Author: Michael West

Privatisation gravy train rolls on

There’s no work like government work. Look what dropped out of the tree: the guide to the consultants’ gravy train 2012 to 2016. This is just NSW privatisations mind you. The mind boggles at how much taxpayer money has been crisped on other consultants, and in all states. Unlike the feds, who at least have the decency to disclose their gargantuan consultant fees clearly on the Austender website, finding how much the states flung to the cuff-linked buccaneers of consultancy is not easy, often impossible in fact. The document of which we speak, a spreadsheet, boasts the anodyne title:...

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Paradise Papers: media ignores the real tax culprits

High in their opulent CBD eyries, the architects of global tax avoidance must be indulging in a quiet chuckle, a nervous chuckle perhaps, because the media has once again missed the forest for the trees. The Queen, Michael Hutchence, the Russians, Lewis Hamilton, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have had thousands of column inches devoted to them, blanket coverage; as has the usual bevy of headline corporate names such as Apple, Nike and Glencore, but what of the Big Four accounting firms who sign off on the multinational audits and concoct the tax avoidance strategies as well? What about...

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Corporate lobbying a billion dollar business

The influencing of politicians, bureaucrats and the course of government policy is a billion-dollar business which is subsidised by taxpayers. An analysis of the financial statements of 20 of Australia’s major business lobbies found almost $2 billion in funding by corporations over the past three years. This level of peak body funding indicates the substantial influence which the business lobby exerts over government policy. It is however only part of the picture; political donations and external government relations firms hired by corporations also affect political outcomes. KEY POINTS: * The analysis covered the financial statements of 20 business peak bodies....

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Unilever: a multinational tax dodger classic

The unions have called for a boycott of Streets Ice Creams this summer but for Unilever and its accounting firm KPMG it is Golden Gaytimes all round. As adviser to Unilever, the parent company of Streets, KPMG has managed to Splice – excuse the pun – Unilever’s tax bill in half. Over four years, the tax expense of this Anglo-Dutch multinational has been Spliced in thirds, from $16.3 million, through $10 million to $4.8 million. To borrow from the plush parlance of Unilever’s marketing materials, paying just $4.8 million on annual income of $1.65 billion is the taxpayer equivalent...

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Farmer denies CBA claim that he stole his own identity

Three years after his identity had been stolen and his private banking documents found on the side of the road, Barry Lakeman has been advised by Commonwealth Bank that a review is under way. Originally, the bank suggested to Lakeman that he and his wife were to blame, that they dumped their own documents on the side of the road in Victoria. This week, the bank advised Lakeman to seek redress via the Financial Ombudsman’s Service (FOS), a private complaints service funded by the banks according to how many complaints they incur. In keeping with CBA’s attempts to cover...

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New Michael West Podcast

Created by PodcastOne, this 3 part series looks into how Australia has gone from one of the cheapest countries in the world for energy to one of the most expensive, and reveals just what has happened with our gas and electricity supply and why we are on the verge of an energy crisis.

Listen to THE ENERGY TRUTH on the PodcastOne website

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