Questions over the 2006 Tourism Australia pitch have surfaced again

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 20 November 2020
So where the bloody hell are you? - Screenshot

Questions have been raised again on the probity of the Tourism Australia account awarded in 2006 to M&C Saatchi.

Scott Morrision, now prime minister, was the managing director of Tourism Australia at the time. He lost his job in the same year.

“There has been considerable conjecture, but it is clear that the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding the $180 million tourism campaign – the oft-ridiculed “So where the bloody hell are you?’ – and the awarding of a contract to M&C Saatchi played a key part (in Morrison departing),” reports the Michael West website.

West says Freedom of Information requests have failed to find a KPMG report into the pitch process.

At the time, the pitch was the biggest of the year, adding up to about $60 million in media spend.

The three finalist agencies were reported to be Saatchi & Saatchi, Clemenger BBDO and M&C Saatchi.

But industry players complained that the way the tender was written -- insisting on global assets and offices in the UK, US, Japan and China -- favoured an international agency.

“FoI documents obtained this week by Michael West Media revealing that the probity report supposedly conducted by KPMG, a report that Scott Morrison repeatedly used to shield himself from attacks over the awarding of the $180 million contracts, cannot be found anywhere,” says West.

“Moreover, Tourism Australia was unable to find any emails, briefings or tender documentation associated with a probity audit into the M&C Saatchi contract.”

Industry insiders say the report in the Michael West website is interesting but has little bearing on current business. “It’s ancient history,” one said.

AdNews contacted agencies in the pitch process but so far none wish to comment. 

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