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Lawyers' IBM 'picnic' would have lasted years, hears inquiry

By James Barnes

28 May 2013 at 11:24 BST

Australian lawyers could have dined on taxpayers' money for years if any attempt was made by the Queensland State Government to take IBM to court following the collapse of a payroll contract, an inquiry has heard.

Queensland: nice place for a picnic

The Health Payroll Inquiry heard that the state relinquished its rights to pursue IBM in 2010 after collapse of the health payroll contract to avoid a ‘picnic’ for lawyers, reports the Herald Sun.

System collapse

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh confirmed it was a difficult decision but she believed one made in the best interests of the state, adding ‘I assume that, as is always the case in a settlement, people generally have to give up some things they don't want.’
The AU$5 million inquiry is probing the outsourcing contract won by tech giant IBM in 2007 which included the health payroll - then flagged as an AU$6 million component of the deal.


Queensland’s Liberal National Party Government estimates that the collapse of the system – due to massive underpayments to health staff – cost the state well over AU$1 billion.
Clayton Utz lawyer Jeremy Charlston, who helped negotiate terms of the settlement when the firm was hired by the Government, said any move to pursue IBM in the courts would have taken years.


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