Nepotism is not back in vogue, it never went out

by | Jul 11, 2017 | Despatch, Government, Tax

Tax lawyer, Tania Waterhouse, would not have been expecting an audience of 7,000 when she posted a three-line comment on LinkedIn about nepotism and the Tax Office.

“KPMG staff being appointed to ATO senior positions at the expense of experienced ATO staff with many years of corporate and tax knowledge. The Commissioner is former KPMG,” wrote Waterhouse.

The comment was linked to a Canberra Times story about Tax Office heavyweight Michael Cranston who has been charged with two criminal offences but whose real crime appears to be trying to help his son.

Cranston Snr didn’t rob or defraud anybody. He tried to get access to information about an ATO investigation into his son and the ATO has strict laws on confidentiality.

That didn’t stop the press – which got the story “drop” from the police – from depicting Plutus Payroll as the biggest fraud in Australian history, a “massive” and “shocking” scandal which “engulfed” and “tainted” the Tax Office.

Until the 28 police raids occurred, the ATO had been investigating Plutus, then, once the story had been “dropped” to the Murdoch press, it suddenly “engulfed” the ATO.

It is worth considering that Murdoch’s News Corp has been the ATO’s number one “tax risk” or tax bludger as its papers would describe it.

Cranston has been charged for 1. using information obtained as a public official with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a benefit for another person, and 2. exercising influence as an official for the same dishonest purpose.

Plutus: the police raids, the ATO and the real plutocrats


Michael West

Michael West

Michael West established to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. Formerly a journalist and editor at Fairfax newspapers and a columnist at News Corp, West was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences. You can follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelWestBiz.

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