Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Wayne Swan wasted on the backbench

An excellent read in the Financial Review this morning on PM Malcolm Turnbull's difficult relationship with big business. Phillip Coorey writes how the government's strained relationship with corporate Australia has come under more duress following some heated exchanges between the Prime Minister and the nation's leading chief executives at a private dinner in Sydney on Monday night.
Multiple sources, all speaking on the condition of anonymity, have told The Australian Financial Review that while there was mutual recognition that both sides needed each other and a genuine desire to be constructive, Malcolm Turnbull upbraided the business leaders for not helping out more with donations and generally not being more vocal in advocating the government's agenda.
This invited complaints from the corporate leaders that much of the government's agenda was not friendly to them. One CEO listed as examples the imposition of the bank tax, the implementation of changes to section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act, or an effects test, an ongoing aversion towards substantial industrial relations reform, and even the decision to phase in company tax cuts over 10 years, putting big business last.
The dinner was attended by board members of the Business Council of Australia – president Grant King, chief executive Jennifer Westacott, Richard Goyder, Ian Narev and Catherine Tanna. Other CEOs and BCA members included the ANZ's Shayne Elliott and BHP's Andrew Mackenzie. The dinner was held in the board room of Sydney law firm King & Wood Mallesons.
The story prompted former Treasurer and now Labor backbencher Wayne Swan to post the following tweet:
That gets to the heart of the matter. Surely Swan will be restored to his party's front bench if and when it regains office.
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