BHP loses epic tax battle

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 20 : 12-Mar-20

The High Court has ruled in the Australian Taxation Office’s favour in a long-running tax dispute with BHP over its marketing hub in Singapore. BHP will have to pay an additional $US87m ($125m) in tax for the income years 2006 to 2018 after the court ruled that its Australian and British arms are ‘associates’ for tax purposes. A spokesman has noted that the resources group has paid some $71bn in taxes and royalties in Australia over the last decade.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

Australian privacy watchdog launches court action against Facebook over Cambridge Analytica access

Original article by Jack Snape, Ariel Bogle
abc.net au – Page: Online : 10-Mar-20

The Australian Information Commissioner has taken social media firm Facebook to the Federal Court for allegedly breaching the privacy of around 311,127 Australians in regard to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The Commissioner has stated that the court can impose a fine of up to $1.7 million for each "serious and repeated" offence. The UK privacy watchdog has previously fined Facebook Stg500,000 billion ($998,000) over the Cambridge Analytica episode, while a US Federal Trade Commission investigation resulted in Facebook paying US5 billion ($7.64 billion) over allegations that it duped users over their ability to control personal information.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN INFORMATION COMMISSIONER, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA LLC, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

CFMEU slugged $486k for blockade

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 2 : 3-Mar-20

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union has been fined $404,500 for organising an unlawful blockade at the Barangaroo project in Sydney. The Federal Circuit has also ordered five current and former union officials to pay fines ranging from $7,500 to $22,500. The industrial action was aimed at forcing concreting firm De Martin & Gasparini to sign an enterprise agreement. The CFMMEU and its officials have now been fined $9.62m in total since the Australian Building & Construction Commission was reinstated in 2016.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF AUSTRALIA, DE MARTIN AND GASPARINI PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION

ABC sued for report on horse cruelty

Original article by Brad Norington
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 3-Mar-20

Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landy is suing the ABC and journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna for defamation. The legal action relates to a story that aired on ‘7.30’ in October, in which it was alleged that hundreds of former racehorses were sent to abattoirs. V’landy had agreed to appear on the program on behalf of Racing NSW, and stated that no horses in New South Wales were being sent to abattoirs. His lawyers will allege that the ABC acted dishonestly in not telling him that it had undercover footage of animal cruelty that it was going to air on the program, and that V’landy should have been given the chance to explain that Racing NSW had no jurisdiction in Queensland, where most of the horses that were sent to abattoirs came from.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, RACING NSW

ABC won’t appeal Federal Court ruling that found AFP raids on public broadcaster valid

Original article by
abc.net.au – Page: Online : 28-Feb-20

ABC MD David Anderson has advised that the public broadcaster will not contest the Federal Court’s recent decision to dismiss its challenge to the validity of police raids on its Sydney offices in mid-2019. The court found that the Australian Federal Police’s warrant to search the ABC’s premises was valid, and it ordered the broadcaster to pay costs. Anderson has described the ruling as a "blow to media freedom", adding that it has implications for journalists and the public’s right to know.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Prosecutors drop more charges against media over Pell trial

Original article by Liz Main
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 14-Feb-20

Twenty-eight charges brought against four of the 36 journalists and media companies charged with breaching suppression orders in relation to Cardinal George Pell have been dropped. The orders were imposed in June 2018, with the media directed not to report on two trials that Pell faced over historical child sex offences until a verdict was handed down in the second trial. When Pell was found guilty in the first trial, the media reported that a high profile person had been found guilty, but that they were not allowed to report it. Prosecutors claimed that the media hints amounted to a breach of the orders.

CORPORATES
SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA, VICTORIA. DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC

Coalition seeks to sidestep high court ruling that Aboriginal non-citizens can’t be deported

Original article by Paul Karp, Calla Wahlquist
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 13-Feb-20

Attorney-General Christian Porter has indicated that the federal government may legislate to override the High Court’s majority decision that non-citizens of indigenous descent cannot be deported. Porter says the High Court ruling has implications for the government’s policy of deporting people who are convicted of serious crimes while in Australia on a visa. Legal experts have stated that it is too soon to determine the broader implications of the judgment.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA

High Court to hear sick leave appeal

Original article by Michael Pelly
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 10-Jan-20

The High Court has granted Mondelez International special leave to appeal against a 2019 Full Federal Court ruling in regard to the payment of sick leave to workers at its Cadbury plant in Tasmania. Amanda Banfield, Mondelez’s president for Australia and New Zealand, had stated that the Federal Court’s ruling meant that employees working the same hours on different rosters would be eligible for different leave amounts. Mondelez’s appeal has the backing of the federal government.

CORPORATES
MONDELEZ AUSTRALIA (FOODS) LIMITED, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, CADBURY AUSTRALIA LIMITED

No justice for SMEs when the tax office smells blood

Original article by Robert Gottliebsen
The Weekend Australian – Page: 31 : 21-Dec-19

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s landmark ruling in favour of the Australian Taxation Office against gold refiner EBS has significant implications for small and medium enterprises. The case – which centred on the tax treatment of bullion and scrap gold under the GST regime – had gone on for about six years, and the appeals process is likely to take another several years. The majority of SMEs simply cannot afford the cost of such lengthy legal proceedings. The small business appeals tribunal may provide some relief for SMEs, but government action is needed to make it easier for SMEs to conduct business in Australia.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIA. ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS TRIBUNAL, EBS

Westpac slapped with $9m penalty over poor advice

Original article by Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 20-Dec-19

Westpac has been ordered to pay a total of $9.15m for 22 breaches of the Corporations Act. The bank was found to be liable for the ‘deficient and defective’ financial advice that ex-employee Sudhir Sinha provided in 2013 and 2014. Sinha was deemed to have failed to act in the best interests of his clients by providing financial advice that was inappropriate for their personal circumstances. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has banned Sinha from working in the industry for five years, while it launched legal action against Westpac in 2018.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA