12th February 2015 – Matt English and our AGM


Our February function is headlined by Matt English who will bring us up to date on Social Media with his presentation titled “Grasping Social Media”.

Kerry Little will then share the results of the Vernier planning day held at the Bentleigh Club on Thursday 22 January.

And we will finish the day with our Annual General Meeting.


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When: Thursday 12th February 2015. Drinks from 12:30pm with lunch commencing at 1pm. Finish at 3:00pm

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong

Vernier Dinner Function – 11th Dec 2014

Our gala end of year dinner event will be held on 11th December. Please bring your partners, friends and family to this gala event at a special rate of $50 per guest.

We will have Bernie Geary – the Principal Commissioner for Children as our speaker and we will also be having two fabulous and acclaimed sopranos to entertain us.[hr][/hr]

bernie-gearyBernie Geary OAM has worked with vulnerable young people and their families for over 40 years. During this time he has been an advisor and advocate on issues relating to vulnerable children, young people and their families.

He began his career as Victoria’s first outreach youth worker in West Heidelberg, and managed the Brosnan Centre prior to becoming the CEO of Jesuit Social Services.

He also served on the Victorian Youth Parole Board (1988-2005), was a member of the Premier’s Drug Advisory Council in 1999 and 2001, the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council (2005–2008) and the Victorian Children’s Council (2005-2013).

Since 2005, as Victoria’s inaugural Child Safety Commissioner, Bernie has worked hard to enhance the safety and wellbeing of Victoria’s children. During this time he has contributed to broad policy reform relevant to children’s well-being; as well as service improvement for children exposed to Child Protection, in particular those living in out-of-home care. He established the Community Integration Program designed to support vulnerable children being better connected to the community, and the Independent Visitor Program for young people detained in youth custody.

Bernie received the Order of Australia in 2002 for services to young people, a Centenary Medal in 2000, and has an honorary Masters Degree in Social Work. In June 2010, Bernie received an honorary award of Doctor of the University (Honoris Causa) Australian Catholic University.

Bernie and his wife Therese have 5 children and 9 grandchildren.


Prudence Hare and Michelle McCarthy.

prudence-hare michelle-mccarthy

Prue and Michelle will sing some popular ( mostly Italian) opera and they will be accompanied on the beautiful white grand piano at Kooyong.

[hr][/hr]Prudence Hare found her love of performing in the theatre companies of Ballarat appearing in both principle and chorus roles. Prudence moved to Melbourne in 2010 to commence the Bachelor of Music and is currently completing her Honours year in Classical Voice at the Melbourne Conservatory of Music. She has received multiple placings in vocal eisteddfods including South Street, Bendigo, Warrnambool, Ararat, Warragul and Melbourne. Prudence was a member the chorus for VYO’s production of Assembly in 2011. In 2012 she was a Soprano Soloist for Mozart’s Requiem at the Melbourne Town Hall with the MCM Orchestra. Most recently Prudence presented a voice and piano recital with Peter Toohey at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and a fundraiser concert at the Diocesan Centre, Ballarat. Prue has just won the Acclaim Sleath Lowrey Scholarship.

[hr][/hr]Michelle McCarthy studied her Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.  Michelle’s performing credits include productions with Victorian Opera including Assembly and Play of Daniel, principle roles in Pirates of Penzance, Ruddigore and Iolanthe with Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria, ‘Constanze’ in Amadeus with Melbourne University and ‘Sappho’ in the premiere of Kevin March’s chamber piece Mythweaver. Michelle is also a frequent concert performer having sung as soprano soloist in Carmina Burana, Mozart Requiem and Kodaly Missa Brevis. Michelle is the recipient of numerous awards including the Florence Bradford Scholarship, Elise Weidermann Scholarship in addition to being a finalist and prize-winner in a variety of eisteddfods and competitions around Melbourne. Michelle has just returned from an Acclaim Italian study tour taking her to Jesi and La Scala in Milan.

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When: 11th December 2014. Drinks from 6:30pm with dinner commencing at 7pm. Finish at 10:30pm

Price: Please bring partners, friends and family to this gala event at a special rate of $50 per guest.

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong

RSVP:  To secure your attendance, please contact Peter Murie on 0419 106 765 or petermurie@bigpond.com. Please advise if you plan to bring a guest so that seating, catering and name badges can be arranged.


Vernier Society Special Event – 2014 Youth Forum

[promobox type=”style2″ description=”Speaker: Assoc Professor Andrew Greentree”] Our Shout for Lunch! 2014 Youth Forum [/promobox]

The Victorian Vernier Society and the Vernier Society Foundation will present a Youth Forum on Thursday 13th November – Kooyong Tennis Club

You will benefit through your attendance because:

  1. Lunch, refreshments and great company
  2. Quantum Physics and fabricating nano-diamonds?!
  3. The future of manufacturing?

andy-greentreeAndy is a theoretical physicist, with a background in quantum optics, quantum information and diamond. He works closely with experimental teams worldwide.

He is a Science Theme Leader and Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics.

Including the Centre of Excellence, he is co-recipient of more than $25M in category one grant funding.

Research highlights include the discovery of a new form of quantum transport in solid-state systems, the prediction of new quantum phases of light, and co-invention of a new method of fabricating diamond nanostructures that led to creation of the thinnest layers of single crystal diamond manufactured. Andy is a Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow

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When: 13th November 2014 from 12:30pm until 3pm

Price: Youth Guests Free including lunch

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong

RSVP:  To secure your attendance, please contact Peter Murie on 0419 106 765 or petermurie@bigpond.com


Special Vernier Society Event – The Truth about Metals Additive Manufacturing

Metals Additive Manufacturing is one of the most hyped innovations in the manufacturing world today. If we are to believe all the rhetoric, then soon every component will be produced as required on an army of flexible machines. But the truth is somewhat different.   ‘Plastic’ additive is now quite commercialised since its invention in the 1980’s but metal additive is still an emerging technology albeit with great potential.

At this unique Vernier event you will be able to:

  • Understand the historical development of both plastic and metal additive processes.
  • Appreciate the between ‘plastics’ and ‘metals’ additive manufacturing
  • Understand the different technologies being developed in metals additive manufacturing
  • Appreciate why Victoria is one of the leading centres for metals additive
  • Understand the industries and applications that are best suited to metal additive processes
  • Meet and question our guest speakers who are at the forefront of metals additive in Australia

Guest Speakers:


Professor Milan Brandt, Technical Director of RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility


John Barnes, Director, High Performance Metal Industries, Manufacturing Flagship, CSIRO


Mike Brown MD of Renishaw PLC, UK’s leading maker of metals additive machines

Who should attend?

  • Managing Directors, Production Directors, Design and Development Engineers, Purchasing Officers and Manufacturing Engineers
  • Engineers; past present or future that has a technical interest in innovation and new technologies
  • Anyone who cares passionately about the future of manufacturing in Australia.

Don’t miss this great knowledge gaining event and outstanding networking opportunity. Reserve your place now as numbers are strictly limited.

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When: October 9th 2014 from 12:30pm until 4pm

Price: Only $90 including a 2 course lunch

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong

RSVP:  To secure your attendance, please contact Peter Murie on 0419106765 or petermurie@bigpond.com

Sept 11th 2014 – Matthew Pinczes – W. Granowski

matthew-pinczesBest practice in manufacturing principles

Starting in manufacturing when I was 16, I spent my holidays working in a repetition engineering factory operating milling machines and lathes making production parts to pay for my schooling to become a mechanical engineer.

Now, 33 years later, I have worked in all areas of manufacturing from concept to after sales service and from shop floor to senior management.  I have been involved in a number of different industries including Aerospace, Automotive, Bio-Medical, Foundry, Glass, Healthcare, Waste, and Building Products.

A “lean” convert, I have been involved with the High Performance Consortium since its inception to promote and instil best practice in manufacturing principles and I won the inaugural Toyota Australia Supplier Kaizen Marathon in 2006. I have given a number of papers promoting manufacturing on topics ranging from Design for Manufacture to how to develop staff and engage employees.

An avowed manufacturing tragic, I believe that innovation holds the key to success and that any company can be successful if they can develop better products or processes than their competitors and maintain their success through continuous improvement.

[promobox type=”style3″]Click here to view the slides from Matthew’s Presentation[/promobox]

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When: September 11th 2014 from 12:30 for a 1pm start. Finishing at 3pm

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong


Aug 14th 2014 – Peter Farley


Well known entrepreneurial engineer and member of the Vernier Society, Peter Farley, gave a fascinating presentation to the Society at the August meeting on “Australia’s energy policy”.  

Peter’s presentation was packed with facts, figures and analysis that demonstrated his great research knowledge on a subject that he obviously feels passionate about but also the wealth of knowledge and capability that exists with Vernier members.  Peter’s main message was that Australia has not got a sustaining energy policy that is in line with some of the latest self sufficiency thinking worldwide.  Peter’s message was not based on the political view of climate change needing to drive change in our carbon footprint with all the ensuing taxation ramifications, rather that we are just wasting money that could be reused in the economy.  His opening slide set out the message for Australia:

  • Energy use in Australia costs $70-80b per year and Australia uses almost twice as much energy per capita or per $GDP as equivalent economies.
  • A 40% reduction in Victorian energy use would bring us in line with current international standards is this saving is equivalent to the entire state health budget or 20% more than the entire state’s education budget
  • Australia imports far too much of its liquid fuel needs and has so little stockpile of material that this could leave us extremely vulnerable in a international conflict situation

[promobox type=”style3″]Click here to view the slides from Peter’s Presentation[/promobox]


Peter not only gave a rich panoply of facts but showed where the potential savings for the future can occur but they need a complete change of government driven policies and admitted that the political will is not currently there and may never be so it is up to the individual in a bottom up approach to drive change.  He identified a number of major areas for the Victorian State and in particular highlight a need for revised thinking on transportation as our thirst for petrol guzzling vehicles currently consumes about 35% of household energy usage.  As expected Peter was a passionate believer in alternative renewable energy sources giving a number of remarkable facts about what is happening worldwide:

  • Germany has 23,000 wind  turbines in a country 20 times smaller than Australia.  This year they will install another 1000 and replace 1-200 old machines with much bigger ones.
  • In the first half of the year Germany generated as much renewable power to meet 90% of East coast Australian demand.
  • In 2017/18 China, Germany, Japan, the US and possibly India will each generate enough renewable electricity to power Australia
  • Japan is installing more solar over the next 3 years than Australia’s total generating capacity
  • South Australia is approaching 50% renewable electricity  

The Vernier audience were left with a great message about how each and everyone one of us must do our bit to reduce energy usage, not just because the government will not take a long term and inter –party view to the issue but that it is essential for the future of the planet!

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Our speaker for August was Peter Farley with a talk on ‘A Sensible Energy Policy for Australia.

Peter Farley is from a farming and small business family, the first in his family to go to university where he studied engineering and later economics. His first job was in Williamstown Naval Dockyard in Maintenance and Production Engineering. He moved from there to CIG where with ANCA they developed Australia’s first CNC plate cutting machines. After a number of other roles he founded Farley Manufacturing which developed world leading CNC cutting machines, 70% of which were exported at prices up to 40% above the leading Japanese and German machines. At its peak sales were over $20m per year. Eventually the company was taken over by a Chinese firm and most of the operation is now in China.

For the last 14 years Peter has run his own consultancy business with the majority of the work overseas. The major current activity is designing a range of machines for the world’s largest fabrication equipment company FICEP in Italy.

Peter has won a number of awards including machine tool of the year from the British Machine Tool Show, Prince Philip design award, Michel medal from Engineers Australia. He is now on the board of the Inner Melbourne VET cluster which co-ordinates vocational training in and out of school for thousands of Victorian students and is a Victorian Committee member for the Institution of Engineers.

Springing from his training as a mechanical engineer and time as manufacturing manager in a large electrical transformer business and his economics studies, Peter has always had a strong interest in energy efficiency and energy policy. He feels that there are huge opportunities for Australia to reduce energy costs while also improving living standards and health outcomes while enhancing Australia’s energy and economic security.

When: August 14th 2014 from 12:30 for a 1pm start. Finishing at 3pm

Where: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong


July 10th 2014 – Albert Goller – META


The Society’s guest speaker was Albert Goller the Chairman of META. Albert was the Chairman and Managing Director of Siemens Ltd in Australia and New Zealand from 2002 to 2012 but now leads META, a federally funded organisation whose aim is to combine manufacturing businesses through collaborative projects to create business opportunities on a global level.


Albert gave one of the most passionate and frank presentations on the need to ensure manufacturing continues to thrive and provide a significant proportion of the nation’s economic output. His core message is that after the mining boom must come the manufacturing boom! It is a false assumption to assume that because we are losing the Australian automotive industry we will automatically lose our manufacturing industry but as Albert said it must be a different form of manufacturing, away from the traditional mass production because our cost structures are too high and besides that we do not compete on a level playing field as many countries and governments around the world see the crucial importance of having a thriving manufacturing sector. But to paraphrase Mark Twain; “rumours of manufacturing’s demise are greatly exaggerated” and META are determined to play a key part in ensuring this does not happen. Their main focus is to form a number of manufacturing precincts or clusters for key industry sectors where the businesses who together in a collaborative approach to address new markets and new opportunities looking right across the value chain from design to delivery. However Albert acknowledged, endorsing exactly what Vernier’s recent audit of manufacturing companies including Vernier Member companies themselves concluded, that collaboration is not in Australian companies DNA and so META’s challenge is to change this position.

In the 18 months they have been operating they have formed a database of over 3400 companies including over 40 universities and learning establishments and are now putting together clusters or hubs to look at such new collaborative opportunities as portable housing, carbon fibre, Australian clothing and sports technology, which he pointed out is a $300b industry worldwide. The organisation has a goal of 80 different collaboration hubs over 10 industry sectors. Albert sighted the example of the strength of Germany’s SME’s who have a long history of collaboration far different from Australia, who despite being the 13th largest economy in the world seems to have an adversity to collaborating and not yet quite appreciating we now have to compete in a globalised world.

Under the messagealbert-goller of the “Art of Manufacturing” Australian companies now have to use innovation, sustainability, speed and mass customisation to really compete in the intensive world of the future. In the question and answer section after the presentation, Albert was asked about the role of government, and in particular this government, in supporting their cause. This is a particularly pertinent point as META was originally set up under the previous government with a 5 year brief but unfortunately the current government have chose to only fund this extensive program until the end of 2014; although META are now exploring self funding options. In a passionate answer that may have surprised some of the audience, the message it is not going to be achieved by relying on governments of either persuasion, it has to come from those in the industry, and organisations like Vernier, demanding manufacturing is given its rightful place in the economy – manufacturing and its organisations and institutions must become a stronger voice on the political stage. When asked about the hope for areas like Geelong who has lost so many manufacturing jobs recently again Albert’s answer was frank having good news and bad. The bad is that many who have lost their jobs will struggle because the current message is one of retraining but training is currently focused on past skills; the future skills needs have not even yet been identified. But the good news is that the region is already fighting back and there are quite a number of new and innovative projects being developed in the region.

Overall it was an excellent and what should be a thought provoking message for all who passionately care about manufacturing. So the question for the Vernier members is how we can help because we certainly should!


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Our speaker for July is Albert Goller from META. July 10th 2014 from 12:30.  Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong.

META a membership organisation made up of Manufacturers and Researchers who collaborate together to reinvigorate Manufacturing and build an agile, innovative and collaborative manufacturing industry.

Another speaker who is right on message from a Victorian Vernier Society perspective.

Mr Albert Goller is the former Chairman and Managing Director of Siemens Ltd in Australia and New Zealand from 2002 to 2012.

Commencing his career as an electronics engineer with Siemens in Germany in 1973, Albert has held a number of senior executive positions throughout the world including President and CEO of Siemens Canada Ltd in Toronto and Head of the Corporate Office for E-business in Munich, Germany.

He has a Masters Degree in Information and Telecommunications from Paderborn University in Germany and has been nominated as one of Australia’s most influential engineers by Engineers Australia magazine consecutively from 2004 – 2010.

Albert took up the position of Chair of the Australian Government’s Industry Innovation Precinct initiative for Manufacturing last year, and has recently formed the organisation representing the Manufacturing Precinct – called META. Albert is a passionate advocate of manufacturing and is convinced a national approach to Australian manufacturing, through the establishment of META, can generate new thinking and action within the sector.


May 8th 2014 – Alan Evans – Dyno Dynamics

 AlanEvansHow to change a company!

The Vernier Society speaker for May was Alan Evans who is the owner of Dyno Dynamics, based in Lilydale Victoria; Dyno Dynamics is Australia’s leading manufacturer of chassis and engine dynamometers distributing their premier products worldwide.  After originally training as an engineer Alan, after realising deskbound engineering was not for him, retrained in Law and Economics leading to a successful career in the public service in a variety of roles.  His professional roles were mirrored by a long standing enthusiasm for motor sport, which ultimately led him and his family to purchase Dyno Dynamics in 2009. What started as a passive investment turned into a very active involvement and a complete makeover of the product range in order to stay both relevant and competitive in the world marketplace.

Alan gave a passionate and enthusiastic talk about the early recognition of needing to radically change the price point of the product in the marketplace through a radical redesign of the product to reduce manufacturing and material costs.  By re-patching the price while maintaining or even improving the product performance, Alan and his team (of which he describes himself as the conductor) were able to widen the product’s attractiveness to a much larger potential market.  In addition, Alan reorganised the company structures giving much more functionality to the key engineering groups.  This process took 2 years with the first sale of the new product at a 2011 trade show, which surprisingly resulted in not just the first but the first twenty sales.  Today the new design has sold over 300 worldwide and has allowed the company to rebuild its presence in the USA, a major market.

It was a fascinating talk targeting both the car and racing enthusiasts of which there are many in the society and the many who still believe, with the right innovative products for niche markets, passion and determination; Australian manufacturing companies can successfully compete in world markets and Dyno Dynamics is a clear example of this belief.


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Our speaker this month is Alan Evans from Dyno Dynamics

May 8th 2014 from 12:30 Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong


April 10th 2014 – Special Event Thursday – Professor Goran Roos


Goran Roos provides much food for thought!

Vernier’s special April meeting at Kooyong Tennis Centre lived up to expectation with guests outnumbering members to listen to an enthralling talk by Professor Goran Roos, who was recently named one of the 13 most influential people in Australia.  Some of the many insights given by Goran were:

  • The loss of the automotive industry is worrying in itself but what Australia should be more concerned about is the further loss of what Goran called the “Industrial Commons”.  The technologies and skills that support a country in achieving a high economic complexity, so essential for long term economic success.  This is already an area that Australia scores poorly in against the rest of the world’s leading manufacturing countries.
  • China is no longer a low cost manufacturing country and soon east coast China will be as high cost as the US.  Companies like IKEA who are leaders in this sector are now looking at countries like Bangladesh and even Botswana for their manufacturing sites.
  • Countries that lead in manufacturing excellence have a long term policy approach that is consistent even if there are political changes.  This allows countries like Germany and Switzerland to offer long term stability for investment; unfortunately Australia at Federal level currently offers divergent policies.

There was much to digest in the thought provoking and in many aspects, worrying depiction for the future of manufacturing in Australia.  It stimulated the appetite for the passionate and prolonged networking session that followed.  The many that stayed were not just nourished by the conversation but also by the usual high quality canapés and excellent service from the Kooyong staff.

Roos, G. & Kennedy, N. (eds.). (2014). Succeeding in a High Cost Operating Environment, IGI Global. Hershey. PA. In Press.

Roos, G. (2014). The constantly changing manufacturing context. Chapter 1 in Advanced Manufacturing – Beyond The Production Line. Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). April, pp. 31-56.

To be launched in Melbourne on 30th April.

Roos, G. (2013). The innovation ecosystem. Section 3.2 in Australia Adjusting: Optimising national prosperity. Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). November, pp. 107-122.

The full CEDA report can be accessed at this link: http://www.ceda.com.au/media/338287/cedaaustadjusting_web.pdf

To view the entire presentation follow the link below

[promobox type=”style3″] Click here to watch Professor Göran Roos speech [/promobox]


March 13th 2014 – Tim Modra

“Innovation and staying close to the customer is the key to success” was said in a presentation, worthy of the red carpet, given by Tim Modra, founder of Modra Technology; an export driven company that makes  flexible, small scale carpet making machinery for designers and product development around the world.”

Coming all the way from Warragul to speak at the Vernier Society’s March meeting was Tim Modra, founder and owner of Modra Technology.  The members were delighted he came as he weaved a colourful and very engaging story of the over 20 year journey of his manufacturing company’s development into the world niche provider it is today. While the news is piled high with stories on the decline of manufacturing and the difficulties of exporting, Modra Technology is another hidden success, carefully treading its way to export success as the world’s leader in the manufacture of carpet making machines specifically targeted at the design and product development area.

At the heart of Tim’s success is his mechanical engineering expertise, gained in his early days at Swinburne and through his work experience in a local company he showed his promise by being sent abroad to install product and then joining the company as a contractor.  It was in the early 1990’s that Tim saw the opportunity for developing a small, very flexible carpet making machine because the only way carpet designers could get new design samples made was to take production time of the large high volume machines, which in times of full production was very ineffective.  He produced his first Axminster sample machine in his back garden, selling it to a UK company and now has over 300 machines in 40 countries through 150 customers.

Modra Technology boomed through the early 2000’s and in a frank admission, thought that the boom would go on and on.  He had a staff of 20 and revenues of over $6m when the recession struck and Tim, like many businesses, had to cut back and actually moved his desk back next to the engineers; a move that he suggests came him new insights into product diversification and gave further impetus to the important message he had employed right through his career – the key to success is talking and listening to customers and hearing would benefit them and their business.  And then designing solutions!  It is this passion for the customer that leads Tim to spend a great deal of time on aircraft reaching his major customers in the US and China.  Somewhat surprisingly for a small company Modra prefers to make most mechanical parts in-house and explained that the cost of motion feedback systems is coming down all the time so constant innovation is now his theme.  He has now produced a ‘tufted’ carpet sample machine and has code names for his developments like the ‘split’ and the ‘hedge’.  Tim is enthusiastic about the maxim “If it can’t be done – there is money in it”.

In a lively Q&A session after; besides receiving plaudits from an admiring audience, Tim was asked about the use of government grants, an area close to the Society’s heart after the recent manufacturing audit and while he does try to maximise research tax concessions and took start up grants, he finds like many other companies that the audit process for approval takes too long.  He will have designed, built and delivered the machine by the time the grant application process is completed!

Overall Modra Technology is a great story of innovation; seeing a need in the marketplace and having the ingenuity and determination to fill the need.  It is also another example of the priority of every business to really servicing the customer.  Understand what drives the customer and the way their business is developing is crucial to ongoing success.  As the carpet industry worldwide slowly comes back, Tim has foreseen the need for further automation of the industry and is therefore looking at applying robotics to his machines; a real example of innovative thinking ahead of the curve.  Modra Technology certainly demonstrated its hard wearing qualities and Tim’s presentation was worthy of the red carpet treatment!

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Our speaker this month is Tim Modra who runs Modra Technology, a worldwide business from Warragul. Winner of the 2006 Export category of the Gippsland Business Awards.

13th March 2014 12:30pm for drinks. Lunch from 1pm – 3pm. The Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club at 489 Glenferrie Rd  Kooyong VIC 3142

December 2013 – Brendan Nottle – Salvation Army

With all the proceeds of the day going to charity, the last Vernier meeting for 2013, saw a reasonably full house of members, new guests and old friends as the Society stepped away from its regular format with a special theme of “Charity and Fun at Christmas”.

Christmas is a special time of year for most Vernier members; a time of family and of giving but to others less fortunate, it can be a time of despair and helplessness.  So we were especially privileged to have the recently appointed ‘Melbournian of the Year’, Major Brendan Nottle of the Salvation Army speak to us on the vital work they do with the homeless and the lonely, not just at Christmas but throughout the year.  Speaking straight from the heart, Major  Brendan told some moving stories of people who come under their care, endorsing to many members the understanding that “there but for fortune could go you or I”.

The ‘Fun’ part of the luncheon was provided by an amusing knowledge quiz that pitted each table against the other.  With a Master of Ceremonies to keep things light hearted and prizes to create incentive, the audience were found sorely lacking on such things as historical dates from Australia’s past, the founders of some of the world’s leading companies and most disappointingly, the sayings of such great thinkers as Spike Milligan and Groucho Marx.  One table, despite suggestions of drug use (later found to be prescription) and internet cheating romped to a resounding win.  In true Vernier fashion the prizes, quality reds personally chosen by the President, were then auctioned back further swelling the Vernier donation and the generous table collections.  In total $2500 was donated to the Salvation Army and the members left knowing, not only had they had a fun day, but they had all helped to bring a small amount of charity to those most in need at Christmas.

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Our guest speaker is Major Brendan Nottle of the Salvation Army who will talk to us about the vital work his organisation does with those less fortunate; homelessness, poverty and loneliness are still a blight on our society and we should all remember in the words of Don McLean  “There but for fortune go you and I”.  The proceeds of the day, plus a donation from the Society will go to support the Army’s excellent and necessary work and so the almoners will be busy throughout lunch.

December 12th 2013 12:30pm for drinks. Lunch from 1pm – 3pm The Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club at 489 Glenferrie Rd  Kooyong VIC 3142

November 2013 – Joe Isaac – Melbourne University

“Attendees to the Society’s November meeting were privileged to listen to Melbourne University’s Emeritus Professor Joe Isaac who gave his views on the background and current perspectives of the Industrial Relations landscape in Australia today.  Despite his octogenarian years, Professor Isaac still demonstrated a keen and insightful intellect that has obviously underpinned his long and distinguished academic career.   The Professor’s talk embraced four major areas of IR policy; the power of the trade unions, the perceived lack of flexibility in our system, its effect on productivity and areas for possible improvement.

Professor Isaacs opened his address by reminding the audience of part of the speech of Alfred Deakin to Parliament in 1904 that Australian law in this area was based on humanitarian principles and with words that are strangely still appropriate for today:

“It leaves to its opponents the creed, whose God is greed, whose devil in need and whose paradise lies in the cheapest market.”

The Professor posited in answer to the first two issues posed that unionism was declining and that the number of days lost to strikes has declined significantly since the 1970’s.  He pointed out that today there are significantly more days lost to absenteeism than strike action.

With regard to flexibility, Professor Isaac pointed out that Australia in 2006 had the second highest figures for casual employment in the OECD but the down side of this flexibility in the labour market means that it does not provide opportunity for skill formation (Editor – or  company loyalty) that is critical to productivity.  The presentation also gave two other critical facts that must contribute to Australia’s productivity dilemma; that we are above the OECD average in our % of low skilled workers, and we have a higher average of hours worked per week that other OECD countries.  (Editor – when this is considered against our cost of living which has risen significantly and is now much higher, not just against Asian competition but even against the USA and Germany today, it adds to our productivity challenge).

The Professor’s address also covered a number of questions pre-arranged from the audience and while his views on the questions posed could have been seen by some members as ‘left leaning’ he gave a reflective insight into one of the major issues of the Australian economy today as it adapts to face the global challenges of the 21st century.

Perhaps the lasting memory of Professor Isaac’s talk will be the knowledge and enthusiasm he still brings to his opinion.  He really demonstrated that wisdom should be the valued commodity of old age.”

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Our speaker for November was the Emeritus Professor Joe Isaac from the Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne.


Emeritus Professor Joe Isaac is a Professorial Fellow in the Department of Management, University of Melbourne, following his retirement from the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.  He was Chair of the General Insurance Claims Review Panel from 1993 to 1998.  He was invited by the ILO in May 2002 to advise on suitable research projects to be supported by the ILO in Indonesia.  He has been back with further ILO consultancies for both Indonesia and Timor Leste.  Together with Professor Stuart Macintyre, he was commissioned to edit a centenary history of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (and its antecedents) which was published in 2004.  He continues his interest in the labour market and its institutions.

November 14th 2013 12:30pm. The Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club at 489 Glenferrie Rd  Kooyong VIC 3142