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Tuesday, 11 February 2003
Page: 11436


Mr LATHAM (4:12 PM) — Last night in my remarks I outlined several case studies highlighting the lack of responsibility and decent governance by corporate Australia. I dealt with One.Tel, FAI, HIH, BHP, Malcolm Turnbull and the Arnolds franchise. But I have saved the worst for last: Rodney Adler. Adler is the common link between One.Tel, FAI and HIH. He has led a conga line of corporate collapses and corruption. I noticed in the Australian Financial Review magazine in October last year that Anne Henderson of the Sydney Institute lamented the absence of high-profile people crusading for better standards of corporate governance and ethics in this country.

Anne is of course in a position to know, having been on the Adler payroll for more than a decade. Indeed, the Sydney Institute has been a wholly owned Adler subsidiary. He has had Anne and Gerard Henderson on a family retainer, such has been the extent of Adler's financial contributions to the institute. For more than a decade, until last year, Adler was the director of the Sydney Institute, adding to his conga line.

First One.Tel, then FAI, then HIH, and now the Sydney Institute—all plagued by the Adler curse of corporate corruption and malpractice. This is why Gerard Henderson, the Prime Minister's former Chief of Staff, has always refused to say where the institute gets its money from. This is why the institute is totally unaccountable, failing to publish an annual report and failing to include financial data in its ASIC company record. The dogs are barking. Even when the Sydney Institute was accused of cash for comment when it took donations from big tobacco companies at the same time as Gerard Henderson was crusading against health warnings on cigarette packets and limits on tobacco sponsorships, the Hendersons have never said where the institute money comes from. So, too, you will never see a Gerard or Anne Henderson column or comment critical of this outrageous corporate crook Rodney Adler.

This is indeed the problem that has plagued One.Tel, HIH and FAI: the arrogance of people like the Hendersons, who refuse to be publicly accountable for their funding. It raises the question: how much of the money improperly obtained by Adler from HIH and FAI has ended up in the pockets of Gerard and Anne Henderson? It raises some important issues: the serious problem with these organisations—One.Tel, FAI and HIH; the shady deals and crooked arrangements that underpinned these companies; and of course the tainted name of Rodney Adler, with his fingerprints all over One.Tel, FAI, HIH and the Sydney Institute.

I have many more things to say about Adler and the institute, and many more scandals to expose. But, with my time about to expire, they will have to be left to other debates in this place. Suffice it to say that the issue of corporate social responsibility and sound corporate governance is one of the most important facing Australia. This bill is just part of the debate. There will be many more instances where the scandals and malpractices of these Adler-related organisations can be raised in the House of Representatives. All I can do in conclusion is give the Hendersons, Anne and Gerard, this reassurance: I'll be back.