Facebook lashes algorithm watchdog oversight

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 13-Dec-18

Social media giant Facebook has questioned the merits of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s proposal for a new regulator to be given responsibility for monitoring digital platforms’ algorithms. Facebook’s Andy O’Connell says the proposal is unnecessary and unworkable, and he has rejected suggestions that the company lacks transparency regarding its algorithms. He adds that Facebook will continue to engage with the ACCC as the competition watchdog prepares to release the final report of its inquiry into digital platforms in mid-2019.

CORPORATES
FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED

US giants castigate anti-encryption laws

Original article by John Durie, Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 13-Dec-18

Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft are among a coalition of global technology companies that have criticised the federal government’s encryption laws. The Reform Government Surveillance coalition has described the new laws as "deeply flawed" and urged the government to make amendments when parliament resumes. The encryption bill was passed after Labor backed down on its proposed amendments, although the government has signalled that it may open to some of Labor’s changes.

CORPORATES
FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, APPLE INCORPORATED, MICROSOFT CORPORATION, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS, DROPBOX INCORPORATED, SNAP, EVERNOTE, OATH, YAHOO! INCORPORATED, UNITED STATES. NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

Labor looks at sector-wide right to strike

Original article by Phillip Coorey, David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 13-Dec-18

Labor’s workplace relations spokesman Brendan O’Connor has advised that industry-wide enterprise bargaining for low-paid workers will be part of its election platform. He has also told the National Press Club that Labor will consider reforms that would permit workers to engage in sector-wide industrial action during enterprise bargaining negotiations. O’Connor argues that evidence from other OECD countries that allow pattern bargaining suggests that there would a low risk of sector-wide industrial action. Key employer groups oppose the reintroduction of pattern bargaining.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, NATIONAL PRESS CLUB (AUSTRALIA), ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, ACTU, THE MENZIES RESEARCH CENTRE LIMITED, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA

Labor’s spending plans could hit a wall

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 13-Dec-18

Labor plans to increase tax revenue by about $30bn over four years if it wins the 2019 federal election, and by nearly $280bn over a decade. However, the majority of Senate crossbenchers oppose Labor’s key tax policy initiatives, including its negative gearing reforms and the abolition of cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits. Analysis suggests that Labor’s tax revenue would be up to $19bn lower than forecast if the Senate were to reject its key tax measures.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, CENTRE ALLIANCE, ONE NATION PARTY, AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATIVES, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, DELOITTE ACCESS ECONOMICS PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Enterprise deals face extinction

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 13-Dec-18

The proportion of workers in the private sector that are covered by enterprise agreement has fallen from 19 per cent in 2013 to 12 per cent in 2017, according the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work. Its report shows that the number of private-sector employees who are covered by enterprise agreements has declined by more than 660,000 since 2013. It concludes that if the current trend continues, fewer than two per cent of private sector employees could be covered by enterprise agreements by 2030.

CORPORATES
THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED

Please explain … call for ABC, SBS transparency

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 13-Dec-18

The federal government’s competitive neutrality inquiry into public broadcasting has concluded that the ABC and SBS are competing fairly with their commercial rivals. However, the inquiry has recommended greater transparency with regard to the public broadcasters’ business activities, their use of taxpayer funding and compliance with their charters. Amongst other things, the inquiry also recommended a shift toward longer-term funding arrangements for the ABC and SBS.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, SPECIAL BROADCASTING SERVICE (SBS), FREE TV AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, ERNST AND YOUNG, BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, ONE NATION PARTY

New housing loans drop 7.4pc in quarter

Original article by Samantha Bailey
The Australian – Page: 19 : 13-Dec-18

A new report from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority shows that $89.2bn worth of new mortgage loans were written in the September quarter, which is 7.4 per cent lower than previously. However, authorised deposit-taking institutions have reported a 5.4 per cent increase in the total value of housing loans in the year to September. Chris Bedingfield of Quay Global Investors says the annual rate of house construction is now too high, given that banks are tightening their lending criteria. He adds that the Reserve Bank is now more likely to reduce rather than raise the cash rate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, QUAY GLOBAL INVESTORS, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Westpac first to feel wrath of investors

Original article by Joyce Moullakis, Paul Gardiner
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 13-Dec-18

Westpac’s remuneration report was rejected by 64.2 per cent of shareholders at its AGM on 12 December, the largest "no" vote against a top-20 stock since the "two-strikes" rule was introduced in 2011. Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted has acknowledged investors’ angst and says the bank will consider the issues raised at the AGM. Argo Investments CEO Jason Beddow also expects National Australia Bank and the ANZ Bank to experience a big protest vote at their upcoming AGMs, although he adds that it is uncertain whether this will lead to a significant change in remuneration policies.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, ARGO INVESTMENTS LIMITED – ASX ARG, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS

Expect the RBA to hold fire on rates

Original article by James Glynn
The Australian – Page: 27 : 13-Dec-18

The Reserve Bank is still more likely to tighten rather than ease monetary policy, despite recent comments by governor Philip Lowe. He was most likely just outlining how the central bank could be expected to respond – including the potential for quantitative easing – in the event of an economic downturn. Although the Reserve Bank is still concerned about issues such as an emerging credit crunch, the odds still favour a rate rise, although this is unlikely to be for some time.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Early signs of tinsel raise ho-ho-hopes of a rally

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 27 : 13-Dec-18

Australia’s benchmark index posted its second-largest one-day gain for 2018 on 12 December, while some key Asian markets also rallied amid signs of a thawing of relations between the US and China. Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200’s forward price-earnings ratio fell below its long-term average of about 14 times on 10 December and the index’s estimated dividend yield reached a two-year high of 5.2 per cent. It should also be noted that over the last two decades, the S&P/ASX 200 has gained an average of two per cent during the last two weeks of a calendar year.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, HANG SENG INDEX, NIKKEI 225 INDEX, KOSPI INDEX, UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES COMPANY LIMITED, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD