Mafia links to tax advisors?

by Kevin Reed

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06 May 2011

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I'M ABOUT to treat myself by plowing through the Aussie government's discussion paper on the implications of extending privilege to tax advisers in certain circumstances.

But I couldn't help but stop and point out the second sentence in financial services minister Bill Shorten's foreword for the doc, where he describes the accountants as "the consiglieri of suburban prosperity".

"What a cool turn of phrase", was my first thought. My second thought was, "hold on, that sounds a bit dodgy". A consigliere means advisor or counsel, but is the generally accepted term for a Mafia boss's right-hand man.

More an unfortunate turn of phrase. In fairness, he adds that accounting is a "profession of high ethical standards".

All is forgiven Bill.

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