May 2, 2014

The Commission of Audit: a lazy trip through the mind of Tony Shepherd

Any good ideas from the Commission of Audit are lost in the ideological detritus of an old businessman's worldview, write Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer.

Did the government get value for money from the Commission of Audit? Chairman Tony Shepherd told a Senate inquiry today his five-volume report had cost around $750,000. If the government wanted an ideological wishlist of small government, it could have asked the Institute of Public Affairs to do it. John Roskam, Chris Berg and Co. could have knocked one together for a lot less than that.

As Crikey has reminded readers in the past, Shepherd’s time chairing Transfield Services was marked by a falling share price, rising losses, impaired asset write-downs because the company paid too much for those assets, a poorly timed share buyback and rising debt. Hardly the most inspiring example of corporate leadership, but good enough, apparently, to get the chairmanship of the Business Council and of the Commission of Audit.

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13 thoughts on “The Commission of Audit: a lazy trip through the mind of Tony Shepherd

  1. klewso

    Maybe when you can’t fail no matter how ordinary you do, you get to thinking that applies to everyone – and that all your ideas are good ones?

  2. klewso

    Little Joe Hockey
    Stands by his jockey,
    Spinning their audit pork pies.
    He sticks in his thumbs
    And pulls out his plumbs
    And says “What a good am I”!

  3. klewso

    sorry ….
    Little Joe Hockey
    Stands by his jockey,
    Spinning their audit pork pies.
    He sticks in his thumbs
    And pulls out his plumbs
    Says “What a good ol’ boy am I”!

  4. Honest Johnny

    The intention of the $750,000 Audition Commission report is to give Abbott and Hockey an opportunity to introduce unpopular policies and break promises while hiding behind the authority of the “audit”. They can say, “its in the audit report, we had no choice”. Saying, well not much but populist slogans before an election is one thing, but watch the way the audit report recommendations are implemented to see how this Government really carries out its ideological agenda. In politics, a report is never commissioned unless you already know what the results are going to be. What Abbott has therefore done, is buy himself (with taxpayers money) a $750,000 ideological agenda implementation tool.

  5. zut alors

    The good news is that no big miners, politicians or newspaper magnates were callously targeted. Mostly just we peasants.

  6. Robert Kirby

    Great article and coverage by Crikey on the Audit. Message to your sub-editors, though, the word ‘shuttered’ is an American word. Can you please use Australian English. Rob

  7. lulu2503

    Good read, good points, Bernard, thank you for this. Talk about wasteful spending! This $750,000 audit report — poorly researched, lack of analytical depth, infected entirely by neocon economics — takes the prize.

  8. klewso

    Surprised Johnny? Abbott billed the tax payer for the cost of peddling his book, pedaling his bike and paddling in Mirabella’s wedding – now he reckons we all have to shoulder the burden.

  9. graybul

    Net Debt projected to rise from 14.5% to 17%, a piddling 2.5% increase. AAA Rating, courtesy of Gillard/Swan . . and everyone focussed on an alleged Budget Emergency, falsely described as uncontrollable expenditure. Absolutely NO comment/content detailing revenue options.
    “Stiffing” of a world class universal health system in favour of a failed privatised American health system. Neither Abbott or Shorten have the fortitude or ability to carry forward a genuine public interest debate. One is ideologically encased in concrete. The other lacks presence and is so ‘gray’ as to be all but invisable. Both have failed to establish credibility within their respective Office. The value of Shepheard’s Audit is singular, inasmuch as it is an invitation to the Ruling Class to engage Nation in an essential, long overdue National Debate.

  10. tonyfunnywalker

    In Bernard’s review I thought I was reading the US Tea Party manifesto and that the audit group were watching too much Fox News Commontators to include Rupert’s Tweets about how useless the PS is.
    I agree is it is lazy and it lacks any ananlysis of the implications to the state of the economy. There are now several books written on the Downside of Austerity and its social imolications. This Audit was designed for the impovrishment of Australian Society.
    Saved from the rigours of the GFC by Labor and Mining Investment — Hockey has now assured that we do not miss out on the evils of austerity when we do not really need to. Shepherd agrees there is no ” budget crisis” but the attack on the poor/ disadvantaged/ young/ and families is unprecendented and is likey to blight Australia’s for future generations as a country with one of the highest living standards in the world becomes the impovished poor of Asia.
    The lack of forsight and its implications are dire.
    The negative multiplier is likely to put great parts of Australia into recession as the economy slows.
    Australia is a consumer driven economy with retail sales a key indicator – but when real and discressionary income is attacked in such a way then retail sales are the first to suffer as consumer confidence evaporates.
    Abbott’s rhetoric re the objections to the Carbon Tax evaporate where the losses to average families are 5 times greater than the upstream cost affects of the Carbon Tax. So much for hard pressed family budgets — in the future it will be ration books and food banks for many.
    But that’s Abbott’s vison through “rose coloured” glasses– other then the trees that were pulped to produce this $750,000 wish list — the recycle bin would be a good destination for its recommendations.
    I will not add to the discussion on the qualifications of the Audit team it is obvious that they were not up to the job and to make sure that Acknowledgements are duly given to News Ltd and the Tea Party for the ideas.
    Whether Abbott will survive this remains to be seen – but he has already lost control of the parliament and it will be what Clive thinks will be the key from here on in– Abbott has lost the confidence of his Party and the LNP electors who must feel SO betrayed. ” We was conned ” by a very poor “used car salesman” who promised the world and delivered a “lemon”. Abbott the P76 of Liberal politics- a big mouth but “no guts and no sunstance and depends on someone else to tell him what to do”. – a dud in other words.

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