Charity villains and that guy in the White House

Gary Mallin
By Gary Mallin

The big story for me, and obviously many other Australians, this week was Richard Pratt, his death and his life. What he did in his 74 years has become legend, eulogised, written of and spoken about by people from prime ministers to lowly battlers, and now that he is no longer with us, there may be more to come – good, bad and indifferent.

I would have liked to have met him, and listened to his stories of success and failure, and been inspired by them. But, like many of us, I only know someone who knew him. Be that as it may, I am inspired by Pratt (whose parents changed their name from the Polish Przecicki) and how he turned a dream into a reality – it is the fairytale stuff that we read about in the fluffy magazines.

As is usual after someone grows into a tall poppy, there are many want to scythe you down. This is the case with

Richard Pratt
Richard Pratt

Pratt, a man whose ledger will be heavily weighted to the positive. In letters to newspapers this week, this one from Marcus L’Estrange, of St Kilda, struck me as somewhat curious.

Lest we forget. It’s sad to see anybody die, let alone an interesting person such as Dick Pratt. However, he, along with others, was found guilty of removing $700 million from the pockets of ordinary Australians. His supporters, who felt that he was hard done by, should apologise to Graeme Samuel of the ACCC.”

How ungenerous and how ungrateful of Pratt’s philanthropic work.

At least Pratt did not flee jurisdiction like the Skases of this world; he stayed and faced the music and paid big time for it, $36 million in fines levied by the ACCC.

We humans tend to rate others by what they have, what car they drive and how much they’re worth monetarily. Perhaps, Pratt should be remembered not for what he had or his faults but for what he gave. And he gave plenty. He deserves peace now.

The second story of the week for me is US President Barack Obama’s 100th day in office. Only 100 days and he has achieved so much, but he wants more. He says he is pleased but not satisfied. His hunger to do more not just for Americans but for all in the world will put him among the great US statesmen.

President Obama
President Obama

Keep your eye on Obama.


3 thoughts on “Charity villains and that guy in the White House

  1. The comment from Eli,1/5/09, on my ‘Letter to the Editor’, ‘The Age’, 30/4/09, missed the point. Pratt’s company stole $700 million (Amcor-another $700 million) from his customers and all of us lost out by way of our purchasers. He is said to be Australia’s greatest philanthropist but his contributions over 30 years amount to about 60% of the illicit profits gained from his cartel with Amcor. He never gave his own money but gave money stolen from Australians.

    As Andrew Bolt said and noted in ‘The Herald Sun’, 24/4/09, ‘Graeme Samuel was snubbed by prominent Jews. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry denounced him. Social invitations were cancelled. Implicit was the view that Samuel should have gone soft on a mate. A Jew. A host who had many under similar obligations of patronage’.

    “The law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who posses themselves of great power” – Robert Jackson, US prosecutor, Nuremberg trials. Lest we forget.

    1. Thank you Marcus for commenting. This article was actually written by Gary Mallin as a guest contributor. However I will pass on your reply if he has not yet read it.

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