Ches Baragwanath (2017)

Mr. Chesleigh (Ches) Antony Baragwanath, AO (the name is Cornish for “maker of bread”) was the Auditor-General of the State of Victoria from August 1988 to July 1999. During his term in office Mr. Baragwanath built a reputation as an aggressively independent Auditor-General.

The list of major events which occurred just prior to, or during, his term as Auditor-General indicates that Mr Baragwanath has worked through, perhaps, the most turbulent time ever In Victoria’s finances: the 1987 stock-market crash, the 1988 collapse of VEDC, the 1990-91 National Safety Council debacle, the Pyramid collapse, the State Bank sale, and the 1992 loans affair.

In 1990, he was voted “Accountant of the Year” by the magazine New Accountant, and was also recognised that year for his “Outstanding Achievement in Accountancy” by the Business Review Weekly magazine. The reason Mr Baragwanath created such a positive impact during his term in office was because he was known as an absolutely straight shooter and a thoroughly competent professional who called it as he saw it.

Before taking on the Auditor-General’s job, Mr Baragwanath had already chalked up more than 30 years in a public-sector auditing career. He started in 1952 as an audit clerk In the Victorian office of the Australian Audit Office, at the time still studying for his accounting degree. During the Vietnam War, he was sent in 1969 to the United States by the audit office to review contracts between the US and Australian defence departments involving the supply of military hardware. After stints in Canberra and the Northern Territory, he came to Victoria as the Internal Audit Manager with the State Electricity Commission. From there he moved to the Australian National Audit Office as Assistant Auditor-General, before he took up the role of Victorian State Auditor-General, which defined him.

In 2010, Mr. Baragwanath was appointed as a sessional Commissioner of the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation, i.e. the state’s gambling regulator. His commitment to objectivity and scrupulous decision-making made him a valuable contributor to having a strong and independent gambling regulator in Victoria.

Mr. Baragwanath is a Fellow, Chairman of the Audit Centre of Excellence and Past Victorian President, of CPA Australia. He was a member of the Commonwealth Electoral Redistribution committee and Honorary Treasurer of the Australian Red Cross.

The Institute of Certified Management Accountants is honoured to induct Mr. Ches Baragwanath to the Global Accounting Hall of Fame® for his services to the profession in Australia.

© Global Accounting Hall of Fame