A political connection makes for a Better Place

Interesting to see that one of this Blog’s earlier discussion points – the Better Place electric car consortium – is back in the local news. 

It turns out former state parlimentarian and ministerial possibility Evan Thornley will be heading up their Australian operations. Of course, this is raising some understandable concerns about conflicts of interest (see this Crikey discussion).

It does make sense that the consortium would go for a post-industrial entrepreneur (Thornley was one of the few Aussie dot-commers to walk away with serious cash from the bubble – he was a founder of Looksmart) and one with political connections.  The Better Place business model is heavily reliant on such infrastructure and personal networks if it is to work.

It remains to be seen whether this furore over conflict of interest might significantly undermine Thornley’s social capital.


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One Response to “A political connection makes for a Better Place”

  1. Unrelenting Tedium Says:

    I don’t relish the alternative one bit but this is just the sort of low level coruption that seems to thrive in governments that have been in power too long. Taken on its own Evan just looks like an oportunistic and power hungry bloke who got a better offer…but the statements from the acting premier to the effect that “Evan has done absolutely nothing wrong and has behaved impecibly” sound like John Howard saying “workers are enjoying the flexibility provided by Work Choices”…it’s the old intentional misunderstanding of conflict of interest. That Rob Hulls reckons Evan has done nothing wrong has precisley nothing to do with anything…there is the possibility that he used his position as Secretary of Innovation to further the cause of a company he will now lead, or indeed may subsequently use information gained in his previous public role for benefit in his new private role. That is the definition of a conflict of interest, not whether he actually does it or not (or whether Rob Hulls reckons he did!) which has, to restate my pithy phrase, nothing to do with anything.

    And the government think they can get away with it because being in power too long breaks your brain…you think you deserve to be allowed to do whatever you want. Step forward Mugabe, Castro, Howard, Thatcher…the Americans have pulled a remarkable trick in avoiding it by limiting their presidents to two terms…but Uribe in Columbia is currently pulling the old change the constitution trick to get around a similar problem…and Putin just found power from another position…how did I get on to this. Oh yes the Labour party need to go in Victoria but personally I cannot stomach the opposition.

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