PSA: Michael West

I have discovered a great website today and I wanted to make a quick Public Service Announcement about , a journalism website operated by the former Fairfax journo. If you have ever read AFR, I guarantee you’ve read his stuff. I ran into this piece about AirBnB not being able to provide info about their ACN and/or head entity in Australia.  The Corporate Fuckery-O-Meter™ shot right off the charts.

Having a look through his site, he has written a fair few zingers about multinational tax avoidance and a variety of other issues. Actually, if anything the website is a bit depressing since it is generally all heavy topics. I will say here, he seems to have an agenda against big business and non-transparent agendas. He is not strictly objective, but then some of the shenanigans he describes really defy objectivity.

Either way it does seem to be high quality journalism, about issues I haven’t really seen in the mainstream media, and it is a pure pleasure to see such frank and sceptical writing from a journalist. Could be worth a look at least, and it’s free – no paywall.

Today saw some great reader comments on my recent posts about Henry Morgan. You can find those at the bottom of the original articles here and here.

2 Replies to “PSA: Michael West”

    1. As I understand it, he’s being paid to produce 20 (?) articles about tax avoidance by big biz. It’s a one-off, closed-ended arrangement and his website has been around for a few years (?) before this already.

      He’s obviously incentivised to write articles that are negative to multinationals, I agree. Also, I know that he is partly wrong in at least one of his articles – he implies that Bupa’s profit margins (which have stayed flat as health insurance premiums soared) is an indicator that the company must be using tax minimisation strategies. They may be doing that (wouldn’t surprise me), but premiums rise cos healthcare costs are soaring, with the result that margins basically stay flat. What’s more, Bupa’s margins are relatively thin vs competitors. So he’s not 100% spot on all of the time, but I respect his work.

      If we think about it, this GetUp funding thing is not all that different to Coca Cola funding scientists to investigate the effects on sugar on health. I’m personally more surprised that people are attacking him for being paid to write about tax dodging, but aren’t actually outraged about the tax dodging itself.

      Still, you’re right that readers should bear in mind who Mr West gets paid by.

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