In the wake of the PwC Robodebt scandal, the Senate has voted for an inquiry into the four most powerful firms in the world – PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and EY. What’s the scam?
The scam is the Big4 have been revelling in double-digit revenue growth thanks to the gutting of the public service yet there are egregious conflicts of interest between their government consulting, multinational tax avoidance and audit divisions. The Big4 have managed to fashion themselves as both the gatekeepers and the poachers of global commerce.
Source: Finally an inquiry into the Big4 – Greens bring it, Labor supports it – Michael West
A senior public servant told a Social Services official to tone down language indicating the robodebt welfare management scheme wouldn’t be lawful before it was introduced.
Andrew Whitecross, from the Social Services department, told the royal commission investigating the scheme it “couldn’t be clearer” calculating welfare debts based on an average income would require laws to be changed in 2015.
The scheme, which went from 2015 until 2020, wrongly recovered more than $750 million from 381,000 people, with a number of victims committing suicide while being pursued for false debts.
Mr Whitecross strongly advised against using income averaging in 2015 and said he was surprised to learn the scheme was implemented the following year.
He told the commission he’d had a meeting with Social Services’ Cath Halbert and Human Services’ Mark Withnell in 2015 where he outlined income averaging wouldn’t be legal. He said Mr Withnell was frustrated with the feedback because it could mean a promised $1.2 billion saving wasn’t achieved.
Of the saving, Mr Whitecross later added: “It was a sense … this was a number that had come out of a methodology, but the number itself was a goal of the process”.
The commission heard he was told by Ms Halbert that DHS deputy secretary Malisa Golightly “didn’t want us to go in so hard” with feedback income averaging was illegal.
Asked by senior counsel assisting the commission Justin Greggery if he had pushed back, Mr Whitecross said he had but she had continued to ask him to change the language.
Source: Top officials shut down robodebt criticism – Michael West
Whose decision is it and how is it to be made when governments like our LNP was hell-bent on making us a world-class top-10 arms dealer??
The Senate hearing on War Powers reform is scheduled for early December, but reform advocates may be less enthused by the composition of the committee that is handling the inquiry. Zacharias Szumer has talked to many of those involved.
Source: They represent us in parliament, but MPs say declaring war is above their pay grade – Michael West
As our recent investigation detailed, law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol testified to Congress that they believed the mob of Trump extremists was far more heavily armed with guns than is definitively known. Internal communications from January 6 among US Park Police and other agencies that have since been made public support that view. The lack of certainty, the officers told lawmakers, was a result of their limited capacity to make arrests that day amid the sheer number of people, compounded by fears that taking more aggressive action could set off perilous violence. A document obtained recently by a government transparency watchdog, Property of the People, contains indications that the FBI had specific intelligence, prior to January 6, about armed people headed for the nation’s capital. According to emails circulated among FBI agents in the bureau’s Seattle field office on January 5, intelligence analysts with the Washington State Fusion Center had specifically noted social media comments suggesting that some residents of the state were “planning to travel armed to Washington D.C. for tomorrow’s protests there.”
Source: Evidence of Armed Trump Extremists Continues to Emerge in January 6 Cases – Mother Jones
The government’s inquiry into whether the ABC and SBS are competing fairly with the private sector’s media operators has given a tick to the public broadcasters.
The report concluded: “Given their market shares, and other factors, this inquiry considers the National Broadcasters are not causing significant competitive distortions beyond the public interest”. But it did see the need for greater transparency from them.
The review arose from a 2017 deal between the government and Pauline Hanson to get One Nation support for media law changes which liberalised ownership rules. It has been chaired by Robert Kerr, formerly from the Productivity Commission. The report was released by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield on Wednesday.
The outcome will be disappointing to News Corp in particular which has been highly critical of the ABC’s expansion in online publishing. The former Fairfax organisation, now taken over by Nine, also complained about the competition eating into the market of commercial media groups.
via ABC and SBS are not distorting media market, government inquiry finds