If PM did not call for the sacking of ASIC bosses  but wants Christine Holgate be sacked, he has revealed himself as a very small person, writes Terry McCrann.
If PM did not call for the sacking of ASIC bosses but wants Christine Holgate be sacked, he has revealed himself as a very small person, writes Terry McCrann.

'PM's outrage over Aus Post chief proves selective'

OPINION

Why is Scott Morrison such an outrageous misogynist?

If Tony Abbott was the world's greatest misogynist for merely looking at his watch while a woman was speaking - excoriated from one end of the land to the other and will be forever down through time to his grave and indeed beyond it?

Then, what does that make Morrison for abusing a woman and demanding she be sacked from her job for talking about watches? Super-misogynist? Misogynist on steroids?

I of course over-simplify and maybe just a tad distort. But you get my point: where were the 'feminists' who were so outraged by Abbott's 'behaviour' and as far I can judge have been essentially silent about Morrison's completely over-the-top monstering of Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate?

The much more substantive criticism of the prime minister's behaviour is the utterly different approach he's taken to that of two other people 'on the taxpayer purse' who just happen to be men.

I'm not aware that he's called for the sacking of ASIC chairman James Shipton or ASIC deputy chairman Daniel Crennan - that's of course before Crennan got in first and resigned.

Genders aside, as they should be, a comparison of the two situations - Holgate and the ASIC duo and especially its chairman - do not favour the ASIC pair.

Scott Morrison has revealed himself as a very, very, small person. Picture: Gary Ramage
Scott Morrison has revealed himself as a very, very, small person. Picture: Gary Ramage


Which makes the prime ministerial venting on the one and the non-venting on the other all the more outrageous, completely unacceptable and as I've noted utterly stupid to boot, and indeed just quite frankly embarrassing.

He's revealed himself as a very, very small person.

The first big point is that the ASIC duo and again especially its chairman are the guys - non-gender specific - who are supposed to be keeping everyone else doing the right thing.

They've got to be purer than pure; like Caesar's wife, they are supposed to be above suspicion. They've got to be absolutely meticulous in their dealing with the taxpayer's coin. They've clearly failed in comparison.

The key point of difference is that Holgate was paying a benefit to others not to herself; both Shipton and Crennan were claiming - in the PM's outraged lexicon, taxpayer - money for themselves.

That points to another big difference - the sums. The PM went ballistic over watches that cost - as he thought at the time - a total $12,000 but as it turned out was actually $20,000.

Shipton claimed 'tax advice expenses' adding to $118,000 plus a further $78,000 had to be paid by ASIC in fringe benefits tax on his behalf; Crennan claimed $69,000 in rent support.

Critically, Holgate was answerable to a board of directors. She says the chairman and board approved some payment to the four executives in recognition of the $66m they got for AusPost - and the taxpayer; she chose watches.

Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate was answerable to a board of directors. Picture: Gary Ramage
Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate was answerable to a board of directors. Picture: Gary Ramage

In the case of Shipton, he is the chairman - there is no comparative board which sits above and takes responsibility for the functioning regulators. He effectively paid himself or rather the invoice submitted by the tax advisers.

In his case tax advice had been approved as a condition of his appointment but only to a sum of $8000. The bill paid was nearly 15 times that.

The auditor-general expressed concern more than a year ago. To whom? Why, the chairman. And who is the chairman? Shipton.

He sat on it for over a year. He did not tell his fellow commissioners. The other deputy chairman Karen Chester has said the other commissioners only found out about it last month, when they had to deal with ASIC's 2020 accounts.

Yet have we heard the PM leap to declaring that Shipton cannot return; as he did with Holgate?

Let me spell it out.

There is no way, on any planet in this universe, that Shipton can come back to lecturing company boards and managements about proper corporate behaviour.

Perhaps the PM knows of another universe where that might be possible.

Equally, if his inquiry shows that Holgate did nothing wrong - not, unwise, but wrong - she must come back.

But either way the AusPost chairman Lucio Di Bartolomeo cannot remain chairman.

Deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Guy Debelle. Picture: AAP
Deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Guy Debelle. Picture: AAP

INFLATION MIRRORS GROWTH BOUNCE

There are two points of interest about the latest inflation figures, over and above the big point that the 1.6 per cent rise in the September quarter - an annualised rate of 6.5 per cent - does not signify we are in the middle of raging inflation.

Inflation went negative in the June quarter, with prices falling 1.9 per cent. This number was the bounceback. Put the two together, and overall inflation in the September quarter was slightly negative compared to the pre-virus pre-lockdown world at the start of the year.

This mirrors what happened to growth. GDP plunged a thumping 7 per cent in the June quarter, but will be - as deputy RBA governor Guy Debelle said on Tuesday - slightly positive in the September quarter after its own bounceback. We'll see the number in early December.

There is though a big difference. Inflation came almost all the way back - growth did not. GDP fell 7 per cent; we'll be lucky if it's come back 2 per cent.

To repeat what I wrote yesterday. Debelle did not say we came out of the recession - despite the claims of the almost universal headlines.

He didn't say it because it would have been completely untrue.

We - the whole of Australia - were still in recession in September and we still are today. Thanks Chairman Dan.

terry.mccrann@news.com.au

Originally published as Prime Minister's outrage over Aus Post chief proves selective


Young rapist in Kingaroy court after breaching sentence

Premium Content Young rapist in Kingaroy court after breaching sentence

A YOUNG man was back before court after breaching his suspended prison sentence for...

Firefighters on scene at super ‘smoky’ Boondooma grass fire

Premium Content Firefighters on scene at super ‘smoky’ Boondooma grass fire

QFES firefighters are responding to a particularly ‘smoky’ grass fire, which...

WINNER: South Burnett’s best childcare educator revealed

Premium Content WINNER: South Burnett’s best childcare educator revealed

RESIDENTS from across the South Burnett have cast their votes in the final poll...