Brandis faces Senate inquiry over Bell instructions
Attorney-General George Brandis faces a snap Senate inquiry into what instructions he gave the Solicitor-General about a High Court challenge to West Australian laws that would have favoured the state as a creditor to the Bell Group over federal taxpayers. The Fin
BHP and Rio shareholders focus on debt
Big shareholders in BHP Billiton say stronger than expected commodity prices should be converted into debt reduction and investment in growth projects before any special shareholder returns are considered. The Fin
Exploration drought continues to stoke fears of gas shortage
Western Australia is likely to see no onshore exploration wells drilled this year, while offshore drilling also has slumped, fuelling fears of gas shortages on the west as well as the east coast. The Fin
Boards warned over exec pay rules
Blue chip boards have been warned of risking conflict of interest accusations by taking a “do-it-yourself” approach to setting executive pay, after an unprecedented backlash against top-end remuneration practices during a feisty AGM season. The Aus
Chinese race to bolster Pit bid
The little-known Chinese group behind a $US1.3 billion ($1.7bn) bid for Barrick Gold’s share in Kalgoorlie’s famous Super Pit is working around the clock to convince Western lenders to support its bid and beat a tight deadline set by Barrick. The Aus
Business chiefs call for Barnett to save London flights
A group of powerful business leaders has urged the State Government to intervene in the dispute surrounding Qantas non-stop flights to London to prevent WA from losing a critical economic opportunity and thousands of much-needed jobs. The West
WA jobless levels ‘in line with recession’
Unemployment across WA is in line with a recession, with no part of the State untouched as thousands of full-time jobs disappear. The West
The Australian Financial Review
Page 1: US dollar investors have cheered Donald Trump’s election victory, but the American working class voters who installed him in the White House may be in for a rude currency shock.
Page 5: Attorney-General George Brandis faces a snap Senate inquiry into what instructions he gave the Solicitor-General about a High Court challenge to West Australian laws that would have favoured the state as a creditor to the Bell Group over federal taxpayers.
Page 6: Crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm says he will vote against legislation to re-establish the construction industry watchdog if the federal government caves in to Nick Xenophon on water, making Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s task of passing his key bill even tougher.
Page 7: Treasurer Scott Morrison has rejected a proposal by the Australian Greens to impose a death duty on real estate, saying instead the minor party should be supporting current budget cuts rather than thinking of new taxes.
Perceived sexism in Victoria’s construction industry is holding women back from on-site roles, the newly elected president of the Master Builders Association says.
Page 8: Resort wear is the fashion industry’s latest buzz word, following in the footsteps of ‘‘athleisure’’, a movement that turned simple black leggings into expensive and acceptable outerwear outside of a gym. For a growing number of designers it is one of their strongest growing segments.
Page 9: Governments including in Australia should seize on low interest rates to fund infrastructure that would pay for itself in the medium term by generating faster economic growth and more tax revenues, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development recommends.
Easing the financial regulations imposed on customer-owned banks would challenge the dominance of the big four, their lobby group says.
Given the relatively low use of the $100 note in the economy – it’s the least likely to appear in your wallet, according to the RBA – some analysts are suggesting it’s time to scrap the jolly green giant.
Page 10: The US Federal Reserve is poised to gradually become more hawkish on inflation and interest rates as Donald Trump reshapes the central bank’s monetary policy committee by appointing economists who believe borrowing costs should be higher.
Page 12: Hundreds of needy schools could be properly funded with money left over for improving teaching skills without any significant increase in federal government spending, according to a new report from the Grattan Institute.
Page 13: Big shareholders in BHP Billiton say stronger than expected commodity prices should be converted into debt reduction and investment in growth projects before any special shareholder returns are considered.
Hartley Poynton had a reputation for peddling speculative mining stocks, but found promoting and placing ‘‘new economy stocks’’ was far more lucrative.
Page 15: Japan’s Inpex Corporation is facing an uphill battle to start up its huge Ichthys liquefied natural gas plant in Darwin on time given that two massive offshore pieces of equipment will likely not leave South Korean shipyards until early next year, later than many expected.
Aurizon CEO Lance Hockridge will bow out on Wednesday, handing over to former Rio Tinto executive Andrew Harding as the rail group’s shares rebound as coal prices rise.
Tabcorp is moving to aggressively roll out its new program incentivising pubs, clubs and other venues that contain TAB outlets to sign up customers to bet via the company’s digital apps.
Page 16: Retail, healthcare and technology are the sectors to watch for merger and acquisition activity, says global investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Page 17: The chairmen of the competition and corporate regulators say fulfilling an expanded role over the banking sector as envisaged by last week’s House of Representatives standing committee on economics report will require additional resources, while the credit Ombudsman says the proposed banking tribunal will kill the benefits of having competing schemes working for smaller financial services players.
After a tough couple of years for life insurance, industry observers will be paying close attention to the performance of Freedom Insurance when it hits the boards on Thursday.
Page 18: Western Australia is likely to see no onshore exploration wells drilled this year, while offshore drilling also has slumped, fuelling fears of gas shortages on the west as well as the east coast.
Hundreds of Australian miners will be hoping that surging zinc prices are enough to convince Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg to restart production at a cluster of mines in Queensland this week.
Page 20: Stocks with global and local household names feature strongly among the top picks from Australian and international fund managers in the difficult post-Trump economy.
Investors are trying to keep track of the flurry of meetings between oil-producing nations as they urgently try to hammer out a deal ahead of OPEC’s official meeting on Wednesday.
Page 29: Advertisers in groceries and consumer packaged goods are getting a return of $1.74 for each dollar invested in television, according to a new study done by Ebiquity.
Page 31: A growing trend for aged care facility residents to make daily payments rather than give a lump sum deposit could see Estia Health out of pocket by more than $70 million by May next year, leaving it with more debt than its $330 million facility.
Page 1: Malcolm Turnbull has agreed to a key demand from Senate powerbroker Nick Xenophon to amend the government’s workplace relations reforms in a major step towards a wider deal on Murray-Darling water flows after a weekend of high-stakes negotiations to rescue his agenda.
The national building industry regulator has launched Federal Court action alleging 81 breaches of industrial laws by the construction union and senior officials including Queensland secretary Michael Ravbar, just as the Senate prepares to debate the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill.
Page 3: Auction clearance rates nationwide remained high at the weekend, as the federal government buckled to developers’ concerns about the glut of apartments by removing a restriction on foreigners buying new dwellings.
Page 5: Combine harvesters are chewing their way through southern Australia’s tall and billowing crops, bringing in a harvest that looks set to eclipse all others.
Page 17: Blue chip boards have been warned of risking conflict of interest accusations by taking a “do-it-yourself” approach to setting executive pay, after an unprecedented backlash against top-end remuneration practices during a feisty AGM season.
According to new research commissioned by Macquarie University, financial services workers were no more likely to behave unethically than those in other industries.
Rio Tinto remains enmeshed in Guinea’s economic and political landscape despite its October 28 deal to quit its scandal-ridden Simandou iron ore project in the west African nation.
Page 18: The little-known Chinese group behind a $US1.3 billion ($1.7bn) bid for Barrick Gold’s share in Kalgoorlie’s famous Super Pit is working around the clock to convince Western lenders to support its bid and beat a tight deadline set by Barrick.
Australia’s gold production continued to edge higher in the September quarter as the industry’s response to strong local currency prices gathered momentum.
Page 19: Long airport queues are damaging Australia’s reputation as a welcoming destination for holidaymakers and business travellers, infuriating the tourism industry, which is spending billions of dollars annually attracting visitors.
Australian shoppers are still the poor relations of their American cousins when it comes to being able to buy a host of fashion brands, books, house wares, DVDs and IT, forcing a growing number to use fake US shipping addresses to get access to goods.
The pain is clearly etched on Carolyn Hewson’s face. The BHP Billiton director is talking about the tragic Samarco dam collapse a little over a year ago. And she is the first director of the mining giant to do so publicly.
Chris Corrigan’s decision to stand down from the logistics company Qube next year has thrown the spotlight on Webster, a little known ASX-listed agricultural company which will become the major focus of his Australian attention.
Page 20: Some of Australia’s biggest banks have hit back at suggestions they had purposefully held back the transition of superannuation assets from legacy funds into new lower-fee MySuper funds in a bid to earn higher fees.
Regional cities located about 200km from state capitals could become the boom centres of the future if they were linked by high-speed rail services, according to British engineer Professor Andrew McNaughton.
Page 21: Australia’s top property business leaders have urged state and federal governments to push ahead with tax reform to help fix the nation’s worsening housing affordability crisis, after the Coalition ruled out changing the negative gearing system.
Major office tower portfolios held by US private equity powerhouse Blackstone and Malaysian-backed fund manager CIMB-TrustCapital Advisors worth almost $1 billion in total are in play as both groups chase sales by year’s end.
Page 23: The English Premier League is suffering from sharply reduced press coverage and a lower profile in Australia since Optus swooped on rights to the football competition for its struggling second-tier pay-TV platform.
Australia’s biggest magazine publisher Bauer Media has approached Seven West Media about buying its Pacific Magazines division in a bid to extract cost synergies and gain greater scale in the face of growing competition from digital publishers and social media platforms.
Billionaire small-cap investor Alex Waislitz has declined to publicly endorse the boss of Fairfax Media’s Domain business Antony Catalano as a potential successor to chief executive Greg Hywood, but stressed he is a “critical’’ person to the company.
The West Australian
Page 1: A group of powerful business leaders has urged the State Government to intervene in the dispute surrounding Qantas non-stop flights to London to prevent WA from losing a critical economic opportunity and thousands of much-needed jobs.
Page 7: WA should look to farming to future-proof the economy, Agriculture Minister Mark Lewis says, as the Barnett Government unveils a plan to find another $10 billion to grow jobs and businesses.
Page 11: An ambitious plan to build a multimillion-dollar bridge to link the Perth Children’s Hospital and Kings Park has been put on the backburner for now.
Page 14: Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has defended as fair a plan that was found unconstitutional to deliver $1 billion of the Bell Group liquidation to the State Government, as senior members of the Federal Government face questions over their role in the issue.
Colin Barnett has accused creditors holding out over WA’s attempts to recover almost $1 billion from the proceeds of Alan Bond’s collapsed Bell Group of “feasting on the carcass of WA Inc”.
Page 16: Tony Abbott has made a dramatic call to be returned to Cabinet, challenging Malcolm Turnbull’s core policy agenda as the Federal Government faces a struggle to finish the parliamentary year with key victories.
Page 17: The State Government is teaming with Vodafone to offer a month of free access on selected mobile plans, as part of a renewed push to secure more discounts for seniors.
Page 21: Unemployment across WA is in line with a recession, with no part of the State untouched as thousands of full-time jobs disappear.
The rollout of the National Broadband Network in WA is likely to create 500 jobs in the next two to three years.
Page 49: The main architects of Perth’s recent backdoor-listing trend say the Australian Securities Exchange’s compliance crackdown is set to boost floats, with a new wave of offerings expected to bubble to the surface before Christmas.
Working out of a garage in the Perth suburb back in 1993, iiNet founder Michael Malone laid the foundations for what would later become a $1.6 billion company. Seven years later, and just 300m down the road, another pair of geeks was developing its business out of a converted bedroom in the same suburb.
OPEC oil ministers will meet on Wednesday hoping to agree their first output cut since the 2008 financial crisis.
The Federal Circuit Court has promised a long-awaited decision next month on whether business Craig Bond’s bankruptcy should be overturned.
Page 50: Financial markets enveloped by hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivative contracts and debt have become so complex and interlinked, not every positive or negative swing should be taken at face value.