By - CTL
May 30, 2018

By Marcus Honesta.

Whilst flicking through a number of articles written by eminently well-informed and reliable commentators this week, I was struck by a very similar theme, “it’s all a matter of trust”.  The very clever Mark Ritson wrote a devastatingly honest piece on the “trust we have lost in our banks”. Ritson wrote in part:

Regaining customers’ trust will prove a major task for banks”

That question is at the top of the agenda for every major bank and financial-services brand in Australia right now. An already wobbly relationship between banks and their customers has been made even more unstable by the royal commission and the daily stream of dodgy executives apologising for various acts of malpractice and misdirection.

Right now, across the boardrooms of Australia, senior banking executives are obsessed with trust more than any other aspect of their business. The degree to which customers trust their bank is being endlessly measured and monitored by banks, which see this single attribute as central to their continuing success. The more you trust banks, the more likely you are to open an account with them. To shift more of your money to them. To be satisfied with their service. Perhaps more importantly, given most big banks sit on a “back book” of billions of dollars from mortgage customers, the more you trust a bank, the less likely you are to move your account elsewhere.

It is almost incalculable to put a dollar value on the extraordinary damage that their actions have done to the once great brands, and values they stood for.

If this wasn’t bad enough, we’ve just been embroiled in the hideous scandals associated with Facebook and Cambridge Analytic, which last month occupied the front page of most newspapers in the Western world. The notion of trust, and Facebook are as diametrically opposed as apples and elephants. And I suppose that there is ample reason to not trust anything that comes from Facebook, as every time you turn around they leak our confidential intimate, and private information, like water passing through a sieve.

Then of there is poor old auntie “Your ABC”. It seems it almost impossible to trust anything that she currently writes or broadcasts. That is, unless you’re a screaming left-wing, tree hugging greeny, or feminist.

What can only be described as a significant breach of their Broadcasting Charter, both on radio and TV; their journalists have provided a platform for Labor politicians while manipulating the views and opinions of right wing advocates and the Federal Coalition. Now ABC management are trying to work out what went wrong with their lobbying for more money in the most recent Federal Budget.

Bleating over the cuts in this years federal budget Auntie’s Managing Director, Ms. Gutherie a former Google employee said: “Let me be frank with you: I am very disappointed and concerned that after the measures we have introduced in recent years to deliver better and more efficient services, the government has now seen fit to deliver what amounts to a further substantial budget cut,” Guthrie wrote.

“Unfortunately, the government has overlooked this contribution and the trust and value more than 80 per cent of Australians place in us as an independent national broadcaster,” Guthrie said. Poor Ms. Guthrie just doesn’t get it. We don’t trust what you are peddeling.

“We will continue to oppose the decision and seek every opportunity to reverse the cuts in the coming months before they take effect.”

The only problem is that the ABC is no longer independent nor are the views of their journalists balanced.

You only have to look at the recent events involving the ABC’s chief economic correspondent Emma Alberici, who recently wrote two pieces relating to tax paid by the nation’s largest companies. The stories were not only blatantly wrong; the ABC was forced to pull them down.

At the time Alberici was slammed by big business and the Federal Government and is obviously a person who does not have a clue regarding Australian tax laws, and more importantly, the difference between profit and deferred losses.

Questions have since been raised as to how Alberici, who is well known for her lack of balance and political views even got the job of commenting on economics.

What she attempted to do was to feed her left-wing views by trying to fuel the perception that business is the enemy of regular Australians and has corrupted the political process.

Now Ms. Gutherie, who has openly failed to deliver balance in ABC reporting, has vowed to “oppose” a freeze on the ABC’s annual funding indexation and seek to “reverse the cuts in the coming months”.

All of a sudden, she has become combative on the issue of funding but not the problems associated with managing the rabble of left wing journalists who openly try to use the ABC as a platform to deliver their left-wing views on the ABC audience who are now using mobile phones and tablets to listen or view ABC content.

As it turns out in what most probably is for many, the most damaging of all lapses of trust comes from the various churches that have prayed upon, and abused the most vulnerable and defenceless in our community, our precious children. Being a lapsed Catholic and having grown through the Catholic education system, it comes with little or no surprise to me of some of the wicked and unconscionable behaviour many have being accused of, and now found guilty. The most senior Catholic to be charged with concealing child sexual abuse — Adelaide’s Archbishop Philip Wilson — has been found guilty by a New South Wales court, in a landmark ruling.

Key points:

  • Wilson concealed child sexual abuse by a fellow priest in the 1970s
  • He was assistant parish priest in East Maitland, NSW, at the time
  • He could face up to two years in jail

The 67-year-old was accused of covering up abuse by priest Jim Fletcher in the NSW Hunter region in the 1970s.

During his trial, the archbishop said no one had ever come forward to tell him of allegations of child sex abuse during his 40 years as a clergyman.

However, Magistrate Robert Stone cast that claim aside in a ruling that could have ramifications in courts around the country.

Speaking outside court, abuse survivor Peter Gogarty said the verdict was “one of the most significant days in criminal law in Australian history”.  It goes without saying many devout Catholics have had their beliefs shaken to the very core by this finding.

Unhappily it doesn’t stop here, we are about to be punished senselessly, because four more idiot politicians don’t know where this citizenship lies. And this little fiasco a “Super Saturday” of five simultaneous by-elections will cost the taxpayer an estimated $7.5 million, and the four MPs who resigned this week have drawn a combined base salary of about $610,000 since the first dual citizens were ­referred to the High Court last ­August. There is little wonder why the continuously lied to the public at large has become, more cynical, more frustrated and more angry, as 2018 marches on.

I wonder at this stage would not be poignant to consider the essence of truth, and what builds trust. We as human beings all make mistakes. Fessing up and taking responsibility is without doubt the very best way to start to build and regain the trust that was once willingly held. For those of us old enough to remember Watergate, from whence has now spawned a myriad of hybrids describing many recent scandals. “Trumpgate”, “Whitewatergate”, “Choppergate”, “Climategate”, “Facebookgate”, etc etc.

It must be said that it wasn’t the burglary at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex, in Washington, D.C. that led to the fall of the Nixon government. It was the ham-fisted and continuous denials of their (the governments) involvement in the affair that forced a United States president to resign in disgrace.

A great example of taking responsibility and moving forward as the beginning of the rehabilitation process was on display in a heart felt moment when Stephen Smith the former Australian cricket captain faced the press at a conference when he landed back in Australia after the scandal that involved “his South African tour behaviour”. He admitted and took responsibility for his involvement in “Sandpaper-gate”, acknowledging he had made a significant mistake in judgement, and asked for the public at large of forgiveness for his foolishness.

Our politicians, leaders of industry, and businessmen and women could take a leaf out of his book. Nobody but nobody expects people to not make mistakes. It is having the courage to admit them and move forward; that is the hallmark of character, leadership, and integrity. Something we could do with in here right now in Australia today.

There is no doubt Albert Einstein said many wise things throughout his life; but one that is always struck me as true wisdom was: “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”.

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