Fitch warns of far-reaching dangers of negative encryption laws

Original article by Paul Smith, Natasha Gillezeau
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 29 : 14-Dec-18

Australia’s new anti-encryption laws are nominally intended to assist law enforcement agencies in combatting terrorists and criminals by allowing them to crack encrypted messages. Ratings agency Fitch contends that the laws have the potential to harm the local technology sector, as well as global tech firms such as Facebook and Twitter. However, the Australian Signals Directorate’s Director-General Mike Burgess says a lot of myths are being perpetuated about the new laws.

CORPORATES
FITCH RATINGS LIMITED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, TWITTER INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN SIGNALS DIRECTORATE, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES COMPANY LIMITED, SINGTEL OPTUS PTY LTD, CISCO SYSTEMS INCORPORATED, APPLE INCORPORATED

$400m bill for training

Original article by Rob Harris, Anthony Galloway
Herald Sun – Page: 12 : 14-Dec-18

The federal government has criticised a push for union members to receive paid leave to attend training programs. The resolution will be put to Labor’s upcoming national conference, but the government has warned that it would cost the national economy about $1.3 billion a year and the Victorian economy $358.3 million a year if it applied to all members of a union. However, Labor has stressed that the policy would apply only to elected union delegates. Shadow workplace relations minister Brendan O’Connor argues that union delegates are already permitted to take training leave during working hours at the majority of unionised workplaces.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, AUSTRALIAN WORKERS’ UNION-FEDERATION OF INDUSTRIAL, MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING EMPLOYEES, AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO TRADE UNION GOVERNANCE AND CORRUPTION

Shorten vows to restore a fair go

Original article by Troy Bramston
The Australian – Page: 6 : 14-Dec-18

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has outlined some of the key policy areas that will be part of its 2019 election campaign. Amongst other things, Labor will legislate to overturn the Fair Work Commission’s penalty rate cuts and introduce a new regulatory regime for labour hire firms. Labor also intends to increase the highest marginal income tax rate by two per cent, abolish the Medicare rebate freeze and restore funding for schools and public hospital to the levels before the Coalition took office in 2013.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION

Crackdown delivers tax windfall

Original article by Ben Butler
The Australian – Page: 19 & 22 : 14-Dec-18

Woodside Petroleum and Roy Hill Holdings are among 722 large companies that did not pay any tax in 2016-17. Large corporations paid a combined total of $45.7bn in taxes during the financial year, compared with $38.2bn previously. The Commonwealth Bank and BHP paid the most tax, at $3.9bn and $3.27bn respectively. The federal government’s corporate tax revenue was bolstered by factors such as a rise in commodity prices and the impact of its Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law, which has targeted global technology companies in particular.

CORPORATES
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, ROY HILL HOLDINGS PTY LTD, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, HANCOCK PROSPECTING PTY LTD, BAE SYSTEMS AUSTRALIA LIMITED, ROCKPOOL DINING GROUP, TAX JUSTICE NETWORK, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Secret federal ICAC slammed

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 14-Dec-18

Labor leader Bill Shorten has criticised the federal government’s proposed national integrity commission, warning that the anti-corruption agency would lack transparency and it would have limited scope and powers. It would comprise a law-enforcement division and a public-sector division, but only the former will be authorised to conduct public hearings. Labor has been calling for an anti-corruption watchdog at federal level since early 2018; Prime Minister Scott Morrison has disclosed that the government has been working on its proposal since January, although it only recently dismissed the need for such an agency.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, NEW SOUTH WALES. INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AGAINST CORRUPTION

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

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’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

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

Unions test Labor with airline fight

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 12-Dec-18

Labor will seek support for industry-wide enterprise bargaining for low-paid workers at its upcoming national conference. However, the Transport Workers’ Union will push for the policy on industry-wide bargaining to be broadened to include the aviation sector. Leaders of rival unions do not believe that there is much support within Labor’s senior ranks for such a move, while Qantas CEO Alan Joyce recently warned of the impact that doing so would have on both the airline’s supply chain and the broader economy.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, TRANSPORT WORKERS’ UNION, QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, NATIONAL PRESS CLUB (AUSTRALIA)