Pauline upsets the poll gallop

FOLLOWING weeks of political posturing, the WA people have voted in a new Labor Government, after an unprecedented swing against the Coalition and stronger than expected support for Pauline Hanson’s’ One Nation Party.

However, just days after Geoff Gallop’s victory, business in WA has expressed concern over Labor’s proposal to wind back the system of workplace agreements.

Timber towns in the South West of the State are also worried about their future under Labor following the party’s pledge to immediately halt all old-growth forest logging.

The Reserve bank’s decision to drop official interest rates by half a percentage point has bought little joy to the Australian stock market which lost 1.3 per cent over the week.

The Australian dollar was also in the doldrums reaching a 10-week low of 53.35¢ against a strong US dollar.

The economic doom and gloom has filtered through to the consumer’s hip pocket.

Analysts are predicting Coles Myer shares could drop to levels not seen for four years following a downgrade of the full year after-tax profit from $484 million to $400 million.

Fast-food giant McDonald’s has suffered a drop in sales revenue of between 2 and 3 per cent since the intro-duction of the GST.

From fast food to fast news, the earnings forecast for John Fairfax has been downgraded following the start of the free commuter newspaper war with Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited.

Deutsche Bank has down graded Fairfax’s earnings for 2001 from 2 per cent to $155.5 million.

There is some good news in the papers as Wesfarmers shares ignored the downward trend and reached a record high of $19.52 following the release of a bumper interim result.

The ACCC has approved the merger of rural merchandisers Wesfarmers Dalgety and IAMA after both parties agreed to a number of conditions involving trading in WA.

The ACCC has also announced it will not oppose Royal Dutch-Shell’s bid to takeover Wood-side petroleum

Prime Minister John Howard refused to be drawn on the takeover, however he expressed a commitment to the global market and also a concern that he did not want Australia to become a branch office economy.

The ABC is moving its branch office in Perth following the acquisition of a site on the corner of Fielder and Brown streets for their new $28.5 million headquarters.

As one door opens another one shuts. A chapter in retail history comes to an end with the closure of glassware store Olssons in City Arcade following ongoing market pressure from national chains and suburban super-malls.

Olssons opened in the city arcade the day after the arcade opened in November 1970.

The Heineken Classic is also to be relegated to Perth’s history books following operator Tony Roosenburg’s decision to move the Heineken Classic to Melbourne.

The loss of the international tournament has sparked a multi-million dollar push to create a permanent replace-ment for Perth’s golfing calendar.

From west to east again, Singapore Airlines is rumoured to be close to taking a big equity stake in Ansett Airlines from embattled owner Air New Zealand.

Still in the air, fierce competition from both do-mestic and international airlines has fuelled speculation that Qantas will post a flat interim profit, the first non– record result since the airline was privatised in 1995.

Gina Rinehart is inter-ested in something a bit more earthy. Ms Rinehart’s group of Hancock companies is seeking nearly $200 million in damages from BHP over an iron ore contract her late father, Lang Hancock, negotiated with the Ro-manian government in the late 1980s.

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