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A blog on terrorism, democracy and international politics

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Give Corporates Credit when they Care 

In the wake of the tsunami that has devastated coastal and island areas in the Asia/Indian Ocean region, I was pleased to see the Care Australia press release, Overwhelming generosity shown by the Australian business sector

At a time when the Australian economy is performing well, it is good to see that not only individuals, but also corporations, are willing to help their neighbours at a time like this. This is a time to put corporate profits and competition aside.

I was therefore surprised to read, later in the day, an article in the centre-left Fairfax broadsheet The Sydney Morning Herald entitled, Corporate Australia 'slow' to open its wallet. The article began with the words: "Australia's big businesses have chipped in with millions of dollars of donations to help the relief effort after the Asian tsunami disaster. But corporate Australia has been criticised for failing to dig deep enough for arguably the world's greatest disaster relief operation."

Criticised by whom? None of the quoted individuals or organisations in the article voice such criticism, and in fact the news seems uniformly positive. Why the quotation marks around 'slow' in the article's heading?

The final sentence in the article is the only one in which any specific corporation is criticised:
One of Australia's largest companies News Corporation could not outline whether it intended to make a donation today.

So it turns out that the "criticism" alluded to is Fairfax's own petty and tasteless swipe at its rival. A positive story about corporate generosity is turned into a headline about corporate selfishness, and business leaders are left wondering whether they might be better off not bothering next time.

To find out how to make a donation, go to the Care Australia web site

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