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Business broadly engaged in ‘naked political activism’

well a pattern we have seen in recent times escalating is political correctness it's now all pervasive and some of the biggest proponents of it seem more and more to be business while the biggest critics seem to be ordinary people there would be customers who've just had enough we've just discussed at the moment the Queensland mining Safety Board issued that I've not had to add two women as I said to their ball in order for it to actually do its job Speight a spate of fatal accidents at mining sites now more and more we see big business use a social issue to try and push their product why what's driving this push to corporate virtuous signaling joining me tonight is a man who has pulled this issue apart nor its complexity in his new book corporate virtues signaling how to stop big business from meddling in politics and the man who's joining us now is the author the director of the culture of prosperity and civil society at the Center for independent studies dr. Jeremy cemet great to have you on the show again my pleasure I love your intellectual rigor and looking at some of these issues because we all feel it's a problem we see there's a creep more and more into the space of political correctness by corporate said really used to just advocate for their business or their brand or to sell a product or on economic issues now they're quiet on the economic issues but they're absolutely out there on some of these social issues um what is corporate virtue stealing how do you define it and give us some examples sure look I think the best way to describe it is that it's actually termed within business corporate social responsibility and what that argument is is that the business of business can no longer simply be making profits the argument is that business also needs to consider the interests of broader groups of stakeholders in the community not just the interest of shareholders the problem with that is that increasingly we're seeing business get into very divisive questions we saw it over particular over the same-sex marriage debate when business played an unprecedented role and the problem with that I think is that the argument for all this corporate social responsibility for corporate virtue singing is it actually you know helps the brand build the reputation of the company and helps business what I'm arguing in my book is that actually this is actually very divisive because there are literally millions of Australians millions of shareholders stakeholders other members of the community who don't agree with progressive views and values and that's invariably what business does they jump on a progressive bandwagon in the name of corporate social responsibility it's often – not the view of a lot of employees in a business so it's thought it's often the women of the board it's a particular push of a CEO or a chairman it might be bought into by some of the executive and if they're not buying in they're sent out the back door but by and large you could have a whole lot of employee because if you disagree now why is it the causes of the left I hate that term from your seat why is it the causes of the left that get chosen and not the causes of the right I think we need to understand that where this is coming from is it's coming from it why business is doing more of it as well is that it's becoming industry within business so there is now an army of you know HR managers people and culture managers Corporate Affairs people who push this with inside business and what they're actually pushing now they're saying it's not enough for businesses to take care of business they've got to get involved in systemic issue which systemic change so this means getting involved in these sort of progressive social and economic issues what they also say is how we find out what our social licence to operate is which is another one of the the jargon terms they use they say we need to go out and talk to our stakeholders and find out you know what our social licence is the realities of the world are that left-wing activism is far more organized it knows what it wants and knows how to get it so of course they go out and talk to the activists and activists say well you need to sign up to our agenda and that's how business it ends up supporting all these causes it goes back to the point that most of the media tend to run a left-wing view of the world and the quiet Australians as you saw can vote governments in around but by and large they stay out of these debates inside a political term I find it – as I said tonight a really pernicious term when I studied law a long time ago I might add though I did corporate law and the law of the corporation was to you know act within the boundaries of the law pay their taxes and make profit for the shareholder they weren't there to do to do this very virtuous you learn to pick issues where they thought the wind might be blowing how did we evolve into this I have to say has the big institutional weight of industry super funds Union controlled super funds at iron you know big shareholder blocks with these companies has that played a role look there is a long history to csr a longer one that I discovered when I originally started and I think you're right you know the traditional role of the company is to you know focus on shareholder returns and the core business of business I think there is an argument for some time there isn't there is an argument for CSR when it's closely linked to the commercial interests of the business so just they've got an environmental issue that you might want to get ahead of and you might want to preempts a government action by addressing the concerns of activists I think that's totally legitimate but where we are now is that business is basically engaging in naked political activism look it's a big argument whether it's legal or not I don't think we should get into the legalities of it because there's a push to make this actually mandatory to change the company to change the Corporations laws to enable businesses to do this almost of their own accord and basically use shareholder shareholders money so if we get into that we'll end up with more CSR not less but I think you're right there are some institutional factors I think particularly in Australia given the size of the you know Union backed superannuation put their money has a big a big not-so-subtle influence on companies and I know having been privy to conversations the conversations around the boardroom table yeah we well we don't want you out there on IR or we do want you out there on an issue like constitutional recognition for Digitas Australians or same-sex marriage or climate change is a massive one as well well I think this is a real problem for business and I admit there is this institutional issue with it with the investors pushing it but what business needs to realize is that when they endorse these causes they literally alienate millions of Australians who sher progressive views and values what they also need should realize as well is that you know we're meant to be a parliamentary democracy in which you know we're governed by the rule of law not by you know men or your individuals and what is actually happening here I think is that particularly the the super funds and other ethically better they're actually usurping the role of our Parliament and the people and politicians in that's who's meant to be governing us so I think there's another reason why business should stay out of this and I really struggled with the fact that we've had political events like we've had Trump we've had brexit we've had the Australian election where the quite Australians have rejected Labour's embrace of progressive ideology and identity politics but business is still hurdling down this path and we've seen that recently when a whole slew of big companies came out and supported constitutional recognition yeah that's interesting a lot of people would say to me having worked at the Liberal Party for a long time liberal parties owned by big business that looks to big business for policy I disagree quite strongly that I think that big business really big business and very much like the unions are on the left side of the argument the coalition I think takes more interest in what small business have to say because small business are back where big business used to be just focused on running their business not on all of these social issues you use the term community pluralism principle what does that mean look I think the way to push back against this is to recognize that all this CSR stuff within business is really well institutionalized as all these structures and frameworks and it's often very hard for people who work inside business and want to push back to actually do it one because it's really well-established but also because people who do descent from progressive agendas can pay a professional and a social price but by pushing back against it so what I think is they need their own sort of institutional framework to say you know we've got to draw the line here you know what's appropriate and what's not appropriate role for for the company and an issue for the company being so basically the community pluralism principle is it'll be incorporated into the language and practice of basically company management and what it would do it would hold directors of the company and senior managers accountable for ensuring that their CSR doesn't get into political meddling that basically politicize their and alienate people across the community so you're saying if we try and get rid of this CSR community corporate social responsibility corporate social responsibility thank you if we try and get rid of it we're trying to unwind twenty years of institutionalization of it leave that where it is you're not gonna win that war and what you should do is demand the leaders when they pick the issues to get involved in you're demanding as an employer or as a consumer or as a shareholder that the issues have to relate to where the bit where there's a slow you for the business exactly and not get into issues that basically alienate the vast waves of the community and what the pluralism principle would literally do would require them to respect the different views and values the pluralism of the community not politicized there brandon and risk all the unintended consequences I think the best example I can give of this is that we're nice to think of Qantas ice I think it was the airline that was friendly that was safe and it fed you now nowadays I think of Qantas more in the realm of somewhere between the greens and the CFMEU and I don't think on the loan in particularly in the wake of the Israel for our case all right you mentioned his rifle ah got a tricky question for you do you think sponsors would have reacted the same way to a rugby player quoting or paraphrasing in the Bible to a rugby player quoting or paraphrasing the Quran which is even tougher I mean they want the death of homosexuality sexuals not just saying they're going to hell and want them to repair do you think that corporate Australia would have gone down as hard on Israel flowers if his name was Mohammed flower when were talking about the Koran well I think the obvious answer is no and that's really part of what I'm saying here is that the is that through this CSR issue companies have just sort of run with the progressive agendas on all these issues so I think the obvious answer is no that wouldn't have happened but I think that also underlines what I'm arguing here which is that by getting involved in you know these issues in terms in terms of so-called diversity and inclusion what they're actually doing is alienating people who don't hold progressive views and values and I think brought more broadly there's a really important issue here for both the role of companies and broader society you know we need to have institutions like companies that are part of a genuine civil society where we can rise above our political differences in the same way we should be able to do that with sporting codes where we can join together to you know work and play whether it's you have to play game yeah or – what is really the core role of business which is to create you know wealth generating goods and services my pleasure Peter

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. The marxists have now taken over business. Conservatives better realize that capitalists and their corporations are now their enemy. Tax them to the moon.

  2. A primary issue for Governance adopting these "Progressive (REGRESSIVE) views is that it means companies are DIMINISHING THE VALUE OF MERIT. Choosing people on a political agenda e.g. you must have XYZ Board Members of ABC quota – is that in the companies and shareholders best interests? If you are a mining company – doesn't it make sense to choose people with engineering and environmental skills and experience rather than choosing people on the basis of GENITALIA or SKIN colour? Are these 'progressive' choices in the best interest of the 'health and safety' of the workforce – let alone company profits?

  3. These businesses dont care about the ethnocide of Traditional Australia, or the neo-colonisation of indigenous land if it means $$$$.
    Lets remember we are living in the worlds six mass extinction period, really makes you wonder how disconnected people in power really are

  4. This meddling is an overstep by business – they have been deluded by the mantra of 'diversity, inclusion and equity'. Sucked in by Socialist marketing and a 'Socialization' of Capitalism.

  5. Revelation 13:16-17 New International Version (NIV)
    16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

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