What Price Waterhouse (2 words in those days) thought of me in c.1995:
Thanks so much to Wai Choong Chan!
Most memorable welcome to a new job:
Most memorable exit from a job:
(Replying to my question: what should I do on my first day?') "Well. I'll greet you at reception in Sydney office. Hand you your cardigan. And off you go ..."
Assistant Commissioner Tony Long (2003)
Honourable mention (1) to Price Waterhouse (Parramatta) 1986, where I turned up at 9.00am on the appointed day, and everyone had forgotten I was coming.
Honourable mention (2) to PwC 2006: "You have to remember that I'm a partner and you're only a director!" (Melbourne partner after I called a Melbourne bank contact to tell him I'd joined the firm)
(Replying to my resigning to join the ATO) "But that's irrational!"
Chris Millet (2003)
Honourable mention to KPMG 2019 (Partner at exit interview, scribbling): "So, we've got a disgruntled employee!"
Music to retire by (The Smile: Friend of a Friend):
An accompanying meal might include:
recipes for which can be found:
(maybe with a Bollinger Rosé Champagne
followed by a Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier
and a Pedro Jimenez sherry to finish)
Highlight of my published (tax) works:
"Sales Tax: Office Chairs the Confusion Continues"
(Butterworths Weekly Tax Bulletin September 1993 - with David Oliver)
Honourable Mention 1: "Australian Goods and Services Tax Cases - Decisions and Commentary" by Roderick Cordara SC and Pier Parisi (Edited by Jeff Barcham)
Honourable Mention 2: The 63 usages of "fair and reasonable" (undefined) in the original GSTR 2006/3.
Most memorable legislative achievement:
Long before serving as the (re-)draftsperson and inaugural Comptroller of Cakes at CBA in the late 1990s, I was better known as Office Prosecutor (and Star Chamber Delegate) of the Bastardry Act 1989 at Price Waterhouse Parramatta. Parts of this Act (sadly) still exist, and include original and very mouldy Summonses, surely reflective of a very different time and place:
That Mr X X, notorious former Office Prosecutor, did on the 7th day of July,1989, in flagrant breach of section 16 of the Bastardry Act, in that he did repeatedly 'Comment, gesture or insinuate with ... intentionally ... bigoted content" regarding the sexual proclivity of a staff member's tape dispenser.
It is recommended that the penalty, involving the extraction of six pubic hairs, be effected by means of the tape resident in the said dispenser.
Star Chamber Delegate"
Influencing the media:
"CBA warns of $35m GST cost
Banks fear they face 'mind-bogglingly' complex compliance and computer system changes under the draft GST regulations for financial services.
'It's many times more complex now than it was before last week,' Mr Jeff Barcham, tax manager with the Commonwealth Bank's GST program, said yesterday.
He told a GST forum in Sydney that implementing the new tax system would cost the bank $35m over two years, and increase business costs by an extra $70 - $100 million.
'And we will be looking to recover that in some way,' he said."
AFR Wednesday, August 25, 1999
Most memorable client pitch presentation:
(Explaining very simply to a major bank how apportionment works -
Most memorable advice ever received:
"In the end, any advice provided on the apportionment of input tax credits in a financial services context is more an art than a science." (Arthur Andersen 2000)
Farewell tax advice:
Key to interpreting the Cake Act: ‘do they deserve to provide cakes?’ Answer that, remember why your mother sent you to law school, and the words of the Act will get you there somehow.
Key to interpreting the ITAA: ‘if you had to explain your proposed answer to someone you just met in the pub, could you get them to understand enough to agree with you in less than ten minutes?’ Buying beers allowed.
Key to interpreting the GST Act: Draw the issue step-by-step on a whiteboard. Then see above. Then express the results in a table.
What was I good for? (from my Little Illiad (WIP) - in Odysseus’ annoyed voice):
I said to him
(we were in sight
of the camp fires
by this stage):
My reputation for subtlety
(some express it less subtly)
Has always been useful to me
if for nothing else than
any old rubbish I speak
Tends to be cogitated upon
For an inordinate time
Just in case
Some stray brilliancy
Is to be found lurking in the foliage
Some parting Wisdom (from my Selah in the 'Qohelet' book - based on Ecclesiastes Ch2):
what is left to a man
but to eat and drink
and labour at a trade he enjoys:
that is all in the gift of high officials
and the gods of luck
so I say:
who has eaten and drunk better than I?
been luckier in his life’s craft
amassed such wisdom
with which to appreciate the triumphs
and joys of a lifetime?
yet surely sinners and fools also toil
to amass piles of good things
over which they too revel and gloat
is not their savour of it
its reek carries on an ill wind
that is a joy in itself
Notable comment on past work "Farewell" cards
(yes, I do keep them):
"... you turned out not to be a complete bastard." Peter Chiswell (CBA 2003)
"You truly are the GST God!!" Consultant (KPMG 2019)
"The ATO is not such a bad place ..." Chris Millet (CBA 2003)
Final Word? (From James Joyce’s 'Finnegans Wake'):
… Life, it is true, will be a blank without you because avicuum’s not there at all, to nomore cares from nomad knows, ere Molochy wars bring the devil era, a slip of the time between a date and a ghostmark, rived by darby’s chilldays embers, spatched fun Juhn that dandyforth, from the night we are and feel and fade with to the yesterselves we tread to turnupon.
But boy, you did your strong nine furlong mile in slick and slapstick record time and a farfetched deed it was in troth, champion docile, with your high bouncing gait of going and your feat of passage will be contested with you and through you, for centuries to come.