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April 2016

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30 April 2016
by Mike Seccombe

The failed state of PNG

When it is put to one Papua New Guinea old hand that the country seems perilously close to becoming a failed state, he demurs forcefully.

“It is not close to being a failed state,” he says. “It is a failed state, and has been for some years.

“Within government the struggle between good and evil is over. It is now a kleptocratic government. The only struggle is over who gets how much. There is theft on a scale that has no parallels outside Africa.” [Read More...]

30 April 2016
by Dee Mabsout


Dee Mabsout

The silence of the western masses regarding the blood bath in Syria, Libya. Iraq and Yemen is unusual. This silence gives license to the respective European governments and to USA to continue their military intervention in the different countries and the slaughter of the Arab people.

The only event that caused the European masses to act was the flow of refugees to European countries under Turkey's pressure. The Europeans became divided over this mater - in support of hosting the refugees or against it - without taking notice of the fact that the best way to stop this flow of refugees was to stop the war itself.

But the Europeans seem unaware of the fact that it is their governments that are starting these wars in the respective countries. [Read More...]

30 April 2016
by John Kelly

A Collective of Idiots

Three important articles have been published this month that highlight the declining state of the Australian economy. Despite the rhetoric from leading government members, things are not as they say. The fact that we have heard almost nothing about these disturbing trends in the main news cycle is more than a little concerning.

One of Professor Bill Mitchell’s daily blogs this week paints a depressing picture. Crickey challenges the Treasurer Scott Morrison’s honesty and his competence and Roy Morgan Research reveals the true state of unemployment. In all probability, only a small percentage of Australians even noticed them.

The CPI figures released earlier this week tell us we recorded a quarter of deflation. Which means we are going backwards. Bill Mitchell had this to say about it…. [Read More...]

30 April 2016
by Phillip Coorey

Turnbull's 'substance' experiment is over

Anyone who doubts Malcolm Turnbull's resolve to tough out the Manus Island debacle should hark back to his period as opposition leader.

It was Turnbull in late 2009 who held the blowtorch to Kevin Rudd once the consequences of Labor's stupidity in dismantling the Howard government's asylum policy began to manifest itself. As has been well documented, it was Rudd's inability to resolve the stand-off with Indonesia regarding 78 asylum seekers aboard the Australian Customs Vessel, the Oceanic Viking, that was the beginning of the end of his leadership.

Day after day, Turnbull would tear apart a hapless Rudd in Question Time and Rudd would just play a dead bat. Asked one day why he didn't engage, a staffer said: "That would ensure it got on the six o'clock news. [Read More...]

29 April 2016
by Michael Koziol

Australia's first nuclear waste dump to be located on former Liberal senator's land

Barndioota Station near Quorn in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Australia's first nuclear waste dump will be located in a remote part of South Australia, on land partly owned by a former Liberal senator.

Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg confirmed the government's intention to acquire 100 hectares of Barndioota station, 130 kilometres north-east of Port Augusta, for the storage of low-level and intermediate radioactive waste.

It followed four months of community consultation and an expert panel assessment of six shortlisted sites around the country, voluntarily nominated by their owners. Three of the potential sites were in SA, while there was one each in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory. [Read More...]

29 April 2016
by John Lord

A Government in disarray

1 On the eve of the 2016/17 Budget the Turnbull Government finds itself in disarray. Next Tuesday the Treasurer must perform a feat of economic dexterity that seems beyond him. The deficit will have blown out largely because of the Government’s own spending yet it says spending is the problem. Yes, revenue has nothing to do with it. So on Tuesday Morrison will have to produce a budget that is both good for the nation and good for his party’s chances of re-election. Impossible in my view.

2 And on the eve of the election Malcolm Turnbull looks set to have, with Tuesday’s ruling by Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court on Manus Island, his own Tampa moment. [Read More...]

29 April 2016
by John Passant

Has the time come to criminalise tax avoidance?

Has the time come to consider criminalising tax avoidance and making boards and senior officers liable for prison sentences, asks former ATO Assistant Commissioner, John Passant.

IN A SPEECH in 2013, Barack Obama labelled inequality “the defining challenge of our time”.

Oxfam has argued that 85 people own as much of the world’s wealth as the bottom 50%, i.e. about 3.5 billion people. In Australia, according to ACOSS, there are about 2.5 million Australians living in poverty, including over 660,000 children. [Read More...]

29 April 2016
by Waleed Aly

The monstrous failure of our bipartisan asylum seeker policy

‘Stopping the boats’ was a bipartisan policy and both sides of politics are responsible for its monstrous outcomes.

Perhaps the most stupefying aspect of our asylum seeker debate is that we call it a debate in the first place. It's not. It's a complete political consensus. Our current policies are a bipartisan concoction; the result of years of mutual posturing, outflanking and then outbidding. "You're banishing asylum seekers to detention centres in the Australian desert? Fine, we'll send them to Nauru for processing!" "You're still resettling them here? We'll banish them forever!" "Oh yeah? We'll get an army general to do it!" And so on. [Read More...]

29 April 2016
by Peter Brent

An early victory in the next carbon war

Seeing off the sizzle: Labor leader Bill Shorten (left) with shadow environment minister Mark Butler and shadow financial services minister Jim Chalmers during a visit to the University of Queensland Solar Research Facility at Gatton this week.

By taking the initiative on the dreaded three-letter word, Labor has scored an important win.

Federal Labor has released its climate change policy for the election, or at least an outline, and in one crucial respect the opposition can declare mission accomplished.

Its big win was in the battle over terminology. Leader Bill Shorten and environment spokesman Mark Butler were at pains to point out that this is not a “tax” but an emissions trading scheme. And it has been generally reported in the media as such.

The importance of this early semantic victory can’t be overstated. [Read More...]

29 April 2016
by Esther Han

'Project Mastermind': Colgate colluded with rivals and Woolworths to rip you off

Omo laundry powder is one of the brands alleged to have been involved as part of the cartel.

Household name Colgate has been found guilty of conspiring with two rivals and supermarket giant Woolworths to manipulate the laundry detergent market and rip off customers, in what its executives called "project mastermind".

The Federal Court on Thursday slapped an $18 million penalty on Colgate-Palmolive, saying it breached Australia's competition laws in its attempts to limit the supply and control the price of detergents.

Colgate-Palmolive is slammed with the equal third biggest penalty for cartel conduct in Australian history. Vision courtesy Seven News Melbourne Colgate had entered into a cartel arrangement in 2008-09 with competitors Unilever and Cussons, with the co-operation of Woolworths, to phase out standard concentrated laundry detergents by a certain date and bring in ultra concentrates, the court found. [Read More...]

28 April 2016
by Atreyee Chowdhury

Australian tech entrepreneurs strike it rich despite odds

Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar

Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar started a business with modest beginnings. All they had was a AUD 10,000 credit-card to fund their business when they started it in 2002. The two were university mates and decided to start a business of their own. The venture soon spread out into a big one.

GQ Australia said that during the initial days of the business, the founders conducted business with overseas clients during house parties at a shared terrace in inner-Sydney. However, their modest endeavours paid off and the two have become one of the most successful tech entrepreneurs Australia has ever produced. Their company, Atlassian, offers a suite of products that aim to achieve increased, streamlined productivity and communication. According to Cannon-Brookes, “We make and sell software products, packaged or sold online, to help people be more creative.” The modest business of 2002 has over the years made both its founders billionaires. [Read More...]

28 April 2016
by AAP

Australian coach Shane Sutton quits role with British Cycling team over harassment allegations

Stepping aside: Shane Sutton.

Amid allegations of discrimination and bullying, experienced Australian cycling coach Shane Sutton stepped down from his role with British Cycling barely three months out from the Rio Olympics.

Sutton, who joined the British Cycling set up in 2002, has been credited with playing a major role in developing the sport in the UK as head coach before taking over as technical director in 2014. [Read More...]

28 April 2016
by David Wroe

Submarine deal: Christopher Pyne wrongly claims Defence made call on all-Australian build

Building all 12 boats in Adelaide shores up the government's political prospects in Christopher Pyne's home state of South Australia.

Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has wrongly claimed that the decision to build all 12 new submarines in Adelaide – which is expected to save Coalition seats in South Australia – was based on a recommendation from the Defence Department.

Defence recommended that either an all-Australian build or a so-called "hybrid build" in which the first boat or two is constructed in France, would be acceptable.

The all-Australian build goes against the preference of the French company that has been selected as the partner on the $50 billion project. DCNS has said it would be quicker to construct the first boat or two in France before shifting operations to Australia. [Read More...]

28 April 2016
by Jacob Greber

Reserve Bank on collision course with Morrison after deflation shock

The Reserve Bank of Australia might intrude on the Turnbull government's crucial pre-election budget on Tuesday, with an interest rate cut that could trigger alarm about the health of the economy.

Financial markets were left reeling after official data showed the economy was in a deflation-like state last quarter, thanks to plunging global oil prices and lacklustre wages growth.

In a fresh sign the economy might be far more fragile than official Treasury and Reserve Bank forecasters assume, consumer prices shrank 0.2 per cent from the December quarter, for an annual increase of 1.3 per cent. It was the weakest core inflation on record. [Read More...]

27 April 2016
by Fleur Anderson

Election 2016: Refugee headache after PNG court decision

Australia has been dealt an election-eve headache over its asylum-seeker policy after the PNG's Supreme Court declared the 15-year-old Manus Island detention centre illegal, also casting doubt over the government's $1.2 billion contract to centre operator Broadspectrum, formerly Transfield Services.

The Manus Island detention centre has been used by Coalition and Labor governments as an offshore processing system since the Howard government established it in partnership with the PNG government in 2001. [Read More...]

27 April 2016
by Michael Galvin

Negatively geared houses for one-year-old babies? Malcolm Turnbull is a dill

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has, again, showed himself to be a colossal, irresponsible, dangerous dill over his negative gearing attacks on Labor, writes Michael Galvin.

According to a recent media report, nearly 3 million voters have changed their minds about Malcolm Turnbull in the seven months since he became prime minister. It is almost certain that the votes that determine the outcome of the July 2 election will come from that cohort. [Read More...]

27 April 2016
by RT

Russian immigrant becomes owner of Australia’s most expensive property

Apartment units and waterfront houses are seen on the harbour in Sydney

An immigrant from Russia who at one time delivered pizza and is now a wealthy businessman has paid $80 million for a cluster of four homes in Sydney’s prestigious Coolong Road. Leon Kamenev paid a record price for a piece of property in Australia.

According to Australia’s real estate website, the four properties cover 4,270 square meters, and Kamenev wants to knock them down and build his own private mansion. [Read More...]

26 April 2016
by Tom Richardson

Subs celebration: 'Adelaide built, Australian made, Australian jobs, Australian steel'

The French Shortfin Barracuda submarine, designed by DCNS.

After years of prevarication, South Australia has finally been confirmed as the building hub for the nation's $50 billion Future Submarines, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today announcing the design contract has been awarded to French bidder DCNS.

“Australia’s future fleet of submarines, 12 regionally superior submarines, will be built here at Osborne in South Australia,” Turnbull said around 11.30am.

“This is securing the future of Australia’s navy for decades to come.
[Read More...]

26 April 2016
by Phillip Coorey

Double tax cut for best paid in federal budget

The highest-paid Australians are set to receive two income tax cuts in next week's federal budget, setting the scene for a intense battle with Labor, which believes scarce revenue should be skewed towards boosting services and helping people on lower incomes.

As well as honouring a promise to next year abolish the so-called temporary deficit levy, a 2 percentage point tax increase imposed on earnings over $180,000, the government will raise the $80,001 income tax threshold margin above which each dollar earned is currently taxed at 37¢. [Read More...]

26 April 2016
by Atreyee Chowdhury

Bob Katter commits political suicide with the ludicrous banning of Uber

Authorities in Queensland are continuing with their crackdown on Uber’s services with fines being hiked for drivers violating recently-modified laws. As per the new law, drivers caught driving for the ride-sharing service would be fined heavily.

New rules were passed which would fine Uber drivers up to AUD 2,356 if caught driving for the ride-sharing service in Queensland. The effects of the modified law continued to affect people after harsher penalties were passed by the Queensland Parliament. Meanwhile, the government, which opposed the laws, warned that LNP-supported amendments to the bill could make even chartered buses and limousines illegal, provided they do not have a taxi license. [Read More...]

26 April 2016
by AFL

AFL Ladder After Round 5

25 April 2016

25 April 2016
by Paul Toohey

Entire suburbs wired to blow: Australian troops find 'industrial scale' minefields in Iraq

​It is well understood that the Islamic State is a new kind of enemy, but the head of the Australian forces at Iraq's Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, describes a new kind of war - albeit one with echoes to the past.

"The enemy is laying IEDs here on an industrial scale," says Colonel Gavin Keating, who is leading 300 Australians and 100 New Zealanders on a mission to refine the warfare skills of the Iraqi Security Forces. [Read More...]

25 April 2016
by Sean Hosking

How John Howard Made It Impossible For The Liberal Party To Govern

Former PM John Howard

The Coalition’s current turbulence is often contrasted with the supposedly stable years of the Howard government. But almost a decade after his demise, the Battler of Bennelong has cursed his own Party. The more the Liberals mythologise and attempt to emulate John Howard, the harder it will become to clean up the mess he left them in, writes Sean Hosking.

The recent celebration of the 20-year anniversary of the election of the Howard government offered a rare occasion for the Liberal Party to bask in the glow of what some have represented as a golden age of political governance in Australia. The night was distinguished by lashings of Champaign, vigorous back slapping, and Peter Costello’s smirk, which hadn’t had such a good night out since budget night 2007. [Read More...]

24 April 2016
by Jeremy Buckingham

“Bloody crazy”: River near fracking site bursts into flames in Australia

A Queensland river near a fracking site exploded into flames after a coal seam gas (CSP) protester sparked a kitchen lighter above the water surface. Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham uploaded dramatic footage of the river ablaze to his website and social media accounts to highlight his party’s concerns about fracking and the extraction of coal seam gas.

The video shows the New South Wales Greens MP ignite the fire on the Condamine river and then jump up in shock, exclaiming: “Holy f***! Unbelievable – a river on fire!” [Read More...]

23 April 2016
by Karen Middleton

Pauline Hanson's senate chances aided by voting reforms

Pauline Hanson says she’s not one to seek congratulations.

The former federal member of parliament is claiming credit for this week’s abolition of the Road Safety Review Tribunal, protecting owner-truck drivers from a pay-rise order they argued could send them broke.

“I’ve never been one saying I want a pat on the back for this,” Hanson tells The Saturday Paper. “It’s about making a difference.”

Hanson says she raised the issue weeks ago. And this voice of politics past, hoping to return, has some powerful backing.

Broadcaster Alan Jones also credits Hanson – and himself – for the tribunal’s abolition, after she phoned his program on April 1 from the truckies’ annual Burrumbuttock Hay Run, delivering hay to drought-stricken Queensland farmers. [Read More...]

23 April 2016
by Paul Bongiorno

Turnbull leaves nation in twilight zone before election call

Few in the parliament share the prime minister’s view that he hasn’t taken the nation into a twilight zone. We are in the half-light of an election date that has been set by a government that refuses to believe it has triggered an election campaign. Malcolm Turnbull is trying to have it both ways. He says, “We are governing, we have a lot of decisions to make, not the least of which is the budget.” No caretaker can bring down a budget. Technically true, but it looks like that’s just what it is.

His treasurer, Scott Morrison, has no illusions that this year’s fiscal manifesto has been given the highest degree of difficulty. He told the party room this is no “normal or typical budget” but a “jumpoff point for a federal election”. And it will be delivered in the overheated furnace that is a general election. After faffing around with the constitutional niceties, Turnbull belatedly fired the starter’s gun in parliament when goaded by Labor’s Bill Shorten. “After the budget I will advise the governor-general to dissolve both houses of parliament and I will advise him to call an election on the 2nd of July.” [Read More...]

22 April 2016
by Michael Koziol

Sophie Mirabella denies shoving Indi rival Cathy McGowan, says government pulled $10m hospital funding

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former MP Sophie Mirabella in Canberra last weekend.

It has been an eventful and perhaps ominous start to the unofficial election campaign in the knife-edge Victorian seat of Indi, where former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella is trying to snatch back her old electorate from independent Cathy McGowan.

What started with reports of shoving at the opening of a nursing home has turned into a showdown on national television, replete with accusations of reverse pork-barrelling and voter blackmail. [Read More...]

22 April 2016
by Katharine Murphy

Coalition to create public register to reveal true owners of shell companies

The assistant treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer, says a register of shell company owners will make it “much easier to disrupt illicit financial flows” and “much, much harder to engage in tax avoidance”.

The Turnbull government will create a public register revealing the identities of the beneficial owners of shell companies in an effort to quell mounting public outrage about multinational tax avoidance in the countdown to the federal election.

The creation of the register – which will be announced within weeks ahead of an international tax avoidance and evasion summit convened by the UK prime minister, David Cameron, in London in mid-May – will bring Australia into line with G20 commitments on transparency. [Read More...]

22 April 2016
by Craig Murray

Why There Is So Much Trouble in Yemen.

I always wondered why and who was causing so much trouble in Yemen, considering that she has so little oil of her own. It turns out there are two reasons.

The UK government insists on continuing the massive supply – £2.8 billion since the start of the attack – of high tech weapons for Saudi Arabia to use against civilians in Yemen, despite opposition from the EU Parliament and every major human rights group. Furthermore UK special forces are operating inside Yemen in support of the onslaught. Thousands of civilians have died as a result, including many children. [Read More...]

21 April 2016
by Urban Wrongski

Turnbull has no intention of cleaning up banking.

“Not all bankers are greedy, profiteering, heartless bastards” says the PM, airing his fabled diplomatic charm and finely nuanced business skills after the cheese and port at the Westpac Bank 199th birthday bash, 6 April, “but those who aren’t should blow the whistle on those who are.”

As with many of the PM’s recent homilies, it is a bizarre tack to take. Not that it is all up to the banks themselves to clean up their acts. ASIC MKII with extra funds will help keep our banking industry’s usurers and loan-sharks on the straight and narrow. [Read More...]

21 April 2016
by Kate M

The LNP: Keep your voters close. Keep your Big Donors closer.

As the campaign for a Australia’s Federal election on July 2nd kicked off in earnest this week, we’ve been hearing two key messages from the LNP:

Message one: We need to save the Construction sector
Message two: Leave the Banking and Financial Services sector alone

Both these messages are unpopular with around two thirds of Australians – making them strange choices to open a campaign with. But are they? [Read More...]

21 April 2016
by Patricia Eisele

Prisons of silence: the dark side of the Australian disability support system

Australia is poised to spend $22 billion a year to support persons with disabilities in their quest to lead productive lives under the new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). On paper, the program appears to be progressive and generous. However, it already contains the seeds of failure – an existing, ingrained culture of family disability fraud and embezzlement that has been operating openly and arrogantly in Australia for years.

What taxpayers don't know is that a predecessor program – the Individual Support Package (ISP) program administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) – has already become an easy target for family rorters to divert tens of thousands of dollars into their personal coffers. Non-disabled family members are laughing all the way to the bank, knowing they have figured out how to live off the disability packages – and circumvent anyone who tries to intervene, including the government agencies who provide the funding. [Read More...]

21 April 2016
by Aaron Tucker

Medicare: We can do better

As the Federal Government's proposed cuts to Medicare loom, our public health services need to be protected and funded "like they are responsible for saving our lives.

It's the middle of the night and your phone rings. Your heart sinks when you hear the news. Your son is in hospital after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. [Read More...]

21 April 2016
by Martin Chulov

Australian mother and TV crew released in Lebanon kidnap case

Sally Faulkner, the mother of the two Australian children, sits in a minivan after she released from a Lebanese jail with the three members of Channel 9 Australian TV.

Sally Faulkner, the Australian mother at the centre of a botched child recovery operation, journalist Tara Brown and three television crew members have been released from a Beirut jail after a deal was struck to dismiss kidnapping charges against them in exchange for compensation.

However, the British “child recovery agent” Adam Whittington and two others implicated in the alleged attempt to kidnap Faulkner’s two children from her estranged Lebanese husband will remain in custody. [Read More...]

20 April 2016
by Paul Karp

Greens leader says $14m Brickworks grant shows need for federal Icac

Greens leader Richard Di Natale speaking in the Senate on Monday. The party has released budget office figures that show a federal Icac would cost $47.5m to establish.

The Greens leader Richard Di Natale has gone on the front foot about the need for a national anti-corruption body by highlighting the fact a significant donor to the Liberal party received $14m under a carbon scheme which was later axed by the Abbott government.

But a Greens motion to establish a national anti-corruption watchdog was defeated in the Senate on Tuesday evening. [Read More...]

20 April 2016
by Phillip Coorey

Australia to go to the polls on July 2 after Senate gives Malcolm Turnbull DD trigger

Australians will go to the polls on July 2 in the first double dissolution election in almost three decades after the Senate refused to pass a key industrial relations bill designed to boost the regulation of unions.

With Labor and the Greens opposed, and the government needing the support of at least six of the eight Senate independent crossbenchers, the government was two votes short of the numbers required to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission. It was rejected by 36 votes to 34. [Read More...]

20 April 2016
by Matthew Cranston

S.Kidman & Co agrees $370.7m sale to China's Dakang

The board of Australia's largest landholder S. Kidman & Co has entered into an agreement with Chinese based Dakang Australia Holdings and ASX-listed Australian Rural Capital Ltd to sell the company for $370.7 million.

The company, which covers almost 11 million hectares of cattle stations – including the world's largest, Anna Creek – was offered for sale this time last year through EY, but a foreign bid to buy the company was blocked by Treasurer Scott Morrison in November because of national interests. [Read More...]

19 April 2016
by Neil McMahon

Malcolm Turnbull did a deal to become prime minister, John Hewson tells Q&A

Former Liberal leader John Hewson invoked the "old Malcolm" on Q&A.

Former Liberal leader John Hewson took to the ABC's Q&A on Monday night to declare Malcolm Turnbull did a deal to win power - and to call the PM's election strategy a gamble - as the program's audience and panel dissected the prime minister's fall from public favour ahead of a July 2 election. [Read More...]

19 April 2016
by John Kehoe

Blockchain to hit bank profits

Blockchain allows customers and suppliers to directly transact over the internet. It reduces the need for intermediaries such as banks.

Revolutionary blockchain technology threatens to slash the profits of banks and wipe out lenders which fail to quickly adopt the online record keeping innovation, a high powered panel of finance and technology experts warned.

Jose Fernandez Da Ponte, global digital business executive at Spanish banking giant, BBVA, said digital disruption to financial institutions by blockchain posed "extremely large" threats and opportunities. [Read More...]

19 April 2016
by Daniel Flitton

Doubts over $400 million centrepiece of Australia's Pacific Solution

Artist's impression of the proposed redevelopment of ANGAU Memorial Hospital in Lae, PNG.

One pay-off for Papua New Guinea's agreement to resettle Australia's unwanted refugees was the construction of a glittering new $400 million hospital.

Now, amid a shortage of cash in PNG, that hospital development in the country's second largest city, Lae, has stalled, and the government in Port Moresby is hinting that Australia should increase its funding. [Read More...]

19 April 2016
by Richard Baker

Azerbaijani embassy denies black market trade in booze and cigarettes

The duty-free rules governing embassies is under the spotlight after questions were raised about the Azerbaijan embassy in Canberra.

The 2014 end of year party at the Azerbaijan embassy in Canberra must have been epic if its official requests to import duty-free booze and cigarettes were any guide.

Leaked documents show Azerbaijan Ambassador Rovshan Jamshidov​ and financial attache Araz Khasiyev used their diplomatic status to get Australian government approval to import duty free 2000 litres of beer, 1100 litres of wine, 520 litres of spirits and 40,000 cigarettes from two suppliers. [Read More...]

18 April 2016
by Brian Morris

Billionaires, Banks, Bureaucrats and the Bible

Why is it that with each new financial scandal that breaks there’s invariably a grubby link between corporate greed, weak politicians and acquiescent religions?

The Panama Papers exposé has yet to play out, with 800 wealthy Australians being investigated by the Australian Taxation Office for their alleged activities with offshore tax havens.

Internationally, this is just one snowflake on the tip of a very large iceberg. Avarice by the mega-wealthy breaks new global records as the wealth gap becomes a chasm. [Read More...]

18 April 2016

Axl Rose confirmed as new AC/DC frontman

Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses performs in Las Vegas.

AC/DC's Brian Johnson forced to quit touring on doctor's orders.
Axl Rose to replace Brian Johnson as AC/DC singer? Stranger things have happened After weeks of speculation, Aussie rockers AC/DC have confirmed that Axl Rose is their new frontman.

AC/DC confirmed the news just hours before Rose was to reunite on stage with Gun 'N Roses guitarist Slash after two decades, at the Coachella music festival in California. [Read More...]

18 April 2016
by Shalailah Medhora

Polls spell trouble for Coalition as Turnbull's approval rating plummets

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull watches Opposition leader Bill Shorten speak

Coalition remains ahead on primary vote, but polls show Labor is level on two-party preferred measure.
Two opinion polls out on Monday spell trouble for the federal government, as it edges closer to a double-dissolution election.

A Newspoll, released in the Australian, shows the Coalition trailing Labor by two percentage points in the two-party preferred ratings, 49 to 51. [Read More...]

17 April 2016
by Adam Gartrell

Early election firms as Turnbull government loses hope on ABCC bill

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government could by the end of the week have its trigger for calling an early election, but is unlikely to act on it until May 5.

The Turnbull government has all but given up on getting its building industry watchdog laws through the Senate, meaning it could have its early election trigger in place by the end of this week.

Parliament will resume on Monday for three weeks of special sittings, culminating with the federal budget.

The government claims the building watchdog will quash corruption and boost productivity - Peter Martin examines how effective it was last time around. While the lower house is scheduled to sit only on Monday and Tuesday, the Senate will sit until it has dealt with the government's Australian Building and Construction Commission legislation. [Read More...]

16 April 2016
by Paul Bongiorno

Turnbull's Big Rigs

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull inspects a truck during a visit to Padstow.

Convoy”, the stirring anthem of truckie defiance, will be the soundtrack for a protest that plans to blockade Parliament House in Canberra on Monday. In a twist not lost on Labor’s Anthony Albanese, this “little ol’ convoy” has the full backing of the government. The call to arms from the employment minister, the strident Michaelia Cash, is being heeded by owner-drivers from up and down the eastern seaboard. Albanese says if he called for a “strike” and a demonstration as a Labor politician he would be branded reckless.

The obstacle this convoy is planning to crash through is not the tollgates into New Jersey, as in the C. W. McCall song, but the minimum pay rates set for independent contractors and owner-drivers by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT). Many in these categories claim the determination will break them. They insist it has nothing to do with road safety but is the tribunal caving in to the Transport Workers’ Union. [Read More...]

16 April 2016
by Atreyee Chowdhury

Deadly chemo forced upon a 6-year old in Perth by brainwashed doctors

Parents of a six-year-old Perth boy with brain cancer are being subjected to a lot of pain and hassles as their son is being forced into chemotherapy despite their disapproval.

After doctors told them that their son had a fairly slim chance of survival, Oshin Kiszko’s parents, Angela Kiszko and Colin Strachan, decided that he may be spared chemotherapy so that his last years would be joyful than painful. They took the decision after coming to know that medulloblastoma had fairly low levels of survival rates and that after-effects of chemotherapy could be debilitating. [Read More...]

16 April 2016
by Jacob Greber

More hypocracy...

Malcolm Turnbull turns Moody's warning on Labor

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says this week's damning Moody's assessment about Australia's failure to bring down debt needs to be heeded by the Labor opposition leader.

"Moody's is giving advice to the effect that we have to live within our means," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Beijing. "You may have heard me say that before, and really the lesson of the Moody's advice should be heeded by Mr Shorten." [Read More...]

15 April 2016
by Michael Koziol

'Absurd': Bob Hawke blasts lack of political will to legalise euthanasia

Former prime minister Bob Hawke says he has an 'arrangement' with wife Blanche d'Alpuget should he lose his presence of mind.

The illegality of euthanasia in Australia is "absurd" and politicians are too cowardly to fix it, former prime minister Bob Hawke says, while also revealing an "arrangement" with wife Blanche d'Alpuget should he lose his mind.

With a federal election campaign possibly weeks away, the vexed issue of assisted suicide has been lobbed back into the national consciousness courtesy of a podcast by broadcaster Andrew Denton and the strong support of Labor's longest-serving prime minister. [Read More...]

15 April 2016
by Michael Pascoe

No good news please, we’re Australian

Wednesday's survey of 1,200 people by the Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank showed its index of consumer sentiment slipped a seasonally adjusted 3.2 per cent in April.

You don't have to worry about not hearing bad news – you'll certainly be told it. Good news, on the other, can be easily missed. That reality seems to be a factor in consumer confidence turning south again. According to the Westpac/Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment survey, there are now more pessimists than optimists in Australia. Again.

Of course, we journalists like bad news. It scares people into reading and watching us. Vastly more people will click on a headline that says "housing crash" than on one that says "housing stabilising". It's human nature – we stop to gawk at a car crash, not traffic moving smoothly.

So to try to balance the ledger, consider this: despite all the headlines, despite all the doomsday predictions, despite what you're always being told, the Australian economy is actually pretty good. [Read More...]

15 April 2016
by Waleed Aly

Against the odds the stars line up for Labor

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
Increasing inequality has allowed Labor to start doing something it hasn't done for decades - articulate a worldview.

As budget headlines go, anything involving the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is a real bore. It's nothing like, say, GP co-payments, or cuts to education or kicking unemployed kids off the dole. So, no one's blood boiled when the Abbott-Hockey budget of 2014 stripped $120 million from ASIC over five years, or when it lost more than 12 per cent of its staff from 2013.

And yet this week that snore-inducing item suddenly mattered. It mattered so much that Scott Morrison began talking about reversing them, even as he is gleefully restating his determination to rein spending in. [Read More...]

14 April 2016
by Joanne McCarthy

Senate urged to act on failures over mesh device implants

Gai Thompson: "They just kept saying sorry, but I was the only complaint they had."

Five years ago Gai Thompson warned Australia's peak health bodies of a looming disaster involving women receiving mesh device implants to treat common problems after pregnancy, birth and hysterectomies.

This week Mrs Thompson and others are speaking publicly for the first time as they plan a rally in Canberra and call for a formal inquiry into the health regulators and medical bodies they say have failed them.

They are the women who, in many cases, can no longer have sex, have lost their jobs, have had to mortgage or sell their homes, have travelled overseas for surgery to remove the mesh, have suffered excruciating chronic pain, are resistant to some antibiotics because of chronic infections, and have suffered in isolation and silence – often for years. [Read More...]

14 April 2016
by Heath Aston

AWU attempts to lower the flag of anti-immigration Australia First Party

Protesters in Sydney hold Australia First Party flags.

It can be seen on the back windows of utes, flying above the town hall in Ballarat and tattooed to the necks, backs and biceps of thousands of Australians. But who has the right to use the Eureka flag?

The question has become part of the upcoming election campaign, with the Australian Workers' Union urging electoral authorities to prevent the far-right Australia First Party from using the Eureka image as its logo on the Senate ballot paper.

The AWU claims the Eureka flag is central to "working class values" and the union movement and should not be allowed to be "hijacked" to push the nationalism and anti-multiculturalism of Australia First. [Read More...]

14 April 2016
by Josh Bornstein

Alarmism, economic idiocy, and Orwellian appointments: three years of political disaster

Can the relentless incoherence and incompetence of the government be attributed to a particular blend of capitalism and religion that has found favour in the US?

How to explain the trainwreck that is the last three years of the federal government? The debacle poses a challenge that will dog journalists, policy wonks and historians for decades to come. The explanations for its dysfunction and sustained under-achievement are complex, but there are at least two distinct theories worth considering. [Read More...]

13 April 2016
by Alan Jones

Disgraceful Young Liberals

Listen as one of the Liberals most fervent supporters, and high profile radio jocks, tells listeners NOT to vote for a young liberal candidate...

13 April 2016
by Urban Wronski

Turnbull humiliated, descends to finger wagging.

This budget will not be about a fistful of dollars, it will be about prudence, fairness and responsibility to our future generations,”

So the PM told the Victorian Liberal Party conference in Melbourne this week a gathering to honour John Winston Howard who blew the mining bonanza buying votes while generally ignoring prudence, fairness and responsibility to anyone’s future but his own.

Newspoll has Labor 51 ahead of LNP 49 two party-preferred for the first time this week and is unlikely to respond to Turnbull’s budget hints, while his popularity plummets each week. If only they had a category for best prevaricator, bloviator or most patronising toff. [Read More...]

13 April 2016
by Andrew Schmulow

A banking royal commission is essential — and should be paid for by the banks

Banks are worried. Their employees have engaged in practices that they don’t want aired, so they’re pushing back.

There are cultural and ethical malpractices prevalent in Australian banks which our regulations do not address and which our regulators have struggled to contain. Those malpractices appear to be spreading, and our banks have failed to act meaningfully. The potential effects can be dire, so we need to find solutions. The Financial System Inquiry failed to address the problem. A royal commission would.

It’s important to remember how the global financial crisis started out. It began with the sub-prime disaster: a large industry developed around writing dodgy loans, sold using pressure-cooker predatory lending, by unscrupulous lenders — none more so than Bank of America’s Countrywide Financial. [Read More...]

13 April 2016

Australia's housing bubble and the road to private serfdom

Banks, abetted by government, want you to keep getting crippling mortages to pay for vastly overpriced land, but the party can't last forever.

Over the last 20 years, housing has developed a reputation as a risk-free and high-gain asset. Property remains a coveted asset and can now be purchased with a small deposit; the rest borrowed from banks. It certainly is an attractive investment: since 1996, housing prices, adjusted for inflation and quality, have soared by 141% through to 2015. [Read More...]

13 April 2016
by James Massola

Banks ready to push back against Labor

ABA chief executive Steven Munchenberg: "We are actively considering an appropriate response from the industry."

Bankers Association chief Steve Munchenberg has refused to rule out a mining tax-style ad campaign to fight Labor's proposed royal commission into the banking and finance sector.

The head of the nation's banking lobbying cautioned the lobby group is not "actively considering" an ad campaign at this time, ahead of an expected July 2 double dissolution election, but said it remained on the table as one of a range of options under consideration. [Read More...]

13 April 2016
by Sebastian Hassett

Socceroos handed challenging draw on the final road to Russia 2018

Challenges ahead: Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.

The Socceroos' draw for the third and final round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers will feature a mix of old foes and new combatants as Ange Postecoglou's side seek to make their fourth consecutive appearance at the global showpiece.

Australia find themselves pitted in an extremely challenging group alongside Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Thailand with the first lot of matches commencing in September. [Read More...]

12 April 2016
by Angus Grigg

Murray Goulburn hit by China customs crackdown

China has cracked down on imported food and consumer goods at airports and free-trade zones and has pulled Australian dairy producer Murray Goulburn's products from China's biggest e-commerce site.

The drastic moves follow changes to China's cross border e-commerce law on April 8 and forms part of a pledge by Beijing to protect domestic retailers by imposing higher taxes on imports.

On Monday, Alibaba's Tmall site was not allowing orders for Murray Goulburn's Devondale range of long-life milk and milk powder. [Read More...]

12 April 2016
by James Massola

Coalition split on banking royal commission as Malcolm Turnbull faces flak over 'captain's call'

Liberal MP Warren Entsch has criticised his government for pre-empting a parliamentary inquiry on banking.

Coalition unity over a banking royal commission is cracking, with eight government MPs now backing an inquiry or saying it should be considered, Malcolm Turnbull under attack for a "captain's call" and legal experts questioning whether corporate regulator ASIC has adequate powers.

The financial services sector is already highly regulated according to Malcolm Turnbull who says Labor is overreacting to the recent problems. Courtesy ABC News 24.

On Monday veteran Liberal MP Warren Entsch said he was "worried about senior colleagues ruling this out when we have a [parliamentary] inquiry under way". [Read More...]

12 April 2016
by Jacob Greber

Federal debt load 'pushing against' AAA boundary, warns NAB

Two of the nation's big four banks have warned the federal government risks losing the patience of credit agencies, whose AAA rating for Australia has helped underwrite some of the lowest household mortgage rates on record.

With politicians likely to be tempted into new and underfunded spending promises in the looming federal election, National Australia Bank's global head of policy research, Peter Jolly said Commonwealth debt was now "pushing against ratings agencies' AAA boundary".

Mr Jolly's remarks were echoed by Michael Blythe, chief economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, who said while the ratings agencies "have been very patient with us; there's a limit to their patience". [Read More...]

12 April 2016
by Chris Johnson

Minister Scott Ryan embarrassed after giving speech with parts lifted from obsolete 2014 article

Minister for Vocational Education Scott Ryan

Vocational Education Minister Scott Ryan has been left red faced for giving a speech to a national training organisation that not only lifted – without attribution – quotes directly from the association's own journal, but also praised the "current" work of an entity that no longer exists.

Last Thursday Senator Ryan delivered the keynote address to Group Training Australia's national conference in Adelaide. [Read More...]

11 April 2016
by James Massola

Former TWU official blasts safe rates created to 'destroy' owner-drivers

Michael Wong

A former Transport Workers Union official has claimed the tribunal that sets rates of pay for owner-drivers says the link between road safety and remuneration is "marginal" and that the union "doesn't care" about small operators.

Michael Wong, who worked for the union between 2009 and 2012 in the Queensland, NSW and National offices of the union, has also apologised for allowing his "professional skills to be used in a campaign for safe rates that would have a profoundly negative effect on the owner-drivers of Australia". [Read More...]

11 April 2016
by Mike.B

Full AFL Ladder after Round 3

11 April 2016
by Tim Dick

Bill Shorten is back in the game as the Liberals short-circuit

Suddenly, Bill Shorten is a dud no more. He may still be only marginally livelier than a dead tree, but the candidacy of a former loser-in-waiting is ridiculous no longer.

Labor is competitive in all the polls. According to Essential Media, it is even with the government after preferences. Newspoll has it just ahead. Morgan has it a little behind. The next Fairfax Ipsos poll is due out soon. [Read More...]

11 April 2016
by John Pilger

Utopia And The Intervention: Australia’s Dirty Secret

John Pilger, during shooting for the film Utopia. This picture was taken at Irrultja, a small community in the Utopia homelands in Central Australia.

The Aboriginal homelands region known as Utopia is back in the news amid reports of elders and children starving. John Pilger, whose last film was based on this community, reports.

I had a call from Rosalie Kunoth-Monks the other day. Rosalie is an elder of the Arrernte-Alyawarra people, who lives in Utopia, a vast and remote region in the “red heart” of Australia. The nearest town is Alice Springs, more than 200 miles across an ancient landscape of spinifex and swirling skeins of red dust. [Read More...]

10 April 2016
by Joanna Mather

Super industry 'preys on financial illiteracy': former ACCC boss

The former head of the competition regulator has accused superannuation funds of encouraging complexity and stifling competition to keep fees lucratively high.

Graeme Samuel likened super to the private health insurance industry, "shrouded in obfuscation and obscurity". [Read More...]

10 April 2016
by Jason Clout

Waterhouse spends $9 million at Inglis yearling sales

Gai Waterhouse

The average price of horses sold at Sydney's Inglis yearling sales was around $285,000, the second-highest sale price since global financial crisis, helped by leading trainer Gai Waterhouse, who spent around $9.2 million through her various groups.

She was only surpassed by Angus Gold of Shadwell Stud, a buyer for Sheikh Hamdan, who spent more than $10 million at the sales. Total sales this year were around $106 million, Inglis managing director Mark Webster said. [Read More...]

08 April 2016
by Heath Aston

Barnaby Joyce charters two $4000 helicopter rides to visit a village near his electorate office

It was the day before Easter in Drake, a sleepy village in northern NSW, when the peace was interrupted by a helicopter depositing Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on a sporting field behind the popular local pub, the Lunatic Hotel.

Drake is just a 40-minute drive from Mr Joyce's second electorate office in Tenterfield but his office insists a helicopter was the best option to avoid a four-hour drive from his home base in Tamworth. It was his second chopper ride to the village in less than a year.

The latest Drake visit, which will cost the public almost $4000, happened two days after the Turnbull government released a long-awaited review into parliamentary entitlements sparked by the "choppergate" scandal that engulfed former speaker Bronwyn Bishop and sent Tony Abbott's prime ministership into a final nosedive. [Read More...]

07 April 2016
by Jenna Clarke

Tamara Candy - the Kim Kardashian of Kingston - Turnbull's secret election weapon

Occasional Liberal staffer and part-time model Tamara Candy has been thrust into the spotlight.

Not since Monica Lewinsky has a blue dress captivated the attention of so many political pundits. However, occasional Liberal worker Tamara Candy is unapologetic of her style some call "dangerous".

The 27-year-old PhD student made headlines when she was photographed wearing a plunging blue sequin cocktail dress alongside former Queensland premier Campbell Newman and former Queensland MP Neil Symes last year. [Read More...]

07 April 2016
by Phillip Coorey

Malcolm Turnbull running for cover: Labor

Labor is accusing the Turnbull government of running for cover amid confirmation the House of Representatives will sit for as few as five days over the three-week special period for which Parliament was recalled to set the scene for a double-dissolution election.

Malcolm Turnbull invoked rare Constitutional powers to force Parliament back for three weeks on April 18 during which he will give the Senate one last chance to pass two key pieces of industrial relations legislation, or face a July 2, double dissolution. [Read More...]

06 April 2016
by Eva Cripps

No Census anonymity? It is time to be afraid

There has never been a more terrifying time to be an Australian. Sure, there have been darker days, and longer nights, but nothing compares to the insidious and downright sinister moves of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to retain all the personal identifying information of every person resident in Australia from the 2016 Census.

The Government rotates between favoured bogey men. This has played out in many ways throughout history; there was the White Australia policy, the Yellow Peril, and Reds under the Bed.

Unsurprisingly, the latest iteration follows a predictable propaganda trail, with declarations of war against terrorists, war on bikies, and a crackdown on pregnant asylum seekers and their babies trying to blackmail Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. [Read More...]

06 April 2016
by Catherine J. Frompovich

Vaccine Maker Admits on FDA Website That DTaP Vaccine Causes Autism

A huge hat tip and shout out goes to Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, for finding pharmacological admittance and written proof that at least one vaccine causes autism as an adverse reaction.

According to the U.S. FDA’s online Biologics Blood Vaccines publication, Sanofi Pasteur’s Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine Adsorbed (DTaP) package insert information under the section for Adverse Reactions, which runs from page 6 to page 11, we find the following declared admission that DTaP caused autism “during post-approval use of Tripedia vaccine.” See the copy and paste information below. So, why all the denials that a vaccine hasn’t or can’t cause autism? [Read More...]

06 April 2016
by Jay Syrmopoulos

BOMBSHELL: WikiLeaks Exposes IMF Plan of Financial Terror to Force Government Compliance

WikiLeaks has once again exposed how supranational organizations create artificial crises in an effort to advance the Western corporate-political elites geostrategic goals, as revealed in the transcript of a teleconference, which took place on March 19, 2016, between top International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials.

The striking conversation reveals IMF officials imply that the threat of an imminent financial disaster was necessary to force other stakeholders into accepting the IMF’s “measures” such as cutting Greek pensions and working conditions. However, a June 23 referendum will essentially freeze European decision-making at an extremely critical moment – potentially risking greater political destabilization, but also giving the organization greater leverage. [Read More...]

06 April 2016
by Ross Fitzgerald

Liberals copy Labor

A Weak and Fickle Government
Six months ago, when Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, many people breathed a sigh of relief. Abbott had never been personally popular and had compounded this by knighting Prince Philip on Australia Day, persisting with an over-generous parental leave scheme at a time when other spending was being cut, and introducing the 2014 horror budget that Australia needed but that appeared to break pre-election commitments. Abbott, it seemed, was almost as bad as Julia Gillard who had promised no carbon tax but then brought one in.

On the other hand, as promised, Abbott had scrapped the carbon tax and the mining tax; he did stop the boats; he did kick-start infrastructure; he did finalise the historic free trade deals that other prime ministers had talked about for years but not delivered; and he had talked a lot about budget repair prior to the election, even calling it a budget emergency. There was an orderly process to consider the options for federation reform and tax reform through two white papers and also to develop the proposal for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians. [Read More...]

06 April 2016
by Hannah Francis

Telstra data guy accused of slowing download speeds by 'jealous' users

John Szaszvari makes the most of Telstra's free data days.

The Telstra free data guy is a hero to many and a villain to some plagued by slow internet connections after he capitalised on the telco's free-data day to download almost a whole terabyte of goodies.

It was the ultimate digital stick-it-to-the-man, as the 27-year-old Sydneysider downloaded 14 seasons of Mythbusters, 24 seasons of The Simpsons, the entire Wikipedia database, a suite of software morsels, Xbox games and Spotify playlists. [Read More...]

06 April 2016
by Neil Chenoweth

Paul Hogan's revenge on Swiss adviser Strachans

Paul Hogan as Crocodile Dundee

Paul Hogan achieved last October what a decade of Australian government investigations, dozens of criminal convictions and a global manhunt had failed – he managed to get his former Swiss financial adviser, Strachans, kicked off the island.

That's the metaphorical island of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, which finally decided to drop Strachans as a client.

While the long-running Project Wickenby investigation into tax dodgers made Strachans infamous in Australia, it was only in 2013 when Hogan claimed in a US court that Strachans had misappropriated $33.5 million of his money that Mossack Fonseca began a major review of the Swiss firm.

Mossack Fonseca runs registry services in tax havens around the world. Strachans has been a client since 1991. [Read More...]

05 April 2016
by David Leyonhjelm

A tale of two Malcolms

Malcolm was a popular Prime Minister at the outset. He had an air of confidence and a convincing manner, plus a belief in his own abilities. And his first term followed a disastrous period of Labor Government that the voting public wasn't quick to forget.

But Malcolm didn't turn things around. Labor had gone on a spending spree, ratcheting up the size of government with grand, feel-good, centrally-planned schemes. When Malcolm secured the reins of Government, he did nothing to unwind this largesse. Instead, taxes and debt crept up.

In the end, Malcolm left the budget in a worse state than he found it. His prime ministership was a huge disappointment to those who believe in small government, lower taxes and less regulation. [Read More...]

05 April 2016
by Elizabeth Knight

Panama papers: Banks in the spotlight as ATO gets fresh list of Mossack Fonseca's tax skirters

The average tax-paying Australian must be feeling futility fatigue amid another round of explosive revelations that the that super rich have skirted many millions in tax while at the same time the government is telling them their will be nothing by way of personal tax cuts coming their way any time soon.

The enormous drop of documents around the establishment of offshore accounts in tax havens could hold the key to an Aladdin's Cave for the Australian Tax Office and regulators and investigators of white collar crime. [Read More...]

05 April 2016
by James Massola

Kevin Andrews prepared to challenge Malcolm Turnbull for leadership

Former defence minister Kevin Andrews.

Former defence minister Kevin Andrews has sparked a fresh outbreak of Liberal Party disunity after suggesting he was prepared to challenge Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and then claiming to have been taken out of context in an interview with his local paper.

But even as he played down the report in the Manningham Leader, Mr Andrews, a key supporter of former prime minister Tony Abbott, raised eyebrows in Liberal ranks as he declared "at the present time, Mr Turnbull is the prime minister". [Read More...]

04 April 2016
by Tim Elliott

Decision on coal mine 'defies reason'

"It defies reason": Coral expert Dr Charlie Veron.

The decision on Sunday to approve mining leases for Queensland's Carmichael coal mine is akin to "evil", according to one of the world's foremost marine scientists.

The latest aerial surveys of the Great Barrier Reef show extensive coral bleaching, causing scientists to have concern for the long-term health of the reef. [Read More...]

04 April 2016
by Frederik Obermaier, Bastian Obermayer, Vanessa Wormer and Wolfgang Jaschensky

About the Panama Papers

The Secrets of Dirty Money

Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sells anonymous offshore companies around the world. These shell firms enable their owners to cover up their business dealings, no matter how shady.

In the months that followed, the number of documents continued to grow far beyond the original leak. Ultimately, SZ acquired about 2.6 terabytes of data, making the leak the biggest that journalists had ever worked with. The source wanted neither financial compensation nor anything else in return, apart from a few security measures.

The data provides rare insights into a world that can only exist in the shadows. It proves how a global industry led by major banks, legal firms, and asset management companies secretly manages the estates of the world’s rich and famous: from politicians, Fifa officials, fraudsters and drug smugglers, to celebrities and professional athletes. [Read The Full Story...]

04 April 2016
by Neil Chenoweth

The Panama papers: NZ - the quiet tax haven achiever

When New Zealand Prime Minister John Key flew into Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2015, he already knew he shared some important views with his host, Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, about the importance of keeping the tax secrets of foreign investors.

Both countries are quiet achievers in the ranks of global tax havens, and both are determined to keep it that way. [Read More...]

03 April 2016
by 2353NM

Malcolm's Magic Pudding

Around 100 years ago, Norman Lindsay wrote what certainly has to be one of the classic Australian Children’s books ‘The Magic Pudding’. The story revolves around the owners of a pudding that automatically regenerates after a slice is cut being chased by dastardly ‘puddin thieves’ who in the end get their comeuppance. As an aside, it’s well worth a read if you have never done so.

Prime Minister Turnbull’s latest venture into the tax discussion has a similar concept. From what has been publically released, Turnbull is suggesting that if the states and territories receive a proportion of the income tax take, they will be able to fund their hospitals and schools to a level greater than that they are currently receiving in tied grants from the federal government. So that Australian’s are not paying more tax, the federal government will reduce their own share of the pudding, collect the states’ share and pass it on without delay or deduction. [Read More...]

02 April 2016
by Paul Bongiorno

Malcolm Turnbull’s tax reform plan a work in progress

Morrison says “you can’t tax your way to surplus”. He repeated the line three times at a news conference. Tell that to Peter Costello. The revenue that gave him his surpluses was just that: revenue.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus taught that the nature of reality is ongoing change. Though he lived 2500 years before the advent of Malcolm Turnbull, his insight fits the bill when it comes to the performance of this government so far.

In the space of the week we saw the ultimatum to the crossbench senators begin to erode as if on shifting sands. What started as a direction to pass two contentious industrial relations bills unamended lest there be a July 2 double-dissolution election morphed into a willingness to consider amendments or demands the independents were making to gain their support. Even the issue of some sort of corruption watchdogs in sectors beyond the construction industry is not being ruled out. [Read More...]

02 April 2016
by John Passant

Income tax – back to 1915 with Malcolm Turnbull

Australia first had Commonwealth and State income taxes in 1915. It is a special type of conservative leader who can propose taking us back a century and claim it is a visionary policy, something for the future. It is nothing of the sort.

While the details are not yet clear, it appears that what Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is proposing is cutting health and education grants to the States and Territories and as a consequence cutting federal income tax, and saying to the states and Territories that they can set their own income tax rates to make up the shortfall. [Read More...]

01 April 2016
by Ben Eltham

Income tax for the states. Really?

Yes, really. That’s the plan Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is putting to the states and territories at the Council of Australian Governments meeting tomorrow in Canberra.

The Coalition has been looking ragged for much of 2016, after walking back from tax reform in the shape of a higher goods and services tax. But this latest proposal is beyond ragged. Choose your own adjective. Is it wacky? Zany? Crazy-brave?

The half-cocked nature of the plan has been particularly confusing. Exactly what is the Prime Minister proposing? No details are available. No firm proposal is on the table. No white paper has been released. [Read More...]

01 April 2016
by Rossleigh

Turnbull The Decisive; Abbott The Divisive; Sinodinos The Memory Sieve

Malcolm Turnbull is proving the most decisive PM we’ve ever had. Every day he makes a decision. Most days it’s a decision not to do what he floated the day before, but it’s a decision nevertheless. Tomorrow I expect that we’ll hear that he’s decided not to give the states income tax powers because they wouldn’t spend the money wisely.

But before I go on to his latest decision – or as some would say “thought bubble” which is rather generous as it implies that some thought has actually been attached to the bubble before it pops – I’d like you to picture the following scenario: [Read More...]

01 April 2016
by Kaye Lee

Don’t blame me

Malcolm Turnbull wants to take us back to pre-war days by allowing the states to collect income tax because he is sick of “finger pointing”. He wants them to take the blame and bear the consequences for the cuts his government has made to hospital and school funding.

Today he has indicated that he wants the Federal government to only fund private schools and leave the states to fund public education. [Read More...]