Independent Australia: The PwC disaster — Neoliberalism on steroids

Michelle Pini writes: The idea that endless privatisation and unfettered corporate greed will somehow leave us all better off no longer appears to be swallowed by the vast majority of Australians. Certainly, public confidence in our political leaders as well as in our institutions has been severely eroded in recent years.

This week, the Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) scandal – in which nine (as yet unidentified) partners of the consultancy firm enlisted to help the Coalition Government design tax laws, leaked confidential Treasury information to benefit PwC's private clients – has left Australians outraged.

And Australians watched, mouths agape, as the PwC tax scandal finally exploded, resulting the nine directors being "stood down" and our government institutions – to which the firm still consults – were left exposed. Of course, since PwC is a private company, no information has been shared with the public as to who these directors may be, what is meant by "stood down" or what redundancies they may take with them if their directorships are ever severed — never mind disciplinary action.

And it's not only PwC that contributes to this "shadow public service" concept so favoured by the former Coalition Government. An audit (not conducted by PwC, thankfully) has shown close to $21 billion was spent by the Morrison Government on external labour hires in the public service in 2021-22, alone.

The Coalition Government actively depleted the public service, maintaining a cap on government employees and relying more and more on external companies to "plug the gaps" as Federal Minister for Public Service Senator Katy Gallagher put it.

Today, interest rate trigger-happy RBA Governor Philip Lowe condemned PwC's conduct, before stating the firm will nevertheless continue to audit the Reserve Bank. Of course!

Read more here.