The Gillard government is set to unveil a multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded advertising campaign, along with a new ‘Medicare-style’ levy to help fund the government’s $14 billion national disability insurance scheme. The new levy, set to begin next year, is expected to be set at 0.5% of income and raise $3.5 billion towards the federal government’s share of the scheme. Meanwhile, using the tagline “stronger, smarter, fairer”, the government’s new advertising campaign, in the lead-up to the September 14th election, will promote the Gonski school reforms, Medicare, the NDIS, Child Care Assistance, the NBN and 12% superannuation increase. BCA warns government has “lost control” of the budget Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott has lashed out at the federal government following the revelation earlier this week by Prime Minister Julia Gillard of a $12 billion black hole in the federal budget. “Let's be clear here – we don't have an economic problem, our economy is fundamentally strong. What we have is a budget management problem and it's a problem the government has had four years to address,” Westacott says. “Australia's fiscal problem was not created by the community. It was created through loss of control of fiscal strategy.” Telstra rolls out net promoter system to resellers Telstra has rolled out a net promoted system (NPS), which uses surveys to measure customers’ willingness to promote its brand, across its retail partner network. Under the system, Telstra franchisees are offered bonuses for reaching key customer satisfaction targets. “We've had a company-wide rollout of the net promoter system. Now NPS is both a system but also a cultural change and this has been one of the largest change programs that we've really ever undertaken in the country,” Telstra chief executive David Thodey said. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.1% to 14839.8 points. The Aussie dollar is up to US103.7 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 has warned “every reasonable option is on the table” to deal with a $12 billion budget shortfall and fund the Gonski school funding reforms and NDIS, in a speech delivered to the Per Capita Institute yesterday. “I have expressly determined we need to have every reasonable option on the table to meet the needs of the times – even options previously taken off the table… The nation and the government must have maximum flexibility to deal with these complex, and rapidly changing, events … that is my approach,” Gillard said. “All options are on the table, so increased tax on superannuation, increased taxes on the family home, death duties, which Wayne Swan ruled out in Parliament – all options are on the table,” Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey said in response. Merrill Lynch downgrades Woolworths over $800 million Masters loss Merrill Lynch has downgraded its earnings estimates for retail giant Woolworths over concerns its home improvement chain Masters is set to lose $800 million over the next four years. Despite Masters generating gross margins of 42%, compared to 32% at rival Bunnings, the brokerage firm predicts losses for the chain of $135 million this financial year, rising to $265 million in 2015/16. “The problem for Masters is, despite its very high gross margin… its costs per store are currently inhibitively high,” analyst David Errington said. BHP sells US Pinto Valley mine for $629.5 million Mining giant BHP Billiton has announced it has sold its Pinto Valley copper mine in Arizona to Canadian firm Capstone Mining for a better-than-expected price of $629.5 million. Pinto Valley was one of 10 non-core assets or offshore assets flagged for sale by BHP in response to weaker cashflows as a result of lower commodity prices. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.72% to 14,818.75. The Aussie dollar is down to US103.51 cents.
The small business community could be hit by the Coalition's proposal to tax the largest 3200 companies in order to fund its maternity leave scheme, with tax experts warning smaller companies are in danger of being affected. The warning comes as Prime Minister Julia Gillard's budget troubles have continued, as she is set to announce today the government will record a shortfall of $12 billion in next month's budget – a figure worse than expected. Economists and business groups have said they are concerned about the announcement, and what long-term effects it could have on the nation's finances. The Coalition has made the maternity leave scheme a pillar of its election campaign. The 3200 largest companies will be taxed an extra 1.5% in order to fund the plan, which will pay primary carers a full six months' salary. Coalition leader Tony Abbott has said the program will come alongside a reduction in the corporate tax rate for other businesses, although reports indicate this proposal is in jeopardy. The Tax Institute tax counsel Deepti Paton told SmartCompany this morning the category of largest 3200 companies squarely hits a number of SMEs. Paton points to the ATO's own statistics. The ATO categorises the number of "very large" companies existing in Australia at 927. These companies have income more than $250 million. However, there are only 1099 companies in the next biggest category, "large" businesses, which have income between $100 million and $250 million. This means, in order to fulfil the 3200 companies target slated by the Coalition, it needs to tax businesses in the "medium" category, of which there are 12,916 businesses. These have income between $10 million and $100 million. Paton told SmartCompany while the organisation has "always been very supportive of a tax rate cut when it can be afforded", the impact of taxing smaller organisations cannot be denied. "The notion of affordability has to be counter-balanced," she says. "We'd like to see a cohesive plan that maximises productivity for Australian businesses and SMEs." Paton also points out the ATO also can define an SME as a business earning anything up to $250 million. Meanwhile the government is set to announce the current budget shortfall is even worse than feared. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to announce today the May budget will produce a shortfall of $12 billion – but no new spending programs such as education and disability reforms will be targeted for spending cuts. The deficit of the 2012-13 year is now expected to be at least $11 billion. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet was contacted this morning regarding the announcement, but no reply was received prior to publication. The Australian Financial Review has reported Gillard will announce the deficit today. It comes as two new reports from the Grattan Institute and Macroeconomics have found the government is facing long-term deficits as a result of both weak revenue trends and new spending initiatives. Gillard will reportedly say today the budget must "respond to the huge reductions in revenue growth over the next four years", but it also needs to "make necessary investments in the nation's future to ensure that none of our people are left behind". The major problem is not spending, Gillard is expected to say, but falling revenue rates. Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry head of economics, Greg Evans, told SmartCompany this morning the announcement "puts the onus on the government to properly deal with spending in the next federal budget". "Without a sustainable budget there is no scope for the major economic reforms required such as delivering a tax system that promotes incentive and enbales productivity improvements." AMP economist Shane Oliver says while the shortfall isn't a significant problem in the sense we already knew the budget wouldn't deliver a surplus, it does underline a "broader issue". "Where it's probably a longer-term problem is the fact it's underlined Australia has a revenue problem." "We're not in dire straits...but instead of years of surpluses we may expect several years of deficits." This story first appeared on SmartCompany.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to use a speech at the Per Capita Institute think tank in Canberra to reveal a $12 billion forecast deficit in the federal budget this financial year, due to lower taxes from companies. However, despite the massive shortfall, the Prime Minister is expected to rule out cuts to major new spending initiatives, including the Gonski school funding reforms or DisabilityCare. “Put simply, spending is controlled, but the amount of tax money coming to the government is growing much slower than expected. As we make those decisions, let me be crystal clear about what we will and won't do,” Gillard is set to say in the speech. “Our nation cannot afford to leave children behind or to leave our nation's future economy limping behind the pack, unable to attract the high-wage, high-skill jobs of the future … DisabilityCare must not be jeopardised.” Rupert Murdoch to cash in on News Corp split Rupert Murdoch’s remuneration is set to jump by nearly $4 million as a result of a split that will see News Corp divided into two separate companies in June. Under the proposal, Murdoch is set to become chairman and chief executive of the 21st Century Fox corporation, which will control his media empire’s broadcasting and entertainment assets, as well as the executive chairman of the “new News Corp” which will control the company’s publishing assets. While Murdoch’s base salary will remain at $US20.6 million for his role with both entities, his long-term incentives are set to increase from $US4 million to $US7.7 million. James Packer gains approval for Sri Lankan casino The Sri Lankan government has reportedly granted approval to gaming tycoon James Packer for a new casino in Colombo, according to a report in Sri Lanka's Business Times. Under the proposal, the $250 million Crown Colombo complex will include a 36-story casino and resort complex, to be built in the D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha district of Colombo. A Crown spokesperson said the gaming giant is yet to make a final decision on whether to go ahead with the project, and is evaluating a number of other offshore expansion opportunities. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.1% to 14712.6. The Aussie dollar is down to US102.82 cents.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced plans to boost school funding by $14.5 billion over the next five years, with the federal government to contribute $9.4 billion while the states contribute the remaining third. However, while New South Wales appears keen to support the plan, the federal government has met opposition from the state governments of Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. “This model would see Western Australian students penalised because of this state's high level of investment in our schools. This investment in part recognises that some of our students are among the most vulnerable in the nation," WA Premier Colin Barnett said. Turnbull confident of Telstra deal Shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull says he is confident a Coalition government would be able to reach an agreement with Telstra over its alternative broadband policy. Announced last week, the Coalition’s policy would see fibre optic cables laid out to street cabinets, or nodes, with Telstra’s existing copper covering the final mile to subscribers’ homes. “Tension with government has never been good for Telstra shareholders. I am very confident that we'll achieve speedily the slight rearrangements to the agreements we're talking about,” Turnbull said. Private insurer attacks comparison sites over affordability Medibank Private managing director George Savvides has attacked health insurance comparison websites, claiming brokers drive up costs for consumers, ahead of a potential public listing. “[Comparison sites] haven't really changed the dynamics of affordability. In fact, I'd argue they're adding to costs because of the commission,” Savvides told Fairfax. The claim is disputed by iSelect chief executive Matt McCann, who believes the services also benefit insurance providers. “Those [funds] that don't participate in the comparison channel have found it hard to grow in this market. And for us, funds wouldn't use us if we weren't an efficient form of distribution for their products,” McCann said. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.08 points to 14,865.06. The Aussie dollar is down to US105.05 cents
The business community has welcomed a new direct currency trading deal between Australia and China, but an entrepreneur says there are still key challenges facing Australian start-ups keen to strike partnerships within the economic powerhouse. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced the Australian currency will be directly traded and converted with the Chinese currency. Under the agreement, the Australian dollar will be directly convertible into Chinese yuan, easing costs for companies. China only has deals of a similar nature with the United States and Japan. ANZ and Westpac are the first two Australian banks licensed to handle the conversion in China. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the move, with chief executive Peter Anderson saying: "Making it easier to do business often involves a myriad of small steps, of which today's announcement is just one, but an important and welcome one." Speaking at the China Executive Leadership Academy in Shanghai, Gillard said the deal “reflects the rapid growth of our bilateral trade and the value of two-way investment”. Peter Anderson, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in a statement the agreement is a boost to exporting businesses. “Whilst developing commercial and trading relationships in China requires the long-term relationships and business plans, the opportunity for direct currency conversion removes an obstacle,” Anderson said. “There is potential benefit not just to major resource industry investors, but also small and medium enterprises, such as Australian professional services companies.” According to Jim Vrondas, OzForex chief currency and payment strategist for the Asia-Pacific, the agreement could save small businesses thousands of dollars in exchange fees every year. “It would cut costs, due to no longer having two separate conversion fees,” Vrondas said in a statement. “Savings could be somewhere in excess of 1%, so for an Australian importer sending AUD1 million into CNY [yuan] at the moment, it could be a $10k saving.” But Dean Ramler, co-founder of online furniture retailer Milan Direct, which uses Chinese manufacturers to replicate European designs, says there are still challenges facing Australian start-ups in China. Here are Ramler’s top three potential hurdles faced by Aussie start-ups. Changing working conditions “Payment conditions have changed in the last five or six years,” Ramler says. “It used to be a low cost manufacturing base in China but no so anymore. Material costs have gone up, wages have gone up. “At the same time, the Australian market is seeing new competitors in the market every week. “Milan Direct was the first online seller of furniture six years ago. Today there might be 100 competitors… The price point is going down but the cost is going up.” Fewer niche operators “I think China’s caught onto the fact that anything they make, somebody’s going to buy it,” Ramler says. “I’ve seen factories that one week are selling timber furniture and the next week they’re making kitchen products… [They] don’t specialise in anything. “Everyone who quits their day job wants to be an online entrepreneur. They’re starting up online without having any passion for the product and just ordering containers off the internet. “The big shock comes when the consumers are really smart, and demand amazing products at amazing prices. “If start-up entrepreneurs don’t have a background in quality, the customer will be really disappointed, so you have to be careful there.” The slow burn “Chinese businesspeople value relationships first before doing business,” Ramler says. “If you want to be a long-term successful company in Australia, it’s definitely important that you continue speaking to all different factories in Asia every month. “With one factory, we were speaking to them for four years before we placed our first order… You really have to spend the time on the ground in China and Asia, and work together.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to announce a new small business minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle, following the mass-resignation of ministers aligned with Kevin Rudd. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has named Jason Clare, Sharon Bird, Mike Kelly, Andrew Leigh and Gai Brodtmann as potential beneficiaries of the reshuffle. Aside from the small business portfolio, other key ministries to be filled include resources, tourism, tertiary education, science and research, local government and the arts. Cyprus set to re-introduce one-off bank deposit tax The government of Cyprus is set to reintroduce plans for a one-off levy on bank deposits, with the government needing to raise $7.74 billion in order to obtain a $13 billion bailout package from European banking authorities. While the tax would not affect people with deposits less than $125,000, all deposits above that amount at the Bank of Cyprus will be taxed at 20% under the revised plan. The original proposal, which was voted down amidst large protests, would have seen all deposits impacted by the one-off tax. Tougher loans for “at-risk” businesses: Report Banks are imposing tougher loan conditions on businesses in sectors deemed to be at risk, according to a new survey of more than 30,000 businesses published by Macquarie and research company East and Partners. Around 10% of business in the mining sector surveyed for the report have seen their loans re-priced, compared to a national average of 6%. Businesses in the “at risk” retail, manufacturing and media sectors are also burdened with tougher loan conditions, according to the survey. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.63% at 14,512.26. The Aussie dollar is steady at US104.38 cents.
Labor is in turmoil today after senior frontbencher Simon Crean called for a leadership spill, and announced he’d run for deputy. Refresh for rolling updates … 4.46pm: Julia Gillard remains PM. No one challenged her. ALP spokesman Chris Hayes MP has emerged from the caucus meeting to formally announce that there was only one nomination each for the role of prime minister and deputy prime minister; Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan respectively, “Both were duly elected unopposed and unanimously by the parliamentary caucus,” Hayes said. ”It puts beyond doubt the issue of leadership in the parliamentary Labor party.” 4.21pm: Kevin Rudd has just faced the media to announce he will not stand in the leadership ballot. Flanked by supportive colleagues in the corridor of Parliament House, Rudd said he had previously pledged he would only stand if the overwhelming majority of the party requested his return and the top position was vacant, circumstances, he said, which had not been met. Rudd said he would adhere absolutely to his commitment; “I take my word seriously”. He called on the party to unite to ensure Tony Abbott did not walk into the Lodge. 4.16pm: Labor MPs are expected to start filing into the leadership spill any minute. Meanwhile, spare a thought for the people affected by the forced adoption of children in the 20th century. They received a heartfelt and long-awaited apology from Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott this morning, but that’s been eclipsed by the #spill. 3.40pm: We still don’t even know if Rudd will nominate for leader at the spill at 4.30pm. This update from ABC reporter Latika Bourke: SkyNews reckons the following Labor MPs have been spied in Rudd’s office: Ed Husic, Tony Zappia, Richard Marles, Stephen Jones. Confusion reigns in Parliament House. Normally MPs would be getting ready to head to the airport and leave Canberra as the sitting week wraps up. Not this time. They’re frantically phoning around and changing their flights. 3.25pm: Sportsbet has Rudd the frontrunner at $1.30 with Gillard at $3.00. But she’s fighting back — she was at $6.00 half an hour ago. And she just now dropped to $2.80. And she’s got this vote sewn up — outspoken Labor MP Steve Gibbons tweets this (Gillard’s winning the race on Twitter FYI): 3.11: Treasurer Wayne Swan weighs in. He is highly likely to go down with Gillard should she lose today's ballot. 2.56pm: Bernard Keane writes: Question Time has come and gone, with an attempt by the opposition to suspend standing orders to move a motion of no confidence failing. The motion was supported by independents Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie but failed to achieve the necessary absolute majority of the House. A motion of no confidence — Tony Abbott’s first — may not have been particularly interesting given Gillard remains Prime Minister and thus her agreements with Oakeshott and Windsor remain in place. Wilkie has indicated he will only vote no confidence in the case of a major scandal. The Prime Minister’s speech in response to Tony Abbott’s motion to suspend remarks contain little of her usual back-against-the-wall fire, but relied on outlining her achievements and warning that she had more left to do. Meantime the counting game is on in earnest, with attention focusing on how many numbers Simon Crean can bring over to the Rudd camp, estimated to be no more than 35-40 MPs. The problem for Gillard is that a victory will do nothing to address Simon Crean’s defection or the persistence of a core of Rudd supporters of around a third of the caucus. 2.42pm: Julia Gillard has shut down question time after Abbott’s move to have a no-confidence motion in her failed. 2.25pm: Tony Abbott, in question time, tells Gillard: “I say to the current Prime Minister, for your party’s good you should go. For your country’s good, you should go.” Gillard is now firing back at Abbott. Note that Kevin Rudd is in the chamber, as is Simon Crean; but Crean has gone to the backbench after precipitating today’s dramatic events. Remember the last time this happened, when Rudd and Gillard faced off in February 2012? Key Rudd supporters were Anthony Albanese, Martin Ferguson, Chris Bowen and Kim Carr. Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, Wayne Swan, Stephen Conroy and Simon Crean all backed Gillard. Crean has now shifted — and who else? 2.17pm: We’re in question time. Tony Abbott has moved a no-confidence motion in the PM, and is listing what he says is a litany of Labor failures. Meanwhile, Labor MPs have started to tweet how they’ll vote. Here’s ACT Senator Kate Lundy: 2.04pm: News Limited journalist Phillip Hudson tweets: 2.01pm: Prime Minister Julia Gillard tells question time there will be a ballot for the leadership at 4.30pm today. 1.45pm: Labor frontbencher and former leader Simon Crean has pulled the trigger on the Labor leadership crisis, calling for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to spill all leadership positions and backing Kevin Rudd with himself as deputy leader. Crean’s intervention comes as the climax for an extended leadership dilemma for Labor, with Rudd’s camp unable to muster the numbers to defeat Gillard despite a dreadful start to the year in the polls. However, there are important process issues to be addressed. Crean has indicated he doesn’t expect the Prime Minister to accept his plea to spill leadership positions, in which case it will be up to her opponents to muster the 35 votes to successfully call a spill in caucus via the caucus chairman before MPs leave tonight (prospects of Parliament sitting tomorrow have evaporated with the withdrawal of the media reform bills). Crean, who has been a strong supporter of the Prime Minister, said he wanted a circuitbreaker for the continuing destabilisation and that Labor’s problems would not be solved by simply swapping leaders. Labor needed to demonstrate it believed in something, he said. The move by the former leader (and persistent critic of Rudd) breaks the impasse Labor found itself in with the Rudd camp unable to muster anywhere near sufficient numbers to defeat Gillard and Rudd himself repeatedly, in private and in public, saying he would not challenge under any circumstances. With a leadership spill initiated by Crean, Rudd now has the chance to stand; indeed, there is no way Rudd can avoid standing. Crean also portrayed himself as a deputy capable of ensuring Rudd, whose wretched management style was one of the key reasons for his downfall in June 2010, would be a more inclusive leader if he takes over again as prime minister. That has been a persistent problem for Rudd backers, with the memory of Rudd’s behaviour as leader still strong in many backbench minds, as well as being a reason why a number of cabinet ministers indicated either publicly or privately they could not work with him again. Crean also ruled out seeking the treasurership, which has long been rumoured to be promised to the New South Wales Right’s Chris Bowen, who backed Rudd last February and is his highest-profile ministerial backer. There are disputed media reports that the NSW Right will back Rudd, which combined with Crean’s support would make Rudd very difficult to stop in a leadership contest. Crean has said he wishes to retain his ministerial position pending the outcome of the current contest. This story originally appeared on Crikey.com.au.
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.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will today release a report into high speed trading and will reveal whether it intends to join Germany, France and the European Union in regulating the practice. The report examines whether “dark pools” – where high volume, high speed trades are placed electronically through computer algorithms without human intervention – could in some cases constitute a form of market manipulation. ALP vice president backs 457 visa crackdown, slams Mark Latham ALP vice president and Transport Workers Union secretary Tony Sheldon has backed Julia Gillard’s 457 visa crackdown and launched a stinging attack on former leader Mark Latham’s Quarterly Essay, in an address to the ALP national organisers forum in Canberra over the weekend. "It's simply a way for unscrupulous employers to bypass the local job market and escape their responsibilities to employ and train our children. And it is made worse by the fact that the 457 visa was leaving people highly vulnerable to exploitation," Mr Sheldon said. "When it comes to our philosophy and our story, we've been fitted-up by our opponents in the conservative side of politics and by some of our former friends too, including a certain former leader who has just published a Quarterly Essay.” A run on the banks in Cyprus Cyprus has experienced a run on the banks following the introduction of a new tax on savings, after the European Union decided part of a new €10 billion ($A12.49b) would have to be paid for by a tax on savings. The once-off tax will see Cypriots pay 6.75% of their bank deposits under €100,000 and 9.9% of savings over €100,000, with the government claiming the move will avert the need for a Greek-style austerity package. Despite most major banks placing a €400 limit on withdrawals, most ATMs had run out of cash by the early evening. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.17% to 14514.11. The Aussie dollar is down to US103.45 cents.
Irate business groups across Australia have slammed Prime Minister Julia Gillard's announcement yesterday confirming penalty rates are here to stay.
Key players in the Australian tech start-up scene have lashed out at Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s suggestion the 457 visa program is being abused by the IT industry.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is facing increasing divisions within Caucus over 457 visas, including accusations of xenophobia from some of her MPs.
The federal government has solidified its plans to expand flexible working standards, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard confirming legislation will change to allow victims of domestic abuse to request different working hours.
Small business has expressed its hesitation over the federal government's planned expansion of flexible workplace laws, saying they could threaten the viability of businesses in certain industries and place undue pressure on struggling SMEs.
The small business sector has been handed its fourth minister in two years, with former immigration minister Chris Bowen assuming the role as part of an unexpected cabinet reshuffle.
Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the Coalition will only release its policy costings after the government releases theirs, after the Prime Minister flagged a number of cost-saving measures to be considered ahead of the budget.
Yesterday’s announcement of the 2013 federal election date garnered a largely positive response from business groups, but there are now concerns about “policy paralysis” within government.
Some say it’s too late. Some, even those who have been continuously calling for the nation to go to the polls for the past three years, say it’s too early, given the budget announcement isn’t until May.