Bob Carr’s decision to join Macquarie Bank so soon after retiring as
NSW Premier is a disgrace. Just look at the $1 billion plus Macquarie
and its investors have made from the Eastern Distributor toll road
between the city and Sydney Airport which the incompetent Carr
Government presided over. The Millionaire Factory may as well have
said, “Thanks for the billion Bob, now here’s an undisclosed amount of
money for you, to help us try and suck in the next bloke.”

However, the Liberal Party can’t exactly
call for the more ethical American approach of a two year cooling off
period because retiring Howard Government Ministers have been even worse
than Bob Carr in recent years. In terms of the eight most inappropriate appointments over the years, try these for size:

Michael Wooldridge:

gave an additional $5 million to the Royal Australian College of GPs
for a new Canberra headquarters one week before quitting as Health
Minister in November 2001 and then signed up as a consultant a few
weeks later, eventually receiving a $382,500 payout.

Peter Reith: signed up as a consultant to Australia’s biggest defence
contractor, Tennix, within two days of resigning as Defence Minister.

Bob Carr: after handing over billions in value to Macquarie Bank as NSW Premier, signs up as a consultant two months after retiring.

Larry Anthony: Former Children and Youth Affairs Minister who joined the ABC Learning board five months after losing his seat.

Richard Alston:took
a consultancy from Austereo over digital radio regulation six months
after retiring as Communications Minister in February 2004.

Graham Richardson: Thought it was fine to be Federal Minister for
Communications and then a fixer for Kerry Packer, the biggest
beneficiary of Australia’s television licensing system over the years.

Alan Stockdale:
Macquarie and its investors made hundreds of millions from the
Kennett revolution and then the former Victorian Treasurer thought it
was fine to join the Millionaire’s Factory two weeks before the all important Frankston East supplementary election in October 1999.

Terry Mackenroth: Played the tough guy Queensland Treasurer handing our great slabs
of hinterland for development, then retired and six weeks later joined the board of Brisbane-based developer Devine Ltd.

Macquarie Bank only features twice in this list, but there is no doubt about the scale of their influence pedalling strategies
which extends to hiring the siblings of Prime Ministers, top
bureaucrats, former unionists and politicians themselves. How’s this for an impressive line-up?

independent director of Macquarie Leisure

Joint venture partner in China flogging home loans

former chairman of Macquarie-packaged Hills Motorway Group

PM’s former departmental secretary is CEO of Sydney Airport

former Victorian Treasurer was head of external relations for Macquarie Infrastructure Group

: former Howard Minister is head of external relations for the entire bank

: the former Federal MP is a consultant

John Howard’s former Cabinet Secretary sits on a Macquarie’s infrastructure management board

former NSW Labor Council Secretary on MIG board

If we’ve missed anyone, email Macquarie’s Labor
credentials have even extended to sponsoring the Mick Young charity day
at Randwick in Sydney each year.

Arguably only Dick Pratt has had more political figures on the
payroll over the years, although the likes of Kerry Packer, Rupert
Murdoch and Frank Lowy have also been politically active as they work
the regulatory system to maximise their wealth and power.

Given that so much of Australian business relies on a corporatist
approach of exploiting government licences and weak regulators, as opposed to genuinely
competing on the global stage, you can’t blame the suits for trying to
maximise their position. The problem lies with the money-hungry
politicians who are members of a political duopoly that seemingly
adopts an anything goes approach.

At one level, we really should applaud Mark Latham for eschewing this grubby system and telling us what really happens.

CRIKEY: We rang Carr’s office for comment but he’s overseas and unavailable.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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