Westpac and O’Sullivan’s Law

If their social media profile is any measure of these things, one of the four main Australian banks, Westpac, is firmly in the vanguard of the Australian First Battalion of the Social Justice Warrior armed forces.

Their CEO, Brian Hartzer, is clearly one of the main drivers of this “progressive” attitude, witnessed by the following samples from his Creepbook for Business activity;

And this word salad that seems to be channeling Eric Morecombe’s line, “they’re all the right notes, just not in the right order“;

Some more virtue signalling that is surely guilty of cultural appropriation (or perhaps the drag queen beauty parade was ironically named after Islam’s holiest city?);

More here. No, really ladies, your promotion was entirely merit-based and not simply to hit Brian’s 50% diversity target;

We’re starting to run out of female leaders prepared to be touted as public examples so we’ll recycle a couple here;

And then we see something quite telling, hiding in plain sight, so to speak;

Actively and publicly supporting a political candidate (multiple times too) on the far left of the political spectrum. Well, that speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Obviously he’s allowed to have a personal political opinion but it seems mildly inappropriate to be expressing this in a work-related context.

However, he’s got form on this. Last year, during the same sex marriage referendum, Hartzer approved an SMS to be sent to all Westpac employees’ mobile phones encouraging to get out and vote “Yes”. Which, as measures of good shareholder value go, wouldn’t be top of the priority list, one imagines.

Similarly, Hartzer is happy to splash shareholders’ cash on rainbow lighting on the facade of the HQ during IDAHOBIT Day and have rainbow lapel pins handed out to his staff, none of whom feel at all intimidated or coerced into wearing them, I’m sure.

In a further example of Hartzer’s Olympic gold medal level of virtue signalling, the latest Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (h/t the Welsh Twinkie) with the staff include the following gems;

  • Time off for transgender transitioning, and
  • Time off for “Sorry Business”, i.e. Aboriginal staff can take leave because many non-Aboriginal Australians are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

Bill’s Opinion

O’Sullivan’s Law states that any organisation or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.

Westpac is the case study of this.

Let’s remind ourselves of the purpose of banks; they are to provide shareholder value by securely-holding deposits and prudently writing loans in as efficient a way as possible. Anything else is gravy.

How’s Westpac tracking against that mandate?

Here’s an example to consider; the New Payments Platform (aka Osko), a method to quickly transfer money using a short ID code, was widely launched last year in Australia.

How’s Westpac going with implementing it?

Oh. That’s awkward.

4 Replies to “Westpac and O’Sullivan’s Law”

  1. As an employee of Westpac, working in Lyn’s circus, I had the rare pleasure of attending via webcast the session above. While I spent most of my time attending to emails, and ensuring the wheels of commerce remained in motion, I was duly ticked off as “attending” and therefore not identified for further unconscious bias training. Of which my favourite part is saying that I have yet to shed my conscious bias, and have no intention to. But I digress.

    The part that got the most comment in corridors after was when the MC asked Brian to address the elephant in the room, which was identified as the resentment that occasionally appears when someone is disqualified from a role on the basis of their gender. Being male. Brian’s answer was typically interpreted as dismissive, and uncaring. He made the valid point that the good news was they were reserving 50% of the roles for men, but went on to make it clear that he didn’t really give a fuck (not the exact words), and was clear that the good intentions outweighed the shitty outcomes.

    It is worth noting, that they have had a couple of very mediocre female hires over recent times, and had the good sense to move them on once they were revealed as too fucking useless to be their own PA’s.

    1. I see from Creepbook for Business that your CIO has retired this week and is being replaced by another bloke. So much for walking the talk, Mr Hartzer.

      What was Curran’s biggest achievement, do you think, given that Westpac are still unable to offer the NPP service?

      1. NPP is under crisis management. I understand. So it should be up and running in about 12 months.

        Dave’s biggest achievement is retaning the separate core banking platforms purchased with St George. Thereby ensuring Westpac shareholders spend $1.40 on system changes every time a competitor spends $1.00.

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