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The Forum > Article Comments > AWB scandal - suppliers beware! > Comments

AWB scandal - suppliers beware! : Comments

By Andrew Hewett, published 6/3/2006

The 'Publish What You Pay' coalition demands transparency from companies doing business in resource-rich countries.

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I heartily approve of this idea.

Why should it be restricted to payments to foreign governments?

"Publish what you pay" is a principle which should be extended to all areas of public life. It mystifies me that the vaunted free enterprise system relies on price paid for goods or services as the carrier of information in the market place, yet it is seen as some kind of right - "commercial in confidence" - to conceal this information from the rest of the market. It is a favourite of governments to avoid accountability to taxpayers.

Likewise we see in the courts, settlements being made with secrecy clauses. In every free enterprise workplace I have been in, salaries paid are expected to be kept a secret between the employer and the employee. This deprives other employees (new and present) of a key indicator of the value of their own work.

cheers!
Posted by Whistle, Monday, 6 March 2006 9:40:07 AM
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This article is delusional.

Businesses and foreign governments have a right to privacy regarding contracts. Thats the capitalist system. Thats what give competitive players the edge.

The obvious inability of the ALP to significantly embarrass the government over AWB's massive bribery of a dictator strongly suggests that the publish payments cause is boring for the public and not supported by business. The few comments on this OLO article (only 2 after 6 hours) is symptomatic of the lack of interest now in the bribery/payments issue.

If Australian companies are to compete with clever international rivals they cannot be hamstrung by yet more bureaucratic accountability.

Note that Howard is in India (on an apparently emergency visit) to sell Australian uranium. Take heed "Publish What You Pay" rapid amoral business dealings are the way of the REAL world.
Posted by plantagenet, Monday, 6 March 2006 4:14:17 PM
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OOps Planet,

Looks like you may just have missed the plot with the AWB scandal and typed a bit too soon.

The Labor parties tactic (an obvious one) was to get as many ministers as possible parroting the same line "we knew nothing" about the kickbacks so that when (see link)

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,18364955-37435,00.html

this came out they may all be accused of allegedly misleading parliament. OOps!

Oh Oh .... Looks like the preverbial is about to hit the fan with this article....

The fact that the world is a corrupt place doesn't mean that we have to be corrupt as well.

As can be seen... weeze been a caught out... and guess what...

Don't walk behind the fan... it's getting yucky!

Johnny is in India selling Uranium and the AWB enquiry is creating a bomb...lol
Posted by Opinionated2, Monday, 6 March 2006 4:46:24 PM
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Oppy 2

The article you quote is LIES all damned LIES, manufactured to frustrate the inherent infallibility of my timely observations.

If I were to tell you that (according to a document provided to the Cole Inquiry) Mr Anderson sold a parcel of AWB shares in October 2006 (before the Volcker report came out) - possibly on the basis of confidential AWB briefings (thus possibly constituting insider trading) would you be a bit surprised? For info see http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200603/s1585253.

Now - to predict the Government's damage control measure note:

- it seems AWB did not get to speak to the actual politicians (who must have been on other crucial business).
- AWB only spoke to staff members
- staff members are traditionally exempted/banned from talking - especially talking to to Inquiries and Commissions.
- unless staffers talk we might never know what they said to Anderson etc ie we won't know how much the pollies know.
- staff communications to Ministers on important matters are verbal, thus deniable. Written evidence carries more weight.
- Anderson has been in poor health, preoccupied, and now not a Minister. If he were to resign his MP posi this is no great victory for Labor.

and

- Howard is on crucial statesmanlike business that is involving most of his time. He is not around to face the music and heís already said that todayís evidence is nothing new (truth be that Howard is frantically communicating with all players involved to devise a better story).

It'll con em all. Thatís showbiz.

Thatís my story and Iím (temporarily) sticking to it.

Planta
Posted by plantagenet, Monday, 6 March 2006 6:01:22 PM
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As a farmer, I support the "publish what you pay" style of transparency and farmers have wanted AWB to provide more transparency for years.
We need a summary of the pool costs and the pool price at the completion of that pool as it is extremely difficult for farmers to work it out, or near impossible if you have different grades etc as the final pool payment is a bulk amount.
Even though the inquiry has been going for some time, it has not centred on what farmers have paid extra over these deals. The deal was supposedly revenue neutral for AWB (eg. ramp up price to UN by 10% and pay this as "inland transport" to Iraq) but not so for farmers.
It seems obvious that farmers have paid higher costs (interests etc) but the more complicated questions are not being answered. For example, have farmers paid a 20% bonus on the entire Iraq ramp-up scheme to AWBL because the "bonus incentive scheme" was based on a calculation done after the rampup but before the payment?
AWB are not keen on giving answers but surely we have a right to know?
Posted by NonGMFarmer, Monday, 6 March 2006 6:01:30 PM
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Come on its just another lie, do you really expect Howard to let the real truth out?
That in an effort to beat America in selling wheat to Iraq we knew bribes had to be paid?
That Australia valued trade more than honesty?
Well America always has always will, Howard is safe yet again Australia does not care about lies.
We do however care ,me too about our wheat farmers pitty however this goverment lies to harm our workers not defend them.
Posted by Belly, Monday, 6 March 2006 6:03:50 PM
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