Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Macro View – Health, Financial And Political News Relevant To E-Health And The Health Sector In General.

May 10, 2018 Edition.
Well the Budget has happened this week and we are all now fully in the picture.
There is a summary here and I will provide commentary next week.
https://theconversation.com/infographic-budget-2018-at-a-glance-95649
Good to see we are now in France’s good books but less so with the Chinese!
On the global front the weather seems to becoming increasingly Stormy for Trump as he battles trade with the Chinese and nukes with the North Koreans!
Brexit also seems to be becoming more of a problem….and may be Russia is deciding becoming a global superpower is now rather out of reach now. Good idea!
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Here are a few other things I have noticed.
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Major Issues.

Labor’s identity politics - the left’s blight on the hill

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM April 30, 2018

Adam Creighton

The Labor Party’s new policy platform provides an opportunity to test the idea that parties of the left are increasingly mouthpieces for the concerns and pieties of the ­educated elite.
A striking analysis by economist Thomas Piketty has shown how the main left-of-centre parties in Britain, the US and France have steadily transformed from being parties of workers to being parties of high education since the 1950s. He didn’t include Australia but Labor’s new 211-page document slated for discussion at Labor’s ­national conference — “a clear statement of Labor’s beliefs, values and program for government” — helps provide the answer here.
Mentions of “intersex” — that’s the “I” in LGBTIQ, in case you didn’t know — occur 63 times, ahead of those more esoteric concerns such as “wealth” (61 times) and “inequality” (47). Whatever intersex means — or is — it’s also far more important than “ownership” (12 mentions), “production” (18) and “distribution” (10).
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Malcolm Turnbull backs Gonski 2.0 'blueprint' for radical overhaul of Australian curriculum

By Michael Koziol
29 April 2018 — 11:20pm
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will push for a radical overhaul of the Australian curriculum after endorsing a blueprint by businessman David Gonski to fix the country's lagging school system.
The Gonski 2.0 plan will transform the school system to assess and reward personal progress, not just standard academic benchmarks. It challenges the Commonwealth, states and territories to ditch their "industrial model of schooling" in favour of a more modern and individual approach.
Gonski 2.0 challenges the Commonwealth, states and territories to ditch their "industrial model of schooling" in favour of a more modern and individual approach.
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Gonski: we need to recommit to improving teacher skills

By David Gonski
1 May 2018 — 4:15pm
Despite consistent growth in funding in Australian school education since 2000 and now the Government’s implementation of needs-based funding, our academic performance has declined compared to other OECD countries.
This suggests Australian school students are falling short of achieving their full learning potential.
It also suggests that unless we are willing to accept more of the same, we need to shift our focus from minimum levels of achievement to the highest achievement possible achieved through the maximum attainable annual growth.
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Bank stress test reveals ratings risks

  • The Australian
  • 11:45AM April 30, 2018

Samantha Bailey

A downturn in the housing sector could put pressure on the ratings of Australia’s big banks, a mortgage stress test has found.
The report, published by Fitch Ratings today, does not expect a sharp correction in the housing market, with the outlook for economic growth and unemployment relatively positive.
But analysts said that a rapidly rising unemployment rate could trigger a housing market downturn.
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30 April 2018

How low can the AMA go?

AMA The Hill
Posted by Dr Bill Coote
Recently The Australian newspaper made the surprising claim that only 30% of medical practitioners are AMA members. 
In 1962, more than 95% of doctors belonged to the AMA. By 1987 it was 50%. AHPRA reports that in 2016 there were 107,179 registered medical practitioners. The 2016 AMA annual report notes a membership of 29,425. That is 27% of doctors. 
The AMA remains the “go to” medical organisation for politicians and the media. However, the credibility of the AMA depends on maintaining the support of doctors. More prosaically, the AMA depends on members’ annual subscriptions to fund its activities. 
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  • Updated Apr 30 2018 at 12:00 AM

Super guarantee at 12pc leaves poor worse off: Grattan Institute

Raising the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent would actually leave low-income earners worse off in retirement because of foregone pension payments, new research claims.
The Grattan Institute says the bipartisan policy to lift the rate of compulsory superannuation contributions should be dumped because the vast bulk of benefits are heavily skewed towards the wealthy, while also worsening the budget bottomline.
"Despite what the super lobby claims, the current 9.5 per cent super guarantee – taken together with the age pension and non-super savings – is sufficient to deliver an adequate retirement income for low and middle-income Australians," says a report prepared by the institute's chief executive John Daley and research fellow Brendan Coates.
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We need to arm our kids against the interests of Big Data

By Linda McIver
30 April 2018 — 11:00pm
Hands up if you’ve heard the term Big Data. Keep your hand up if you understand the impact Big Data is having on your life. If your hand is still up, you probably either work for Cambridge Analytica, or you are kidding yourself. The implications of Big Data are so immense that even the data science industry doesn’t yet know everything that’s possible with this technology.
The world is reeling from revelations that, between them, Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have shamelessly exploited the data of millions of users, in an apparently successful attempt not just to profit from our data, but to manipulate our behaviour. While we explicitly agree to hand our data over to Facebook when we sign up, for alarmingly unrestricted purposes, in this case the culprit was actually a harmless-seeming personality quiz. If your friend did the quiz, they ticked a box allowing that quiz to access your information. Back then, Facebook privacy settings gave you no way to opt out of that kind of access.
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  • May 2 2018 at 10:14 AM

Bank of Mum and Dad loans soar 25pc as banks crackdown

Lending by the Bank of Mum and Dad has increased by 25 per cent to about $20 billion in the past 12 months as banks' raise rates, increase minimum deposits and toughen repayment terms and conditions.
And as the RBA governor Philip Lowe and ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott both warned on Tuesday, loans are only going to get harder to get as costs rise because of the bad behaviour of banks exposed in the banking royal commission.
Bank of Mum and Dad, a term used to describe parent lending to their children for property purchases, is now the tenth largest lender, bigger than ME Bank, AMP Bank and the local operations of global banking giants like Citigroup and HSBC Australia.
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We seem about to conduct an election in cloud cuckoo land

By Ross Gittins
1 May 2018 — 1:53pm
Did you hear the news? It’s a budget miracle. Remember all the worry about debt and deficit? Gone. Not a problem. Disappeared. Or, better word – evaporated.
In recent months, revenue has started pouring into the government’s coffers. According to Chris Richardson, a leading economist from Deloitte Access Economics, the budget’s “rivers of gold” are flowing again. The improvement in the budget has been “humungous”.
And though this year’s budget is still a week away, Treasurer Scott Morrison isn’t denying it.
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Strong support for free health, education and for taxing rich more: poll

By Matt Wade
Updated2 May 2018 — 10:07amfirst published at 9:00am
Support for universal access to health and education is strong in Australia with a new opinion poll showing nine in 10 voters think those services should be provided free of charge.
The Ipsos survey, released days before the federal budget, also found eight in 10 Australians agree the rich should be “taxed more” to support the poor.
The findings were part of a 28-nation survey that probed attitudes to socialist ideas in the 21st century.
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'Low wage growth diminishes our shared prosperity': RBA governor Philip Lowe

By Eryk Bagshaw
1 May 2018 — 8:10pm
Australia's shared sense of prosperity is diminished by sustained low wage growth, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has warned, as the Coalition and Labor prepare to make the issue a key policy test of the May budget. 
Dr Lowe said workers should prepare for wage growth to stay around 2 per cent for some time yet, warning homeowners loaded with debt that there will be a rise in interest rates when conditions begin to return to normal.
In a speech that drew on the central bank's rarely cited ultimate objective of enhancing the "prosperity and welfare of the Australian people," he said he would like "faster progress" but this was not possible in the current climate.
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Gaia sheds an unprecedented light on our own Milky Way

  • The Economist
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM May 1, 2018
For something so enormous, astronomers know remarkably little about the Milky Way, Earth’s home galaxy. They know its rough dimensions — somewhere between 100,000 and 180,000 light years across. And they know it contains 100 billion stars — or perhaps 200 billion, or maybe even twice that again.
For part of the galaxy, though, things are about to become much clearer. On April 25 the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite released one of the biggest chunks of data in the history of astronomy. About 1.3 billion stars, perhaps about 1 per cent of the Milky Way’s total, have had their position, brightness and motion measured accurately for the first time.
The result is a stellar atlas of unprecedented size and accuracy, as well as great beauty. Gerry Gilmore, an astronomer at the University of Cambridge and one of Gaia’s scientists, showed an audience in London a slice of space so thick with stars that they looked like grains of icing sugar poured on to a sheet of black paper.
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Illegal cigarettes account for 15pc of the market

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM May 2, 2018

Adam Creighton

The nation’s 2.4 million smokers are turning to illegal and even ­unhealthier cigarettes to avoid crushing increases in tobacco tax, costing the federal government ­almost $2 billion in lost revenue.
Between 2016 and 2017, tobacco consumption fell 6.1 per cent but the share supplied in the black market climbed to a record 15 per cent from 14 per cent a year earlier, according to a KPMG study.
The analysis found the presence of cigarettes manufactured legally in other countries and smuggled into Australia, as ­opposed to illegal loose-leaf tobacco, had jumped by a third and the number of tobacco seizures at ports exceeded 120, with a total weight of 264 tonnes, for the first time in a decade.
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Stephen Hawking's final theory published

By John von Radowitz
3 May 2018 — 2:39am
London: It may not quite compare with the doughnut-shaped universe theory which Professor Stephen Hawking threatened to steal from Homer in a famous episode of The Simpsons.
But the renowned cosmologist's final published theory, submitted before his death on March 14, provides just as much food for thought.
Hawking's best-selling book "A Brief History of Time" made him a household name, and sought to explain complex science to the masses.
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Thousands worse off in NDIS

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM May 1, 2018

Rick Morton

The $22 billion NDIS is failing the nation’s most vulnerable people, leaving as many as one in five, many with intellectual and mental disabilities, reporting that the ­flagship scheme has left them worse off.
Flinders University researchers, presiding over the longest and most rigorous study of the Nat­ional Disability Insurance Scheme, have ­declared it is now “unreasonable” to expect the scheme to be delivered on time, while reporting that about half of all participants have had support cut or experienced no change in support under the new system.
As the Coalition prepares to mount a case for funding the program from general government revenue, and ditching the proposed Medicare levy increase to raise $8bn more for the scheme in its first four years, the four-year evaluation report concludes the scheme is struggling to cope with its workload.
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Capital city housing prices hit by first annual drop in five years

  • The Australian
  • 9:52AM May 1, 2018

Elizabeth Redman

The once-heated housing market looks subdued after capital city dwelling values posted their first annual fall in more than five years, according to property researcher CoreLogic.
Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane housing prices all fell over the past month, while over the past year the only capital city that recorded an improvement in annual performance was Perth, the CoreLogic April home value index found.
The research comes after several months of slowing in the east coast capitals amid a regulatory clampdown on lending and buyer exhaustion.
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  • Updated May 1 2018 at 11:00 PM

The RBA can't lift rates when house prices are falling

House prices are dropping well ahead of a tightening monetary policy cycle, complicating the RBA's efforts to escape rates at "emergency" levels.
Annual property growth dropped below zero for the first time since late 2012, based on CoreLogic's newly-released combined index for the eight capital cities. The measure fell by 0.3 per cent in April and by a similar margin over the 12-month period.
The three-month annualised rate is now at 2.4 per cent, suggesting an acceleration in the negative trend in 2018.  The turnaround has been sharp. Around this time last year, house price inflation across the eight cities was running at more than 11 per cent.
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  • Updated May 1 2018 at 7:50 PM

RBA governor Philip Lowe warns of impact on households of bank scandals

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has warned households may find it harder to get home loans and borrowing costs could be higher as a result of the bad behaviour of banks being exposed in the Hayne royal commission.
Warning also that interest rates may rise regardless of any official hikes by the Reserve Bank because of the potentially lasting impact of a rise in US money market rates, Dr Lowe cautioned that local banking scandals might impact the mortgage market.
"It is possible that lending standards in Australia will be tightened further in the context of the current high level of public scrutiny," he told a Reserve Bank board dinner in Adelaide on Tuesday.
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  • Updated May 4 2018 at 11:00 PM

ASPI vs ACRI: China doves and hawks go to war

As relations between the world's two superpowers, the US and China, undergo fundamental change, a local schism over how to deal with a more assertive China – Australia's most important trading partner – has turned into a spiteful fight.
On the eve of an expected budget announcement of a sharp increase in spending by the Malcolm Turnbull-led Coalition government on cyber security, much of it aimed at countering Chinese activities in Australia, open warfare has been declared between two key protagonists, the Canberra-based Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), and the Sydney-based Australia China Relations Institute (ACRI).
The conflict extends to Australia's China-specialist academics and think tankers, and even bureaucrats, with sharply differing views expressed in open letters about how Australia should approach relations with China. Making the conflict more intense are factors ranging from increased activity by Chinese and US intelligence agencies in Australia, to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's hardening posture, driven by alarm over China's increasing assertiveness and domestic political concerns.
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Economic reckoning is on its way - and we will all have to pay

By Peter Hartcher
5 May 2018 — 12:01am
Australia escaped the wrenching shock of the global financial crisis and drifted into a long complacency instead. Yet the country now seems to have entered a reckoning of its own.
Not an economic one, not yet, at least, but a gathering climax of accountability. One institution after another, one elite after another, is brought under a searching scrutiny. No one - cardinal, cricket captain or capitalist - is immune.
Malcolm Knox wrote of the cycle that led the Australian cricket team to its disgrace, exposed for cheating: "Arrogance rewarded has only ever led to more arrogance." That cycle has been broken, not only for the cricketers but for a widening front of Australian institutions.
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Turnbull agenda ambushed by banks, corporate elite

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM May 5, 2018

Paul Kelly

Australia suffers from the betrayal of elites. Their arrogance, complacency and denial — with the flawed icons of the Commonwealth Bank and the AMP as representatives of systemic ills — will empower progressive anti-business attitudes for years.
Divisions within corporate Australia, a trust crisis within the financial system and exposure of the flawed culture of company directors is putting at risk the Turnbull government’s tax reform and economic policy on the eve of Scott Morrison’s third budget.
Progressive campaigning will be reinforced by justified community scepticism certain to make acceptance of the Turnbull government’s proposed company tax cuts far more difficult. Efforts to cast the Labor Party as beholden to trade union power are overshadowed by the “guilt by association” brand problem facing Malcolm Turnbull arising from the moral and accountability failures of some of the nation’s most important financial institutions.
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Clients of financial advice need to stay alert

By Daryl Dixon
4 May 2018 — 2:04pm
While following the progress of the banking royal commission may be unsettling, the continuing stream of revelations about malpractice and incidents of dishonesty provides a timely reminder of the need to remain alert and monitor the progress of your savings and investment strategies.
Despite the glaring revelations of clients not receiving the services and benefits they have paid for, regulations and controls governing the sale of products have been greatly tightened. There’s still only lax control over the spruikers of property investments, but purveyors of insurance, superannuation and investment products are required to disclose fees and ongoing changes as well as provide a detailed product disclosure statement to their customers.
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Company directors face pressure to cut board positions

  • The Australian
  • 12:00 AM May 5, 2018

Glenda Korporaal

Directors holding more than three board seats across Australia’s biggest companies are under pressure to sharply scale back their commitments, given the rising tide of regulation and increased workloads in the boardroom.
An analysis of the top 20 listed companies by The Weekend Australian reveals Lindsay Maxsted, Gordon Cairns, Sam Mostyn and Neil Chatfield are among the nation’s busiest professional directors, with multiple board roles and commitments as chairmen.
This week’s report by banking regulator APRA into the Commonwealth Bank’s culture, as well as revelations made at the bank royal commission on the role of boards, has put corporate Australia on notice, according to former Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel.
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The benefits of financial advice have been oversold

  • The Australian
  • 12:01PM May 4, 2018

John Durie

The mass exodus of the banks from wealth management is a belated acknowledgment that the benefits of financial advice for most Australians are way over blown.
For the 85 per cent of people on PAYE income and with a home loan, the obvious advice is simply to pay off your home loan, put any excess into your super and protect the wealth through insurance tied to your mortgage.
Until you are nearing retirement when some advice makes sense, that’s the end of the story.
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Wealth management closing down sale! Everything must go!



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