Economics

  • Trump criticises automakers for failing to support repeal of fuel efficiency rules

    United States President Donald Trump has criticised automakers for failing to support his administration’s plan to repeal fuel efficiency rules. Mr Trump singled out Ford in particular for backing a deal with California for stricter fuel economy standards. The President said company founder Henry Ford would be “very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well, because execs ... ► Read more

  • Chinese State Council calls for greater integration of Shenzhen with Hong Kong and Macau

    China’s State Council has called for greater integration of the city of Shenzhen with the neighbouring special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. The State Council is the executive branch of the Chinese Government, and its directive comes amid protests against Beijing’s perceived interference with Hong Kong’s political and economic autonomy. In a 19-point directive published by the state-run People’s Daily, the State Council called for Shenzhen’s “economic strength and development” to rank among ... ► Read more

  • ASIC promises lawsuits against banks by end of 2019

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will file lawsuits against some of the country’s biggest financial institutions by the end of the year. ASIC Deputy Chair Daniel told the Australian Financial Review on Monday that the regulator has “a very large number of investigations on foot and there will be cases being issued in coming weeks, which are the result of those investigations.” In a report published on Sunday, ASIC said it intends to ... ► Read more

  • ATO whistleblower launches crowdfunding campaign for legal defence

    Australian Taxation Office (ATO) whistleblower Richard Boyle has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for his legal defence against 66 criminal charges totalling a maximum sentence of 161 years’ imprisonment. The former public servant told ABC News that he will continue his fight against the “excessive and unjust” charges. As part of the GoFundMe campaign launched today, Mr Boyle said his case may be the first to test whistleblower protection laws “and could be ... ► Read more

  • Trump blames Federal Reserve for slow economic growth, but economists say trade war could cause recession

    United States President Donald Trump has blamed the Federal Reserve for the country’s “slow” economic growth. During his 2016 election campaign, Mr Trump promised his administration would deliver 3% annual economic growth, but growth has instead continued at a rate of about 2%, consistent with the trends of the last decade. The President has criticised the Federal Reserve for not lowering interest rates, which could boost economic activity by encouraging borrowing, spending and investment. However, ... ► Read more

  • More protests planned as Hong Kong recovers from another weekend of demonstrations

    Hong Kong is recovering from yet another weekend of clashes between anti-government protesters and police, but further protests are expected on Monday. In response to the protests, police blocked multiple roads in key commercial and shopping districts and stormed Metro stations. Metro services resumed on Monday and streets were being cleaned of debris. Shares in the airline Cathay Pacific, which is based in Hong Kong, have dropped almost 4% after the Chinese aviation authority ordered ... ► Read more

  • Clive Palmer settles with largest creditor in Qld Nickel case

    Clive Palmer has reached a settlement with the largest creditor of his failed Queensland Nickel company. Barrister Shane Doyle QC, who acts for the liquidators of the company, told the Queensland Supreme Court that a “resolution” had been reached on the $90 million claim of Aurizon Holdings Ltd. The details of the settlement have not been made public. According to Mr Doyle, talks are also continuing between the liquidators and the billionaire mining magnate to ... ► Read more

  • ASX 200 hits record high

    The ASX 200 share index has soared 0.6% to 6,867 points in early trade, beating a 12-year-old intraday high of 6,851.5. The previous record was made on 1 November 2007 — just before the Global Financial Crisis. This is a developing story. ► Read more

  • All Ordinaries index closes at record high

    Australia’s All Ordinaries index has closed at a record high of 6,862.4 points — about nine points above its previous record from 1 November 2007. The local market has received a boost on the back of strong performances on Wall Street and a lower Australian dollar, which is hovering just below 70 US cents. However, the All Ordinaries stopped shy of breaking its intra-day record of 6,873.2 points, which was also set on 1 November ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 14 July – 20 July 2019

    Adani prosecuted over Carmichael mine report The Queensland Government is prosecuting mining company Adani for allegedly providing false and misleading information in its 2017–18 annual report to the Environment Department. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. “Defensive action”: US warship shoots down Iranian drone A United States amphibious assault ship has shot down an Iranian drone after the unmanned aircraft flew within 900 metres of the American warship, US President Donald Trump announced on ... ► Read more

  • NAB appoints Ross McEwan CEO

    Veteran banking executive Ross McEwan has been appointed CEO of National Australia Bank, ending a five month search to fill the bank’s top job after former CEO Andrew Thorburn resigned over the Banking Royal Commission’s findings. NAB’s acting chief executive Phil Chronican praised Mr McEwan’s appointment, saying he “is the ideal leader for NAB as we seek to transform our operations and culture firmly around leading customer service, experience and products”. Mr Chronican said: “Ross ... ► Read more

  • Adani prosecuted over Carmichael mine report

    The Queensland Government is prosecuting mining company Adani for allegedly providing false and misleading information in its 2017–18 annual report to the Environment Department. “The prosecution relates to information contained in Adani’s 2017/2018 annual return for its Carmichael mine,” the Environment Department said in a statement. “The annual return requires information about planned and actual disturbance of land at the mine. “The department alleges that Adani’s annual return contained false and misleading information about the ... ► Read more

  • Christine Lagarde resigns as IMF head

    Christine Lagarde has announced she will step down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 12 September, following a decision on her nomination to become head of the European Central Bank (ECB). “With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB president and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the fund,” she said. “The executive board will now be taking ... ► Read more

  • Alan Turing honoured as face of new £50 note

    Computer pioneer Alan Turing is the face of the Bank of England’s new £50 note, which will enter circulation by the end of 2021. The celebrated mathematician played key roles in deciphering encoded German messages during the Second World War and in the development of early computers. “Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said. “As the father ... ► Read more

  • ADF warns of influx of refugees and increased conflict due to climate change

    The Australian Defence Force (ADF) may be forced to increase patrols to deal with increased “sea-borne migration” prompted by rising sea levels, according to internal briefing notes. Documents obtained by the ABC under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 also warn that climate change will “exacerbate the potential conflict” and contribute to “state fragility and the undermining of economic development in our immediate region.” Former Chief of the Defence Force Admiral Chris Barrie (retired) said Australia ... ► Read more

  • Rouhani: Iran “ready for talks” with US if sanctions lifted

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran is ready to hold talks with Washington if the Trump Administration provides sanctions relief and returns to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In a televised speech on Sunday (local time), Mr Rouhani said for talks to take place Iran must be allowed to export the same amount of oil as it did prior to the United States’ controversial withdrawal from the multilateral JCPOA. “We have always ... ► Read more

  • Iran “tried to intercept a British tanker”, says UK Defence Ministry

    The Strait of Hormuz has once again become the scene of international scandal, with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) accusing Iran of trying to seize a British oil tanker. According to the MoD, the HMS Montrose — a British frigate which was shadowing the BP-owned tanker — was forced to position itself between the tanker and three Iranian boats. The boats, believed to belong to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), then dispersed and the ... ► Read more

  • British Airways faces $328m fine for breaching European privacy rule

    British Airways faces a A$328 million fine after their website was hacked last year, compromising the personal details of 500,000 customers. The penalty is the largest imposed yet under the General Data Protection Regulation, which was implemented last year in the European Union. The airline, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), revealed last September they had been hacked and customers’ addresses, emails, names, credit card numbers, expiration and three-digit security codes were all ... ► Read more

  • Australia to become one of the “world’s worst” contributors to climate crisis

    Australia is set to become one of the “world’s worst” contributors to the climate disaster, according to new research from Berlin-based science and policy institute Climate Analytics. According to the research, Australia could be responsible for 17% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Australia’s current global climate footprint is around 5%, which includes emissions from Australia’s coal, gas and oil emissions (3.6% of global total) and domestic emissions (1.4% of global total). The ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 30 June – 6 July 2019

    North Korea releases Australian detainee Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australian man Alek Sigley has been released from detention in North Korea and has left the country. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Senate passes Coalition tax cuts, Labor backs down The Senate has voted to pass the Coalition Government’s tax cuts, with Labor backing down after failing to secure changes to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More ... ► Read more

  • Senate passes Coalition tax cuts, Labor backs down

    The Senate has voted to pass the Coalition Government’s tax cuts, with Labor backing down after failing to secure changes to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief So Working Australians Keep More Of Their Money) Bill 2019. Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared the passage of the $158 billion tax cut package a victory for “Australians quietly going about their lives” and said Parliament had voted to “reward aspiration”. “This is a win tonight not for ... ► Read more

  • Scott Morrison seeking review of former ministers’ post-political jobs

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has written to his department head, Martin Parkinson, to investigate the post-political careers of the former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and former Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop. The Statement of Ministerial Standards says former ministers cannot take lobbying jobs for 18 months after leaving office, and both Mr Pyne and Ms Bishop have entered positions with consultancy firms since they quit politics. Mr Pyne has taken a job with professional services ... ► Read more

  • Does Hong Kong have a future divorced from Beijing?

    Hong Kong has seen weeks of protests sparked by a proposed law that would allow residents of the special administrative region (SAR) to be extradited to mainland China for prosecution. Increasingly, Hong Kong residents are questioning the continued viability of the “one country, two systems” policy that has maintained Hong Kong’s relatively high degree of economic freedoms and personal liberty since the British returned it to China in 1997. Some are pushing for Hong Kong ... ► Read more

  • Trump warns Iran against nuclear threats

    United States President Donald Trump has cautioned Iran that issuing threats “can come back to bite you”, in response to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s vow to enrich as much uranium as “we want”. Mr Trump tweeted: Earlier this week, Iran exceeded the 300kg cap on its enriched uranium stockpile agreed under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the breach on Monday (local time). “We can confirm ... ► Read more

  • Iran breaches enriched uranium limit, sparks global concern

    Iran has exceeded the 300kg cap on its enriched uranium stockpile agreed under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the breach on Monday (local time). “We can confirm that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has informed the Board of Governors that the Agency verified on 1 July that Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile exceeded [the deal’s limit],” an IAEA spokesman said in a statement. The IAEA’s confirmation came ... ► Read more

  • Tax cuts in focus as Parliament prepares to resume

    Tax cuts are prominent on the Coalition Government’s legislative agenda as Parliament prepares to resume on Tuesday. The Coalition is hoping to deliver its election promise of $158 billion in income tax cuts to be rolled out in three stages over the next five years. However, Labor has maintained its resistance to the plan, with opposition leader Anthony Albanese saying his party will try to bring some of the tax cuts sooner than planned. Labor ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 23 June – 29 June 2019

    Government to push ahead with tax cuts despite Labor reservations The Morrison Government is planning to follow through with its tax cut plan despite Labor not giving full support. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Rouhani says White House “afflicted by mental retardation”, Trump threatens “obliteration” United States President Donald Trump has threatened to obliterate parts of Iran after the Middle Eastern country’s President said the White House was “afflicted by mental retardation”. See ... ► Read more

  • US wants Australia to join anti-Iran coalition

    The United States wants Australia to impose further sanctions on Iran, but US President Donald Trump has not asked Australia to commit to joining potential military action against the country. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said support for military action “wasn’t sought” during his meeting with Mr Trump at the G20 Summit in Japan, adding that “at this stage I think those issues are a bit premature.” “We would deal with any requests from an ally ... ► Read more

  • Morrison, Trump hold working dinner ahead of G20

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison and United States President Donald Trump have held a working dinner in Osaka ahead of the G20 Summit. The meeting reportedly ran overtime, with the two leaders talking for more than an hour about the impact of the US-China trade war on the world, including close allies such as Australia. “For Australians, we are a trading nation,” Mr Morrison told the ABC after the meeting. “One in five jobs are dependent ... ► Read more

  • Rouhani says White House “afflicted by mental retardation”, Trump threatens “obliteration”

    United States President Donald Trump has threatened to obliterate parts of Iran after the Middle Eastern country’s President said the White House was “afflicted by mental retardation”. Mr Trump announced fresh sanctions against Iran on Monday (local time) as part of the White House’s response to Iran’s downing of a US drone last week. The new sanctions, which are largely symbolic, target Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well ... ► Read more

  • Government to push ahead with tax cuts despite Labor reservations

    The Morrison Government is planning to follow through with its tax cut plan despite Labor not giving full support. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said tax relief is “about backing Australians, that they are in a better place to decide how their money should be spent, how they should invest it, than governments.” The Government plans to cut income tax for paycheck earners of $45,000-$200,000 to 30 cents per dollar, down from 32.5 cents per dollar. ... ► Read more

  • Trump announces new “hard hitting” sanctions targeting Iran’s Supreme Leader

    United States President Donald Trump announced fresh sanctions against Iran on Monday (local time) as part of the White House’s response to Iran’s downing of a US drone last week. The new sanctions target Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, as well as military officials. Mr Trump told reporters the punitive measures will deny the Iranian Supreme Leader, his office “and many others” access to financial instruments. “Today’s actions follow a ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 16 June – 22 June 2019

    “Very big mistake”: Trump responds to US drone downing United States President Donald Trump has said Iran “made a very big mistake” by shooting down a US drone, while Iran has defended the action and pledged to “zealously defend our skies, land and waters.” See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Tory leadership: Johnson and Hunt last men standing Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have emerged as the final two candidates that will be put ... ► Read more

  • Key quotes from Russia’s annual presidential Q&A

    Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual live question and answer session on Thursday (local time) where he touched on a range of pressing issues. Mr Putin takes questions from a large audience and even responds to queries over the phone. Here are the highlights. On whether he has become tired of the presidency “No, otherwise I wouldn’t have run for this term.” On arrests related to economic crimes “I would like to say: you ... ► Read more

  • Confused about Iran? Here’s an explainer

    Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared in recent months to what appears to be near boiling point. The two countries have been at loggerheads for decades, with Washington accusing the Iran of destabilising the Middle East by backing extremist groups and attempting to develop a nuclear arsenal, and Tehran accusing the US of imperialism and trying to provoke another conflict in the region. US-Iran relations stabilised in 2015 when Iran and the ... ► Read more

  • NSW budget: Berejiklian Government delivers modest surplus

    New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has handed down his first budget since the Berejiklian Government’s re-election, delivering a modest surplus, record infrastructure spending and the biggest write-down in NSW history. “We are strongly in the black,” Mr Perrottet said. “This is a budget that is a testament to our strong financial management here in NSW.” However, the surplus is down from $1.4 billion to $802 million due to a $10.6 billion plunge in stamp ... ► Read more

  • Morrison: US-China trade war putting “living standards of billions of people at risk”

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned the trade war between the United States and China is unprecedentedly testing global trade and “putting the prosperity and living standards of billions of people at risk.” Mr Morrison, who is in London to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, issued the warning during a speech to the Australia-UK Chamber of Commerce. He stressed the importance of multilateral economic institutions that forged the “post-war liberal economic order” ... ► Read more

  • RBA cuts interest rate to historic low of 1.25%

    The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cut the cash rate to a record low of 1.25% in an attempt to stimulate the economy. It is the first time the central bank’s interest rate has been adjusted since August 2016 and follows another month of weak economic data, including the unexpected rise in the unemployment rate to 5.2% in April. RBA Governor Dr Philip Lowe said the move should help to reduce unemployment. “Today’s decision ... ► Read more

  • Morrison pledges $250 million toward Solom Islands infrastructure

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged $250 million in infrastructure aid to the Solomon Islands in a bid to shore up diplomatic capital. During his visit to Honiara, Mr Morrison also announced Canberra will fund the construction of a new office complex which will house the Pacific nation’s prime ministerial office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and promised loans of nearly $3 million for temporary Solomon Island workers coming to Australia under labour mobility ... ► Read more

  • Malaysia to send waste back to developed nations

    Malaysia will send about 3,000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic back to countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, as it seeks to avoid becoming a dumping ground for developed nations. Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said Malaysia and other developing countries have recently become targets after China banned the import of plastic waste last year. Ms Yeo said 60 containers stacked with contaminated waste were smuggled into the country, bound ... ► Read more

  • Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions rising, but resources minister backs new coal plant

    Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 rose for a fourth year in a row, according to a Government submission to the United Nations. The National Inventory Report, provided in accordance with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, shows 537 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions for 2018. This is an increase of about 0.5% from 2017’s 534.7 million tonnes, despite Australia’s commitment at the Paris climate summit in 2015 to reduce emissions by 26–28% ... ► Read more

  • Sydney’s lockout laws may be relaxed after parliamentary review

    Sydney’s lockout laws may be relaxed after New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian ordered their review, saying it was time to “take stock” of their impact on the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross. A cross-party committee will be established to examine the laws, while the the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFF) and Greens push to scrap the laws. SFF MLC Robert Borsak and Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann have both tabled motions in the NSW ... ► Read more

  • Morrison may not deliver key tax cuts this year as promised

    The Coalition’s tax cuts of up to $1080 per person will likely be delayed until next financial year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted on Monday night. The tax cuts played a central role in the Coalition’s election campaign. Because the election was not called earlier, the bureacratic processes required to return Federal Parliament and pass the tax cuts through the Senate are unlikely to be completed by 30 June. “We obviously have to wait for ... ► Read more

  • North Korea calls US “a gangster country” over ship seizure

    North Korea has described the United States as “a gangster country” over the seizure of a North Korean cargo ship, and called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to take “urgent measures” to stabilise the Korean Peninsula. In a letter to Mr Guterres obtained by The Associated Press, North Korea’s Ambassador to the UN, Kim Song, wrote that the Trump Administration committed “an unlawful and outrageous act” by taking over the ship Wise Honest and moving ... ► Read more

  • Iranian FM dismisses Trump’s “genocidal taunts”

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has called recent threats made by United States President Donald Trump “genocidal taunts”, and cautioned him against making future threats. Amid a flare up in tensions between Washington and Tehran, Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday (local time): Referring to US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as “B_Team”, Mr Zarif wrote on Twitter on Monday: Relations between the ... ► Read more

  • Trump signs order barring US telcos from using foreign equipment

    United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday (local time) intended to bar American telecommunications networks from using equipment provided by foreign suppliers. Executive order 13873 declares a “national emergency” and claims that “foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services”. The order directs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to prepare rules that restrict the purchase of information and communications technology from companies “owned by, controlled ... ► Read more

  • Pacific Islands ask “bigger countries” to do more to tackle climate change

    A delegation of Pacific Island nations has called on “bigger countries” in the region to take a stronger approach to climate change. During a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday, Australia’s pacific neighbours warned that rising sea levels will destroy their communities unless more is done to respond to climate change. Nauruan President and chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Baron Waqa implied Australia could be doing more to make climate change ... ► Read more

  • Election: Labor promises new wage theft tribunal

    Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten has promised to establish a new tribunal that will crack down on wage theft if his party forms government after the upcoming federal election. “It shouldn’t be too hard, it shouldn’t be too costly, to get what you are owed for a day’s pay,” Mr Shorten said. Workers who have been underpaid by employers could have claims of up to $100,000 resolved in a day by the tribunal. Mr Shorten ... ► Read more

  • “A little squabble”: Trump downplays trade war with China

    United States President Donald Trump has downplayed the US-China trade war following Beijing’s counter-tariff hike announcement, which saw over $US1 trillion wiped off stock values around the world yesterday. “We’re having a little squabble with China because we’ve been treated very, very unfairly for many decades,” Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday (local time). “I think it’s going to turn out extremely well, we’re in a strong position.” He described his ... ► Read more

  • US-China trade war: global markets tumble

    Global equities have tumbled amid an escalation in the United States-China trade war that saw more than $US1 trillion wiped off stock values overnight. China announced it will impose tariffs of 5%-25% on $US60 billion worth of US goods, including frozen vegetables and liquefied natural gas. “China’s adjustment on additional tariffs is a response to US unilateralism and protectionism,” the Chinese Ministry of Finance said. “China hopes the US will get back to the right ... ► Read more

  • Election: PM promises subsidies for low-income first-home buyers

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised up to $500 million in subsidies to help low-income first-home buyers ahead of the federal election this coming Saturday. A Liberal-National Coalition Government would offer guarantees to reduce the required deposit for first-home buyers to 5% of the purchase price, instead of 20%, Mr Morrison announced at the Liberal Party’s campaign launch in Melbourne on Sunday. Singles earning up to $125,000 and couples with a combined income of up ... ► Read more

  • Adani’s Carmichael coal mine faces Qld Gov’t hurdle

    Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine project faces another hurdle, with the Queensland Government seeking a further review of the company’s groundwater plans for the project. Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price approved Adani’s groundwater plans just before the start of campaigning for the federal election. The approval followed eight months of assessment, including reviews by the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia. However, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) requested a further review last Friday, according ... ► Read more

  • US tariff increase on Chinese imports to take effect on Friday

    The United States’ tariff increase to 25% on US $200 billion worth of Chinese imports will take effect on Friday (Washington time), heightening tensions in the ongoing Sino-American trade war. With no action from the Trump administration to cancel the increase, US Customs and Border Protection will impose tariffs of 25% on affected Chinese imports from midnight on Friday. Relevant goods leaving China before midnight will be subject to the original 10% tariff. More than ... ► Read more

  • One million species threatened with extinction: intergovernmental report

    Nature is declining at unprecedented rates and the rate of extinctions is accelerating, warns a landmark report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). “The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment … presents an ominous picture,” said IPBES chair Sir Robert Watson. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, ... ► Read more

  • Fresh modelling suggests Labor climate policy could shrink economic growth by 0.8%

    Labor’s climate targets could cost the Australian economy $542 billion, according to new modelling from economist Brian Fisher. The modelling estimates that by reducing carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, Australia’s economic growth could decrease by 0.8% over the next decade. However, Dr Fisher also says that by increasing the carbon emissions offset threshold for major polluters through international credits, the impact on growth could be halved. Labor’s climate policy spokesman Mark Butler has dismissed ... ► Read more

  • Sydney’s median house price to drop below $1 million, say analysts

    Sydney’s median house price has continued its slow fall, with leading real estate website Domain saying it is on track to dip below $1 million for the first time in four years. According to Domain’s latest house price report, Sydney’s median house price is $1,027,962 — down 3.1% over the past three months and 11.5% over the last year. The company’s senior research analyst Nicola Powell said that prices are likely to drop below $1 ... ► Read more

  • Election: Labor will raise minimum wage for skilled migrants to boost local employment

    The Australian Labor Party will increase the minimum wage for skilled migrants to prevent them being used as cheap replacements for local workers, opposition leader Bill Shorten announced today. Speaking in Queensland, Mr Shorten told reporters that Labor will reduce the number of foreign workers by increasing the minimum wage and enforcing skill shortage tests more strictly. “We want to make sure that short-term skilled migration doesn’t just become an excuse for cheap labour, exploitation ... ► Read more

  • American Airlines cancels Boeing MAX flights until mid-August

    American Airlines has announced it will cancel all its Boeing 737 MAX flights through to mid-August while it waits for Boeing to provide a software update. The Texas-based airline is cancelling 115 flights a day until mid-August because of ongoing problems with the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. In mid-March this year the United States joined other countries in grounding 737 MAX aircraft after two fatal plane crashes, one in Indonesia in October 2018 and the ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 7 April – 13 April 2019

    2019 election: Australians to vote on 18 May Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced 18 May as the date of the 2019 federal election, giving parties just over five weeks to sell their plans for the nation. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Construction of Adani mine receives final federal approval, despite allegations Minister was threatened Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price has given Adani the final federal approval needed to begin construction of its ... ► Read more

  • EU agrees to delay Brexit until 31 October

    The European Union has agreed to a “flexible extension” of the Brexit process until 31 October 2019, European Council President Donald Tusk announced today. After five hours of talks Mr Tusk said his “message to British friends” is “please do not waste this time.” British Prime Minister Theresa May said the United Kingdom would still aim to leave the EU as soon as possible, but it appears likely that the UK will need to hold ... ► Read more

  • Melbourne CBD shut down for workers’ rally

    Melbourne CBD was shut down today as an estimated 50,000 workers marched for better wages and increased job security. The “Change the Rules” rally began at Trades Hall at about 10:30am, marching to the Victorian Parliament via Bourke Street in the city’s CBD. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews marched alongside workers as part of the Australian Council of Trade Union’s nationwide campaign. Unions claim the current Federal Government has overseen the most significant decline in living ... ► Read more

  • Labor plans to resurrect Australia’s car manufacturing industry

    Labor will offer tens of millions of dollars to the world’s auto giants in a bid to revive Australia’s car manufacturing industry, according to a yet-to-be-revealed plan uncovered by the ABC. According to an ABC exclusive, the plan centres around building electric and hydrogen-powered cars in an attempt to tap into the rapidly increasing global demand. The plan has reportedly been in the pipeline for years, with high-ranking executives from the United States travelling to ... ► Read more

  • Crown Resorts $10bn buyout talks cancelled abruptly

    High end American casino and hotel giant Wynn Resorts has abruptly cancelled buyout talks with Australian rival Crown Resorts over “the premature disclosure of preliminary discussions”. Controlled by James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings, Crown Resorts confirmed on Tuesday that Wynn had offered $10 billion for the company, but said there was no certainty of a deal. After Crown confirmed the offer yesterday, its stock jumped 19.7%, closing at $14.05. However, Wynn appears displeased that word ... ► Read more

  • Construction of Adani mine receives final federal approval, despite allegations Minister was threatened

    Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price has given Adani the final federal approval needed to begin construction of its proposed coal mine in central Queensland. The project now requires final approvals from the Queensland State Government before construction can commence. The proposed coal mine in central Queensland’s Galilee Basin has been controversial, with environmentalists clashing with MPs and Senators who want it approved to bring jobs to the area. The Environment Minister was under pressure from ... ► Read more

  • Labor to promise low-income tax cuts and billions for health

    The Australian Labor Party will promise tax cuts for those earning less than $40,000 a year and billions in additional health spending if it wins the May federal election. Some three million of the lowest-paid Australians would benefit from the tax cuts, which will be formally announced in Labor leader Bill Shorten’s budget reply speech on Thursday night. Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said Mr Shorten would unveil Labor’s tax relief plan in a “classic” ... ► Read more

  • Brunei introduces stoning for gay sex and adultery

    The Sultan of Brunei has introduced new laws that make anal sex and adultery punishable by stoning to death. In a move towards stricter interpretation of Islamic law, the new measures came into force on Wednesday, and also include harsher punishments for other offences. The new measures will primarily apply to Muslims, which account for about two-thirds of the country’s population of 420,000. Brunei is an absolute monarchy in which Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is both ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: PM seeks extension to negotiate compromise with Labour

    British Prime Minister Theresa May will seek an extension of the Brexit deadline from the European Union to “break the logjam” in Parliament. The Prime Minister says she wants to meet with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, in an effort to secure the Labour Party’s support for a plan on the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the EU. Mr Corbyn said he was “very happy” to meet with Ms May, and would ensure a customs union ... ► Read more

  • Government to close Christmas Island mere months after reopening it

    Less than four months after reopening Christmas Island detention centre, the Government has announced it will close the facility. The centre’s reopening was a $185 million knee-jerk reaction to the passing of the Medevac bill, which gives doctors a greater say in refugee medical transfers to Australia from Manus and Nauru, but ultimately leaves the decision to transfer in the hands of government. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the legislation would encourage people smuggling and ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: MPs reject four alternative proposals

    A deadlock remains firmly in place in Britain’s Parliament after MPs rejected four alternative Brexit proposals on Monday (local time). The option that came closest to passing proposed Britain remain within the European Union Customs Union, but failed by just three votes. A vote on a confirmatory referendum on any deal received the most votes, but was also defeated by 292–280. The British Government staunchly opposes both options because the former would prevent the UK ... ► Read more

  • Woolworths to close 30 Big W stores

    Supermarket giant Woolworths will close 30 Big W stores and two distribution centres, taking a $370 million hit. Chief executive Brad Banducci announced the closures, which represent about 16% of the Big W network, as Woolworths attempts to stem its losses. Despite seeing sales revenue increase by 6% in the March quarter, Big W is forecast to lose another $80–$100 million this year, only a slight improvement on the $110 million deficit last year, and ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: PM will stand down if deal is passed

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to resign as head of government if Tory MPs back her Brexit deal. Ms May acknowledged that her party does not want her to lead the next stage of negotiations for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, saying she “won’t stand in the way of that.” “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended to do what is right for our country and ... ► Read more

  • MPs vote to take control of Brexit process

    British MPs have voted to take control of the House of Commons agenda from the Government, to try to find a majority for a Brexit option. The unprecedented move is a reflection of Prime Minister Theresa May’s continued inability to achieve parliamentary support for her negotiated agreement for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. The Government’s defeat by 329 votes to 302 means MPs will get a series of “indicative votes” on Wednesday ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 17 March – 23 March 2019

    Coalition wins NSW election, minority government possible Gladys Berejiklian and the Coalition have been returned by the people of NSW for a third term in office, winning 46 of the 47 seats required for majority government so far. See the ABC’s coverage of this story here. EU agrees Brexit delay plan All 27 European Union leaders have backed a Brexit delay plan that gives the United Kingdom two options — pass Prime Minister Theresa May’s ... ► Read more

  • Sydney bars to hold election eve drink freeze

    About 34 Sydney bars will stop serving drinks for up to 15 minutes at 6:00pm tonight to draw voters’ attention to the future of Sydney’s night-time economy, ahead of tomorrow’s state election. The New South Wales Government has been criticised for introducing lockout laws and additional restrictions of liquor licensing, which has become a key election issue. In a statement Sydney’s Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said the bars involved will “turn up the lights” ... ► Read more

  • EU agrees Brexit delay plan

    All 27 European Union leaders have backed a Brexit delay plan that gives the United Kingdom two options — pass Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week for an extension until 22 May, or decide by 12 April whether it will participate in the upcoming European Parliament elections. If the UK opts not to participate in the elections and the deal has not passed the House of Commons, the EU would let Britain drop out ... ► Read more

  • Tusk says Brexit delay possible if MPs back deal

    European Council President Donald Tusk has said that the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union could be delayed, but only if British MPs approve the negotiated withdrawal agreement. The British Parliament has twice rejected the agreement brokered between Brussels and Westminster and Prime Minister Theresa May has sought an extension of the Brexit process beyond 29 March, when the UK is due to leave the EU. “I believe that a short extension will be ... ► Read more

  • British PM will formally ask to delay Brexit

    British Prime Minister Theresa May will formally ask the European Union to postpone the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU. Ms May’s negotiated Brexit deal with the EU has failed to receive the support of Parliament, and there are fewer than 10 days until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. Downing Street said no decision had been made as to how long the delay would be, but it is expected to be until ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 10 March – 16 March 2019

    49 killed in NZ mosque shootings Three suspects are in custody following deadly shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Major parties launch NSW election campaigns On Sunday the New South Wales branches of the Liberal and Labor parties officially launched their election campaigns, two weeks ahead of the 23 March polling date. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. George Pell ... ► Read more

  • Australia, EU and others suspend 737 MAX 8s following Ethiopian Airlines crash

    Australia, the European Union and other jurisdictions have indefinitely banned the Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner from their airspace, following a second fatal crash within five months. On Sunday a new Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 crashed en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all 157 crew and passengers on board. Investigators are looking for similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and that of a Lion Air MAX 8 that crashed in Indonesia, killing ... ► Read more

  • Controversy over Trump plan to bill allies for hosting American troops

    The Trump administration is preparing demands that South Korea, Germany, Japan and, eventually, other countries hosting American troops pay the full cost of the deployment and an additional 50%, according to administration officials. Under the direction of United States President Donald Trump, some countries would be asked to pay up to six times as much as they currently pay under the new approach. This move is intended to pressure the US’ NATO partners into accelerating ... ► Read more

  • NSW Government announces $500M for private schools

    New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes announced on Thursday that independent and Catholic schools will receive $500 million over four years to build, extend and upgrade their classrooms. The funding for private schools is intended to help them cope with rapidly increasing enrolments. Ms Berejiklian said her government will support parents, regardless of whether they choose to send their children to a public, Catholic or independent school. “We have provided ... ► Read more

  • Treasury rebukes Coalition for exaggerating impact of Labor’s proposed negative gearing changes

    The Federal Treasury has rebuked the Coalition Government for exaggerating the impact of Labor’s proposed changes to negative gearing deductions. Under Labor’s policy, negative gearing deductions would be curbed by limiting the tax concessions available to new investment properties, and capital gains tax would be increased by 50%. Since 2016 the Coalition has said this would “smash” housing values with a “sledgehammer”. However, the Treasury explicitly advised the Government that it should not claim that ... ► Read more

  • Prince Charles charity linked to Russian money laundering network

    Key points A Moscow-based investment bank called Troika Dialog managed a network of offshore companies which funnelled money across Europe and the US. Some of the offshore companies were involved in money laundering. Dirty money was mixed with legitimate money and distributed via screen companies, making it impossible to trace back to the source. End recipients most likely were not aware of any wrongdoing. A charity run by Prince Charles was one such recipient. It ... ► Read more

  • US-NK summit: leaders disagree over abrupt ending

    United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have given conflicting explanations for why their Thursday summit in Hanoi ended abruptly. Mr Trump claims that North Korea had demanded an end to US sanctions. “It was all about the sanctions,” he told reporters. “They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that.” However, North Korea says it made “realistic proposals” at the summit. According to Mr Trump, Mr ... ► Read more

  • May under pressure to delay Brexit as Corbyn announces support for new referendum

    British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has announced that Labour will support a second referendum on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union to prevent a “damaging Tory Brexit”. The party will back a second referendum if its own proposed Brexit agreement is rejected by Parliament on Wednesday (local time). Labour MP Emily Thornberry said that if the choice is between no deal or the Prime Minister’s deal, the public should make the decision. Pressure ... ► Read more

  • Government green-lights Snowy Hydro 2.0

    The Government has given Snowy Hydro 2.0 the go-ahead and will commit “up to $1.38 billion in an equity investment” to the project, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced. The project was instigated by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and the announcement is the first solid committment from the Federal Government to putting a new underground power station in the Snowy Mountains. “Snowy 2.0 will inject the energy supply and reliability our electricity market needs, ... ► Read more

  • PM pledges $3.5 billion to address climate change

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison today announced the Government’s $3.5 billion “Climate Solutions Package” aimed at ensuring Australia meets its international climate targets. In a press release, the Prime Minister said that the Government’s plan will allow Australia to meet its Paris Agreement obligations without harming the economy and raising electricity prices. “We will meet our global commitments, and do what is right for our environment, without taking a wrecking ball to the economy,” Mr Morrison ... ► Read more

  • Brexit could be delayed until 2021, as PM postpones vote

    Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union could be delayed until 2021, according to senior EU officials. The United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, but Prime Minister Theresa May has been unable to secure the support of the British Parliament for her Brexit deal. Extending the negotiating period by a further 21 months is the EU’s default position, but would mean that the UK remains within the EU while plans ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 17 February – 23 February 2019

    Liberals, Nationals, Labor targeted in “sophisticated” cyber attack, says PM The Liberal, National and Labor parties were all targeted in a recent cyber attack on Federal Parliament, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. ABF admits “human error” contributed to Hakeem al-Araibi’s detention Australian Border Force (ABF) officials have admitted “human error” in their agency’s handling of Melbourne refugee Hakeem al-Araibi’s case, saying processes that might have prevented ... ► Read more

  • Government seeks urgent clarification on Chinese ban of Australian coal imports

    Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) are seeking urgent clarification from China regarding reports of a ban on Australian coal. It was reported yesterday that imports of Australian coal had been banned in China’s northern port of Dalian, and that coal imports from all sources would be capped at 12 million tonnes for 2019, according to a customs official. It is now being reported that a total of five northeastern Chinese ... ► Read more

  • British Labour MPs quit party over Brexit and anti-semitism

    Seven British Labour MPs have quit the party and formed a group of independents, citing Labour’s Brexit policy and failure to address anti-semitism among its membership as the reasons for the split. “Politics is broken, it doesn’t have to be this way, let’s change it,” said MP Chuka Umunna at the launch of the Independent Group. Despite comparisons with the “Gang of Four”, who left Labour in 1981 to form the Social Democratic Party and ... ► Read more

  • Brexit: embarrassment as MPs vote against Government’s negotiating strategy

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered an embarrassing defeat in the House of Commons, with MPs refusing to endorse the Government’s Brexit negotiating strategy. MPs voted 303 to 258 against a non-binding motion to endorse the Prime Minister’s approach to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. Downing Street confirmed that Ms May will maintain her current approach to the negotiations, which include seeking legally-binding changes to controversial provisions relating to the UK’s ... ► Read more

  • Airbus to cease A380 production in 2021

    Airbus’ superjumbo A380 will stop being made in 2021 amid a sales slump brought on by airlines opting for smaller, more fuel-efficient aircrafts. The A380 is the world’s largest passenger jet with a capacity of over 500 seats. After a decade of manufacturing it, Airbus announced in a statement that key client Emirates is cutting back its orders for the plane, and as a result “we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis ... ► Read more

  • British Government admits it has “run out of time” to find ships to bring in extra supplies after no-deal Brexit

    British Government officials have admitted that they have “run out of time” to find ships to bring in additional emergency supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The admission comes after the Government cancelled a contract with Seaborne Freight to operate additional roll-on-roll-off ferry services between Ramsgate in England and Ostend in Belgium. The contract was signed in response to fears of reduced capacity at Calais — the busiest port on the English Channel. ... ► Read more

  • PM announces reopening of Christmas Island detention facility

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison today announced that the Government will reopen the Christmas Island immigration detention facility, following the Government’s defeat on medical treatment for refugees yesterday. The Prime Minister said the facility will be reopened in anticipation of an influx of asylum seeker boats. “We have approved putting in place the reopening of the Christmas Island detention facilities, both to deal with the prospect of arrivals as well as dealing with the prospect of ... ► Read more

  • Russia plans temporary Internet cut-off in “sovereign Internet” test

    Russia is planning to temporarily disconnect from the global Internet as part of a test of its cyber-defences. The test is to determine whether Russia has the technical capability to maintain a “sovereign Internet”, with a draft law introduced to the Russian Parliament last year calling for a domestic network that is able to operate independently. During the test, data being transmitted between Russian devices will stay within the country rather than be routed internationally. ... ► Read more

  • Byron Bay Bluesfest director threatens to move festival interstate

    Peter Noble, the director of the iconic Byron Bay Bluesfest, has threatened to move the festival out of New South Wales, claiming new State Government guidelines are threatening the viability of the event. Mr Noble said strict licensing and safety guidelines could cost organisers hundreds of thousands of dollars. “We are the industry professionals, we are the people that are presenting events at the highest levels,” Mr Noble said. “Bluesfest has just been inducted into ... ► Read more

  • Corruption trial of former Malaysian PM postponed

    The corruption trial of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been postponed, after his lawyers filed an application to delay the trial. Mr Najib has been charged over his alleged involvement in the 1MDB state development fund scandal, in which more than US $4.5 billion of public money was embezzled. He is accused of receiving almost a quarter of 1MDB’s funds into his personal bank accounts, and faces 42 charges of corruption, money laundering ... ► Read more

  • Australia signs $50 billion Attack-class submarine contract

    Australian officials will today sign a $50 billion contract for the construction of 12 Attack-class submarines. At a meeting in Canberra, representatives of the Australian Government will sign the Strategic Partnering Agreement with French arms manufacturer Naval Group, in which the French Government is the majority shareholder. Construction has already begun on the first submarine in the class — HMAS Attack — but the Strategic Partnering Agreement will govern its completion and the production of 11 ... ► Read more

  • EU Parliament Brexit rep welcomes Corbyn’s new exit plan

    The European Parliament’s Brexit representative, Guy Verhofstadt, has welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s new plan for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. The British Labour opposition leader wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May and called for a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union”, close alignment with the single market underpinned by “shares institutions”, protections on workers’ rights, and British participation in some EU agencies. In January the British Parliament rejected Ms May’s proposed withdrawal agreement, which would ... ► Read more