The father of Swisse chief executive Radek Sali has launched a defamation action following claims on ABC’s consumer affairs program The Checkout, claiming a recent episode ‘‘severely injured his reputation and standing’’. Presenters Craig Reucassel and Julian Morrow along with executive producer Nick Murray and the ABC are all named as defendants in the lawsuit. Avni Sali’s lawsuit centres around claims made during the episode broadcast March 21, which alleged the National Institute of Integrative Medicine he founded was not independent in conducting clinical tests of Swisse products. “The program was meant and was understood to mean that the plaintiff performed clinical tests... and then manipulated the published results for the commercial benefit of Swisse,’’ Sali says. Packer lieutenant John Alexander appointed to Seven West Media board Seven West Media has announced it is appointing John Alexander, the former executive deputy chairman of James Packer's Crown Casino empire, to its board of directors. "We are delighted John has accepted the invitation to join the board of Seven West Media," Seven West chairman Kerry Stokes states. “His success in media and business speaks for itself. His appointment adds further depth to the board of our company as it continues to develop its businesses.” Treasury looks at closing tax loopholes for digital services The Treasury has released an issues paper examining the ways in which international online giants, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, minimise their tax bills by shifting profits from online services into low-tax jurisdictions. “The global reach of multinational enterprises, along with the developments in information and communication technology…provides them with a high degree of flexibility in how to structure their affairs,” the paper states. “These developments raise serious concerns about the efficiency, equity and sustainability of the income tax system.” The paper also calls for submissions suggesting possible solutions to the erosion of tax revenues by international tech companies, along with further data that could assist the Australian Tax Office. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.9% to 14831.6. The Aussie dollar is up to US102.48 cents.
Small business advocates have delivered a mixed response to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement yesterday of a $12 billion budget shortfall, saying now is a good time to introduce some much-needed tax changes. However, some advocates and economists have warned the announcement may have a detrimental impact, with Gillard warning that new taxes may be imposed in order to pay for new spending on disability insurance and education. Finance Minister Penny Wong told the ABC this morning the government is considering a wide range of options, and did not deny the possibility of a levy to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme. While economists say the deficit is not an economic problem, as Australia’s credit rating is secure, the impact on confidence could impact businesses. “The impact here is more on confidence and uncertainty,” CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian told SmartCompany this morning. “Until we get confirmation about what measures are put in play, that will be a concern. We’ve seen some improvement in confidence, and further cuts to tax concessions could have a detrimental impact.” Gillard said yesterday the budget will be affected by a drastic fall in revenue of about $12 billion. The Australian Financial Review has reported this will translate into a deficit of between $16 billion and $17 billion. Gillard also said yesterday the shortfall would mean putting “every reasonable option on the table” in order to plug the gap, “even options previously off the table”. The Prime Minister said the government would spend “less in some areas than we had hoped, to raise more in revenue in some areas than we had planned”. While the government has not targeted any specific areas, previous speculation had pinpointed self-managed superannuation and high-income earners as potential sources of revenue. Peter Strong, the chief executive of the Council of Small Businesses of Australia, told SmartCompany this morning the government should consider financing SMEs in order to boost medium-term growth. “We need to have better targeted funds for businesses that are identified as growing quickly,” he says, also adding the government should consider taxing purchases made overseas in order to raise GST revenue. However, Strong says the size of the deficit isn’t necessarily an issue for small businesses, per se. “At the micro-level, we look for solutions. What this suggests to me is that we need to get our micro-economics right.” Savanth Sebastian agrees the size of the deficit isn’t necessarily a large problem, especially as it has shrunk since last year, but points out the impact on confidence such a big budget gap could have. “We’ve seen some improvement in confidence, and that translates to business confidence,” he says. “Further cuts to tax concessions and revenue can have a detrimental impact on that early boost to confidence.” Sebastian also says the deficit means the Reserve Bank is in a position to ease interest rates even further. However, not every business group is so pleased. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry released a harsh response to yesterday’s announcement. Head of economics and workplace relations Greg Evans said the latest writedown “puts the onus on the government to properly deal with spending”. “Business is indicating that a major cause of uncertainty is the inability for the government to get its fiscal house in order and to set out a pathway back to surplus.” “This has become our number one economic priority as without a sustainable budget there is no scope for the major economic reforms required such as delivering a tax system that promotes incentive and enables productivity improvements.” This story first appeared on SmartCompany.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is fighting to keep proposed media reforms alive, following an interview on the ABC’s Lateline program where independent Tony Windsor expressed concerns about the package. "I don't think the numbers are there for a great portion of this to get through," Windsor said. Meanwhile, Fairfax media reports that the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, and Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr have shifted their support away from Prime Minister Julia Gillard towards leadership rival Kevin Rudd. Cyprus crisis shakes Australian markets The government of Cyprus has postponed a vote on a controversial tax on savings, which forms part of its austerity package, leading to more than 2% being wiped off the value of Australian shares. The vote would have ratified a deal struck between Cyprus, the IMF, the European Central Bank and other lenders to levy a once-off tax on all bank deposits of 6.75% for amounts up to €100,000 ($A124,000) and 9.9% for deposits above €100,000 as part of a bailout package. ASIC report says high speed trading risk is overstated The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has released its report into computerised high speed trading. While the report from the corporate regulator recommends some reforms, it also finds that the impact of the practice in Australia has largely been overstated. “There is a belief by some that high-frequency trading is manipulative in a legal sense, or at least predatory in nature, and there is a perception that high-frequency traders uniformly have less regard for market integrity. That perception is not supported by our study,” the report states. Overnight In New York, the S&P500 is down 0.64% to 1550.65. The Aussie dollar is up to US1.0391 cents.
Further divisions have opened up within the federal Labor government following Liberal Premier Colin Barnett’s landslide victory in the West Australian state elections, with Defence Minister Stephen Smith acknowledging federal Labor’s recent troubles had an impact on the result.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s surprise announcement about this year’s federal election has been welcomed by the business community for giving “certainty” to small firms.
The founder of collapsed childcare operator ABC Learning, Eddy Groves, was declared bankrupt by a court in Adelaide yesterday.
Startmate alumni Happy Inspector has outlined its plans after partnering with Queensland-based business Rent Resumé, in its digital bid to shake up the real estate industry.
Innovation is a concept that most start-ups instinctively want to embrace. But it’s not something that comes naturally to some entrepreneurs and is notoriously hard to measure.
Twitter is expected to launch an office in Australia as senior Twitter executives fly into Australia this week to meet major sporting bodies, media organisations and key users of the social media network.
We are so often told to look on the sunny side of life and to cultivate a positive attitude for success.
A new incubator for tech start-ups, dubbed Silicon Lakes, is launching on the Gold Coast, with a pitch competition for app developers acting as the curtain raiser to the scheme.
Too many start-ups are focused on the wrong things. They care more about users, publicity and raising capital over getting customers.
Small businesses have been urged to keep on top of their tax record keeping, after the Inspector-General of Taxation raised concerns about the way taxpayers are selected for audits.
Retail spending is on the slide again following two months of recovery, with a 5.4% dip in takings during July, according to new figures.
A new co-working space in Newcastle wants to replicate the success of Sydney co-working space Fishburners, aiming itself at digital start-ups in the area.
A debt recovery specialist has highlighted the perils of operating as a subcontractor, particularly in the construction industry, in light of the recent collapses of various construction companies.
Australian eBay sellers have been put on notice after Centrelink confirmed it is cracking down on people who receive benefits while making large profits on the online selling platform.
Melbourne-based start-up Tiger Pistol has launched a social marketing platform specifically for SMEs, after raising $1.15 million in an angel round led by Australian investor David Solomon.
The competition watchdog says it will investigate fashion importers who are asking retail sites to inflate prices for Australian shoppers, warning suppliers could face multimillion dollar fines.
When Wayne Swan steps up to make his Budget speech tomorrow, he faces a number of pressures, not least bringing Australia back to surplus while retaining some popular elements of welfare that will aid a chronically unpopular Labor Government in the polls.