The Turnbull Government has added competition reform policy to its 2016 list of failures and broken promises by reneging on the commitment it made in its response to the Harper Review to “unleash the spirit of competition”.

This time last year new Treasurer Scott Morrison was describing competition reform as:

“one of the best options we have to boost growth and productivity in the years ahead, and this is why it’s at the heart of the Government’s economic plan.

Now it has abandoned its support for the funding altogether until the budget “is in better shape”.

This leaves only Barnaby Joyce’s “effects test” – which will have a chilling effect on competition and drive up the cost of living for Australian families – as the Coalition's signature competition reform.

This absurd focus on the effects test, according to Productivity Commission Chairman Peter Harris, demonstrates how far Australia has, ‘fallen off the pace in national economic reform.’

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SLOMO OFF THE MARK - Media Release

The day after Labor announced that the Senate Economics Committee will inquire into the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax, the Turnbull Government has hastily announced an “independent” Treasury review into the same issue.

As with the multinational tax debate, the Coalition is scrambling to follow Labor's lead. Labor's 2015-16 multinational tax inquiry, chaired first by Senator Dastyari and then by Senator Ketter, shone a critical spotlight on multinational tax avoidance and forced the Government to take action. 

Now we see the same pattern with the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax – Labor leads and the Turnbull Government is dragged reluctantly in our wake.

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By failing to introduce into Parliament its Diverted Profits Tax legislation by the end of this year, Treasurer Scott Morrison has broken yet another Turnbull Government promise.

 On June 27 this year, Mr Morrison said:

             “The DPT will be introduced in the second half of 2016.”

 Later in the year, Mr Morrison said:

"We have budget revenue measures which are about improving the integrity of the tax base – there’ll be our diverted profits tax legislation which comes in later in the year.”

–     Scott Morrison, 20 October 2016, 3mins 39secs.

However, yesterday Mr Morrison confirmed that the diverted profits tax will not be introduced in 2016.

The delay matters because the Treasurer is still promising his diverted profits tax will commence on 1 July 2017. It will be a huge and complicated impost for businesses to prepare in the short time between its passage through Parliament – if it ever gets there – and its implementation.



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Corporations Amendment (Life Insurance Remuneration Arrangements) Bill 2016

Second Reading Speech 

28 November 2016

Labor has worked with the financial advice sector to deliver better advice and fairer outcomes for consumers and we are supportive of any measures to improve the quality of financial advice and minimise harm caused by financial advice remuneration structures. However, there is more to do in protecting consumers from misconduct in the life insurance industry. Labor's Future of Financial Advice reforms banned many forms of conflicted remuneration for financial advisers, including for life insurance policies held inside group life policies and superannuation. However, other life insurance policies remain exempt from the Future of Financial Advice ban on conflicted remuneration.

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John Bonnett

John Bonnett 

28 November 2016

When I ran for Labor Party preselection in 2010, two of the first people whose support I sought out were John and Kathy Bonnett. I remember the conversation in their lounge room. It was gentle and generous and focused on the big issues: the values the Labor Party stood for and whether or not I really believed that music had an important role in the good life. When I left their lounge room, it was with the support of John and Kathy, and without that, I might not be standing here today.

John was born in England and, after migrating to Australia, he served in the Royal Australian Engineers and the Royal Australian Corps of Transport, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was a true believer and a great friend to many in the Labor Party and served as president of the Gungahlin subbranch in the years shortly after its establishment.

Sadly, John lost his battle with cancer on 18 November, dying age 81. He leaves behind his widow, Kathy, and his children and children-in-law, Kevin and Catherine, Jonathan and Kate. He was the proud grandpa of Tatum, the brother of Christine and Linda. He was loved by his extended families in the United States and the United Kingdom. In the immortal words of Emily Dickinson:

Let no Sunrise' yellow noise

Interrupt this Ground

Vale, John Bonnett.

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Ingram Family of Watson

Ingram Family of Watson 

28 November 2016

I rise to speak on behalf of the Blackfriars Parish in Watson, who have organised this petition to advocate on behalf of the family that they have come to accept as important contributors to their community. It is one of the strengths of our system of representative democracy that private citizens can petition a minister directly when they disagree with the result of a ministerial decision. The organisers of this petition describe a humble and hardworking family that are making a valuable contribution to the disability support sector in our city.

I pay my respects to the Blackfriars parishioners and to the many members of the broader community who have joined their cause on behalf of the Ingram family. I acknowledge the value of this earnest and spontaneous expression of the community's shared values. On behalf of Jacquie Cortese, Carmel Lewis, Lucy Esau and others who have written to me about the Ingram family, and on behalf of all the signatories to this petition, I seek leave to table this document petitioning the House of Representatives regarding permanent residency for Mr Clive Ingram and Family, which was found to be in order by the petitions committee.

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Counting the Cost of Inequality - Huffington Post

The Cost Of Inequality Can't Be Priced In Dollar Terms, Huffington PostMonday, 28 November 2016

Why should we care about inequality? The starting point is to acknowledge what economics lecturers everywhere teach their first years. Economics is about maximising wellbeing, not money. If one person had all the money in Australia, we’d be just as wealthy, but much less happy.

Globally, there are about one billion people who live on less than a dollar a day. Most of it goes on keeping hunger at bay. But then there are about 1800 people who have more than a billion dollars. For them, more money means a faster jet, fancier jewellery or another holiday home. If you believe that moving a person from $1 a day to $2 a day brings more happiness than giving a billionaire another dollar, then you’ve accepted the idea of diminishing marginal utility of money. There is no better argument for caring about inequality.

Putting numbers around this can be tricky, but an analysis by Lateral Economics finds that to get the same increase in life satisfaction, you either have to give someone on $15,000 another $6000, or someone on $100,000 another $100,000. Lateral Economics estimates that the cost of inequality to national wellbeing is the equivalent of $54 billion, making it a bigger problem than mental illness, obesity or long-term unemployment. 

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'The party that has always stood for needs-based funding for schools is the Labor Party' - TV Transcript





SUBJECT/S: Education funding; Senator Brandis’ shonky deals; Ipsos poll

KIERAN GILBERT: Joining me now the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh. This Grattan Report, I want to start with your thoughts on that. It seems to me to be a no-brainer – that you can have the same funding envelope, achieve the aims that the Gonski reforms intended without all of the additional costs simply by reining in some of the over-funding of just three per cent of schools?

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Kieran, Pete Goss has done a lot of careful work on this report – it's certainly something that Labor will be engaging with. I had the privilege of seeing a draft copy of the report last week and I think it’s a thoughtful contribution. Obviously we'll work through it methodically. We need to make sure that the schools that need the resources get them, and that was what a good part of the last election was fought over. Labor's plan for funding schools where they needed it versus the Coalition's plan for a $50,000,000,000 corporate tax giveaway. 

GILBERT: But the government's also taking it seriously as we heard from Minister Birmingham there. If you've got some schools with 280 per cent of the funding required per student, surely there needs a re-think in that regard? 

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False claims are damaging our economy - The Herald Sun

Companies that lie must be hit harder, Herald Sun, 28 November 2016

When it comes to household brands, who do you trust? That’s the question Australians were asked earlier this year as part of a Reader’s Digest survey. The top three were vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson, and battery makers Energizer and Duracell. But what’s more interesting is who came in at number four: paint manufacturer, Dulux.

Unfortunately, Dulux’s time atop the trust list might be short-lived. Earlier this month, the company was fined $400,000 by the Federal Court for misleading its customers. Dulux claimed that its outdoor paint could reduce the temperature of a house by up to 10 degrees.

If true, Dulux’s outdoor paint would’ve been a cool product indeed. Unfortunately, as soon as the temperature rose on Dulux, their claims began to peel away. When they couldn’t brush off the criticisms any longer, Dulux admitted that they didn’t have the evidence.  

Alas, Dulux is not the first coat in Australian false advertising. Every year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission receives 14,000 complaints of misleading and deceptive conduct. The competition watchdog can only take a small share of these complaints to court. The list of companies that have been reprimanded by the competition watchdog or the Federal Court over the last 12 months reads like the ‘who’s who’ of big companies, including Jetstar, Virgin, Arnott’s, Uncle Tobys, Optus, Harvey Norman franchisees, Kogan, Nurofen, Unilever and Volkswagen.

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What Would Modern Australia Look Like Without China? - The Australian Financial Review

What would modern Australia look like without China? The Australian Financial Review, 25 November 2016

Over recent years, there’s been no shortage of commentary on China from the glass-half-empty brigade. So it’s sometimes useful to ask the basic question: what would Australia be like today had China not opened its economy in 1978?

Based just on merchandise exports, Australia’s economy would be almost 5 per cent smaller. That’s $8,000 less for every Australian household every year.

Prices would be higher. Since 2007, the price of goods we import from China has fallen 20 per cent while the price of goods we produce at home has increased by 20 per cent.

Our universities would be nearly $6 billion poorer each year. They would educate almost 100,000 fewer students.

Our tourism sector would earn $6 billion less each year with 1.2 million fewer visitors visiting our attractions, eating in our restaurants and buying our souvenirs. 

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