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November 2015

Read in 148 Countries

30 November 2015
by Martin McKenzie-Murray

Peter Dutton’s contempt of court battle

Victoria’s Supreme Court will decide if Peter Dutton is wrongly depriving a man on a bridging visa of the right to a fair trial.

Kurt Esser and his client, Akuoch Akuoch, have wildly different histories, but those histories are for a time braided. Both men are involved in a legal case against the minister for immigration, Peter Dutton. It is a case that challenges executive power and the independence of courts and, if successful, will find Dutton in contempt of them. It is a little-known case, but with fascinating ramifications. [Read More...]

30 November 2015
by Alan Austin

Corruption and incompetence flourish under Turnbull Government

Clouds hang over several of Malcolm Turnbull key backers and ministerial appointments, especially Mal Brough and Arthur Sinodinos and Wyatt Roy

Events in November have reinforced the notion that the party of corruption, incompetence and criminality in Australia today is the Liberal Party.

A quiz question has bounced around the social media this month. Readers are invited to have a shot:

Over the last 30 months, since May 2013, 17 state or federal parliamentarians have been forced to resign from the executive or their party following allegations of illegal conduct. How many were Labor Party MPs?

(a) All 17.
(b) Eight, fewer than half.
(c) Only five.
(d) One.

Answers seem to vary with exposure to mainstream news reports, particularly on the trade union royal commission. Answers (a) and (b) are most popular among consumers of newspapers, and commercial radio and TV.

The correct answer is, in fact, (d) one. Of the last 17 state or federal MPs sinbinned, 15 are Liberal Party members. One is a National and one is Labor.
More on these delinquents shortly.

This is just one pointer to the reality that the party of corruption, incompetence and criminality in Australia today is the Liberal Party. At least seven other issues have emerged just this month. Each demands a full inquiry. [Read More...]

30 November 2015
by Jacob Greber

Australia drifting inexorably to bigger government on $120b budget blowout

"We're in this mad world, where the new Treasurer keeps up the old Hockey line that 'Australia does not have a revenue problem' while everyday coming out with new ideas on how to raise revenue.

A top budget expert warns Australia is inexorably drifting towards bigger government because the federal government appears unwilling to curb spending despite tax shortfalls that will contribute to $120 billion of budget deficits over the next four years. [Read More...]

30 November 2015
by Sally Patten

How can Scott Morrison claim $40,000 a year is enough to retire on?

Treasurer Scott Morrison's speech at last week's Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia's annual conference was nothing short of breathtaking.

For a conservative government to suggest that 70 per cent of average earnings – or less than $40,000 a year – is a sound benchmark for "adequacy" in retirement income is remarkable because virtually all the losers would be the inhabitants of the party's traditional support base. [Read More...]

27 November 2015
by Peter Whiteford

Is welfare sustainable?

Relentless: treasurer Scott Morrison (left) and social services minister Christian Porter have both described welfare spending as “unsustainable.”

Soon after he became social services minister in September, Christian Porter declared that he was on the “hunt for savings” in his portfolio and hinted that carer and disability payments may need to be cut to get the budget back to surplus. A few weeks later the Daily Telegraph likened the welfare system to “a ticking time bomb” and quoted the minister’s observation that it was in “urgent need” of reform. “Government modelling has revealed taxpayer-funded welfare spending in today’s dollars by 2026 will be $81 billion more than current tax revenue,” the paper reported. [Read More...]

26 November 2015
by Syd Hickman

The ALP disaster goes unnoticed

With many serious matters to consider, and some amusing sideshows, the failure of the Opposition has been ignored by the media.

Terrorism and our new PM's first meetings with foreign leaders have deserved attention.

Tony Abbott has been the best of the sideshows. He appears to believe he is now in his Churchillian 'wilderness years', waiting to be recalled to duty when the danger he has foreseen becomes obvious to all. Stand by for big cigars and watercolour painting. Perhaps he will buy a bulldog.

But the fact that Abbott and his dwindling fan club keep making Turnbull look wonderful just increases the need for the ALP to return the public's focus to the real world. [Read More...]

26 November 2015
by Reporter

Cruise giants meet in Sydney Harbour

P&O Cruises has made history in Sydney on Wednesday, staging an unprecedented five-ship spectacular to celebrate the arrival of its two latest cruise ships.
In preparation for the official naming of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, P&O's newly expanded fleet met for the first time at sunrise off the Sydney coastline, creating a V formation before sailing abreast in one line towards the city. [Read More...]

26 November 2015
by Latika Bourke

Clive Palmer revives explosive claims against Mal Brough over James Ashby affair

Mal Brough and Clive Palmer at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.

Mal Brough is under renewed pressure to explain his role in the torrid Peter Slipper affair, with Labor escalating its attack and Clive Palmer reviving sensational claims the Special Minister of State asked him to fund a $200,000 legal case to "destroy" his political rival.

Mr Palmer was a long-time member of and major political donor to the Liberal National Party before he quit in protest and formed the Palmer United Party.

Under parliamentary privilege, Mr Palmer told the House of Representatives on Wednesday that Mr Brough asked him in April 2012 to fund Mr Ashby's legal case, which he said to he understood to be worth around $200,000. [Read More...]

24 November 2015
by Jacob Greber

Stevens tells boomers to curb expectations.

5 things Glenn Stevens just told banking economists

The federal Treasury officially downgraded Australia's potential economic growth rate just as Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens told Baby Boomer shareholders to curb their expectations of ever-rising dividends.

In an acknowledgment that the below-par economic growth of the past three years will persist, the Treasury's top forecaster, Nigel Ray, said next month's budget update would assume long-term growth of 2.75 per cent, down from about 3 per cent. [Read More...]

25 November 2015
by Craig Murray

The Russian Plane Made Two Ten Second Transits of Turkish Territory

This is the official Turkish radar track of the Russian aircraft they shot down, in red. It briefly transited a tiny neck of Turkish land – less than two miles across where the Russian jet passed – twice. I calculate that each “incursion” over Turkish territory would have lasted about 10 seconds, assuming the plane was flying slowly at 600mph. That Turkey shot down the plane for this is madness, and absolutely indefensible. It is fairly obvious from the track that the plane was operating against Turkish sponsored Turkmen rebels inside Syria, and that is why the Turks shot it down.

But the inescapable conclusion is that the true madness would be for Australia to get involved in Syria and make a complex and volatile situation still worse, and risk being dragged into wider conflict.

24 November 2015
by Tony Burke MP

Tony Burke's GST speech takes aim at Turnbull Government

Tony Burke's House of Reps speech takes aim at the Turnbull Government labeling the GST hike "regressive" and "inflationary" and accusing them of only allowing discourse "if you don't have a view".

IT PAINS me to interrupt the member for Mitchell [Alex Hawke]. He was on a roll — an absolute roll.

I feel pity for them on that side because the government has come up with an argument that says:

'”We're having a conversation, but you're only a serious participant in the conversation if you don't have a view.”

That is effectively what the government is saying. The problem that those opposite have is that Labor has a very strong view on what happens if you expand the GST. [Read More...]

24 November 2015
by Latika Bourke

Bill Shorten to confirm Labor plan to increase tobacco taxes

A packet of smokes will cost $40.00

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will confirm on Tuesday that Labor would seek to increase taxes on tobacco if elected next year.

Three-quarters of the cost of a $40 packet of cigarettes would be tax under a future Labor government in a policy move Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will confirm on Tuesday. [Read More...]

21 November 2015
by Joachim Hagopian

Paris Attacks: Another False Flag? Sifting through the Evidence

What do the globalists do when they want to create, reignite and keep their war on terror fought indefinitely? They simply carry out a series of false flag attacks using Muslim terrorist stooges as their hired guns to do their damage. That’s what 9/11 was all about in the US, 7/7 in UK, the 3/11 train attack in Spain, the Hebdo Paris attack last January, and now this latest Paris encore reenactment part two.

In any unsolved crime the first question asked is who benefits by motive with an actual means to execute the crime? [Read More...]

21 November 2015
by David Sygall

Former All Blacks coach John Hart reveals Jonah Lomu's cause of death

RIP: Jonah Lomu, 1975-2015.

New Zealand rugby legend Jonah Lomu died from cardiac arrest related to his kidney condition, family spokesman and former All Blacks coach John Hart said.

At a press conference to announce funeral and ceremonial arrangements for Lomu, who died overnight on Tuesday, Hart revealed that Lomu's widow Nadene was struggling to come to grips with the sudden loss just a day after arriving back from Dubai following the Rugby World Cup in England. [Read More...]

20 November 2015
by Ben Eltham

After Going Hard On Union Corruption The Liberal Party Now Has Problems Of Its Own

In a different week, news that two key figures in the Liberal and Liberal-National parties are being investigated by police for fraud and official misconduct would be pretty big.
The details are not attractive. In Melbourne the former state director of the Victorian Liberal Party, Damien Mantach, is currently behind bars.

Mantach has been remanded in custody on multiple charges of fraud, totalling $1.5 million. Police allege Mantach swindled his own party to fund a lavish lifestyle, siphoning off funds to an account controlled by his wife. The fraud was discovered by Liberal factional supremo Michael Kroger, who called in the forensic accountants earlier this year. [Read More...]

20 November 2015
by ANR

21st Century Australia Political Party releases its 2016 Foreign Policy Position

One of Australia’s newest political parties that was denied from running in the 2013 Federal Elections at the last moment, but is now registered and able to run in the 2016 election has released its Foreign Policy position.

In light of the Paris attacks, maybe it’s time Australia has a real debate about its current foreign policy position, which leaves us exposed to attack. [Read More...]

20 November 2015
by Ben Potter

Huge NSW power station sold for less than a house

Two investors have just bought one of NSW largest coal-fired power stations for the price of a nice suburban house.

Brisbane-based energy consultant Trevor St Baker and coal baron Brain Flannery paid the princely sum of $1 million to the NSW government for the Vales Point power station. [Read More...]

19 November 2015
by Eva Cripps

Dutton has lost control.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has well and truly lost control of his portfolio. The past year alone provides a rich field of examples of Dutton’s incompetency. There are many instances which highlight the absurdity of his excuses, claims and justifications for the Coalition’s appalling policies. Yet despite a growing list of clear failures, there is a noticeable absence of demands for accountability. Dutton continues his awful attempts to defend the indefensible and the general public laps it up, convinced by the Government’s lies that it is all for the greater good. [Read More...]

19 November 2015
by Bob Ellis

Abbott's insane jihad

Tony Abbott: a few cartridges short of a full clip, says Bob Ellis

Abbott’s cry for an immediate Armageddon of the Christian states against the infidel Islamist beheaders of children would not be out of place in twelfth century Europe and leaves one to give thanks that he is no longer in charge of anything.

‘As long as some people fiercely believe,’ he wrote in The Australian yesterday, ‘that it’s morally right to to kill any and all who don’t share their warped view of Islam, the scale and spread of the carnage will be limited only by their access to weapons and their ability to deploy them.’

He then goes on to urge the killing of any or all who don’t share his warped view of Islam and his clamorous desire for boots on the ground in Turkey – where Anzacs haven’t been for a while – killing whom in their thousands will stop them killing us, Paris-fashion, here. [Read More...]

19 November 2015
by Adam Morton

Australia backs down on coal stand-off

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, left, with Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The two countries are the world's biggest coal exporters.

Australia has backed down from a climate change stand-off with the US and Japan, agreeing to a deal to cut funding for dirty coal-fired electricity by billions of dollars a year.

The agreement, backed by 34 wealthy countries, is expected to give a boost to the United Nations climate summit starting in Paris in 12 days. [Read More...]

19 November 2015
by Craig Murray

Thrashing Not Swimming

Malcolm Turnbull relies on the complicity of mainstream media and the gullibility and disinterest of the Australian public to get away with an extraordinary switch. Two years ago he was strongly urging military action in Syria against the forces of President Assad. Now he urges military action against the enemies of President Assad. That includes against groups and individuals who were initially armed and financed by western intelligence agencies, and are still being financed by our Saudi “allies”.

Indeed one of the many extraordinary features of this fervid political period is that the neo-cons (be they Lin/Nat or Labor) who are so actively beating the drum for war, are the ones who absolutely refuse to acknowledge that the source of the poison is Saudi Arabia. [Read More...]

18 November 2015
by John Kehoe

US 'stunned' by Port of Darwin sale to Chinese

Richard Armitage, a former United States Deputy Secretary of State, said he was "stunned" that Australia blindsided the US on a decision to allow a Chinese company with alleged links to the People's Liberation Army to lease the Port of Darwin.

"I couldn't believe the Australian defence ministry went along with this,"

Mr Armitage said in an interview. [Read More...]

17 November 2015
by Jeff Morris

Commonwealth Bank threw its customers 'under the bus'

The allegation against the bank was made by property developer Rory O'Brien.

Last Friday was a day of shame for Commonwealth Bank. Several "BankWest victims" related to a joint parliamentary committee the destruction of their businesses and lives at the hands of our biggest bank.

The BankWest saga is a story of a power imbalance so massive that even the legal system is made to serve the interests of the powerful rather than the wronged.

CBA is Australia's VW scandal with an extra letter. [Read More...]

17 November 2015
by Laura Tingle

US not consulted over Port of Darwin Chinese deal

Australia did not consult the United States about a decision to allow a Chinese company with links to the People's Liberation Army to lease the Port of Darwin for 99 years, intelligence sources say.

US officials only heard about the deal last month as they were returning from the annual Australia-US consultations on foreign affairs and defence. Darwin has become an important staging post for US Marine deployments in the region in the past three years. [Read More...]

17 November 2015
by Jill Margo

Witness to a World Cup charade: how Frank Lowy was played in Zurich

Frank Lowy, right, practicing his speech to the FIFA executive committee in his suite at the Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich. Pictured from left to right are Mark Ryan, Lowy advisor, Jill Margo, Stuart Taggart then FFA's World Cup bid, Phillip Noyce, Australian film maker directing the World Cup presentation, Andreas Abold, German consultant hired by Australia, and Mardi Rens, Lowy's personal assistant.

Exactly five years ago, as Australia's team was preparing to depart for the Fifa World Cup bidding season in Zurich, cameraman Paul Costello and I received good news.

Football Federation of Australia and Frank Lowy had agreed to allow us to film the last days of Australia's ambitious bid to host the 2022 cup.

It was quite a coup. There would be plenty of official footage but we would be in Lowy's hotel suite where his advisors, consultants and, later his sons, would meet to strategise and to hope. [Read More...]

13 November 2015
by Michael Gordon

Indigenous push for treaty gathers momentum

Aboriginal educational leader Chris Sarra is calling for a treaty between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

Aboriginal educational leader Chris Sarra has backed a treaty between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, saying constitutional recognition will never deliver the substance of a treaty.

The chairman and founder of the Stronger Smarter Institute has also welcomed Malcolm Turnbull's elevation, predicting that he will have a far more engaging approach to Indigenous policy development than Tony Abbott. [Read More...]

13 November 2015
by Phillip Coorey

Australia and Germany sign new tax treaty

Australia and Germany have signed a new treaty on tax in the first step towards growing trade and investment between the nations and improving the integrity of the tax system by clamping down on multinational tax evasion.

The deal was signed in Berlin by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and his German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble and replaces a double taxation agreement that has existed between the countries since 1972. [Read More...]

12 November 2015
by Joanna Mather

Coalition votes down its own tax bill

Labor claims: "Scott Morrison is so keen to help huge companies hide their tax affairs that he is now delaying his own multinational tax bill".

Laws to crack down on multinational tax avoidance have been thrown into uncertainty after the government voted down its own legislation.

The government is refusing to pass the tax avoidance bill after Labor, the Greens and cross-benchers banded together to force an amendment that would publicly disclose the tax affairs of all companies with turnover of $100 million. [Read More...]

12 November 2015
by ANR

Senator Sam Dastyari accused of being involved in dodgy union deals worth $270,000

Labor senator Sam Dastyari is accused of allowing over $270,000 AUD in union funds to be transferred to the account of a former state MP to supposedly “bring peace” between the ALP and the NSW branch of the discredited National Union of Workers, the trade union royal commission heard recently.

Former NSW Labor MP Paul Gibson exposed the Labor senator’s role while explaining why he had received $271,566 AUD from the NUW from 2012 to 2014. According to Mr Gibson, the NSW ALP and the union have not been on good terms for the past 25 years and his role was to ensure that both ALP and the union “worked together.” He also revealed that the payments were under a verbal arrangement with former NUW state secretary Derrick Belan, who was “probably backed” by Mr Dastyari to unite the parties, and was “very successful.” [Read More...]

12 November 2015
by Tess Lawrence

Mark Latham's clit baiting of Michelle Payne

Outspoken former Labor leader Mark Latham

Mark Latham's swipe at Michelle Payne over "etiquette" bespeaks the prejudice that still festers against women speaking their minds, writes contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.

GET STUFFED MARK LATHAM, your clit baiting is becoming tiresome. [Read More...]

11 November 2015
by Gabriela Motroc

Clive Palmer’s business group allegedly in deep water

It appears that 2015 may not be businessman-turned-politician Clive Palmer’s year.

According to a document signed by Clive Palmer, the owner of Mineralogy, and leaked to The Weekend Australian in early November, the businessman seeks an infusion of $2 million AUD in cash as quickly as possible. The director of Coeur de Lion Investments wants the cash in two tranches, of $1.2 million AUD and $800,000 AUD and demands the removal of the current directors from the controlling entity for the villas at the former Hyatt resort, now named the Palmer Coolum Resort, the appointment of new directors, the surrender of certain leases and the interruption of all litigation. [Read More...]

11 November 2015
by Nicky Davis

ABC loses child abuse victims' support after 'repulsive' Media Watch attack on Fiona Barnett

Nicky Davis: '... the ABC should not just apologise and make restitution to Fiona Barnett, but should also investigate the internal processes which allowed such a biased piece of propaganda to be produced and broadcast.'

Following ABC Media Watch's misleading and defamatory attack on child abuse victim and whistleblower Fiona Barnett last week, co-ordinator of child sexual abuse survivor advocacy group SNAP Australia, Nicky Davis, provides more detail about Media Watch's unethical reporting and demands the ABC make good. She says the ABC, via Media Watch, has lost the trust and support of the many thousands of Australian survivors of child sexual abuse by institutions and elite paedophile networks. [Read More...]

11 November 2015
by Fleur Anderson

Christopher Pyne sniffs a Labor leadership plot

Apart from his uncanny ability as "a fixer", Christopher Pyne can also detect a secret leadership change in his water, a hard-won superpower that comes with two decades of federal political experience.

Having survived the latest prime ministerial bloodletting, he reckons he can pick Labor backroom machinations from a mile away. [Read More...]

10 November 2015
by Giles Parkinson

US giant enters Australia market to take suburbs off the grid

The energy offshoot of US asset management giant Brookfield has signed a deal with property group LWP to build a new suburb near Newcastle that will not connect to the grid, in a move that could be a blueprint for more such development and shapes as one of the biggest challenges to the incumbent energy industry yet. [Read More...]

10 November 2015
by ANR

Leading Educator and Strategist slams Government Funded Education rorts as yet another example of Government waste

The Vocational Education sector has grown massively since the Rudd Government expanded the Vet fee loan scheme nationally for all array of courses without any safeguards.

Vet Fee loans allow students to be funded upfront by the Government, which doesn’t have to be repaid until they earn over $53,000 approximately per annum, which is then deducted from their taxes. Last year 203,000 students borrowed $1.7 billion and the number will go up to $2.75billion this year. [Read More...]

10 November 2015
by Latika Bourke

Labor to raise tobacco taxes, again, to pay for Gonski reforms

Smokers would be hit by another series of tax increases under the Labor plan.

Labor is planning to raise taxes on cigarettes if elected to pay for the so-called Gonski education reforms, potentially pitting a slug on smokers against any Coalition plan to increase the GST rate or impose it on fresh food. [Read More...]

09 November 2015
by Gareth Hutchens

Australia 'could be sued for billions' by foreign companies under TPP

Signatories to the TPP include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.

A leading expert on intellectual property has warned that Australian governments could be sued for billions of dollars by foreign companies under a controversial clause in a huge multilateral trade deal.

We could get sued for billions for making some change to mining law or fracking law or God knows what else.
Associate Professor Kimberlee Weatherall

The text of the long-awaited Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - a historic 12-country trade agreement between Pacific region nations, including Australia and the United States - was finally released. [Read More...]

09 November 2015
by Thom Mitchell

Turnbull’s Dirty Money Means Oz Won’t Be Taken Seriously At Paris Climate Talks, says 350.org

Climate advocacy group 350.org has demanded Malcolm Turnbull divest from ExxonMobil, which is under investigation for a climate change cover-up.

A leading environmental group has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ditch his investments in ExxonMobil, a company that’s under investigation by the New York Attorney General for allegedly covering up the truth about climate change for decades. [Read More...]

09 November 2015
by Chris Graham

Conditions On Manus And Nauru Are Suitable For Families, Says Julia Gillard

This is the Julia Gillard interview that all fans of Julia Gillard should watch.
Watching the former Australian Prime Minister try to explain away her “toxic and inhumane” policies towards refugees is something to behold. [Read More...]

08 November 2015
by John Kelly

Morrison’s Approaching Waterloo

It may be early days but Joe Hockey’s second and final attempt to bring down a credible budget appears to be unravelling already. Even on the night of his budget speech in May it was clear that his growth projections were far too optimistic.

It makes one wonder if the whole budget process was one started first by establishing a bottom line and then working backwards, fudging the figures necessary to substantiate it. [Read More...]

08 November 2015
by Mark Hawthorne

Jessica Mauboy's shoes highlight commercial world of Melbourne Cup

Jessica Mauboy breaks silence on anthem no-show

A miscommunication with the styling team is cited as being behind Jessica Mauboy's Melbourne Cup Day anthem no-show.
They were the shoes that stopped the anthem.

A branding spat between the Victoria Racing Club and singer Jessica Mauboy may have sparked the infamous national anthem no-show on Melbourne Cup Day but it was merely the climax of a series of sponsorship rows that simmered during this year's carnival. [Read More...]

07 November 2015
by Cara waters

Two Birds wins best beer at Wetherspoon's Real Ale festival

Danielle Allen, left and Jayne Lewis from Two Birds Brewing.

Spotswood craft brewery Two Birds Brewing has been awarded best beer at the Wetherspoons Real Ale festival in Britain this week.

Two Birds Brewing's Sunset Ale was selected by the judges ahead of more than 50 other beers from entrants from around the world including The Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, America and Guam. [Read More...]

07 November 2015
by Prof. Paddy Dewan

Putting children at risk: The story of Liam and our healthcare system

Dr Mclee Matthew and Dr Dewan operating in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea in 2014. Both are wearing a traditional PNG Highlands hat, a tradition started during Dr Dewan’s first visit to PNG in 1993. Dr Matthew is the first PNG Paediatric Surgeon.

Paediatric surgeon Professor Paddy Dewan relates the saga of yet another victim of our failing healthcare system.

THE NATIONAL health regulator (AHPRA) was presented with 98 scenarios in 2004, a submission that was intended to raise concerns about the pattern of behavior that was highlighted in the last two presentations, namely dubious clinical decision-making — more importantly, disregard for families and their children.

The following story is unbelievable, but true and was an additional case of concern; one of more than 25 cases that pertained to one surgeon’s under performance in the 2004 submission to AHPRA. When I presented the story to a group of Australian surgeons (pretending I was responsible for the initial poor care), they were like a pack of hungry wolves but when I revealed I was not involved in the ridiculous decision-making, without naming the perpetrators, the group was instantaneously transformed into a silent, spineless, disappointing, unethical, conspiratorial collective. [Read More...]

07 November 2015
by Martin McKenzie-Murray

Michelle Payne inspires but fog of sleaze surrounds horseracing

There were more nerves than usual on Melbourne Cup eve 2015. Animal rights activists were coalescing, a thick strip of the Flemington track was rated inferior, and recently the home of Racing Victoria’s chief steward was shot up by thugs. This had been a year when the infamously enclosed racing industry was undermined by rolling allegations of doping, race fixing and money laundering – while a Four Corners investigation revealed systemic barbarism within the sister industry of greyhound racing. Above the bright dresses and tight suits, the marquees stuffed with caviar and Mumm, one might have detected a fog of sleaze. [Read More...]

06 November 2015
by ANR

Every Icelander will receive about US$232,802 for the sale of one of the country’s three largest banks, Islandsbanki.

Icelandic Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson

Creditors of the failed bank proposed the nationalisation of Islandsbanki, in which they hold a majority stake. The move will help Iceland lift capital controls imposed after the 2008 financial meltdown and will give Icelanders a fair share of the failed bank’s sale.

Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson announced in late October that the government will take “some decided portion, five per cent, and simply hand it over to the people of this country.” Icelanders took control of their government, so they now own the banks. [Read More...]

06 November 2015
by Dr. Glenn Davies

Turnbull axes Abbott's Knights and Dames

The first significant policy change for the Turnbull Government is to call it a knight on titles. In abolishing the titles of Knight and Dame from the Order of Australia awards, Turnbull has helped the recent growth of the movement for an Australian republic, writes history editor Dr Glenn Davies.

THE FORMAL removal by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of one of Tony Abbott’s most unpopular “captain’s picks” resolves a national embarrassment. Turnbull has confirmed there will be no more anachronistic Australian knights and dames. [Read More...]

06 November 2015
by Stephen Lacey

St Agnes Brandy XO wins best in class at Hong Kong spirits competition

The winning St Agnes XO Imperial (right), with the original 15-year-old (left), and 40-year-old Grand Reserve (centre).

St Agnes XO 20-year-old Imperial was awarded the trophy for Best Brandy at the prestigious Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Competition held on Wednesday night.

The XO Imperial was one of two new premium releases from the South Australian distillery this year, along with the XO Grand reserve 40 Year Old. Both had already picked up double gold at the 2015 Melbourne International Spirits Competition in July. [Read More...]

06 November 2015
by Stefan Wermuth

New Zealand publishes TPP trade deal text online

The New Zealand government has released the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement. This is the first time the controversial deal has been published online, a month after it was officially agreed.

The New Zealand authorities say the agreement will continue to undergo legal review.

The TPP, headed by the US and including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, has been widely criticized for being surrounded with secrecy and reached behind closed doors. [Read the TPP and More, HERE]

05 November 2015
by ANR

Land banking Investors fight back with a victory over ASIC and Fairfax Media’s agenda to cause them unnecessary losses

Investors in a Bendigo land banking project have sent a clear message to the ASIC and Fairfax Media, asking them to back off and stop deliberately trying to destroy their investments to deceive the government in the process.

Option Holders in Hermitage Project voted against liquidation on Wednesday Oct 21st in the Melbourne Federal Court. The project can now go ahead and option holders can profit as planned. [Read More...]

05 November 2015
by John McDuling

Tesla gears up for Australia's electricity market

Tesla is set to make its mark in Australia - but electric cars may not be its biggest product.

Elon Musk's iconic electric car marker Tesla Motors reported results on Wednesday morning our time, and Wall Street loved them.

The company delivered a record 11,603 units of its Model S sportscar during the quarter and said it is on track with the release of its Model X SUV later this year. The company's shares have shot up by more than 10 per cent in after hours trading. [Read More...]

05 November 2015
by Gareth Hutchens

GST hike to hit poor hard and leave rich unscathed, research shows

Cassandra Goldie of ACOSS says increasing the GST should not be a starting point for tax reform.

Malcolm Turnbull's task of convincing wary state governments and Senate crossbenchers to back a GST increase has been made more difficult by new research showing it would have a severe impact on the least well-off but leave wealthier households unscathed.

Lifting the GST to 15 per cent would hit low-income households hard but its negative effects would go almost unnoticed by those at the top end of society, new modelling of the proposed changes has revealed. [Read More...]

04 November 2015
by ANR

Australian car owners file lawsuit against VW, Audi

Australian car owners have launched a local lawsuit against Volkswagen and Audi over the emissions-rigging scandal.

Australian firm Bannister Law has filed two class actions in the federal court on behalf of an estimated 91,000 car owners whose diesel vehicles contain secret engine software. Principal Charles Bannister said in a statement on Monday that “the customer may be entitled to a refund of the purchase” if the firm can prove that “in supplying cars containing the defeat device, the statutory guarantee was not complied with.” Mr Bannister claimed that people should be compensated because the value of their vehicles “has been diminished through no fault of their own,”. [Read More...]

04 November 2015
by John Passant

Raising the GST will hurt workers and the poor: There are other, fairer options

If everything is on the table, rather than raising the GST to 15% and further increasing inequality, Malcolm Turnbull has a range of other options to help resolve Australia's current fiscal imbalance, writes John Passant.

When it comes to tax, nothing is off the table, according to the new prime minister and the gabble of turkey gobblers masquerading as economic ministers in his Government. [Read More...]

04 November 2015
by Marianna Papadakis

Gina Rinehart refuses to hand over documents

Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart is refusing to hand over documents to her eldest children in court proceedings over a $5 billion family trust, claiming they were part of private communications with her lawyers, a court has heard.

The documents Mrs Rinehart has sought to protect include communications with two of her former barristers Allan Myers, QC, and John Gilmour, who is now a Federal Court judge, as well as Perth law firm Sceales. [Read More...]

03 November 2015
by Crispin Hull

History made but speeches missed it

Michelle Payne, who rode Prince of Penzance, holds up the cup after winning the 2015 Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Not since 1977 – almost 40 years ago – has a governor-general performed so poorly at the Melbourne Cup.

In 1977 Sir John Kerr got a bit plastered and was out of control.

Not so in 2015. Sir Peter Cosgrove was in total control. So much in control that he was utterly controlled by what seemed to be a pre-prepared speech. [Read More...]

03 November 2015
by Saffron Howden

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji renounces citizenship to reclaim Australia

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji is the foreign minister of Yidindji sovereign nation, an Indigenous tribal group that has renounced ties with Australia.

A small Aboriginal tribal group that has established its own government and renounced legal ties with Australia aims to make history by entering into the first Indigenous treaty with the Commonwealth. [Read More...]

03 November 2015
by Phillip Coorey

Labor frontbench splits over Senate voting changes

Labor frontbencher Gary Gray supports a deal between the government and Greens to change electoral laws and stop fringe parties gaming Senate preferences because it would force a divided Labor Party to decide where it stands.

Mr Gray, the shadow special minister of state, supports in their entirety the recommendations by the parliament's joint standing committee on electoral matters that would ensure a candidate could not win a Senate spot with only a very small primary vote. [Read More...]

03 November 2015
by Ben Potter

COAG Energy Council monitors 'colossal experiment' in SA power market

State energy ministers are monitoring instability in South Australia's renewable energy-dependent electricity market, which experts fear could spread to other states as their share of wind and solar power increases.

Heavy industrial users of electricity in South Australia have been hit with huge rises in wholesale electricity prices in recent months as some coal-fired generators have withdrawn from the market and the Heywood interconnector with Victoria's brown coal generators has been out of action while it's capacity is upgraded. [Read More...]

02 November 2015
by Roswell

Bob Katter nails it: we are being deceived about the FTA with China

Bob Katter: Federal Member for Kennedy

Bob Katter is a man I’ve never paid much attention to. He’s on the other side of the country and might as well be on the other side of the planet as far as I’m concerned. But when a friend sent me the link to Katter’s speech in Parliament last week on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement I sat up and took notice. It’s a gem. It sparkled. You need to see it.

Here it is: [Read More...]

02 November 2015
by Giles Parkinson

Networks to spend another $50bn on Australia’s dumb and dumber grid

Australian electricity consumers face no relief from their soaring electricity bills, with energy regulators allowing the country’s electricity networks to spend another $50 billion on poles and wires in the next five years.

The decisions – some of them final and some of them draft determinations – will take the total spending on Australia’s networks from 2000 to 2020 to more than $130 billion.

This cost has and will be passed on to consumers – reducing what was once Australia’s competitive advantage of cheap power – although some big businesses will be able to duck the network costs because of favourable deals with utilities. [Read More...]

02 November 2015
by Gabriela Motroc

Private Sydney college accused of recruiting illiterate and disabled students

A private Sydney college is being accused of recruiting disabled and illiterate students to collect thousands of dollars in loans to finance courses they were not told they were being signed up for, according to documents lodged in the federal court.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission joined forces with the NSW Fair Trading Department and launched an investigation against the Unique International College in Sydney’s western suburbs. According to the inquiry, the private college engaged in “unconscionable conduct” in convincing students to sign up for courses worth up to $25,000 AUD. [Read More...]

02 November 2015
by Laura Tingle

Government leaves open 15 per cent GST, base broadening possibility

The federal government has left open the possibility that it will increase the GST to 15 per cent, and broaden its base to include fresh food, education and health, as it insists any change in the tax will be the result of collaboration with the states and will not involve any overall increase in the tax burden.

Responding to weekend reports of four GST options under consideration by the Abbott government, senior ministers did not dismiss the options out of hand. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull officially confirmed last week that a higher GST was an option on the table. [Read More...]

01 November 2015
by Peter Ker

US miner Cliffs Natural Resources links iron exports to China's advance in South China Sea

US miner Cliffs has linked Australian iron ore exports to China's moves on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

US miner Cliffs Natural Resources has escalated its critique of Australian iron ore miners, accusing them of supplying China with the materials to launch its territorial advances into the South China Sea.

In another emotive attack on iron ore exporters such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, Cliffs chairman and chief executive, Lourenco Goncalves, said the miners were supplying China "to become an enemy" [Read More...]

01 November 2015
by Lucille Keen

Australia Post wants drones to deliver to your door

Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour, left, and University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Glyn Davis with drone technology.

A trial of parcel deliveries by drone will be kicked off by Australia Post next year.

Chief executive Ahmed Fahour​ told AFR Weekend drones were not gimmicks and the company had already begun testing deliveries using the new technology. [Read More...]