Sunday, March 12, 2006

AWB and conflicts of interest

I like this.

Firstly, Government MPs are accused of failing to disclose their interests in AWB.

John Howard, of course, rejected these accusations here.

I actually think these kinds of accusations are, in Mr. Downer’s words, drawing a fairly long bow. Where you hold shares in an investment trust or mutual fund, I don’t really think you have a conflict of interest in dealing with that company.

When you directly own voting shares, such as John Cobb, that is a bit different. He seems to have known damn well he was a shareholder and, from the reporting, seems to have owned up and corrected the record very smartly.

These are really tough questions, because these people are paid lots of money and have to park it somewhere. Whether they have conflicts or not, I don’t think it is going to substantially increase the value of their investment, even if they do something a bit dodgy when dealing with the company.

How much can John Cobb possibly have invested in AWB? Even if it were his entire net worth, would it really make that much of a difference if he pushed for them to get a wheat contract somewhere?

Not enough to make it a big deal, I don’t think.


Blogger Dash Brannigan said...

To be honest, in my opinion all ministers should have their assets (except say the family home and liquid cash reserves) in a blind trust.

Then again we don't run our elections based upon the character or personal lives of the candidates so issues like this aren't vetted out.

2:34 pm  

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