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It’s some 13 years since Graeme Samuel mused that he had “another five to 10 years of useful mental ability”.
Graeme Samuel reckons consultants are a waste of money.Credit: John Shakespeare
But the former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, merchant banker, corporate strategist, government fixer, Opera Australia chief and AFL commissioner still has plenty of bite, if his submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the consultancy sector – PwC and all that – is anything to go by.
The gist of Samuel’s contribution is that he almost never used consultants in all of the major pieces of work – and there were a lot – he conducted over the years with various Commonwealth commissions, believing that the work could be done in-house for a fraction of the price.
But there was this one time, back in 2017, when he and the Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) were reviewing the culture of the Commonwealth Bank.
APRA, on Samuel’s telling, insisted on hiring management consultants Oliver Wyman, who were “a waste of money”, according to the submission. We thought we’d better ask Oliver Wyman what they made of that. They didn’t get back to us.
Among the other highlights of the submissions is a revealing effort from the Australian Tax Office, pulling back the curtain on the personal tax lurks available to partners in big professional services outfits the likes of PwC.
A bit too complicated to get into here, but suffice to say they’re not available to us humble wage slaves.
So, no wonder the firm came up with this effort in its own submission.
“While we are open to change, we don’t agree that the partnership model itself is fundamentally incompatible with reforms that may be required to address stakeholder concerns,” PwC wrote.
The fallen consulting giant also assured the cross-party committee that the long-awaited Ziggy Switkowski report into its internal culture would be published in time for the footy next week.
We couldn’t go past the contribution to the inquiry of the Society of Law Academics, who reckon they see evidence of “masculinity contest culture” in the behaviour at PwC – laid bare in the Senate’s report on the tax leaks scandal.
The society explains that the culture “trivialises compliance with codes of conduct, ethical practices, internal institutional controls as well as respect for customers, teamwork, and restraints on the use of devious or manipulative behaviour.”
We’re no experts, but that seems to tick a lot of boxes.
Daniel Andrews’ state Labor government’s much-hyped housing statement was going just fine on Wednesday – until readers hit page 12.
That’s where it was claimed that the Property Council of Australia – working with the City of Melbourne – had found 80 office buildings in and around the CBD just ripe for conversion into homes.
Trouble is, the council had nothing to do with that piece of work, which was undertaken by design studio Hassell and planning consultancy Ethos Urban for the property council.
And the offending section of the housing statement appears to be based on a misreading of a write-up in The Age of the property lobby group’s report.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp’s office felt strongly enough about the mis-step to publicly clarify on Wednesday afternoon that “we are not partners with Property Council of Australia (PCA) in the conversion of commercial buildings”.
Not happy, Jan: Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp.Credit: Jason South
If there was sensitivity around the fact that Capp used to be the property council’s frontwoman here in Victoria, her office wasn’t saying so when we called.
We asked the government what went wrong, but hadn’t heard back by deadline on Wednesday.
As the Voice to parliament campaign enters its business end, the fundraising push from both sides has gone into overdrive. We brought news on Tuesday of the tidy sum that Simon Holmes a Court’s political fundraising behemoth Climate 200 had raised for the Yes campaign.
On Tuesday, the Labor Party’s national secretary Paul Erickson had a deal he hoped Yes supporters wouldn’t refuse: an anonymous donor who would match rank-and-file contributions dollar-for-dollar.
Not to be outdone, Erickson’s cross-town rival, Liberal federal director Andrew Hirst, was rattling the tin pretty hard too, while claiming the mantle of underdog for his party’s campaign to defeat the referendum proposal.
“The Yes campaign is a juggernaut, backed by big unions, corporations and celebrities,” Hirst wrote.
“To push back and win this referendum, we need you.”
The Liberal director had another reason for No voters to part with their hard-earned cash; the prospect of seeing even more of their cause’s big star Jacinta Nampijinpa Price on the telly with a new ad featuring a familiar message “If you don’t know, vote no”.
It’ll be a while before we know just how much has been spent trying to “win” the referendum, but take this as a fair warning that you’re going to be hearing even more in the coming weeks from these cashed-up campaigns.
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