The saga of Therese Rein’s burgeoning job placement business has so many elements that it is hard to know where to start.
First things first, it’s important to remove all gender issues from the debate. If John Howard’s brother started winning huge defence contracts from the Federal Government, we’d all be up in arms.
The simple fact remains that families of politicians should not benefit from government contracts. Of course Therese Rein had to sell the Australian division of Ingeus, given the Federal Government is its biggest client.
Labor’s policy of not unscrambling the controversial outsourcing of Australia’s job placement market by the Howard Government will enhance the value of Ingeus, so it’s clear that Rudd had a massive conflict from the moment he became leader. Why not bring it back within government and re-create the old CES?
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It will also be important to carefully watch the bidding process as it could present a perfect opportunity to ingratiate yourself with an incoming prime minister. Macquarie Bank is known to be massively on the nose with the Coalition and particularly Peter Costello, so would it be acceptable for Macquarie to pay $20 million for the Australian division of Ingeus?
People like Barrie Cassidy should know better than to suggest that Therese Rein could have kept the business. She should also be liquidating her $2 million Australian share portfolio, rather than putting it into a blind trust.
And what a joke for the Herald Sun to this morning editorialise that it was “puzzled” by the “strange” decision to sell. It’s called the power of aggressive back-to-back tabloid splashes! The paper even insensitively splashed on the issue again today with a nameless worker bleating about overtime on the “45c contract”.
This morning, the reporters concerned tried to argue this is only an issue about policy hypocrisy on industrial relations. Yes, but Therese and Kevin correctly cited conflict of interest for their reason to sell.
The Herald Sun, and News Ltd more broadly, has still not disclosed its own hypocrisy and conflicts from campaigning against Labor’s industrial laws after aggressively embracing AWAs, something Therese Rein did not.
The paper must have known such as aggressive attack would probably cause Therese to sell, yet last year News Ltd refused to even mention the scandal of Tania Costello’s six-figure job with the ANZ bank, which is licensed by her husband?
News Corp is riddled with nepotism and conflicts, which is why it can never cover the issue properly. For instance, why such pathetic coverage of Alexander Downer’s daughter getting a job in dad’s department?
A conflict is a conflict and we’ll be looking closely at this broad issue in the days ahead. I had to sell out of IAG after my wife was elected to the RACV board last year and the same such standards should apply to politicians.
People like Lucy Turnbull should be looking on nervously if this debate gathers momentum. And why wasn’t the burgeoning printing business of Bob Carr’s wife, Helena, ever properly analysed. Ah yes, welcome to the Pandora’s Box of family conflicts and drop us a line to [email protected] if you know of an unacceptable situation.