Someone has assured me today that Price, Waterhouse, Cooper did not change their name to PwC in the hope that they’d be able to hide the names… Although he wasn’t so sure about the change of Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC…
Whatever, there’s a series of interesting series of events playing out and by “interesting” I mean things that one has to be careful about in case one has to take on the might of individuals who seem too able to mount very expensive legal cases. Ok, we know that Ben Roberts-Smith had some backing from Kerry Stokes but the person behind the million-dollar blind trust that Christian Porter had access to is still a mystery to all but a handful of people including we’re led to believe, Porter himself. That’s Christian Porter, I have no way of knowing whether Porter’s father knows the identity but, if he does, he’s certainly kept it from Christian.
Of course, it’s a bigger mystery that Porter’s million-dollar windfall was referred to as a “blind trust”, when the whole purpose of a blind trust is that you don’t know how the money is being invested, so you’d be unaware of decisions you make benefitting the trust thus protecting you from conflicts of interest. Are we to presume that the Porter blind trust was set up in a way that young Christian wouldn’t know how it was to be spent? It was only blind in that nobody knew who the donors were apart from a handful of people which I won’t name because it might look like they’re the donors and they seem to be the sort of people who like funding court cases.
But speaking of mysteries, there’s been quite a few pop up this week:
- When talking about PwC, the unstoppable (particularly when being asked a question she has no answer for) Jane Hume asserted that the privacy provisions of the ATO were totally necessary and – in spite of the recent PwC revelations “99.9%” of all the other occasions when firms had access to information they were behaving ethically. This is a mystery because I can’t work out how she knows this when the privacy provisions dictate that – even if they were aware of dodgy dealings – the ATO couldn’t tell the minister.
- Why the ATO couldn’t tell the relevant minister anything because the legislation prohibits them revealing tax information, even if it relates to potential wrongdoing, but the ATO could share information with Centrelink to check people just in case they’d done something wrong and Centrelink could send out Robodebt notices just in case people owed them money.
- The AFP couldn’t investigate PwC because there wasn’t enough evidence to start an investigation. On various occasions the AFP seem to have decided not to look for evidence because they didn’t have enough evidence and the mystery of this is that I thought it was the role of the police to look for evidence after a report, not to simply say, “Can you prove this allegation of a crime because you’ll need to be able to prove it and without solid evidence we’re not going to go looking for any because that might lead to us finding some?”
- According to reports, Scott Morrison is considering a job offer. The mystery is that we’re still expected to believe this when he was considered too much of a risk for PwC.
- Phil Lowe’s “Hope to see you in October” at the end of his appearance at Senate Estimates. This is a mystery because his suggestion that people move in together to reduce the demand for rental accommodation was the perfect line to enable Jim Chalmers to announce that they’ll be getting the new governor to move into the Reserve Bank with Phil. (Now, don’t get me wrong about Mr Lowe’s suggestion of people sharing houses. In economic terms, he’s absolutely right. Just as, in economic terms, we need to put a few people out of work so that they can’t afford rent and will need to sleep in their cars – if they have one – and this will reduce the demand for housing. In economic terms, if it’s a particularly cold winter some of those without housing may freeze to death, further reducing demand. And, in economic terms, if we follow Jonathan’s Swift “A Modest Proposal”* and allow the poor people to market their babies as gourmet food, we’ll pretty much have gone a long way to solving all our budgetary problems.)
- And finally, complaints about “elites” advocating for a Yes vote on the Voice. As the meaning of elite is “a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society”, I would have thought it only sensible to listen to the elites. Surely we shouldn’t be ignoring those who are superior in quality to listen to the likes of Malcolm Roberts! The idea that we should ignore those people that even Mr Dutton calls elite seems rather mysterious to me!
Hopefully the coming days will clear up some of the mysteries. Particularly the one about Scotty getting a job. Maybe Labor could offer his old job back at Tourism Australia. I mean, Mr Morrison will always be synonymous with “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?”
*Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” was written in 1729 and is one of the greatest satires on economic solutions that don’t take into account basic humanity.
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