Richard Denniss, head of the Australian Institute, told Uniting Church members at the Melbourne Justice and International Mission convention that companies have realised the ‘greed is good’ mantra no longer washes with the community.
Despite this, Dr Denniss warned attendees at the Centre for Theology and Ministry it is still far too easy for organisations to get away with unscrupulous practices.
“In academic circles, if you make a mistake, peers will undoubtedly publish material to show where you are wrong. If you fabricate your results, that is – lie, then you will never work in academia again”, Dr Denniss said. “But there is currently no consequence for lying in the media.”
The Australia Institute exposes false claims, such as the Minerals Council of Australia recently claiming the mining industry is the biggest employer of Indigenous Australians, on its site “Facts Fight Back”. In fact the 2011 census data showed the mining industry ranked 10th.
Ged Kearney, president of the ACTU, highlighted the flawed UK example of the Government’s concept of ‘The Big Society’, riding on the idea of empowering communities to make decisions autonomously.
Ms Kearney stated that in actuality ‘The Big Society’ reduced the public sector while selling services to large corporations who then sell the services at higher prices.
“Our Convention this year looked at cases of corporations behaving badly and why we need courageous governments to rein in such misdeeds and protect the community”, JIM unit director Dr Mark Zirnsak said.
“The convention was not a corporate bashing exercise, as we acknowledged corporations provide us with goods and services we need and provide employment. We work with many corporations to seek greater respect for human rights in the world of business.”