Smith takes new tack in outing stingy bankers
Guest speaker at the Hands Across Canberra luncheon Dick Smith at the Gandel Hall, National Gallery of Australia. Photo: Colleen Petch
Entrepreneur Dick Smith would throw the country's richest bankers out of the country if he could, saying they're the ''height of capitalism''.
The self-starter, speaking at a Hands Across Canberra function on Thursday, accused his millionaire counterparts of being ruthless and greedy.
''In America you're a social pariah if you're wealthy and not known as a philanthropist, whereas here many of my very wealthy friends donate nothing at all,'' he said.
The accusations didn't stop there, with the businessman saying Australian executives lied to the public about their charity handouts. ''I believe most of them are lying or telling fibs … I've asked the big charities whether they get large amounts of money anonymously and they say never,'' he said.
Mr Smith's earlier plan to name and shame Australia's richest people into donating both time and money was unsuccessful and he has now taken a new path.
His strategy, which has the working title ''Undermine Your Bank Executive'', involves encouraging staff to boycott working overtime until their bosses donate to charity.
''Maybe it might make bank executives fulfil their obligations to give publicly and generously, because the only reason they get $10 million or $20 million a year is because there are 22 million people here running this fantastic country,'' he said.
Mr Smith explained the joy that giving can have on a person. ''I do it for selfish reasons: it makes me feel good,'' he said.
Hands Across Canberra is aimed at building bridges between community organisations and members of the business community on a one-on-one level. ''Although the event was not directly about raising funds, we were pleased to receive more than 50 donations of support and Dick Smith was spotted filling out a card,'' an event spokesman said.