BY Miranda Devine
MULTINATIONAL accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers earns $34 billion a year from auditing and management consultant services. Its reputation and mandate to audit public companies rests on its integrity, independence and objectivity.
All of that has been brought undone by its extraordinary intervention in the same-sex marriage debate this week.
The PwC report on the economic cost of the government’s promised same-sex marriage plebiscite is a transparently dishonest attempt to subvert the democratic process.
The creative accounting involved in its claim that the plebiscite would cost half a billion dollars included every conceivable impost, no matter how absurd, in order to cast the most negative light on the plebiscite.
For instance, PwC claimed the plebiscite will cost “$281 million in lost productivity as people take time out to vote”, costed at the minimum wage of $17.29 per hour.
Are they kidding? On a Saturday? You may as well say that playing football or going to a movie or doing your taxes is “lost productivity”. What about the eight hours we sleep each night?
Then PwC adds a cynical “$20 million in costs associated with the impact on the mental health and wellbeing of Australian citizens”.
This is the lowest tactic, readily employed by same-sex marriage activists such as Jeff Kennett, which trivialises the plight of the genuinely mentally ill by claiming that it will be somehow injurious to the mental health of gay people to allow a plebiscite.
So, we should shut up and give a minority of activists carte blanche to drastically change our foundation social institution.
PwC accepts this despicable argument and monetises it.
This is advocacy masquerading as accountancy and will cost the firm big in reputational damage. Perhaps its accountants can work out the dollar value down the track.
Why has PwC risked its good name? It has to live up to its billing as “Australia’s top LGBTI employer in 2015”.
At least this report has had the amusing effect of bringing out the closet fiscal conservative in every Labor/Green/GetUp/left-wing breast. Suddenly they care about taxpayers’ money. How touching.
But what it also demonstrates is the power of vested interests on the side of those who want to change the definition of marriage and radically remake our society.
This is just the beginning of the “rainbow torrent” of propaganda which is about to be unleashed on a weary populace.
Make no mistake, the establishment is backing change, perhaps out of fear of the implicit threat of “pink-mail” or through a cynical corporate commitment to “diversity”, which soon morphs into Big Activism.
This makes the contest one- sided from the start. Then when you look at the amount of money that was poured into the Yes case in Ireland, and will likely be replicated here, you can see how high are the stakes.
You only have to look at the Orwellian horror of the Safe Schools policy, legislated by Labor but funded by the Abbott government, to see where this is going.
Erasing “gender” differences between girls and boys, defying nature and common sense, is the sinister agenda of sexual activists, who hide behind the banners “love” and “equality”.
In Ireland millions of corporate dollars, including from the US, was poured into the Yes campaign before their successful gay marriage referendum last year.
According to the US National Catholic Register, the American Atlantic Philanthropies invested more than $17 million in gay rights groups in Ireland.
Similarly in Australia before we even get to a plebiscite, we see big business has lined up with the Yes vote, and almost all the media is on side with a few isolated exceptions.
Upholders of traditional marriage are being ridiculed and maligned relentlessly as hateful bigots, adding to the social pressure to vote for the redefinition of marriage.
But while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull supports same-sex marriage personally, he will not drop his promise to hold a plebiscite. So after attempting to discredit the process same-sex marriage proponents will then turn their attention to trying to rig the plebiscite question.
What we know so far is that the government has determined it will be a compulsory vote, held some time after the election.
Legislation may be drawn up before the vote which will only be activated in the event of a Yes vote.
The outcome will be decided by a simple majority of the national vote. But the wording and whether the question will be a simple yes/no or a series of options is still to be determined by the Coalition party room after the election.
Considering the David and Goliath nature of the debate, as illustrated by PwC’s foolish intervention this week, there is a good argument that Commonwealth funding be provided to both sides and that limits be imposed on campaign expenditure
So-called marriage equality activists should realise that any attempts at nobbling the process will only damage their cause.
Why are they so afraid of letting the people decide?
If their cause is so popular they will win.
And if it’s not, they should never have pushed so hard.