While ABC bean counters have now seriously slashed the ability of staff to fiddle the books through petty cash, taxi chits and other small scale expenses, the broadcaster’s management is showing a generous Christmas spirit to its 5000-or-so staff. Today staff received a gift voucher for $25 for ABC shops – that’s a total value of just over $125,000 – and some staff also received backpacks.

Clever ABC bean counters: hand out a gift and make sure it stays inside the corporation. Will these revenues and any profits on these sales to staff be netted out of the ABC books at June 30 next year? While not on the scale of the legendary Kerry Packer hampers at PBL, it is nevertheless a nice gift from the taxpayers.

But staff report increased paperwork and the need for signatures for small expenses. Unit managers (or resource managers) have had their approval limits slashed, the petty cash float cut and the need for signatures on things like taxi fare reimbursements added to the list of things that “must be done.” This all follows the alleged fraud involving an ABC unit manager in News and Current affairs. The size of the alleged fraud was around $900,000. The matter is still before the courts.