Ah, you
are all so holier than thou. One of the wonderful things about journalism is
that you can shoot your mouth off with no consequences or no understanding of
reality because you don’t need to live in the reality on which you report – you
observe. You are a bit like Senator Brown in that regard; you can say whatever
you like and know that there is never any chance of you being in power where all
the bullsh*t you speak about (most of the time, not all) would come home to
roost; a government under Brown could do nothing.

Having lived for almost 5 years in the Middle East and having travelled
and done business in the MENA Region for over 8 years, payment of
commissions are simply a reality. No one, absolutely no one in the
Middle East puts you in touch with someone else (or does something for
you) unless there is something in it for them. Exactly the same happens
in Australia; I pay or get paid a commission or consulting fee for
doing my work and those commissions help me get deals done. They are
not hidden commissions and everyone is very open about them.

Now, perhaps the quantum of the commissions
can be questioned or if the AWB knew to whom they were going, but to
pay commissions is very, very common and very, very normal. And if the
political correctness you are helping define causes the bureaucrats or business
people to run for the panic button and “stop all commissions,” then it will be
pushed under the table or no business will be done.

The US are certainly not
squeaky clean in this (note Cheney & Halliburton) – US businessmen are
renowned for commissions and bribes and the Government have their “people” on
the ground all the time, “influencing.” So let’s distinguish between legitimate
commissions (even if they are high) and bribes, with the latter being what is
distasteful (if proven) in what the AWB are alleged to have done. I have no
doubt that if the AWB had not dealt with Iraq “on principal” US companies would
have been in there doing exactly the same; after all, Saddam was still in charge
and still called the shots.

I think
the real story here is the stupidity of AWB in allowing the Cargill, Continental
Grains, Archer Daniel Midlands, etc, an opening to allow their
monopoly to be taken down (I note Wilson Tuckey’s movements here) and these
companies to have free reign in Australia (perhaps for the better or worse for
Australian producers). I am sure these companies are circling and warming up
their teams in readiness for what is now virtually
inevitable.

Do your
research, please, and let’s have a bit of reason to the extreme views you are
expressing.

Peter Fray

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