Tax office targets lawyers’ privileges

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 7 : 22-Jul-19

The Australian Taxation Office is hoping a new industry code of conduct that is being developed with the Law Council of Australia and other professional bodies will lead to improved auditing of multinationals. The ATO is finding it difficult to conduct such audits because lawyers are making blanket claims that documents being sought are subject to legal privilege. ATO second commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn says law firms have no interest in seeing privilege claims that turn out to be false, as this could put the concept of privilege at risk.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, LAW COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, COMMOTION SYSTEMS, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

PM to Senate: no deals on drought aid

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 4 : 22-Jul-19

The federal government will table its bill for a future drought fund in the Senate on 22 July; it was passed by the House of Representatives in 2018 but was not put to a vote in the Senate. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the bill will not be changed in any form to satisfy the demands of Labor or crossbenchers; he adds that drought funding should be a "no-brainer" and not something on which deals need to be done. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese claims that the government’s proposed legislation would see money taken from the Building Australia Fund.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Former Arrium directors face recovery action

Original article by Simon Evans
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 22-Jul-19

Insolvency firm KordaMentha has launched legal action in the New South Wales Supreme Court in an attempt to pursue former directors of failed steel firm Arrium for monies owed to its creditors. Arrium was placed in administration in April 2016 owing $2.8 billion to banks and noteholders. KordaMentha then operated the business as administrators until it was purchased by British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta for around $700 million in August 2017.

CORPORATES
KORDA MENTHA AND COLLEAGUES PTY LTD, SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES, ARRIUM LIMITED

Asahi puts $16bn on bar for CUB

Original article by Bridget Carter, Eli Greenblat
The Weekend Australian – Page: 25 & 28 : 20-Jul-19

Japan-based Asahi is set to acquire Carlton & United Breweries in a $16bn deal, subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. The deal includes beer brands such as Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught, and is expected to be finalised in the March 2020 quarter. Asahi secured the deal after Anheuser-Busch InBev abandoned plans for an IPO of its Asian brands, including CUB. The IPO documents show that CUB had a 48.8 per cent share of the Australian market in 2018, while rival brewer Lion – which is owned by Japan’s Kirin – had a 36.4 per cent market share.

CORPORATES
CARLTON AND UNITED BREWERIES, ASAHI BREWERIES LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. FOREIGN INVESTMENT REVIEW BOARD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV SA/NV, LION PTY LTD, KIRIN HOLDINGS COMPANY LIMITED

ABCC pursues workers on strike over union flags

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 22-Jul-19

The Australian Building & Construction Commission is prosecuting 66 members of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union for engaging in unlawful industrial action. It is alleged that they failed to return to work after a meeting with CFMMEU delegates at a construction site in Brisbane. Amongst other things, the meeting is said to have discussed the issue of union flags being removed from union sites. The CFMMEU and its officials are not subject to the legal action. The workers each face a fine of up to $42,000.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION, MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, ACTU

At $200k, celebrity chef got off lightly

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 22-Jul-19

Attorney-General Christian Porter says that amongst other things, the federal government’s review of the industrial relations system will look at whether the penalties for underpaying wages are sufficient. He says many Australians would agree with his opinion that the $200,000 fine to be paid by celebrity chef George Calombaris was lenient. More than 500 employees at Calombaris’s restaurants were collectively underpaid some $7.8 million over six years. The ‘MasterChef’ judge says the majority have now received backpay.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

No surplus sacrifice for dole boost

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 22-Jul-19

The federal government is resisting pressure from welfare groups and unions to increase the Newstart allowance by $75 a week. The Treasury estimates that this would cost $12.5bn over four years and $39bn over a decade, and it would slash the projected Budget surplus for 2019-20. Labor has also called for Newstart to be increased, although it has not nominated a figure. Employment Minister Michaelia Cash says the government’s priority is getting people off welfare and into the workforce, and notes that Labor has opposed or criticised all of the Coalition’s employment programs.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU, NATIONAL SENIORS AUSTRALIA LIMITED, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, KPMG AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Lib MPs in bid to ditch super boost

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 22-Jul-19

The federal government is facing growing pressure from within its ranks to reconsider an increase in the superannuation guarantee from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent by mid-2025. Andrew Hastie is among seven backbenchers who oppose the increase; he says it would be preferable for people to use this income to pay off their mortgage now rather than have to wait until they retire. Senator Amanda Stoker in turn says wage increases should be a higher priority at present than changes to the superannuation guarantee.

CORPORATES
LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, GRATTAN INSTITUTE, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Action on streaming set back until 2022

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 24 : 22-Jul-19

A confidential consultation paper has recommended that the federal government delay a decision on whether live streaming is subject to the Broadcasting Act until 2022. The ministerial determination was made in 2000 by former Communications Minister Richard Alston, and it is slated to expire on 1 October 2019. The Department of Communications has advised that extending the so-called Alston determination would give the government more time to consider a broader range of ­reforms for broadcasting and streaming ser­vices, including its response to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s report on digital platforms.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FREE TV AUSTRALIA LIMITED, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM

ABC’s $100k taxpayer Life line

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Australian – Page: 24 & 26 : 22-Jul-19

The ABC’s lifestyle website, which was launched on 6 August 2018, now boasts about 600,000 unique viewers each month, although this can vary from 500,000 to 820,000. In contrast, the public broadcaster’s suite of ABC News sites attracts more than 10 million unique viewers each month. The ABC Life site has attracted criticism from publishers, commercial networks and even some of the ABC’s own journalists. Meanwhile, ABC Life is seeking to hire an editor on a 12-month fixed-term contract, with a salary of more than $100,000.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, JUNKEE MEDIA PTY LTD, TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED, FREE TV AUSTRALIA LIMITED, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED, NEWSMEDIAWORKS, SPECIAL BROADCASTING SERVICE (SBS)