Big Business Hypocrisy Hard to Swallow
Who the hell is governing Australia? It’s not the elected prime minister, who instead of spending precious time on all things COVID has been squandering it in parliament gazing lovingly at Barnaby Joyce as he enlightens cabinet on his plan to “do good for the planet” by channelling The Fat Controller and building an inland rail line from Melbourne to Brisbane.
While COVID runs rampant in NSW and Morrison dreams of a family holiday riding freight trains between the two capital cities, who is at the helm? If one is to believe the Australian Financial Review and Murdoch press, one could easily assume that it is big business taking up the PM’s slack and setting the course for our nation; unelected pariahs who, in a full-page newspaper advertisement, have demanded that the federal government stick to the COVID National Plan… or else!
In the advertisement, published in September, the CEOs of eighty large companies threaten the government in a so-called “open letter from the business community”, referring to Australia’s “juggling… mental health emergency” and demanding the government “give people something to hope for… look forward to… plan around”. Unlike small-to-medium business that has greatly suffered during lockdown, big business has gone from strength to strength, perversely benefiting from COVID with massive stock market gains (and Jobkeeper rorting), yet they keep whinging like spoilt brats about the looming financial armageddon that will consume us all if we don’t give in to their whims.
Big business has never cared about “people” nor “mental health”, unless giving “people something to look forward to” is interpreted as maxing out the credit card at a Stockland owned mall or racking up a huge mortgage on a Mirvac home. Westpac, NAB and Commonwealth Bank have given zero consideration to their customers’ mental health, actively pushing back against the findings of the Banking Royal Commission by eschewing regulations that would have benefited the “people” they pretend to care about.
BUPA’s aged care facilities have frequently failed mandated standards, despite receiving half a billion bucks a year in government funding – they really know how to give “people something to look forward to” in old age – scabies, neglect and malnutrition.
And COVID must be a real bummer for a struggling Telstra, no longer able to utilise the cheap labour of overseas call centres. Their CEO can take heart in giving Telstra workers “something to plan around” by announcing 1,400 job cuts, thereby adding to Australia’s “mental health emergency” (let us not forget the 8,000 job cuts in 2018 and the disconnection of my 91-year-old friend’s phone line during lockdown).
In reply to the eighty CEOs (an open letter from Pearlie B) – the world doesn’t revolve around your million-dollar bonuses; cut the hypocrisy and the fake concern, stop acting like toddlers and learn some bloody resilience. What do you intend doing if the agreed roadmap out of COVID is not followed? Storm the parliament, in a coup d’état? I’m sure Clive Palmer would be a willing caretaker prime minister. Pearl xx