$175bn Pyne takes more dough

Via the ABC:

Christopher Pyne’s new job has put his old boss, Scott Morrison, under pressure to reprimand him amid accusations it is a breach of ministerial standards.

Mr Pyne, who was defence minister until the election, yesterday revealed he has taken a job as a defence consultant with multinational business advisers EY.

“I am looking forward to providing strategic advice to EY, as the firm looks to expand its footprint in the defence industry,” Mr Pyne said in a statement.

But Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick has called on the Prime Minister to reprimand Mr Pyne for taking the position, which he argues breaches the Statement of Ministerial Standards.

It states that for 18 months after they leave office, former ministers “will not lobby, advocate or have business meetings with members of the Government … on any matters on which they have had official dealings as minister”.

It also says ministers cannot “take personal advantage of information to which they have had access as a minister, where that information is not generally available to the public”.

“I think what he’s done does breach the code and I think this becomes a test for the Prime Minister,” Senator Patrick told AM.

“It becomes a test for his conviction towards his own statement of ministerial standards.

Senator Patrick said Mr Morrison should urgently call Mr Pyne.

“And if he gets nowhere he should direct Defence and other government agencies to cease awarding any contracts to EY until the 18-month time period specified in his ministerial standards has expired,” Senator Patrick said.

He added there was “no question” EY took on Mr Pyne because of his insider knowledge.

“This will raise probity issues with other companies rightfully concerned with the advantage EY now has,” Senator Patrick said.

“I’m of the view Mr Pyne would not pass on any sensitive information, but he can’t unknow what he knows when he’s forming up advice to give EY.”

Professor John Wanna of Australia National University told AM large business consultancies were targeting government defence spending as a source of revenue growth.

“Defence is the largest Commonwealth procurement program and so this is where there is ample amounts of money, it is multi-year money,” he said.

But he added the Statement of Ministerial Standards was difficult to enforce properly.

“Though the wording is that they can’t lobby and they can’t divulge information, nothing stops them from working with others, in this case Ernst and Young, to advise them on what they should be saying when they go and lobby.”

The ABC contacted Mr Morrison’s office to ask if he thought Mr Pyne had breached ministerial standards.

A spokesman said the rules were clear around what ministers could do when they retire and referred the ABC to Mr Pyne’s statement.

The history of this is equally appalling. Recall from defense expert Brian Toohey three years ago:

…everything is wrong about the Turnbull government’s decision to build 12 extremely large submarines in Adelaide.

…The government’s refusal to go with an off-the-shelf design will cost more billions, because the first of new submarines won’t be operational until after 2030 and the last until almost 2060.

This means the decrepit Collins class submarines will have to be kept going for more than 20 years beyond their planned 2025 retirement date – necessitating new capital spending and very high maintenance and operating costs that will soon pass $1 billion a year.

Bizarrely, the Turnbull government has decided that the Adelaide shipyard, which built the six Collins submarines, will now build 12 much bigger submarines and nine frigates that will be far larger than the existing Anzac class, which has served the nation well.

The new frigates will be even bigger than the three air warfare destroyers that the shipyard is building now. These are late and over budget, yet the government trusts this shipyard to build submarines costing $50 billion and frigates about $35 billion.

Where were Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann when this decision was taken? The government’s estimates of the added costs of local construction shows it will take more than $20 billion more simply to try to win a couple of Coalition seats in Adelaide.

$20bn extra for Chris Pyne’s seat? Phewy. Try $175bn, at the AFR today:

The Turnbull government’s hopes of getting Senate backing for a fresh wave of company tax cuts continue to sink, with a key crossbencher warning they are becoming unaffordable because of the ballooning cost to build and operate 12 new submarines.

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick – one of the key swing votes the government is wooing – told The Australian Financial Review it was “impossible” for him to agree to the plan to slash the corporate tax rate for businesses with a turnover of more than $50 million a year while the final price tag for the submarines remained unknown.

Seizing on official figures obtained through the Senate committee process as well as independent analysis, Senator Patrick, a former submariner, said the cost of building and sustaining the 12 French-designed submarines may ultimately reach $200 billion over their life.

In any other country, this is called corruption.

Comments

  1. Do the standards have any real bite or reach?

    Any breach should call for corruption investigations by Federal Police and suspension of pension payments.

    • Corruption indeed. What favours did Pyne do for EY while he was still the minister?

      According to the Government tenders site [1] he sent almost $100 Million EYs way while he was minister.

      [1]https://www.tenders.gov.au/Search/CnAdvancedSearch?Type=Cn&AgencyStatus=2&AgencyUuid=0ec98ef9-e020-5da9-dcb1-0135be81bd2b&Keyword=&KeywordTypeSearch=AllWord&CnId=&DateStart=07%2F19%2F2016+00%3A00%3A00&DateEnd=05%2F26%2F2019+00%3A00%3A00&DateType=Publish+Date&ValueFrom=&ValueTo=&SupplierName=ERNST+%26+YOUNG&SupplierAbn=&AtmId=&AgencyRefId=&Category=&Consultancy=&SearchFrom=AdvancedSearch&submitSort=Go&OrderBy=Publish+Date

  2. Seems to me this is a pretty clear breach of the standards.

    I now expect ScoMo and co. to try and use Jedi mind tricks on the populace, but I hope I’m wrong 😟…

      • Its very good. Its what the inner circle mean when they say ‘the land of opportunity’.

    • StephenMEMBER

      He’ll probably decide that breaches of ministerial standards is just “Canberra bubble” stuff so he doesn’t need to answer any questions about it. Move along, move along, nothing to see here. Don’t you worry about that!

  3. We need nuclear subs not second rate diesel electric. Diesel subs are half as fast as well.

    • nexus789MEMBER

      Manned subs (nuclear or diesel) could soon be irrelevant as unmanned submarine technology driven by increasingly sophisticated information capabilities evolves. Unmanned sub killers could lay in wait for manned subs. Surface ships are already legacy in the face of the increasing range and type of hyper and supersonic missiles. We are building assets to fight the last war rather than adapting to a range of new technologies.

      • LabrynthMEMBER

        Yep, just as they trained soldiers in WWI for large sweeping Calvary formations, who coulda know trenches were going to be the way to go.

  4. I used to like the poodle but in the end it just goes to show how the present day politicians really care about the country….the are no more Bob Hawke’s left.

  5. In Singapore treason is punishable by death. Do Pyne’s actions qualify as treason?

    • No, it qualifies as normal for Australian politicians. Most of them want to do the same.

      Pyne has PR advice to sit it out and it will all blow over. He knows that he can’t be touched. He has already told the LNP HQ with our a shadow of a doubt.

      The poodle and all the toy dogs running through the revolving door need to be put down. Our politicians do not fear the people – clearly. That has to change.

    • DominicMEMBER

      It’s called ‘nest feathering’ here. Perfectly acceptable for pollies — it’s a perk of the job.

  6. John Howards Bowling Coach

    Probably the only way anyone could give Pyne a job, he is only a politician, nothing else and of no value to humanity. Either a lobbyist or a consultant, the only other areas where you can get paid well to add no value using your political connections. A passenger on the train of life, nothing more.

  7. While the fake left “saves money” by not spending $100 billion on high speed rail, the right wing pricks blow $175 billion on 12 diesel submarines and a few warships.

    • nexus789MEMBER

      All of which are legacy assets in the face of new technologies and don’t forget the Joint Strike Fighter

    • …and we can’t even build the warships properly anymore. The Navy rejected the first new ship as the keel was crooked.
      The minister at the time was sacked for saying that the shipyard was so bad he “wouldn’t trust them to build a canoe”.

    • DominicMEMBER

      Let’s hope those subs are a step up on German U-boats. No guarantee given the cvnting farce that is the NBN but let’s reserve judgement.

  8. In any other country, this is called corruption. In Australia it’s called aspiration.

  9. HadronCollision

    National Hero Rex.

    What a ledge

    I like the idea of no EY work until 18 months expires
    18 months but
    Fair dinkum
    How good is 18 months
    How good is that gardening leave
    Then after 18 months how good is corruption

  10. Jumping jack flash

    Winning!

    Smooth transition from politics, to life after politics.
    Check, and mate.

    These pollies certainly have a lot of free time now to contemplate their transitions to their lives after politics while they’re doing nothing, after outsourcing all their responsibilities to the private sector.

    It’s paying off in spades.
    Well done!