Healthway scandal – accountability is for other people

Remember the WA anti-smoking agency that tried to ban Carmen because the story takes place in a cigarette factory? They were out of control then – but it seems they’re more than over-jealous bureaucrats imposing their wowser views on the opera-loving public.

THE West Australian government’s controversial anti-smoking agency Healthway is embroiled in a corporate perks scandal after an investigation found that its chairwoman and senior executives wrongfully obtained VIP tickets for family and friends to attend sporting and arts events as part of the group’s sponsorship deals.

A damning report released today by the WA Public Sector Commission found Healthway’s top brass enjoyed tickets and hospitality worth $220,000, which was “inconsistent with the obligation to be scrupulous in the use of public resources”.

Let’s look at that in a bit more detail:

A Public Sector Commission investigation of a sample of 58 Healthway sponsorship agreements over four years found 15 included extra hospitality entitlements, giving Healthway access to more than 1150 general admission tickets to “elite sporting events and concerts” and more than 650 opportunities to attend events with VIP level access and catering.

Healthway gets $21 million a year in taxpayers’ money and last financial year distributed $11 million in sponsorship to sport and arts organisations to spread messages about tobacco and alcohol, physical activity, nutrition and obesity.

It isn’t clear what happened to the other $10 million. It sounds to me that the WA government is simply giving money to busybodies to spend as they please with no financial controls or oversight in place at all. This is the same WA government that regularly rattles the begging bowl for more federal tax dollars. Well there is a $21 million saving right there, and if this is any indication of how financial controls work in WA there are plenty of other savings to be had.

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39 Responses to Healthway scandal – accountability is for other people

  1. Pete of Perth

    WA the state of excitement.

  2. H B Bear

    Healthway chairwoman Rosanna Capolingua, a former federal president of the Australian Medical Association, was the second biggest user of the VIP tickets behind executive chairman David Malone, who resigned last week.

    Capolingua looks like she is going to try and tough it out, a variation on the “don’t you know who I am”, from these medical types who leverage a career in areas like medical research immune to criticism into all kinds of nanny state activism. See also Fiona Stanley.

    If ever Emperor Barnett needed an excuse to shut down this cardigan-clad pork distribution agency this it it – but don’t hold your breath.

  3. Rabz

    Remember the WA anti-smoking agency that tried to ban Carmen because the story takes place in a cigarette factory?

    Indeed, an instance of PC idiocy that will live long in the memory. Thanks, Healthway.

  4. Infidel Tiger

    I love it when our moral betters are shown to be nothing but disgusting porcine like frauds hoovering taxpayer funds up their filthy snouts like little piggies on a coke bender.

    Healthways is a fascist freak fest.

    Well there is a $21 million saving right there, and if this is any indication of how financial controls work in WA there are plenty of other savings to be had.

    We’re $30,000,000,000 in debt after a once in a century boom. WA is fucked.

  5. feelthebern

    Where did the other $10mill go?
    FFS, that is a chunk of change.

  6. feelthebern

    WA is fucked.

    Not if everyone takes up smoking.

  7. Old School Conservative

    H B Bear
    #1612724, posted on February 24, 2015 at 11:57 am
    Healthway chairwoman Rosanna Capolingua, a former federal president of the Australian Medical Association, was the second biggest user of the VIP tickets behind executive chairman David Malone, who resigned last week.

    Wikipedia tells me with an impish grin that Capolingua is the Chair of the AMA’s Ethics committee.

  8. blogstrop

    The anti-smoking people got that wrong anyway. The opera Carmen opens outside the factory, in the town square. Subsequent act II is in Lilas Pastia’s taverna, then act III the smugglers hideout, than back to town for the final street scene.

    They may have confused it with a movie like Carmen Jones, where she has a fight with a co-worker, but that is in WW2 a parachute factory.

  9. Memoryvault

    Not if everyone takes up smoking.

    Worked for Joh Bjelke Petersen

  10. Infidel Tiger

    The trouble is she will be replaced by someone even worse.

    Yes she is a terrible wowser and the sort of person you would tell to get off your lawn, but for a medico she is actually quite decent.

  11. feelthebern

    Maybe Fatty Nixon can take over.
    What could possibly go wrong.

  12. duncanm

    They have Annual Reports you know.

    Approx $7mil goes to “Health Promotion and Research Grants”, $1.5M to “Support Sponsorships” (note 10 of 2013/14 report).

    Fairly insidious money-churning going on here… a member of the board is the president of ACOSH, who rail against, among other things, “Big Tobacco” (booga booga!)… they were awarded a cool $250k.

    They also seem to throw a whole lot of money at sporting organisations (hence the above scandal). Including Western Australian cricket, netball, basketball, trotting, surfing (no tobacco, please, only ganga!) and volleyball.

  13. Cato the Elder

    It isn’t clear what happened to the other $10 million.

    Well, you know, they had, like, expenses and stuff. and they had to pay themselves, too.

  14. Rabz

    A damning report released today by the WA Public Sector Commission found Healthway’s top brass enjoyed tickets and hospitality worth $220,000, which was “inconsistent with the obligation to be scrupulous in the use of public resources”.

    But it is entirely consistent with the attitude of the new nomenklatura to other peoples’ money.

    Triggs and her lavish Human Rights Awards shindig springs to mind.

  15. Some History

    It’s just the latest scandal involving this taxpayer-funded bunch of sanctimonious, prohibitionist fraudsters.

    There was a very useful piece by the Australian Taxpayers Alliance on Healthway late last year:
    (Excerpt)
    The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance has uncovered millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars have been funneled to… the personal activist groups of Healthway Board Members.
    “Healthway is a taxpayer funded West Australian Government Agency, already under
    investigation by the Public Sector Commission following a damning report by the State
    Government’s Auditor General. Included in the report are items such as the former Executive Director using corporate boxes for his family and other alleged incidents of misuse of sponsorship funding (why do they have corporate boxes in the first place?)
    A column in today’s West Australian by Paul Murray, whose investigative journalism on this matter has been nothing short of amazing, noted millions of dollars of taxpayer funds given by Healthway to groups associated with Mike Daube at a time he was a Board Member of Healthway noting: “Healthway grants made to Curtin University programs, totaling more than $2 million from a pool of $18 million. In the most recent financial year, $2.7 million was provided for organisations in which three board members, including Professor Daube and Dr Capolingua, had direct connections” Read the whole thing (and it’s particularly commendable that this story was run given that Healthway also gives taxpayer dollars to… The West Australian!)”
    https://www.taxpayers.org.au/the-foul-stench-of-smoking-related-addiction-to-taxpayer-funds/

    Healthway is just the money-funneling part of a network of incestuous leeches. Of course, the self-promoter extraordinaire….. the Silver Weasel, Mike Drab, figures prominently in the shenanigans. Just waiting for Captain Pipsqueak, Simon Crapman, to attempt a “smooth-over” of the stinking situation.

  16. The Other Steve

    HealthWay funds the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia (yes, such a body exists and its website is entertaining)

    The institute’s director and founder is a board member of Healthway. He is also a professor at Curtin University, which gets lots of grants from HealthWay.

  17. Ant

    This stuff sickens me to my gut.

    It’s not just their remuneration and perks while they’re pushing paper around sitting on their fat, useless arses dreaming up new ways to swindle money from taxpayers’ pockets and impose new and ever stupid regulations, it’s that society will never be rid of these parasites until the day they drop dead.

  18. .

    Right Ant.

    I bet these shiny bums couldn’t do 30 push ups. They’ll all die of congestive heart failure.

  19. the story takes place in a cigarette factory

    A cigarette factory? I seem to recall the gypsy Carmen and her co-workers were making cigars in the Royal Tobacco Factory, half-naked, in rooms forbidden to men, by rolling them on their thighs. Cigarettes were produced in the Royal Tobacco Factory but a cigarette-maker, surely, has not quite the erotic associations of a cigar-maker for the passionate Don José, who did like a good cigar. Though, in the opera, the chorus sings of the girls impudently smoking cigarettes, they are described as les cigarières, which (at least in the first half of the nineteenth century) meant cigar-makers. In Prosper Mérimée’s original story José tells the narrator that the knife Carmen uses to slash a fellow worker was a cigar-cutting knife.
    Do modern versions of Carmen shew half-naked women rolling cigarettes on their thighs?

  20. Ellen of Tasmania

    It sounds to me that the WA government is simply giving money to busybodies to spend as they please with no financial controls or oversight in place at all.

    It sounds to me as though that is a very common thing for state and federal governments to do.

  21. Infidel Tiger

    Do modern versions of Carmen shew half-naked women rolling cigarettes on their thighs?

    If they do, then my interest in the operatic arts just grew considerably.

  22. .

    Sounds like the White House circa 1993-2001.

  23. Token

    Sounds like the White House circa 1993-2001.

    As was noted on the OT last week Clinton was the best friend of the tobacco business had in many ways. He legislated to entrench monopolies and developed new uses for consumers that thought they had tried everything.

  24. .

    developed new uses for consumers that thought they had tried everything

    Pffft…LOL, indeed!

  25. Pedro the Ignorant

    As soon as I heard of this taxeating pack of nomeklatura I knew that odious chinless Pommy wowser would be in the thick of it all.

    Mike Daube, owner of the most punchable face in WA.

    (NADT)

  26. See the trailer on the 1984 film at 0:32. Note that Placido Domingo, as José, has yellow stripes on his uniform’s blue trousers. In the book, the soldiers are nicknamed Canaries because their uniforms are yellow not because they feature a small yellow stripe.

  27. Pedro the Ignorant

    When the WACA first took sponsorship from Healthways, the board unilaterally declared that smoking would be banned in all areas of the ground. The many ancient and venerable WACA members who had established permanent residency in the choicer parts of the Members Stand promptly told the WACA “stewards” to get stuffed and continued to puff away as they always have done.

    Sadly, as the irreverent and disobedient older brigade have moved on to the great dressing room in the sky, the non violent resistance has died away, and the patrons now meekly troop out into the street outside to enjoy a durrie.

    Australians are very obedient people.

    The rot was declared terminal when the WA State cricket team named itself “The Alcohol Think Again Western Warriors” to their eternal shame and unbridled mirth of the Eastern Staters.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/50/Western_Warriors_logo.png

  28. Some History

    Hey, Sinc, here’s another medico turned “economic activist”.

    Dr Bronwyn King named woman of influence

    Epworth Radiation Oncologist Dr Bronwyn King has been named one of the Australian Financial Review/Westpac 100 Women of Influence in 2014.

    Dr King was recognised for her work as Founder of the Tobacco-Free Investment Initiative. The initiative was established when Dr King discovered she had been unwittingly supporting the tobacco industry via superannuation investments while applying for a home loan.

    She developed the initiative to engage with Australian superannuation funds and reduce investment in tobacco companies, as well as encouraging people to be aware of their superannuation investments. Dr King’s work has contributed to 17 major funds implementing completely tobacco-free investment mandates, with a total tobacco divestment to date of $1.2 billion.

    http://www.epworth.org.au/About-Us/News/Pages/Dr-Bronwyn-King-named-woman-of-influence.aspx

    http://www.petermac.org/news/dr-bronwyn-king-awarded-encouraging-super-funds-divest-tobacco-holdings

    And, of course, there are always awards…… oh, so many awards…. for these nitwits.

  29. Pete of Perth

    That puts the khybers on Warnie’s ambition of being the Warriors’ coach.

  30. Some History

    Australians are very obedient people.

    Australians used to be very wary of the finger-wagging moralizers (prohibitionists) – religious and medical, particularly when it came to tobacco and alcohol. But something has radically changed in the last few decades resulting in a very compliant, believe-whatever-you-are-told populace, i.e., sheeple. It’s truly tragic.

  31. Australians used to be very wary of the finger-wagging moralizers

    So much so that we would (and I, for one, still do) mock them as wowsers.

  32. H B Bear

    Healthway chair Capolingua to step down after watchdog alleges misuse of perks

    Ms Capolingua announced her resignation today but defended her record, saying there had been misrepresentations in the media about her use of tickets.

    Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has called on other board members on the beleaguered agency to also stand down, saying a fresh start was needed.

    A variation of the old Labor refrain, “I done nuffing wrong.”

  33. ken n

    No, The Age says it’s not a big problem

  34. notafan

    Barnett should scrub the whole thing, no taxpayer funded person should be getting corporate perks.
    A bloke I knew who worked for the ATO wouldn’t even accept a cup of coffee during an audit.
    That is how it should be.

  35. Des Deskperson

    While I don’t in anyway make excuses for the Board, the remuneration they receive is pretty poor, at least compared to the Commonwealth.

    The Chair’s annual remuneration is $19,686. The Deputy Chair gets $7,974 pa and an ordinary Board Member gets 7,054.

    Compare this with, say, the Australian Business Arts Foundation. Dunno what it does, but its Chair gets $33,280 pa and the Board members get $24,960; and this is among the lowest levels of remuneration of any Commonwealth board.

    Of course, it’s conceivable that the Commonwealth Boards are grossly overpaid.

    As for the Age article, do it’s readers really swallow this shallow and half-baked crap. Three points:

    (a) as any ethicist will tell you, there are no degrees of dishonesty, a ‘small’ fraud is still a fraud
    (b) any comparison between use of public and private monies is irrelevant
    (c) In every jurisdiction in which I’ve worked, the P&C or equivalent Christmas party is be paid for by its participants .

  36. hzhousewife

    A bloke I knew who worked for the ATO wouldn’t even accept a cup of coffee during an audit.
    That is how it should be.

    If only we could remind all Public Servants that this is how they ought to act.

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