AFL boss Gill McLachlan received a birthday cake from US entertainment giant Paramount this week.

Happy birthday to outgoing AFL boss Gillon McLachlan, who celebrated his 49th birthday on Monday with a Paramount-themed cake delivered by the US entertainment giant.

Paramount is one of a group of companies (including Seven West Media, Foxtel and Nine Entertainment Co, the owner of this masthead) bidding for the broadcast rights to the AFL and AFLW once the current contract expires in 2024. The cake was just a sweetener on top of a multimillion-dollar bid offered by Paramount.

McLachlan is a Leo twin with the company, which also sent cupcakes, balloons and other delights to Australian media this week to celebrate its streaming service’s first birthday.

A picture of McLachlan cutting into an oversized Paramount cake – so big it fed up to 100 AFL staff – surfaced on social media with a “happy birthday”. We wonder what he wished for. Perhaps that a reported bid of $600 million – which Paramount boss Beverley McGarvey claims was “plucked from thin air” – was actually made?

A party to bank on

As far as send-offs go it’s hard to imagine one as upbeat as the cocktail party to farewell Catherine Livingstone as chair of Commonwealth Bank on Wednesday night.

Catherine Livingstone: Up and away.Credit:John Shakespeare

Fresh from signing off a full-year profit of $9.6 billion – 11 per cent higher than last year – Livingstone was joined by her senior executives and big hitters in the banking and regulatory sector at an intimate affair on top of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art to pass the torch to her successor, former Bluescope CEO, Paul O’Malley.

Chief executive Matt Comyn opened the speeches, praising Livingstone’s clarity, intellect and integrity, which he said was critical to turning around the bank’s culture and reputation after the battering it took in the royal commission.

Livingstone herself acknowledged the size of the task, joking she had the words “root cause” permanently burned into her consciousness.

No doubt this psychological souvenir was bestowed by some people gathered in the room – as Livingstone pointed out the heads of ASIC, APRA and AUSTRAC were all present.

Other guests included former NSW premier and now-Optus exec Gladys Berejiklian, former Macquarie boss Nicholas Moore, former Queensland premier turned Australian Banking Association chief Anna Bligh, and other CBA board members.

Angry Victorians line up

CBD readers know minor fringe parties have been queuing up for the November poll. We’ve seen some colourful names already, but Angry Victorians Party tops the lot. Who’s behind it? Former Greens candidate Nickee Freeman, who quit that party in February over its support for vaccine mandates, signed the registration as secretary for the angry folk. The state branch of the Australian Values Party will field Freeman and former cop Chris Burson, who quit the force because he didn’t want to enforce COVID-19 rules.

Kaushaliya Vaghela has been busy since she was expelled from Labor for voting against the party (a big no-no in the ALP) to refer the red shirts fiasco back to the Ombudsman. While that investigation was a fizzle, Vaghela has since applied to register the New Democrats as a party for the Victorian election.

And Catherine Cumming, the upper house MP elected with Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, but who walked away as an independent before she’d been sworn in, has listed the Independence Party with a love-heart for a logo. Bless.

Fake bar notices disgust

Homophobic notices appeared in the lifts of an established Melbourne barristers chambers, Owen Dixon East Chambers, on Wednesday night.

The notices, on faux Victorian Bar letterhead, pretended to announce the establishment of a review committee with an offensive slur aimed at LGBTQI members. “White, male heterosexuals will not be eligible to serve [on the committee],” it said.

The bar said it would investigate the posters, which have been removed and condemned by members.

“It’s bitterly disappointing that any person could harbour the kinds of views expressed in this document, much less consider it acceptable to post them publicly,” Australian Bar Association president Matthew Collins, QC, said.

Blockchain bumps

A few years ago, a handful of smart geeks at the Australian National University met through an online forum for blockchain enthusiasts, and soon built a platform to transfer different cryptocurrencies.

Ren Labs was a rip-roaring success – two of the alumni, Susruth Nadimpalli and Jaskaran Gulati, wound up on Forbes Asia’s 30 under 30 list this year. Two other co-founders, Loong Wang and Taiyang Zhang, are featured heavily on the university’s promotional material as generous philanthropists, backing a computational biology accelerator, and funding a $40,000 per annum PhD scholarship in medical research. Ren, meanwhile, is set for a $75 million valuation.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t just crypto-enthusiasts drawn to Ren’s platform. A report published by blockchain analysts Elliptic this week found Ren had been used to launder at least $540 million by various unsavoury internet characters, including North Korean hackers, Russian ransomware operators, and a cybercriminal group which recently attacked the Costa Rican government.

There’s no suggestion any of the platform’s founders knew of, or had any involvement in, that activity. Rather, it’s an unfortunate risk associated with such blockchain-based cryptocurrency converters.

“As well as a legitimate tool, cross-chain bridges have also emerged as a key facilitator of money laundering,” the report says.

A spokesperson for the university told CBD scholarships and donations went through rigorous vetting process and due diligence, and said any questions about the use of RenBridge was a matter for RenLabs.

“The promotional material about our alumni focuses on their time at ANU and achievements since. It is not an endorsement of RenLabs or RenBridge or of the use of this software, and should not be taken that way.”

Beauty pains

Things haven’t been all that rosy for Adore Beauty, the e-cosmetics outfit founded, as the typical tech log-cabin story goes, out of Kate Morris’ garage in Melbourne in 2000.

The company’s 2020 float came with plenty of adoring commentary, a $650 million ASX listing, and an opening share price of $6.75 a pop.

Adore Beauty founder Kate Morris.Credit:Arsineh Houspian

Two years on that all looks rather cosmetic. Adore’s share price has haemorrhaged nearly 80 per cent and is now around $1.34. We suggest they cut the free Tim Tam they send off with every package.

And amid all that comes news that chief executive Tennealle O’Shannessy is out, jumping off the sinking ship to take the reins at educational services provider IDP – although she’ll stick around through reporting season and formally hand over affairs next February.

Meanwhile, Adore’s chair Marina Go (who recently departed troubled online bookseller Booktopia) said O’Shannessy had “done an excellent job delivering Adore’s financial and operational successes, including exceeding all prospectus forecasts, and leaves the business well-positioned for future growth”.

With Chloe Booker

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