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How good is Gerry!

When Gerry Harvey gave an interview to 60 Minutes in March last year, he asked, “Why are we so scared about getting this virus? It’s pretty much nothing to get scared of.”

Instead, he saw it as an opportunity.

“Our sales are up … by 9 per cent on last year. Our sales in freezers are up 300 per cent. And what about air purifiers? Up 100 per cent!” Gerry boasted.

Predictably, there was a stinging public backlash. People were dying.

“It’s no revelation that Gerry Harvey is a selfish loudmouth whose constant acting out is likely a manifestation of dementia. Even still, the veteran retailer’s 60 Minutes interview on Sunday was genuinely breathtaking,” wrote Joe Aston in the AFR.

A few days later, with the country in lockdown and a social media campaign to boycott his stores, Gerry was backpedalling.

“Now, everyone thinks I’m this callous old bastard out making a profit on other people’s misery … but believe me, that was not my intention. I was trying to give a positive view.”

As it turns out, Gerry was right, both on the opportunity presented and on his self-assessment of making a profit from misery.

A couple of weeks ago, the Daily Telegraph included a magazine called the Sydney Power 100, and there at number 7 were Gerry Harvey and his wife, Katie Page.

As editor Ben English explained, coronavirus was “the great power shift of 2020.”

“Those who adapted, who recognized the opportunity in the great crisis, bolstered their power and not only survived, but thrived.”

According to the Telegraph, “Harvey Norman profits jumped by 160% in the first four months of 2020 and the boom continues.”

Which makes me wonder how they qualified for the JobKeeper payment which, for companies with over a billion in turnover, had to show a decline of 50% to be eligible.

In February, Harvey Norman reported that first-half sales climbed 25% and contributed to a net profit after tax of $462.03m for the last six months of 2020 – up 116% on the same time period in the previous year.

The retailer said it would pay dividends totalling $249m, of which Gerry Harvey is set to receive $78m due to his 31.4% shareholding in the company.

Despite this, they declined to pay back the estimated $22 million they somehow collected for JobKeeper, a payment they should never have qualified to receive.

But that’s all fine and dandy with the Treasurer apparently who won’t be asking for the money back from any of the companies who claimed the payment despite making higher profits.

As Secretary of the ACTU Sally McManus pointed out, “They have no qualms about requesting and forcing people to pay back Centrelink payments – no problem with that whatsoever. Somehow we’re all supposed to sit back and say ‘oh well that’s OK, that’s just the rules that apply to big business in this country’.”

“That’s disgusting.”

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37 comments

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  1. Kerri

    And I read somewhere that in Gerry’s hard old callous opinion, his repaying JobKeeper subsidies would be so little it would make no difference. What a hero Gerry is. Do not buy from Gerry. Or Rupert. Or Nick Scali. Or any other business as identified by Andrew Leigh the member for Fenner. They do not deserve your hard earned monies.
    Thank you Kay Lee.
    This man make my blood boil.
    Though not as much as Frydenberg does.

  2. Mark

    Gerry Harvey operates strictly within the letter of the law. So why is his reputation being crucified? Envy?

  3. John OCallaghan

    I dont know whether you’re the first to call Harvey a selfish loudmouth in print but i congratulate you for having the courage to call him out for what he is….bloody good stuff i reckon!……

  4. Kaye Lee

    Mark, are you serious?

    By their own admission, Harvey Norman NEVER met the turnover test (50% drop for businesses with turnover greater than $1 billiion). Why the ATO is not policing this I don’t understand.

    Ya gotta love these people who drag out the “envy” line every time the bastards get busted. As for Gerry’s reputation, I doubt I could do a better job than him of crucifying it.

  5. Keith

    Mark

    Your “envy” amounts to regulations for people struggling and no problems for the well off to skim the system. Robodebt forced people to pay Centrelink “debt” they had not accrued. People were hounded to pay non-existent debt; some people committed suicide through the stress created. The “government” has blood on its hands as a result.

    There were outcries about how the big Banks were involved in stripping assets from their clients, the LNP were forced into creating a Royal Commission. The LNP were happy for business as usual to continue. The Royal Commission found material that was worse than expected; for example, monies continued to be collected from deceased estates.

    The word “envy” is a defence for what is ethically, morally or criminally wrong.

  6. Baby Jewels

    The Treasurer has a lot to answer for. I’ve been pressing him on his Fb page for weeks but of course, no response. This is theft of public money on a grand scale and so little is even said about it. I’m disgusted.

  7. Josephus

    Please beg everyone not to vote for this lot as we have so many reasons not to . And shout loud and clear that labor supports coal and gas when in relevant jurisdictions When will they bring the security checked refugees over When will labor defend Assange on Monday we were c thirty outside Parliament House rallying for him Collaery was there Wilkie was there Assanges father was there However the other rally was a surge of fury among the mighty crowd in Canberra were a few lnp women pollies among the greens and labor I have not seen any media reports of this that mentioned the two powerful First Nations elders who spoke Nor have the two anu students been mentioned I know anu has policies in place but one of the two students said her second night in college she was assaulted Enough enough Damn scomo and Dutton and their ilk Wish I believed in hell

  8. pierre wilkinson

    and do not forget that it was good old hardly normal who campaigned vigorously to remove penalty rates from retail workers, bemoaning the cost of operating, then proclaimed a massive profit for the 1st quarter of the year
    and the troll is strong in Mark, is it not?

  9. Henry Rodrigues

    Rule of Law !!!!!

    Alleged rapists being judged innocent by a smirk faced jerk, a vulnerable young person being described as a lying cow for going public with rape allegations. That rule of law ???

    No one envies a dickhead who defends the indefensible.

  10. Gangey1959

    It was only recently that the wrinkled old bastard gh was asked for a comment, and his reply was “My opinion’s not worth having, in my opinion.”
    Why is it that the ATO can’t get these people for the tax they owe on the enormous personal incomes they have made frome their dividend injections, which these billionaires seem to brag about to all and sundry. Gerry here should be up for 50% of his $78M, a drop in his bucket I admit but still a beginning.

    @M. These pricks may not be doing anything illegal, but they sure as shit are not behaving in an ethical manner when mere mortals are doing things as tough as we are. I guess it comes down to the difference between laws, rules, guidelines and codes of conduct. And personal morals.

  11. Michael Taylor

    Envious of Gerry Harvey!!

    The man is an arrogant, selfish pig. He certainly isn’t within our parameters of envy.

  12. Kaye Lee

    I remember being accused of being envious of Gina Rinehart. I pity her. She will never know contentment. Her greed has ripped her family apart. She doesn’t trust anyone (except her boy Barnaby maybe). All the money in the world has not brought her happiness. I am a firm believer that integrity is its own reward. And then there are people like Gerry and Gina to whom integrity means nothing.

  13. Michael Taylor

    I was once accused – either here or on Cafe Whispers – of being envious of Tony Abbott. 😳

    Some people confuse dislike with envy.

    If they were one and the same then yes, I am hugely envious of Tony Abbott.

    But they are not, and I am not.

  14. DrakeN

    Gerry Harvey is a hero to those who consider that ‘making’ piles of money is a definition of “Success”.
    The fact that only our government can actually ‘make’ money escapes them.
    It is not ‘making’ money that the likes of this parasitic humanoid do, but the accumulating for themselves of disproportionate portion of the nation’s, the population’s, wealth.
    When I weep at the state of the world, the diminution and extinction of species, the destruction of the very things in life which make it worth living, the continued successes of the arrogant, born to rule, predatory types who rule humanity, the indifference and apathy of so much of our society – then I envy the Gerry Harvey types.
    Having a complete lack of empathy, of a sense of responsibilty, of any of the characteristics which might intrude on their psychopathy shields them from the kind of sorrow and anger which so many of us experience in the face of the almost inevitable demise of the planet as we once knew it.
    Yes I do sometimes envy those with no conscience nor fundamental morality.

  15. Keith

    I’m retired, on Thursdays I go kayaking with mates. On many trips the question arises … “wonder what the millionaires/billianaires are doing”. The usual response “is counting their money”. In other words, we go to some magic places and appreciate each others company … all cost free apart from driving to our start point. We feel sorry for greedy people, that being behind the question of what are the millionaires doing.

  16. Zathras

    I’ve got something people like Gerry Harvey and other grasping billionaires will never have.
    I may not have a lot but I’ve got enough.

  17. Kaye Lee

    That made me smile Zathras.

  18. Jack sprat

    “It’s always been about class warfare and we have won ” Warren Buffet .His secretary pays more tax than he does. The Tories are always the first ones to bring up the terms “”class warfare “and “envy” to head off any debates on blatant inequality .

  19. Terence Mills

    Do you recall how the coalition ably supported by the Murdoch media hounded the Labor government for the ‘Pink Batts’ and ‘School halls’ schemes which in fact and in the results they achieved were sound economic responses to the GFC – even allowing for the few opportunistic employers who exposed young and inexperienced workers to workplace hazards.

    Now the multi millions pocketed by a few wealthy corporations and skiving entrepreneurs under Jobkeeper are completely ignored by our monopoly media owners and hence the government takes no action.

    No wonder Kevin Rudd is pushing for a Royal Commission into media ownership in this country and the distortions it creates for our governance and our democracy.

  20. Michael Taylor

    We have a dilemma in our area. If we need electrical items we have Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Bing Lee and The Good Guys.

    The latter three are only small stores with limited range, but we buy from them if we can.

    But there are times we have to buy from the Harvey Norman store. We don’t like doing it, but as Carol says; “It’s Gerry Harvey we despise, not the people who work in our local store. And whoever we buy from we are keeping local people in a job.”

    Carol mentioned that on Twitter once, and as you could imagine she was unmercifully attacked. People expected us to drive 300ks to Melbourne, shop around and stay overnight, drive 300ks home again and pay a couple of hundred dollars in freight to have our goods delivered.

    We do despise Gerry Harvey, but sometimes we don’t have the option to avoid his local store.

  21. Kaye Lee

    JB Hi-Fi own Good Guys.

    And I agree about the importance of shopping locally. If the local shops close, people have to leave to find employment, then facilities and services are cut back. If businesses close, real estate sometimes suffers.

    I have no problem with businesses making a profit as long as they pay their workers fairly, pay taxes fairly, and DON’T take handouts they do not need and are not entitled to.

    Company profits have soared since 2016. If giving billions of public money to highly profitable companies so they can hand out dividends and CEO bonuses is considered a ‘targeted’ subsidy, giving $3.57 a day to unemployed people is a targeted insult.

  22. David Stakes

    I always buy any Electrical item from Bing Lee, because you can haggle. I take my wife for this, been Asian she can reduce a salesman to a gibbering wreck. As she moves in to close the sale. Once we are at the door leaving, when the salesman chased after us and said OK Lady my manager said ok to your price. Win Win.

  23. TuffGuy

    He was also the same person claiming massive lost profits from those of us who purchase products online, in particular those products less than $1k which were previously purchased tax free. He whined and moaned about how badly this was affecting bricks and mortar stores in Australia (including his own), implying that slapping GST on all online purchases would magically bring people back buying products in their stores.
    What Harvey failed to mention was that, even with the GST, most of what is purchased online is still cheaper. For example why would anyone go into his store and buy a case for their phone for around $60 when they have an infinite selection online for around $5-10???
    He well knew this and his push for GST to be slapped on all online purchases under $1k was merely, for him, an opportunity to screw us lesser mortals over.
    I sincerely hope everyone boycotts both his stores and his wife’s (Domayne) and they both go broke very quickly. He is nothing but Lieberal scum and Australia can well do without the likes of him.

  24. Matters Not

    Re:

    Gerry Harvey operates strictly within the letter of the law.

    Yep! Gerry has a fiduciary duty to do just that which most above seem to ignore or be unaware of. Like it or not Harvey is therefore:

    bound both legally and ethically to act in the other’s best interests.

    Clearly the other here would be the shareholders. Certainly it might be argued that the other’s best interests could be interpreted narrowly (short-term financial returns via fat dividends) or more broadly (longer-term considerations including good name, positive brand etc). But one would suspect that most shareholders would prefer the money in the hand – that is be short-term in their thinking.)

    In Australia, because of dividend imputation, far too many companies fail to be strategic in their approach.

    That is the incentive is NOT there to retain capital for future expansion and acquisitions. But that lack of strategic thinking characterizes the political players as well who are far too concerned with the tactical while the strategic withers on the vine.

    Nevertheless, Mark is just stating a legal fact and we all like facts don’t we?

  25. Matters Not

    Perhaps I should make clear. The problem sits fairly and squarely with the Treasurer. It is/was his scheme and if others exploit loopholes then responsibility doesn’t transfer to them but remains with the Treasurer.

    Even if it requires retrospective amending Legislation or retro changes to the Regulations(s). And the Treasurer must be held accountable (even though Parliament is unlikely to pursue that course of action.) Maybe at the next election? Lol.

  26. Kaye Lee

    ” Nevertheless, Mark is just stating a legal fact ”

    I assume you consulted the legislation before that pronouncement MN.

    (1) An entity satisfies the decline in turnover test at a time (the test time) if:

    (a) the entity’s projected GST turnover for a turnover test period in which the test time occurs falls short of the entity’s current GST turnover for a relevant comparison period (the comparison turnover); and

    (b) the shortfall, expressed as a percentage of the comparison turnover, equals or exceeds the specified percentage for the entity (see subsection (2)).

    (7) For the purposes of this section:
    (a) the turnover test period must be: (i) a calendar month that ends after 30 March 2020 and before 1 October 2020; or
    (ii) a quarter that starts on 1 April 2020 or 1 July 2020; and
    (b) the relevant comparison period must be the period in 2019 that corresponds to the turnover test period.

    https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020L00419

    Now I guess you could argue that it was legal for Gerry to “project” a 50% decline in turnover whilst recording record increases in profit. If that is a valid legal argument then this was the worst legislation ever drafted and has unnecessarily cost the country billions of dollars. Either the rules applied or they didn’t. If you are a welfare recipient and get your projected income wrong, you have to pay it back.

    PS I hadn’t seen your second comment when I wrote this. I don’t actually believe exploiting loopholes is just the fault of poor legislation. It is a conscious decision to lie and cheat and actually subvert the law. If there was no onus of proof or verification then every business in Australia should have been given the subsidy.

  27. Matters Not

    KL – CEOs (responsible officers) operate under any number of laws at any one time. My reference is to fiduciary duty as a generalisation (and I thought that was made clear at the outset) and not to a specific piece of legislation which is but a sub-set of a more wide ranging issue. I do note that Michael West dealt with the general issue more broadly some time ago.

    The Big Grift: How the Top End of Town rorted Jobkeeper

  28. Harry Lime

    Gerry:Too much money is never enough.I’m thinking his will be a private burial,so us shitkickers won’t know where to dig for the loot.Along the same lines,Gina the Hutt will probably utilise one of her open cut mines.Pathetic doesn’t even go close.

  29. Kaye Lee

    I am also aware of countless businesses that rorted this scheme.

    Anyone who issues invoices could choose when to issue them. The financial firm that employs my son didn’t charge clients until the next month and qualified for Jobkeeper on that basis. One of my employees opted to make her second job (at a gym) her primary employer thereby getting $1500 a fortnight for her couple of aerobics classes she could no longer teach whilst continuing to get her normal wage (minus a bit more tax), paid by me rather than the government.

    Excellent article from Michael West as always MN

  30. Zathras

    I believe Harvey Norman is mostly a series of co-existing specific franchises (furniture, computers, electrical etc) operating under a single roof plus some owned by the company itself.
    However if an individual franchisee performs “too well” at a site the main company reserves the right to reacquire that particular business for itself.
    It may be legal but it demonstrates the psychotic self-interested nature that drives Corporations and perhaps the owner as well. This was also one of the companies that spearheaded the easy credit boom that caused some people great financial pain.

  31. Consume Less

    Give a million to a charity to help homeless, its wasted, with nothing going back to community,,,,.. Would have thought this statement is bullshit because the homeless that get the million will spend it towards businesses and services therefore supporting the community.
    Well said Kaye !

  32. Bert

    Mark March 20, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    Gerry Harvey operates strictly within the letter of the law. So why is his reputation being crucified? Envy?

    Is that you Gerry?

  33. Ken Fabian

    I think the dangers and costs of an underclass living in dire poverty without welfare remains unappreciated by people for whom paying taxes is resented and/or optional and who think no further than their own reduced tax burden. Certainly he doesn’t appear to understand unintended consequences or see the bigger picture than he gets from his narrow views and narrow self-interests.

    Take away welfare and less money flowing to a host of retail businesses – people dependent on welfare spend money, they do not accumulate it; that money doesn’t vanish, it circulates.

    More policing, more gaols, more ‘crimsafe’ preventative expenditure is required. More potential for social unrest and rising extremism. More inter-generational entrenching of desperate poverty without ways out. More potential for riots that in one fell swoop can incur vast damage and cost.

    Does Mr Harvey really think it is the successes of business people like himself “trickling down” – people that not only oppose taxation and welfare but want to pay only low wages and see desperate need as a means to justify reducing them – that saw the appeal of hard-line unionism and revolutionary socialism fade? No, Australia would be worse for Mr Harvey’s businesses, not better should his micro views trump the macro effects of social democratic policies and Australia’s vulnerable citizens abandoned.

    A nation is not a company; those human “debits” may not appear in HIS (or any company’s) books but they always remain on the nation’s books.

  34. wam

    If Fryde would simply say to the public service at ATO ‘why did this man get job keeper? Fix it’! They would. The memory of Harvey saying “the rabbott is a good bloke! Gillard is not a good bloke” still applies to the girls and boys at the top of the $ amasser tree.
    A couple of memories under the lying rodent are twiggy going from millionaire to billionaire (now number two in Aust) and a big melb catholic school got $5m over paid and the bishop said we’ll give it to the poorer schools.
    Nothing has changed the rich continue to suck on a government nipple unannounced and wipe the dribble before it reaches the poor. “I have done nothing wrong” means I have done wrong but found a way of avoiding the law. So I have done nothing illegal.”
    Wonder if labor could ask the ATO how Harvey Norman could, so blatantly, cheat the system? I remember a Brisbane private school that had schools up as far nth as cairns which they claimed to give them access to gov funding for a library. Those who can, do, those who can’t, pay those that can, those that can’t pay, can’t. ps Michael envious has elements of begrudging and resentful I begrudge the help of Boobby gave to the rabbott and I resent everything the rabbott did as PM.

  35. andy56

    I dare say, Gerry would get very agitated if a thousand poor people congregated around his homes everyday. People who have more than enough just dont seem to have any empathy or understanding of anything, apart from making more money. Thats why we supposedly have rule of law, unfortunately most of our governments are reluctant to reign in these shits .

    Lets start a movement, call it Camping at Gerry’s.
    I bet all the other wanna be billionaires will quickly learn a lesson in empathy.

  36. AiminHigh

    The Canberra Bubble is apparently Mum, Jen and the Kids.

    That the Prime Minister can only find compassion through the agency of his family is disappointing, to say the least. The implication, that those without such relationships could not summons the compassion for fellow humans in distress, is offensive.

    The claim to the moral high ground that underpins Morrison’s modus operandi has been completely eroded by a flood of revelations. He obfuscated and misled, played the emote card weeks too late, has been found wanting of any moral compass, and falsely accused a staff member of his greatest media ally; a display of distress with a retraction so contrite as to resemble the confession made under duress in an autocracy.

    There is a trickle, perhaps a daily drip, of Liberal women making statements that leave the PM exposed as out-of-touch at best, with Cusack the latest to enter the fray.

    What this suggests to me is that the resistance to quotas a decade or two ago is now slated-home to the current leadership of the Liberal party. With the poor standing of women within the party now blatantly exposed, how will they attract popular (centrist) women to stand as candidates?

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