee. He spent 3 years as deputy chair of the Planning Committee until late 2015.[9]

Mayne ran as an Independent for the Northern Metropolitan Region in the 2010 Victorian state election, winning a primary vote of almost 1%. Media reports at the time had him in with a chance to win the balance of power but he failed to pull ahead of either Family First or the Green surplus and the final spot went to Liberal Craig Ondarchie. [10]

Mayne came fourth of sixteen candidates with 4.7 percent of the vote as an independent at the 2012 Melbourne state by-election. He recommended preferences to the Greens, however Labor retained the seat with a 51.5 percent two-candidate preferred vote.

Shareholder activism[edit]

Mayne calls himself "Australia's most unsuccessful candidate", largely because of 48 unsuccessful tilts at public company boards since 2000. Between 2011 and 2014, Mayne worked for the Australian Shareholders Association, first as a volunteer director and later as a paid consultant performing the role of spokesman and Policy and Engagement Coordinator. During this time he collectively advocated for improved corporate governance amongst publicly–listed companies. Mayne has asked questions at more than 400 AGMs since 1998 and left the ASA to return to individual shareholder activism in September 2014.[9][11]

Walkley Awards incident[edit]

Australian journalism's most prestigious night descended into a shambles when Glenn Milne pushed Mayne off the stage at the 2006 Walkley Awards.[12] As Mayne prepared to present an award to Morgan Mellish of The Australian Financial Review,[13] a "red-faced"[12] and "seemingly intoxicated"[14] Milne lurched onto the stage and began a diatribe of verbal abuse. On national television, Milne then lunged at Mayne, pushing him off the stage,[13] and screaming at Mayne that he was "a disgrace".[12] Milne tried to run at Mayne a second time before being restrained by security guards,[15] who frogmarched the disheveled Milne out the door.[13] Mayne then gathered himself at the microphone, quipping, "That is the former Sunday Telegraph political correspondent Glenn Milne, sponsored by Fosters."[14] Recalling the incident, where he suffered a sore ankle from the altercation,[16] Mayne stated:[14]

"I could see from his sort of wild eyes, and his red face, that he was clearly very drunk, and I thought, you know, heck, this is going to be out of control,...... And next thing I know, I'd been shoved off the stage and I was hurtling through the air, in a four-foot drop onto the floor."

— Stephen Mayne, after the 2006 Walkley Awards

The following day, Milne apologised for the outburst, saying he was affected by a mixture of alcohol and migraine pills.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Mayne is married to lawyer Paula Piccinini, who helped him run Crikey for 5 years, and they have two daughters and a son. His sister-in-law, Patricia Piccinini, is one of Australia's best-known contemporary artists. His grandfather was the World War I veteran and British centenarian Philip Mayne.


  1. ^ Kingston, Margo (18 March 2013). "Kerry Stokes, free speech defender? Spare me". No Fibs. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "Stephen Mayne". Speakers. ICMI. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Hogan, Jesse (2 February 2005). "Crikey! Mayne sells for $1m". The Age. Melbourne. 
  4. ^ Carbone, Suzanne (3 February 2005). "Mayne finds a million reasons to sell". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 22 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "The Mayne Report". The Mayne Report. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Burwood District: Burwood District By-Election 1999". Victorian Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 15 May 2006. 
  7. ^ "Capital Circle". The Australian. 1 November 2007. 
  8. ^ Mackowski, Belinda (30 November 2008). "Crikey! Walkley Award-winning journalist Stephen Mayne wins council spot in Manningham". The Leader. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Chappell, Trevor (8 September 2014). "Activist Stephen Mayne eyes board seats". The Australian. AAP. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "Legislative Council Results: Northern Metropolitan Region". 2010 Victorian election. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Smith, Michael (25 September 2014). "How corporates are yielding to people power". The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c Shtargot, Sasha (1 December 2006). "Crikey! News Limited journalist makes a night of it". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 23 July 2007. 
  13. ^ a b c "Milne's Mayne event". The Australian. 1 December 2006. Archived from the original on 15 December 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2007. 
  14. ^ a b c "Glenn Milne apologises for Walkleys outburst". The World Today. Australia: ABC Local Radio. 1 December 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2007. 
  15. ^ "Embarrassments: Gotcha! Live and dangerous". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 December 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2007. 
  16. ^ "Award for best TV biff". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. 2 December 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2007. 
  17. ^ "Milne apologises for Walkley outburst". NineMSN. 1 December 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2007. 

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