Monthly Archives: September 2019

Napthine takes the reins after Baillieu’s leadership crumbles

Ted Baillieu has resigned as the Victorian premier and been replaced by former Liberal leader Denis Napthine, after the surprise resignation of Frankston MP Geoff Shaw from the Liberal party destabilised the government.
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An ashen-faced Mr Baillieu emerged from a special party-room meeting at the Victorian Parliament on Wednesday night after telling Liberal MPs he had decided to quit ”in the best interests of the government”. Mr Baillieu said he would remain in Parliament as the member for Hawthorn.

”I love this state, I love the Liberal Party, I love this role that I have had the honour to enjoy over the last two-and-a-bit years,” he said at a press conference just before 8pm.

Mr Baillieu said he offered Dr Napthine his full support.

An emotional Mr Baillieu thanked his family and said ”the most important thing is the people of Victoria”.

Within minutes, Dr Napthine returned the compliment, saying Mr Baillieu had put ”his heart and soul” into his role as premier.

”Ted is a great friend and colleague. I’m proud to call him a friend. Ted Baillieu has certainly served the state very well.” Dr Napthine said his appointment was ”an honour and a privilege”.

Mr Shaw had earlier released a statement saying he had quit the Liberal Party because he no longer had faith in Mr Baillieu’s leadership.

”I believe my actions reflect the general loss of confidence Victorians are feeling in the leadership of the government,” he said.

Mr Shaw’s resignation eliminated the Coalition’s one-seat majority and it will now be forced to rely on the controversial MP’s vote to govern.

Mr Shaw is being investigated by police after an Ombudsman’s report found he abused his entitlement to a parliamentary vehicle.

Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said Mr Shaw had sacked the premier and the government was beholden to him.

”It would seem that every piece of legislation, everything this government wants to do, will now have to be the product of a negotiation with Geoff Shaw,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net. Continue reading

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No high fives in Myer label spat

Myer boss Bernie Brookes has admitted there will be ”a degree of awkwardness” in dealing with designer Kym Ellery if the department store succeeds in a legal bid to force her back into its stable.
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But he seems in no mood to back down from the courtroom stoush, sparked when the 29-year-old designer allegedly broke her exclusivity deal with Myer by signing a deal with rival David Jones.

Ellery’s glamorous frocks were a notable absence as Myer launched its autumn racewear range in front of a roomful of lunching ladies at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Wednesday.

Last month, DJ’s opened their autumn-winter launch show with one of her designs, draped over the frame of ubermodel Miranda Kerr.

”You’ve got the same person signing an exclusive deal with two department stores,” Brookes said.

”I think people will make their own decision as to the merit of that, but we’re going to pursue this,” he said.

”We’re increasingly confident that we’ve got the very logical case to say that she has to continue to supply us.”

He said the department store had a $1.5 million order with Ellery and wanted the clothes.

”It will be a degree of awkwardness but we funded Kym to go to [US trade event] G’Day LA, we funded her on catwalks, we funded her on a number of events, and we’ve invested to build the brand – and she’s invested in Myer.

”It’s a shame that she came to the extent that she decided to do this, but the relationship … it’s no good saying we’ll all be high-fiving at the end of it.”

The case is set down for trial in the Victorian Supreme Court next month in front of Justice Michael Sifris.Gloves are on

Brookes was speaking after a fashion parade that featured models in racing get-ups that featured extravagant hatinators, including one that looked like a radar dish and another that resembled a leather do-rag.

Racing is both one of Brookes’ passions and a big part of Myer’s promotional strategy.

But the chain has yet to sign a new deal with the Victoria Racing Club to extend its sponsorship of the spring racing carnival, which expired after last year’s Melbourne Cup.

”Over the next week, hopefully, we’ll be in a situation where we’re getting closer and closer to hopefully doing a deal with them [the VRC],” Brookes said. ”The VRC have been tremendous in the early discussions. We’re working in good faith and fingers crossed that we can do a deal over the next few days or the next week.”

It’s an important time of year for Myer – Brookes reckons that last year Myer sold 12,000 pairs of cufflinks and 22,000 hats and fascinators in the nine weeks leading up to the carnival.

”Gloves will be in this year – that’s my only fashion tip,” he said.Time to re-Joyce

Perhaps Gina Rinehart was stewing after being demoted from the position of the world’s richest woman by Forbes magazine. Perhaps she was distracted by the legal stoush with her kids. Whatever the reason, CBD can’t help but notice Her Roy Hill Highness didn’t put as much of her usual heart and soul into her latest column in Australian Resources & Investment Magazine.

Instead, she devoted it to reprinting most of her ”Christmas reading”, a piece from The Spectator Australia by Senator Barnaby ”Barnyard” Joyce.

The line taken by the National Party senator will seem awfully familiar to anyone who has enjoyed Rinehart’s previous efforts.

Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen them in the same room?

Got a tip?

[email protected]上海夜网m.au

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Fortescue fights mine tax

Fortescue Metals and the Queensland and WA governments are in court over the mining tax. Photo: Louie DouvisThe federal government’s mining tax is ”a crude form of control of the states”, Andrew Forrest’s lawyer told the High Court on Wednesday.
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David Jackson, QC, appearing for Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group, told the court the tax’s uniform application across the states was unconstitutional because it imposed different tax rates on miners in different states and territories.

This is because the tax is calculated based on how much mining companies pay in mining royalties, which differs across the country.

”One can’t avoid the fact that it is state-based,” he said.

States were being unfairly targeted by the government’s tax, Mr Jackson said, because it eroded their ability to give assistance to, or reduce the royalties paid by, particular mining companies.

”It interferes with their ability to choose what they want to do with their assets,” Mr Jackson said.

The attorneys-general and solicitors-general of Queensland and Western Australia have joined the action. They argue that because mining royalty regimes differed among states before the mining tax took effect on July 1, 2012, the effect of the tax was discriminatory.

Under the constitution, Parliament must not impose taxes in a way that discriminates between states and territories.

The minerals resource rent tax applies a 22½ per cent tax on miners after they have reached $75 million in profit (profit meaning revenue minus expenditure). Mining companies are also eligible for partial profit offsets when they raise between $75 million and $125 million.

The government argues that the tax is applied uniformly across Australia, and therefore there is no discrimination between states.

It also argues that the tax is imposed only on mining companies, not on people at the higher level of government, and thus cannot interfere with the ability of the states to make their own choices, including how they encourage economic development.

Commonwealth Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson, SC, is expected on Thursday to outline the federal government’s position, including the argument that any inequalities in the amount of tax paid by mining companies in different states are caused by the royalty regimes of the states, rather than by the Commonwealth’s mining tax.

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Canberra warned over spectrum sale

Dr Robert Pepper. Photo: Pat ScalaGovernments should not use spectrum auctions to extract revenue from telecommunication companies, a top executive from US-based global technology giant Cisco has warned.
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The comment comes as Canberra prepares for the so-called digital dividend auction, which includes spectrum used for the 4G super-fast mobile network.

The spectrum is in the 700Mhz band and 2.5Ghz band, at present devoted to analog television signals. Next month’s auction is expected to fetch billions for the federal government as it takes bids from carriers such as Telstra and Optus.

Robert Pepper, who was also the head of policy development at the US Federal Communications Commission, said: ”The benefit is getting the spectrum into the hands of people who are going to build out and use it, provide services and compete. It is not about maximising auction revenue.

”My philosophy, when I was at the FCC, was not about the money. In fact, in the US, we are prohibited by law to take into account how much money is raised from spectrum.”

In marked contrast to the US policy, the Australian government has a stated policy objective to raise revenue from the spectrum auction. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy described the spectrum last year as a premium public asset. ”This spectrum is seen as the ‘waterfront property’ of spectrum and the government has made a significant investment to free it up. It is important that we get a reasonable return on this valuable public asset.”

In January he announced the formula for the minimum floor price for spectrum. Industry analysts and telcos at the time said it was too expensive by international standards. Vodafone, the third largest telco in the country, said it would not bid at the price.

Dr Pepper said spectrum should be cheaper.

On the topic of the national broadband network, the Cisco executive said any plan needed to be future-proofed.

”Globally what we will see is fibre either to premise or fibre very close to premise,” he said. ”The best global practice is to have a network that is future-proofed that can support very high bandwidth and low latency [delay].”

There has been an ongoing dispute between the government and the Coalition over the NBN. The government wants to connect premises with fibre-optic cable, while the Coalition believes the NBN should use part of Telstra’s existing copper network for the ”last mile” connection to the premises. Dr Pepper doubted whether copper could handle the exponentially growing data demand.

”If you are going to bring fibre all the way up to the neighbourhood, you want to be able to bring that capability to the premises.”

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Better way to tackle big banker’s bonuses

Anger in Europe over executive pay is finding its way into legislation. The European Parliament, backed by almost all the European Union’s finance ministers, plans to cap bankers’ bonuses, and 68 per cent of Swiss voters endorsed a referendum initiative to ban ”golden parachutes” and put other curbs on bosses’ pay.
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Agitated voters, grandstanding politicians and intelligent policy rarely go together, and this is a case in point. Let’s agree that people are right to be disgusted. In the past decade top bankers led the world into the deepest economic slump since the 1930s, and their banks had to be rescued by taxpayers, yet the culprits aren’t exactly suffering. In most cases they still have their jobs and by ordinary standards they’re still outrageously well-paid. Bonuses – whose purpose, one is always told, is to reward excellent performance – have fallen but are still being handed out.

Meanwhile, lower down the capitalist food chain, workers are being laid off or told to take pay cuts. It’s tough out there, say chief executives, and we all have to make sacrifices. Absolutely, say Europe’s ministers of finance; that’s why we have to cut essential public services and raise taxes.

Considering the complacency, lack of contrition and in many cases sheer nerve of those responsible for the calamity of the past five years, the miracle is that the popular backlash against capitalism has been so mild. But being morally in the right isn’t enough. If policy is to serve voters’ interests, rather than gratify their anger, it has to be carefully designed. These initiatives aren’t.

The first question is whether it’s wise for the government to have any kind of say on how companies pay their executives. Straight away there’s a crucial distinction – between banks and financial enterprises that enjoy an implicit public subsidy (through the prospect of a bailout if they get into trouble) and ordinary public companies that don’t.

If taxpayers are exposed to losses, regulators are not just entitled to monitor and curb the risks that banks are taking, they’re obliged to. This obligation includes regulating pay structures, since those can influence the amount of risk a bank takes on.

So doesn’t capping bonuses serve that purpose? Not really. It’s bewildering, first of all, that Europe’s parliament is insisting on bonus caps in return for consenting to new international rules on bank capital. Requiring more capital is the best and simplest way to reduce the banking subsidy and hence the incentive to take undue risks. The new rules don’t go nearly far enough in this respect. Rather than calling for them to be strengthened, the parliament wants a concession on bankers’ pay. Go figure.

The parliament wants to limit banking bonuses to 100 per cent of salary, or 200 per cent if shareholders approve. There’ll be loopholes, of course, but for the sake of argument let’s assume they aren’t exploited and the policy works as intended. Banks will simply fold average variable pay into basic salary. Most likely, such limits won’t do anything to cut bankers’ pay overall, the very issue that upsets the public.

One remedy is not a cap on bonuses, but rules that lock them up and grab them back if things go wrong. Bankers should be made to retain a stake in their company’s losses. Big bonuses relative to basic salary – so long as they can be clawed back – would serve that purpose well.

Bloomberg

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