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Archive for June, 2019

Flatlining Malcolm Turnbull can still win. Here’s how

Thursday, 13 June, 2019

Amid so much anger and disruption, the only agreed fact is that politics remains unpredictable.
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It’s a hell of a time to be in power. Relative to their electors, democratic governments have never looked so weak, so low in standing, so easily disposable.

The Coalition government is beset on all sides: subject to global forces beyond its control, and captive to the mistakes it has made on the matters it can influence.

In the first category, the world has edged closer to a thermonuclear exchange than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis 55 years ago.

In the second, Australia is experiencing what University of New South Wales law professor George Williams noted this week was the most profound constitutional uncertainty since the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975.

To voters, the Parliament is a shambles.

The government’s outlook is bleak. Yet Turnbull himself continues to see the bright side even with the stakes this high. High Court high.

If the bench rules against his oddly unlegislated same-sex marriage survey, and against the validity of his “triple double” (three cabinet ministers with two countries each) Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership can be expected to continue draining away, ending in ignominy.

But if, as the legal advice informing Turnbull’s bullish demeanour suggests, things go well, the 29th prime minister may be in a strong enough position 12 months from now to be plotting an unlikely win in 2019.

He is banking on it. So let’s consider his best case scenario.

Imagine that the High Court upholds the executive’s power to stage the plebiscite, and that the public in turn, goes on to participate strongly, delivering a decisive “yes” verdict.

Turnbull says a private members’ bill would be presented before year’s end and would “sail through” the Parliament. Licketty-split.

Clearly there are many ifs and buts including the increasingly disreputable attempts by reactionaries to grant religions the right to ignore the law.

Nonetheless, the issue would be solved by Christmas, a thorn in Turnbull’s side, removed.

Assume also that Turnbull’s confidence in the electoral validity of his ministers is well placed. That will be known in October, and thus could also be old news by Christmas.

So, by October it could be ministers safe and plebiscite under way. (Turnbull’s fate would still turn on a positive survey – a negative outcome would merely prolong the agitation)

That only leaves the other promise Turnbull gave to conservatives to prise them off Tony Abbott’s leadership: energy policy.

Turnbull’s preferred solution is the 50th recommendation from Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s national electricity market review. He wants a clean energy target of sorts settled by cabinet by Christmas also.

This is easier said than done but if he can find a way to resolve the impasse and provide investment certainty in electricity, while keeping his party united, Turnbull will head into 2018 with a fighting chance of recovery.

Sure, it doesn’t fix the braggadocio between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, but there’s always hope.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Morrison’s socialism attack ’embarrassing’: Labor

Thursday, 13 June, 2019

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison delivers a speech at the Bloomberg office in Sydney. Photo: Paul MillerLabor’s shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has labelled Scott Morrison’s attack on “red” Bill Shorten embarrassing, accusing the Turnbull government of having no future policy direction.
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The Treasurer charged the opposition with “economic time travel” on Thursday, by leading what he claims is the most left-wing Labor movement Australia has seen in generations.

“The neo-socialists in the Labor party have joined forces with the cynical opportunists to create quite a deadly faction and they are running the Labor Party and if Bill Shorten gets to slither into the Lodge then this will be wreaked on Australia,” he told reporters after his Bloomberg Address in Sydney.

Mr Bowen accused Mr Morrison of having nothing positive to say about the future of the country, following the attack on Labor. It is the second in as many weeks as part of a broader Coalition strategy that imagines a socialist Australia with Mr Shorten in charge.

“The latest round of Liberal Party focus on Bill Shorten is beyond embarrassing,” Mr Bowen said. “It’s telling the Australian people a year into the term that they’ve stopped governing.”

As both sides exchanged political barbs, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released positive economic news on Thursday.

One of the key building blocks of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product, due to be released next week, defied economists’ predictions in producing better than expected results.

The Bureau’s private capital expenditure survey for the three months to June suggests strong business confidence could soon produce more investment.

According to Commsec economist Craig James, the economy will see the biggest lift in planned investment in seven years, with businesses pencilling in a 17.6 per cent rise from April next year.

Total new capital expenditure grew by 0.8 per cent, beating economists’ predictions of a 0.2 per cent rise.

In a sign the drag on the economy created by the end of the mining boom may finally be waning, the size of the investment drop-off has become smaller and smaller.

“Mining capital expenditure has fallen in every quarter of the past three years,” said Capital Economics chief economist Paul Dales.

“But at least the size of the falls are smaller than the double-digit declines in 2015/16, so mining is exerting a smaller drag on GDP growth.”

Mr Morrison said he was optimistic the end of the mining boom’s long tail would finally see a pay rise for Australians battling through historically low wage growth.

“As [Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe] said in his recent Parliamentary testimony: “If labour markets are strong, eventually workers will get bigger pay rises.”

Commonwealth Bank economist Kristina Clifton said the Reserve Bank would be pleased with Thursday’s result.

“The labour market has improved, the outlook for non???mining business is looking a lot better and there is a solid pipeline of public infrastructure spending still to come,” she said.

“The final piece of the puzzle to watch for now when thinking about the timing of future rate hikes is wages growth and inflation.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hinch citizenship referral a ‘waste of time’

Thursday, 13 June, 2019

Senator Derryn Hinch at Parliament House Canberra on Thursday 22 June 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Senator Derryn Hinch at Parliament House Canberra on Thursday 22 June 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Independent senator Derryn Hinch will attempt to refer himself to the High Court over fears he may be ineligible to sit in Parliament but not even his biggest opponents think he has a case to answer.

Senator Hinch told reporters in north Queensland of his plan to refer himself after it was revealed he held a social security number in the United States, and had previously received an American pension.

He confirmed he had never received United States citizenship and only received the pension after paying an additional tax for the decade he spent in America, working for Fairfax Media. He stopped the payments once he was sworn in to the Senate in 2016.

Senator Hinch said there was potential he had fallen foul of an “entitlement” clause within section 44 of the constitution and planned to have it tested in the High Court.

But his motion will struggle to receive the necessary numbers, with government sources questioning the validity of Senator Hinch’s concerns.

Labor has not considered whether or not it would support any referral motion, but a source said the party “shared the government’s view that it was a waste of time”.

Senator Hinch had planned to seek the Solicitor-General’s advice, a process which would first require writing to Attorney-General George Brandis with a request.

The seven MPs – including three government ministers – who have been found to be dual citizens each sought independent legal advice before making their referrals.

Almost 10 per cent of senators have been referred to the High Court over their eligibility to sit in Parliament. But on Thursday former prime minister John Howard called for calm.

“My view about this is nobody is to blame and I think trying to apportion blame, and people running around and saying ‘oh you knew about this’, or ‘you should have known’, I think that is silly,” he told ABC radio.

“Let’s just draw a deep breath, accept that this is a case that years ago, when the constitution was written, if you lived in Canada or Britain or New Zealand etc, you didn’t have a separate nationality, we were all subjects of the British Empire, there was no Australian nationality until 1948.

“We just have to let it work its way through and accept that the High Court will rule and whatever the High Court decides, that’s the law, because we live by the rule of law.

“But I don’t think it is a crisis for Australian democracy and I am frankly surprised people are running around trying to apportion partisan blame, I don’t think it is a case for that.”

The High Court will examine the issue in October.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Key Swan Tippett expects to be fit for final against Bombers

Thursday, 13 June, 2019

The AFL’s much-maligned pre-finals bye proved a speed bump for the Sydney Swans’ in 2016, but it’s set to have the opposite effect this year with ruckman Kurt Tippett confident he will recover from an ankle injury in time for the elimination final against Essendon.
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Tippett and fellow ruckman Callum Sinclair both picked up ankle injuries in Saturday’s final-round win over Carlton, the former put on ice for the last quarter in a bid to preserve him for the play-offs. Neither trained with the team on Thursday morning.

Twelve months ago the Swans entered the finals on a six-match winning run, but lost momentum during the bye week and were beaten by GWS in the first week of the finals.

Sydney could yet face a selection dilemma ahead of the Bombers clash at the SCG next Saturday, with ruckman Sam Naismith expected to return in this weekend’s NEAFL semi-final against Gold Coast after missing a month with a hip injury.

Swans head of football Tom Harley said earlier in the week that Naismith would enter the selection conversation for the Essendon game, should he successfully navigate the Gold Coast assignment.

That would potentially give Sydney three fit ruckmen to choose from.

“I’m pretty confident in the fact that my ankle will be good enough to play,” Tippett said.

“The ankle’s recovering well. It’s something that’s unfortunately been around all year and I’ve hurt it a couple of times so I certainly know what I need to do to get it right.

“It hurts a bit. It’s a bit of a shock at the time but it’s something that’s happened a few times over the course of playing a lot of sport.

“I’m certainly hoping my best football for this season is ahead of me. The last four weeks has been good and I feel like I’ve been building and feeling better each game. Hopefully my best is yet to come.”

The Swans are facing a monumental top-eight equation after finishing sixth, thanks to a remarkable run of 14 wins from their last 16 games.

Should they beat the Bombers, they will run into the loser of the Geelong-Richmond clash with a preliminary final against either Adelaide or Greater Western Sydney awaiting.

Yet the aforementioned quartet of top four teams are thinking the same thing about potentially running into the Swans.

“Depending on how results play, it looks like Sydney is the team that looks like it is going to go the whole way,” Crows defender Daniel Talia said.

“The other team is obviously GWS but if we knock them off [in the qualifying final] it gives us a good chance of not playing them [in the grand final].

“But they’re the form sides of the whole year, along with us, and I think if we’re there, it’s going to be one of those two.”

Tippett brushed off talk labelling the Swans as flag favourites.

“Are we? I don’t know, It’s not something we spend much time thinking about,” Tippett said.

“We’ve seen how fickle it is. We’ve been down the bottom and had to work our way up so we’re just concentrating on what allowed us to be a good team.

“Rewind to the start of the season and we hadn’t won a game after six rounds. It’s a big turnaround, it’s something that took a lot of effort and energy and it’s really been worth it.

“We’ve given ourselves the best chance we possibly could have.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

New Uber chief promises change, flags IPO by 2020

Thursday, 13 June, 2019

Uber’s new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi has told employees the ride-services company will change its culture and may go public in 18 to 36 months.
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Khosrowshahi, who led travel-booking site Expedia for 12 years, made the remarks as he introduced himself to Uber’s workforce on Wednesday during an all-staff meeting at its San Francisco headquarters.

With a $US68 billion ($86 billion) valuation by private investors, Uber is the most valuable startup Silicon Valley has produced over the last decade, but funders have grown frustrated by the lack of a timeline for getting their payouts. Employees have also felt pent up, as many are compensated with options in the company.

The loose IPO timeline gives Khosrowshahi an opportunity to resolve many of the controversies facing the company. That includes litigation with Google in a major case in which Uber is accused of stealing trade secrets from Google’s self-driving car program, as well as two pending federal investigations.

On Tuesday, the company confirmed that the Department of Justice is probing whether executives broke US laws prohibiting bribery of officials in foreign countries. Uber is cooperating with the investigation, a spokesman Matt Kallman said.

Under its previous hard-charging chief executive, Travis Kalanick, Uber expanded to 77 countries in just eight years and built up a reputation for rule-breaking and for a “bro” culture that has been hostile to women and underrepresented minorities. Federal officials are also probing whether the company used special software to evade authorities in places where ride-sharing services were banned or restricted Uber ‘has to change’

“This company has to change,” Khosrowshahi told employees, according to the Twitter feed of Uber’s communications team. “What got us here is not what’s going to get us to the next level.”

Khosrowshahi said Uber needed to stabilise itself but also take what he called “big shots.”

The appointment of Khosrowshahi, who described himself as “a fighter,” comes as Uber is trying to recover from a series of crises that culminated in the ouster of its former CEO Travis Kalanick in June. It is also a key step toward filling a gaping hole in its top management that at the moment has no chief financial officer, head of engineering or general counsel.

In his first meeting with Uber employees, Khosrowshahi emphasised recruiting new talent – particularly a chief financial officer – as well as a chairman to help him run the board, according to tweets from Uber. “It’s great to meet the people making this dream come true???growing a company that’s changing the world.” [email protected]://t.co/g6LbiKs4l8pic.twitter南京夜网/4x9yNmjM3M??? Uber (@Uber) August 31, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.