Vote in MB’s 2016 Most Sackable list

Introducing a new year end segment at MB in which we have listed our most inept individual and collective aylites for you to vote on to “fire”, Donald Trump style, for this year’s under-performance. It’s pretty simple. We’ve listed our chosen many. You choose your top five. Then we’ll publish the list in priority order next week.

Candidates in no particular order for the 2016 Most Sackable list include:

  • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull deserves the shaft for doing nothing to run the country while betraying his every policy principle, calling a double-dissolution election on the flimsiest of excuses, barely not losing it only thanks to resurgent minor parties taking Labor seats in SA, and populating the senate with more nutters than it had before, thanks to his own legislation to prevent just that. An eminently sackable year if there ever was one.
  • Sticking with government, Treasurer Scott Morrison should fall on his sword for a complete failure to generate a sustained, credible and constructive economic narrative for the country. His constant lies about negative gearing, relentless pursuit of brain fart corporate tax cuts, abdication of reform, Budget of Lies and general emptiness have left the nation bereft of economic oxygen and hope. He should return the favour by boning himself and going back to realty.
  • Shifting parties, the Australian Greens need a full season in the lower grades of the VFL for zigging towards mainstream policies just when the polity zagged towards the fringes. The party’s absolutist intolerance of intolerance displayed at every juncture served mightily to polarise vital debates around social justice issues, population and the environment and played a key role in elevating One Nation to a position of national standing it could not have hoped for itself as it mulled a comeback. Get you gone, Greens, to some poncing cafe.
  • Likewise, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen gets a nasty brown gong for his spectacularly mistimed endorsement of open-borders immigration on the eve of the US election. For failing to read a rampaging de-globalisation trend that was bearing down on him like a runaway train we say to Chris Bowen “wake up” and go find another job where not looking after the interests of Australians is a pre-requisite.
  • Within the executive, one man stands out for 2016 opprobrium. Captain Glenn Stevens deserves to have some vital control cord cut on his career Cessna for blowing the Dumb Bubble then flying off into the sunset leaving poor Phil Lowe to carry the can. Having done great work post-GFC to devereage Australia, the good Captain threw it all away on a desperate gambit for one last round of housing inflation when his precious fifty year mining boom collapsed unexpectedly in four. Although much of this damage was done pre-2016, Captain Glenn’s abandonment of the sinking ship this year definitely requires him to be rehired and unceremoniously booted from office (or, in RBA terms, promoted to some far flung nation where plastic bank note bribes are unheard of).
  • Another political individual for whom we struggle to find sufficiently pejorative language in 2016 is Andrew Robb. Some would say he deserves the guillotine for the most singularly egregious violation of ministerial standards of the year. Just five months after leaving as trade minister he took a job with China’s Landbridge Group, the shadowy Chinese corporation now running Darwin Port amid objections by both our spooks and the US. In doing so, Robb took with him fresh insider knowledge and “five eyes” intelligence (including from the US) that could be used to bolster the push for a Chinese trading bloc in the region, against US interests. His rehiring and firing for crimes against the national interest might literally require the use of matches.
  • While on the subject of national interest, we can’t go past the Yuhu clique. Yes, we would see everyone involved with China’s Yuhu Group in Australia fired. That includes Sam Dastayari, Bob Carr, super-uber China bull James Laurenceson and the chairman itself Mr Xiangmo Huang, for being a part, deliberately or otherwise, of the Beijing soft power push to undermine Australian democracy and ANZUS. You’re all sacked and should consider yourselves fortunate that exile is no longer common legal practice.
  • From one great policy corrupter of the past to one of the future. Grant King, former CEO of Origin Energy and head of the Business Council turned a $25bn company into an $8bn one this year. He is also a card carrying member of the east coast gas cartel that is gouging everyone to subsidise its LNG export losses. Not only did King not have the good graces to disappear to some distant Swiss retreat for a decade or so after finally resigning, he instead took the policy reins at the Business Council of Australia. You’re fired seventeen billion times over, Grant.
  • Speaking of the BCA, it certainly knows illustrious failure when it sees it and, for that matter, the entire lobby deserves to be sacked as it flops around around wondering how best to next distort Australian policy in favour of Davos Men. Its championing of the Coalition brain fart corporate tax cut policy was especially egregious and warrants an extended red card.
  • A special sacking has to go Davos Man more generally this year as well. His total failure to foresee, interpret, prepare for, address or engage with the angst of the working and middle classes of developed economies has resulted in a worldwide de-globalisation revolution on a par with 1989 that now threatens the very underpinnings of his existence. To Davos Man in 2016 we simply say, appropriately enough, f#%k off!
  • Sticking with an international theme, the greatest policy error for 2016 has to see China’s NDRC get a particular communist boot into the long grass. It’s tragic coal policy reform managed to virtually overnight double the price of thermal coal and iron ore, quadruple the price of coking coal and deliver that nation an inflation and terms of trade shock that will haunt it throughout 2017. Moreover, it reversed the same policy months later! In our best Mandarin we say Nǐ jiěgù!
  • Then there are the suffering shareholders. For them we can’t go past John McGrath and his IPO flop of the year. Losing new shareholders -58% in under a year, issuing a profit warning, shedding staff like bouncing lice, misreading the property market while creaming it yourself is just what we might have expected from a real estate agent. For failing to break the stereotype, John McGrath, you get the twenty-one bum salute.
  • An associated sacking has to go to the pathological realty fluffers at Fairfax media. Flufferfax, as it become known, embarked upon such a bowel-shaking fear campaign about rising house prices in 2016 that it played some material role in paralysing the property market as transaction volumes tanked, tearing asunder the revenues upon which the firm now squarely rests. For betraying the public interest, its own shareholders, and common decency, we send Domainfax straight past the dole queue and into the knackers.
  • Special terminations must also go to two Domainfax writers in particular. The first is to one that has actually had a pretty good year but succeeded in destroying 364 good days with the worst article of 2016. Peter Martin’s effusive praise for the Coalition negative gearing reform shocker, that proposed mandated house price rises in perpetuity, deserves a visit to CES all on its own. Martin also penned a spurious piece advocating open borders and a “Big Australia”, which shouldn’t be ignored. Second, former rising star Jessica Irvine has got to go for her unquestioning support for a property price inflation immigration system that she purports to resist. Your fired, Jessica, for inter-generational apostasy!
  • Speaking of rent-seeking journalists, first out the door has to be Robert Gottliebsen for services rendered to whichever interest he spoke with last on the phone. His Highrise Harry ventriloquism reached new highs this year and his perverse wrecking of every public policy good knew no equal. For sheer ethical irradiation, Gotti gets kicked into some kind of deep lead-lined bunker where he is canned for good.
  • Finally, to show that we are nothing if not fair and balanced, we offer up our own scalp. H&H’s discussion that Fortescue Metals Group was worth shorting at $4 mid-year has so far proven a real stinker, even if he did also suggest that a one year time frame was prudent.

Choose your top five below.

Fill out my online form.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. Well geez, shit, you really ask the hard ask to pick only 5 😉

    I picked 3: Turnbull/Morrison/Greens, but all the rest are equally bad except Chris Bowen who atleast could do a good job of economic reform, and is also qualified with a Bachelor of Economics. Atleast his immigration ponzi could be killed off by voting Pauline Hanson One Nation into the senate.

    I would have picked Abbot/Hockey for the other two choices.

    • No. I’d put him and Morrison at the very top of my list. 9 years without a prosecutor. Laws cannot be optional for foreign kleptocrats with a few bob, even bad ones. A few princelings in gaol may have saved an entire generation of young hone owners who have been thrown to the wolves. Our legal system is rightly seen as a joke because of a string of ratbag treasurers. Total silence from Bowen.

    • Nah, Martin’s never come across a communist policy he doesn’t like. Speaks some sense otherwise.

    • Probably had to put a candidate from each of the bigger parties otherwise would have been accused of bias. Could have put Wong maybe for being down with selling the country’s family jewels.

  2. ceteris paribus

    Well done. I would have liked options for the Liberal loon pond rightists, the Australian and AFR editorial for termination, but you can’t have everything for Christmas.

    • Excellent point. Abbott would be top of my list, followed closely by Bernardi. I cringe at the sight of both of them.

      Otherwise, great initiative this survey!

  3. Royale With Cheese

    Colin Barnett would have attracted my vote if he was on the list, running the state by budgeting that the good times would never end. Rod Marsh an honourable mention, would have surely been on the list if he hadn’t resigned a few weeks ago.

  4. The Traveling Wilbur

    You forgot to include George Brandis.
    And Nick Kyrgios.
    “You’re fired!”

    (and Xo)

  5. I believe that Glenn Stevens in his role of copying all the mistakes of the Japanese gradual lowering of interest rates has done the most to destroy the lives of individuals in Australia.
    Cutting incomes of the retired who depend on what was once the safety of bank deposits…incomes cut by as much as 60%.
    By the same cutting of interest rates, he has lured some young people into borrowing huge amounts of money which will destroy their futures when interest rates are normalised.
    With the same act he has decided to richly reward the elite by allowing real estate to double in price during a relatively short period of time, and encouraged the federal government to buy votes with their deficit spending.

    • You too may have just ticked one box then, like me….
      Many of the other candidates on The List would not be there at all had Glenn Stevens had done his job properly; independently ( of all sources of coercion, local and foreign) and with courage and compassion for his fellow citizens.

    • I recall the time around the GFC that GS was being lauded for ‘saving’ Australia from recession … one of the ‘best’ Central Bankers around. The media swallowed this line and regurgitated it uncritically.

  6. I nominate Hillary Clinton….

    Hang on…. 1400+ counties voted against Hillary, and only 57 for…… I guess I’m late to the party. The electoral college fired Trump’s opponent by a landslide.

    You’d have to be a real loser to think Trump is Hitler/Fascist/whatever.

    Yes, you are that loser.

    Welcome to 2017.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Yes I had high hopes for our Penny, but that speechs content was a pro Coporate defence of Neoliberalism.
      That made her sound just like another careerist apparichik of Global Plutocracy.

      • Of all those on your side PW has the most fire power, to me, she just needs to be better able to focus it.
        Some more life experience would assist, but when she fires up, she can deliver, probably the best in parliament for that.

  7. Have picked Turnbott, Morrison,Stevens, Robb and Gotti. Disappointed not to see Colin Barnett on the list

      • I thought she might have been forced by the editor to write pro immigration articles.

        But given that she appeared on The Drum after writing the ridiculous articles, I think she chose to write the anti poor articles herself.

  8. Many contenders with nothing between them. Andrew Robb for selling out Australia through Chafta, and then resigning to join a company which will benefit from selling off Australian assets to the Chinese, but then the weak Anti Labour Party, led by Wong, who should have stopped it dead in its tracks, rolled over. Within a month or so, Chinese workers were out here installing parking meters. Since I can’t decide who’s worse, I choose Parliament.

  9. Where is Brandis, Xenephon (housing into super) ?

    Jessica Irvine…..that felt good.

    Greens…….I voted for them for a looooooong time as a balance of power, promotion of democratic principles via negotiated outcomes replacing the Democrats – but now I only vote independent in that regard.

    Turnbull – I never expected anything more. I understand there are plenty of Liberal voters around who are disillusioned – but like myself, there are lots who always understood what a pusillanimous sycophant he always was.

    Morrison is a disgrace.

  10. boomengineeringMEMBER

    I’m guilty of thinking MT was going to be OK but should have known he was just another puppet for the usuryists his only goal to be prime minister of any denomination

    • Jake, Judith Sloane is a rare breed- anti-immigration and standing up against all the shit she gets because of it. We need her.

  11. The mainstream media.
    Fortunately, it seems that they’ve destroyed what little credibility they ever had with their Trump and Brexit hysteria. However, it will be interesting to see, who fills the credibility gap that they’ve left behind.

    • adelaide_economistMEMBER

      I think it depends how successful their attempt at the ‘fake news’ meme is and how much traction it gets. It’s obviously a prelude to even stronger laws around censorship and an overt signal to companies like Twitter and Facebook to ban ‘fake news’ – and we all know ‘fake news’ is whatever narrative they don’t want told.

      That said, even with growing control of independent media, I don’t think people’s relationship to mainstream media will ever be what it used to be. I suspect the typical Westerner’s relationship with mainstream media is very close to that of a typical Russian and how they related to Pravda back in the day. We might not have much choice, we might read it, but we definitely know it’s probably anything but truth.

      • The US election was amazing, like a floodlight suddenly illuminating the people holding the strings of the MSM puppets. We always knew they were there in the shadows but wow. I agree, the relationship is forever severed.

  12. I picked Robb, ScoMo, Gotti, BCA… and H&H. Sorry H&H, while I love your work, I have to ping you for the FMG shocker. In some ways, the fact that you’ve been better than other pundits in that you’ve actually made a clear, testable prediction is your undoing (so far). But, as you say, it’s not over yet – let’s hope you’re proven right.

    Meanwhile I dunno that you can really blame John McGrath – he cashed out at the top!

    • Meanwhile I dunno that you can really blame John McGrath – he cashed out at the top!

      Was gonna say the same thing. Only thing more that would make him a true evil genius is if it was all in a Cayman Island account.

  13. Ditto. Politicians and pundits are almost expected to lie and steal. Captain Glenn is the economic equivalent of George Pell.

  14. Two standouts. Capt Glenn: no-one in living memory has inflicted such damage on our culture by penalising the prudent and savers in favour of gamblers.
    Secondly Robb for treasonously selling out our people to a foreign power. So far reaching are the consequences of his actions that he should face execution. It should be slow and lingering and played on prime time television as a warning to other traitors such as China Bob and his cohorts that consequences will flow from their activities.

  15. What a bounty of choices!

    All are worthy contenders for their restless efforts to #MALA

    Make Australia Lose Again

    Make Australians Losers Again

    Make Australia Loser-ville Again

    But like Janet my votes go for the grand farce that is the ‘independent’ model of monetary management.

    RBA and APRA

    Give them some radical surgery after a fast and very public Royal Commission

  16. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    The whole thing kinda feels a bit like R2Ms old AGW denier Murder list.

    Others called it an honor roll.

    • who was it had the deplorables list?
      Terror Aust, I think.
      he will be wiping his arse with the cover of the time magazins

  17. Gonna have to give it to the Greens this year, they really went ‘full retard’, never go full retard!

  18. rob barrattMEMBER

    No No NO
    Much easier to have a list of the ones you would NOT fire:
    See my list below….

    • Pauline Hanson seems to have risen from the ashes and into an aussie values/aussie battler vacuum.
      I”d fire her any day of the week, yet she seems to be crowdfunded right now

  19. As usual, Scunt never fails to deliver when it comes to ineptitude. Although if Brandis was on the list he’d be the country’s top choice for most sackable moron

  20. I’d give China’s NDRC a gold medal.

    Final warning: Turnbull, toughen up if you wanna be the Strongman, drop the lefty crap, kill the climate agenda, hand will be forced re corporate tax cuts (via US, UK) and they will need to be more substantial – you can wear it as a win, stop umming and ahhing and being so tentative, stop trying to please the media, Trump up your Twitter.

    You’re fired: The Greens. Good riddance.

    • HNH don’t worry too much over your FMG call – there’s been some really decent coin made in resources – as pundits wrote the sector offer those a little closer to the action quietly played a few trades with excellent results – maybe just a Perth thing but definitely eschewed conventional groupthink.

  21. peterbruceMEMBER

    HnH, absolutely number one, top of the list.
    Just because it feels perversely kinda good to say it!

  22. ScoMo has to get top billing. Totally out of his depth. Also a downright nasty asshole.

    I actually think these pricks want a recession. Turd and Scomo knew full well mining investment was going to take 6% of GDP away over their watch. They could have planned for a steady stream of infrastructure investment to make a smooth glide lower.

    Its the way the elites work. Expand money supply to create the boom then contract it at a later time buy up all the assets for pennies then print to expand money supply again.

    You watch Goldman come in with a Bad Bank – Asset TARP style scheme. No doubt Lloyd Blankenfien at the Squid is jacking off in his office now at the thought of it all, with a picture of Malcolm in his other hand.

      • No doubt that Squid bloke has Penetrated Malcolm at one of those ‘eyes wide shut’ parties the Masons do. Thats how they control eachother and decide who is the giver and receiver. MT maybe PM but the squid would be a few notches higher in chain of command.

  23. Comprehensive list – and would like to see a positive alternate post on those peeps who went above and beyond this year of which there were many – yet you rarely hear about them in the MSM

    There are several other notable mentions –
    including in no particular order

    Ardent Leisure’s Board/CEO for the handling of safety at Dreamworld
    FIRB/ATO etc where is the foreign investor property database at?
    the census
    BHP execs for killing social license to operate in Brazil

    and on the extremely WTF list?

    South Korea’s Han Nara Party now called the Saenuri Party for allowing a cult/sharman controlled ex dictator’s daughter to run the world’s 11th largest economy as if it were her own start-up

    The European Commission/IMF who finally succeeded in social upheaval – cite the BREXIT vote

    the Australian Government wins hands down for complete lack of understanding of geopolitical and economic management and for stacking power positions full of IPA views and conflicted trash eating parasites. What a palaver.

    and a special achievement award goes to the CLP in the NT for turning themselves into a micro party opposition in 2016.

    • That ordeal in South Korea is full on. Didn’t get enough attention in the English speaking press.

      • Agreed that the Korean case study is an outlier in a sample of outliers.
        The stories around the President’s conduct vis-a-vis the sinking of the Sewol are extremely troubling.

  24. Disappointed not to have Wayne Byres on the list. Maybe he and Greg Medcraft could have a double billing together (“fire the regulators”) on the list if space is tight?

    I would have suggested Tim Wilson too, but then I saw Mining Bogan’s news that there’s a most punchable list coming. Definitely one to save for that poll.

  25. Didn’t even do the trade but i still voted for H&H out of a 2016 populist, fuck the establishment vote (MB being the establishment here)

  26. Great list and great concept. I picked based on who did the most work in support of the International Neoliberal Consensus (INC), aka neofeudalism: the replacement of labor share of income with economic rents.

  27. Xenoponzi and Kelly O’Liar should be on the list. Breaks my heart that Jessica Irvine sold her soul.