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The Strange Case Of PWC Or Where’s Sherlock Holmes When You Need Him?

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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  1. Terence Mills

    I hear from a former insider that the business model for PWC and others when it comes to government work is to bid for every contract that comes up even though they may not have the capability, expertise or experience to carry out the work .
    Then , when they get the contract awarded to them they go out and hire the expertise to do the work – frequently former public servants who were displaced by the Morrison regime.

    Of course, in the process the cost of doing the work is way in excess of the cost that would have been incurred if the original public servants hadn’t been sacked.

    How cockamamie is that !

  2. Clakka

    As a one-man consultant (fully incorporated) for about 25 years. When providing my services, every time there was a govt (at any level) involved, no matter which side of the ledger, they apparently knew no rules and played dirty. I was bound by law and the strong provisions of my professional institute. If they didn’t get their way, they would try to traduce me, and in the extreme, bring in hired guns for the same purpose. I am proud to say they never succeeded. Of course, in time I made it to their ‘do not use’ list.

    From the top down, they shielded themselves by obtaining the fabrication of stories, ignoring facts and concealing incompetence, all which cost the taxpayer 10s of millions of dollars.

    Corruption starts in politics, and there is no shortage of those who, for big bucks, are willing to oblige.

  3. Roswell

    If PwC were a union my bet is the AFP would have been relentless.

  4. Harry Lime

    It has often been quoted that we get the government we deserve.What the fuck have we done wrong over the years?Oh,that’s right..we have little interest,especially in footy season.As for Scotty from marketing,he could run a modern version of “Ripley’s believe it or not”,based entirely on his career exploits,no one could possibly believe it…except perhaps Jen…or brother Stuie,who could mount his very own version,with daily updates, once the corruption body fires up.Lots to look forward to,might be a warm winter after all.
    Another feather in the Liar’s cap,Roswell,maybe Boofhead get’s an honourable mention as well.

  5. New England Cocky

    ”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”.

    As the LIARBRALS & NOtional$ have decided to ”Vote No” in the Voice referendum, after nine years of demonstrating conclusively that as a class of persons those politicians are arguably the worst financial managers in Australian political history, the most corrupt group since Mick Young got busted for attempting to bring a colour television into Australia, and the most self-serving since anyone can remember, should mere moral Australian voters believe the propaganda that ”only the COALition can manage the Australian economy because they have superior understanding of the necessary skills and policies” to enrich their private school mates network members.
    Can any thinking Australian voter believe that Boofhead Duddo, $us$san LeyZee and those political genii Porelien and Muddled Mal constitute the political elite of Australian politics?

  6. Truth Teller


    Colour TV episode was in 1982. Michael MacKellar, a Fraser Government Minister, brought a colour TV into the country, but listed it on the customs form as black and white, therefore avoiding duty. He was sacked, along with the Minister for Customs, John Moore, who handled the issue clumsily.
    I remember a colour TV being bought by my Dad in about 1974ish, it was $890 – equivalent to about $5000ish these days.

    In 1984, when Customs officials searched a suitcase belonging to the wife of Hawke Government Cabinet Minister, Mick Young, they found a Paddington bear. Then, I’m sure to their absolute horror, they discovered that the minister hadn’t declared it, therefore dodging who knows how much in duty. Young had to resign until he was judicially cleared.

    Even then the Liarberals knew how to cheat big time.

  7. New England Cocky

    @ Truth Teller: Thank you for the edit and additional information.

  8. Arnd

    *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.

    Plus ça change… !

  9. Harry Lime

    I got a one up on everybody in Orstralia, at the time I was living in Auckland,and because the 1974 Commonwealth Games was being held in Christchurch, the government fast tracked colour TV.My first colour TV was a Sanyo,which was all you could get…about 20 inch and $600 bucks..the equivalent now of about $2 million ,or so it seemed.Even got a mate from home who came and squatted on me for two weeks as a result.It was a lose lose all round.

  10. wam

    Asw good as port’s first halve.
    I was ferrying one of my rabbottians and I asked her to give me a fact that making her vote no. She said why should I give a fact. I said well why are you voting no. She said because I pay $28 a flagon and my sister pays $13.
    An urban Aboriginal, ex-student, is scarier when the theory of a yes vote resulting on the Laborgovernment taking Aboriginal land:
    You have to ask yourself who really benefits from the YES Vote? Is it the Indigenous PS sitting in High Profile positions in Canberra, the educated who believe they are getting something for every Indigenous Australian (who are already living on their country in Remote communities)?
    Ask yourself did ATSIC ever have a VOICE?
    Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people already have recognition of Indigenous Australians, they have their country through Land Claims. DON’T GET IT TAKEN BY BECOMING INCLUDED IN THE CONSTITUTION. Because YOUR VOICE will be NO DIFFERENT to the NON-INDIGENOUS Australian.

    Terence,your post reveals the essence of the trickle down philosophy of the right wing pollies.
    The public servant is sacked to show numbers are down the private are given cash some of which trickles down to the poblic servant

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