Here’s Greg Combet, talking about it back in July, 2004:
TONY JONES: Alright.From the horse’s mouth, folks. Note Greg’s words well:
Let's go back to 2001 when the move was being planned.
Now, much of the reporting by the financial press at the time about this offshore move was positive, along the lines of this is James Hardie shedding its asbestos liabilities [Remember James Hardie, the evil asbestos victim-fleeing corporate bastards that the left, and the unions, so hate? Read on. . .], which the finance reporting concluded would be a drag on their future profits. Now, how do you regard, for example, the reporting at the time of the move?
GREG COMBET: Well, I was aware that a number of these changes were occurring at the time, and I mean, I had a pretty good inking with some historical knowledge of James Hardie of what it was likely to be all about and I followed things quite closely, and I was bemused, as usual, by some of the reporting - not surprised.
We see this on quite often occasions but it is a reflection of the fact that companies like this put a lot of money, millions of dollars, really, into PR spin, and bring in professionals to spin this sort of rather deceptive web to try and con people into believing that, in this particular case, that the setting up of a trust with $293 million was some act of benevolence.
I thought it was a joke, but obviously, some of the people around the place were conned by it.
TONY JONES: Alright.
The two companies, the two PR companies, involved in putting together the paper advising the company on how to approach journalists, the divide-and-conquer strategy as it was referred to, the suggestion that they shouldn't have press conferences, but only speak to financial journalists, one to one.
Those two companies were Gavin Anderson and Hawker Briton.
Hawker Britton now, of course, works for the Labor Party.
‘. . .bring in professionals to spin this sort of rather deceptive web to try and con people. . .’.
Quite apart from the ALP's (so-called) values (forget ‘em) - never a truer word, Greg. Never a truer word. . .