||Issue No. 224||11 June 2004|
The Passion For Power
The Passion for Power
Interview: The New Democrat
Bad Boss: The Ugly Australian
Unions: Free Spirits and Slaves
Industrial: National Focus
History: A Class Act
International: Across the Ditch
Economics: Home Truths
Review: No Time Like Tomorrow
Poetry: Silent Note
The Locker Room
Sick Of This Job
Office Junior’s Secrets
Think Tank Tool
James Hardie shares went south last week as the rest of the market headed north.
The company, whose claim to fame was flogging killer asbestos, lost its way after a report revealed that its liabilities from its asbestos disease and death it has wreaked on the community is actually $1.57 billion, not the $293 million placed in the asbestos fund when it was established in February 2001.
We all know how easy it is to mess up the budget by the odd $1.3 million or so.
So who was running James Hardie in February 2001 when they were struggling with their maths?
None other than our Tool Of The Week Alan McGregor AO, who has gone on to duller and more mendacious things since he signed off on Hardies' piece of fiscal fertiliser.
One can only guess at what AO stands for, as it very probably isn't Adults Only, but no doubt those grappling with mesothelioma will be aware of which part of McGregor's anatomy it refers to.
Our Alan is now a "Distinguished Fellow" at that lovable community friendly think tank, the Centre for Independent Studies, an organisation he has also has the pleasure of being a director of.
Obviously the Centre for Independent Studies thinks that poisoning people and leaving them with a slow, lingering painful death is the distinguished thing to do.
Which should come as no surprise from a bunch of troglodytes who engage in the intellectual equivalent of ripping the wings off flies.
McGregor has some good company: that miserable old prune Hugh Morgan (another complete AO) is also a distinguished fellow.
So what do the good folk at the Centre for Independent Studies get up to when they aren't clubbing cripples or reading Mein Kampf?
They had a good whinge earlier this year about the fact that these newfangled divorce laws mean that the good wifey can no longer be considered a piece of the husband's personal property. They've also been banging on about PNG not handing all its mineral wealth over to white boys who went to the good schools.
These people are as dry as a John Clarke sketch, but with none of the wit. They like the free market, as long as it costs. They know the world would be a better place, but only if we could pay workers in salt.
The Centre for Independent Studies is none of the three.
We wait with baited breath for McGregor's loony outfit to release their report on why emphysema is good for people, and how those who earn less than $200,000 a year don't really deserve to live anyway.
Our Tool Of The Week must have felt pretty clever when he signed off on the move of the John Hardie show to Holland, leaving the liabilities buried in the backyard for the next tenant.
Anyone with half a brain could see that James Hardie was going to be facing huge liabilities as the disaster of asbestos
Unfortunately McGregor doesn't have half a brain - but he does have the sort of contacts that can only come from having a good Cambridge background.
Which is probably why he is Chairman of those old slave drivers Burns Philp & Co. Ltd. He also had a sit at drug dealers FH Faulding & Co Ltd.
Which is just as well, maybe they can give him some advice on the best way to treat Asbestosis.
That can help this scion of the idiot-rich as he comes to terms with the death that his company has wrought on this country.
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