Labor to support Indonesia, Peru and Hong Kong free trade deals

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 17-Oct-19

Labor’s caucus will shortly decide whether to support the federal government’s proposed free trade agreements with Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru. Sources have indicated that Labor is unlikely to oppose the legislation, although it may seek a number of amendments. The ACTU will lobby Labor MPs to oppose the bill, due to concerns about issues such as the trade deals’ investor-state dispute settlement clauses and labour market testing provisions.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE

Coalition win as ALP backs big stick laws on energy

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 4 : 16-Oct-19

Labor has agreed to support the federal government’s bill to force energy companies to divest assets if they fail to reduce electricity prices. However, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says the policy shift is not a backdown, as the proposed legislation has been changed significantly since it was rejected by the previous parliament. The government has agreed to some concessions sought by Labor in return for supporting the bill.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Big energy: big-stick rules hamper firm investment

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith, Simon Evans, Mark Ludlow
The Australian Financial Review – Page: S1 & S2 : 10-Oct-19

Origin Energy CEO Frank Calabria has told an energy summit that the federal government’s proposed legislation to force energy companies to divest assets is deterring investment in the sector at a time when it is urgently needed. The issue of government intervention in the energy market attracted criticism from some of the summit’s delegates, but Energy Minister Angus Taylor says such action is justified given the rise in electricity prices in recent years as renewable energy generation has increased.

CORPORATES
ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, ENERGYAUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL, AUSTRALIA. ENERGY SECURITY BOARD, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY MARKET OPERATOR LIMITED

Coalition faces Senate battle to pass big reforms

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 2 : 8-Oct-19

The federal government has identified a number of legislative priorities when Parliament resumes on 14 October. However, analysis suggests that the Coalition may lack the numbers to pass up to seven bills in the Senate, including the Ensuring Integrity Bill and a religious discrimination bill. The proposed first-home loan deposit scheme is the only government initiative that appears to have sufficient support in both houses at present, after Labor agreed to back the bill.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, CENTRE ALLIANCE, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE

Setka forks out $40k of members’ funds on ad

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 5 : 26-Sep-19

Embattled Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union official John Setka has criticised senator Jacqui Lambie in a full-page advertisement in the ‘Herald Sun’. Lambie has signalled that she will support the federal government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill unless Setka steps down as Victorian secretary of the CFMMEU. Setka has accused her of attempting to blackmail himself and the union’s members. A spokesman for Setka says the ad was "union business", so it was funded by the CFMMEU rather than Setka.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA

Brickworks backs union clampdown

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 26-Sep-19

Brickworks executive Wladyslaw Kluktewicz has expressed support for the federal government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill. He has told a Senate inquiry that the proposed legislation is necessary to address the issue of "rogue" union officials who visit non-unionised workplaces and attempt to hold meetings with workers. Michael Wright, the Electrical Trades Union’s national assistant secretary, also appeared before the inquiry.

CORPORATES
BRICKWORKS LIMITED – ASX BKW, ELECTRICAL TRADES UNION, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Government’s anti-union bill retrospective

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 25-Sep-19

ACTU president Michele O’Neil has told a Senate inquiry that some provisions of the federal government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill are retrospective. She says the requirement that a court must be satisfied that the deregistration of a union or the disqualification of an official is unjust would allow the court to take into account industrial breaches that occurred before the legislation took effect. This would have implications for the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union, which has a long history of breaching workplace laws.

CORPORATES
ACTU, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP

Religion bill will make it harder to sack people

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 30-Aug-19

Attorney-General Christian Porter released a draft of the federal government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill on 29 August. Porter says the legislation aims to protect people on the basis of their religion, but does not give them a "licence to discriminate against other people", or to engage in vilifying or harassing speech. Under the proposed legislation, a company with turnover of at least $50 million that sacks someone for expressing a religious view that breaches a condition of their employment will need to show that retaining the employee could cause it "unjustifiable financial hardship”.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT

Top lawyers warn ASIC against hasty moves

Original article by Hannah Wootton
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 33 : 23-Aug-19

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg recently indicated that the federal government aims to pass 40 pieces of legislation in response to the Hayne royal commission’s recommendations by the end of 2020. It wants 90 per cent of relevant legislation to be implemented by mid-2020. However, corporate lawyers have stated that problems could arise if the government and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission persist with their "ambitious deadlines" for implementing the commission’s recommendations.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Government flags heavy-handed crackdown on black economy

Original article by Mike Bruce
The New Daily – Page: Online : 21-Aug-19

Gary Pflugrath of CPA Australia says the federal government should reconsider proposed legislation to restrict cash payments between businesses and individuals to no more than $10,000. It was one of the recommendations of the government’s Black Economy Taskforce, but Pflugrath contends that there are sufficient "checks and balances" to counter criminal activity. Kurt Wallace from the Institute of Public Affairs says restricting cash payments would have little impact on the cash economy, while reducing the freedoms of ordinary Australians. Individuals could face big fines and imprisonment for breaching the proposed laws.

CORPORATES
CPA AUSTRALIA, INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS LIMITED, H&R BLOCK LIMITED, ONE NATION PARTY, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE