Publication Details

McCombie, K. M. (2005). International harmonisation of accounting standards and the rhetoric of globalisation. Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference (pp. 1-30). Australia (on CD ROM): John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd.


This paper looks at the growing trend of calls for reform, under the guise of globalisation. Such calls are/have been made by the current Australian Federal Government (AFG) in their national policy setting role. What is relevant to this paper is the AFG’s involvement in accounting standard setting, and their push for International Harmonisation (IH) of Australian Accounting Standards (AAS), through full adoption of international accounting standards set by an international standard setting body. A chronology of Australia’s IH program will be explored, with particular emphasis on the AFG’s involvement. The intensity of their involvement will be shown to emerge around times when changes were being made in the international arena of accounting. In the early parts of the paper, a link to the view that globalisation is a new phenomenon, will be made regarding IH. Superficially this view appears to be supported by Australia’s IH. However, with further exploration, it will be argued that this view is a device of rhetoric used by the AFG to push their neo-liberal policies, and the hidden agenda of neo-classical economic rationalism. Such arguments are made through the views of an alternative position on globalisation, one that acknowledges globalisation as emerging in the 19th century, and one that argues that government involvement in regulation of financial reporting is deliberate and serves merely to reinforce the interests of capital, which has little to do with globalisation (Tabb, 1997).