The recent outbreak of corporate honesty that has imperiled the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has several other government and quasi-government watchdog bodies fearing for their future.
As I reported recently, the Big Four banks have virtually sealed the fate of the ACCC as an ongoing entity with its new campaign to always be brutally honest and totally upfront with customers – existing and potential.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission is the latest authority facing the axe, with corporations outside the finance sector also fessing up to reality under their joint It’s Time … to Own Up campaign.
The Bug understands that one is a large national aged-care provider which has used a confidential submission to the ACCC to recant its previous claims that it does not generate a profit from ongoing service fees.
“We do make profits from our exorbitant service fees,” a spokesman said. “We also are happy to see the residents in our aged care facilities ‘rotate’ more often than is the case presently.
“As a major corporation our biggest battle is with statistics, especially those showing an ever-increasing average life expectancy.
“But our accountants have come up with a policy to combat this, and that is to worry our residents into an early grave by insisting on us being co-signatory to their bank accounts as part of entry to our facilities.
“The residents have a home for life, however you care to define that term, unless their bank accounts go into the red, in which case they are de-resided from our facility.
“It’s all spelt out in myopic detail in our contracts, or at least in the terms and conditions attached to the contract. Well, in the footnotes to that document. But it’s there, honest.”
The Brisbane Airport Corporation has joined the honesty campaign with a spectacular series of cinema, mainstream media and online ads claiming that it intended to raise parking prices until Brisbane reigned supreme, not only in Australia, but the world in per-hour cost.
Advertising agency, Fair Share, who has overall responsibility for the honesty-in-advertising campaign, admitted that while this phrase was an apparent contradiction in terms, its genesis came from the realisation that the sheeple of Australia will tolerate any level of bastardry, if they own shares, exist on superannuation, or even if they one day aspire to buying shares.
It is believed that Fair Share is preparing ads for companies boasting about avoiding more tax than their peers.
Coles and Woolworths, who earlier this year ended an eight-year battle over milk prices, are now at loggerheads in an attempt to be perceived by the Australian public as the corporation least likely to pay farmers a fair price for their products. This follows a recent finding that Coles paid farmers less than the amount they had claimed in advertisements.
Responding to questions about likely legal action, a spokesman for the It’s Time . . . to Own Up advertising campaign said: “We can count on the limitations the government puts on the ACCC, such as ‘the banks can’t fail’ and ‘the economy is too important’, and factor into our running costs the likely fines the ACCC will impose.
“Ultimately its the customers who pay the fines anyway, so the companies can’t lose.”
A large number of companies recently found to have underpaid their employees have now admitted that the underpayments were intentional and that rather than resolving the issue by recompensing the employees, they intended mount a lavish ad campaign to spruik the fact they would be reinstalling the accounting program that was devised to rort wages in the first place.
“Shares are king, and our employees – or should I say, independent contractors to whom we have no obligation and for whom we accept no liability – have to share the burden of the unrelenting pursuit of profit,” a spokesman said.