Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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

June 14, 2018 Edition.
Thanks to Trump the G7 Summit has concluded in chaos. Canada is now a US enemy and the world has drifted of it axis....

In Singapore the NK Summit has concluded with a points decision to Kim and DJT looking to have been rather played. Concrete progress is what we need to see now so we are again in the 'time will tell' mode.

In the UK Brexit is getting messier and messier and it is hard to know where it will wind up.

In OZ we are to have a national apology to the victims of child sexual abuse and the endless bye-election campaign drags on!

Also we are seeing some rumblings from the Reserve Bank that things may not be as good as hoped and there is some stormy weather ahead....a bit of a worry.
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Here are a few other things I have noticed.
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Major Issues.

The top 5 global economic risks

by Diana Mousina, Senior Economist, AMP Capital
on 31 May 2018 in
Economy
Whilst a strong global backdrop is currently positive for risk assets, Senior Economist Diana Mousina outlines the top 5 risks for investors to watch as a warning sign if things were to change.
As we near the halfway mark for 2018, it’s good to see that the outlook for the global economy next year is positive. Though it doesn’t hurt to know which clouds on the horizon could weigh on growth and impact share markets.
AMP Capital’s house view is that there are five global risks to monitor:

Euro go slow

The Eurozone economy has enjoyed a strong cyclical rebound over the past year, despite some recent weakening in the data, with a clear convergence in growth across countries.
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  • Updated Jun 3 2018 at 6:28 PM

ANZ criminal cartel case unsettles financial community

Even in the context of a royal commission, a protracted interest rate rigging case and a money laundering scandal, the pending criminal cartel charges to be brought against ANZ and its appointed investment banks has shocked the financial community.
Most are trying to fathom how what many believe to be standard market practice can constitute a criminal activity that could bring with it jail sentences.
That ANZ and the three underwriters it employed to raise $2.5 billion of quick-fire capital weren't shouting from the rooftops that they had a shortfall was hardly shocking to anyone in the capital markets, although the extent of the shortfall has certainly raised eyebrows.
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  • Updated Jun 4 2018 at 1:00 AM

Franchise industry in firing line as inquiry heats up

In the past few days the scandal-ridden franchise operator Retail Food Group (RFG) appointed a new chief executive to try and put a lid on the overflowing discontent among many of its Gloria Jeans, Michel's Patisserie, Brumby's Donut King and Crust Pizza franchisees.
The change in leadership came as a joint parliamentary inquiry into the $170 billion franchise industry kicks off the first of a series of hearings on June 8 in Brisbane, RFG's home town.
Day one of the hearings is expected to be explosive with testimony revealing franchisees across the sector are suffering from financial devastation and mental health issues after watching their dream to own a small business turn into a personal and financial nightmare.
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  • Jun 3 2018 at 5:45 PM
  • Updated Jun 3 2018 at 5:47 PM

Stop politicising Australians' retirement savings

by David Whiteley
Over the next 15 years, total assets in the superannuation system are expected to exceed those of the banking sector. Superannuation is not only critically important to the quality of retirement for millions of retirees, but also a source of capital and debt for the business community.
The size, scale and importance of superannuation and in particular its compulsory nature will appropriately bring greater regulation and scrutiny.
Designing the prudential, regulatory and taxation frameworks will need thought and foresight and an inclusive, consensus building approach, to achieve the necessary changes to the design and structure of the industry so that it continues to deliver to fund members.
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The generation worse off because of super

By Jessica Irvine
Updated 4 June 2018 — 6:31am
Could superannuation be the biggest con job ever perpetrated against generations X and Y?
In the wash-up from last week’s Productivity Commission report, it’s worth considering the question.
I fall between generations X and Y - it’s been 15 years since I graduated university and joined the workforce.
Interestingly, that happens to almost perfectly coincide with the lifespan of Australia’s 9 per cent “superannuation guarantee”. While this universal guarantee was first introduced in 1992, requiring employers to direct 3 per cent of a worker’s pay into a superannuation account, it only phased up to 9 per cent from 2002.
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Stop getting in the way of innovation CSL chief warns Canberra

By Nassim Khadem
3 June 2018 — 2:20pm
Standing in the way of corporate tax reform and wider tax and skilled migration incentives limits the nation's ability to innovate, the chief executive of biotechnology giant CSL, Paul Perreault, has warned.
Mr Perreault also said the company will continue to fight for patient access to healthcare and medical treatment when governments around the world – including US President Donald Trump – introduce policies that make access harder.
In a joint submission to the Turnbull government, blood products and vaccines manufacturer CSL and hearing implant pioneer Cochlear have warned Australia could lose out to countries overseas that offer more attractive tax incentives and easier access to skilled migration.
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The problems in super the Productivity Commission report won't fix

By Caitlin Fitzsimmons
2 June 2018 — 10:35pm
If the government adopts the recommendations of the Productivity Commission, it will be the biggest shake-up in compulsory superannuation ever.
The epic 500-page report identified two key problems hampering our retirement savings.
First, that the “absurd” method of stapling superannuation to the employer rather than the member has given rise to a plethora of unintended multiple accounts. Members lose out in this scenario because they pay two sets of administration fees and might double up on insurance.
Second, for members going with the default option in their workplace it is a “lottery” whether they landed in a good fund or a bad one.
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Banking’s Wizard of Oz moment

  • The Australian
  • 6:30AM June 4, 2018

Alan Kohler

It is breathtaking that the ACCC chose to launch criminal proceedings against ANZ, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank rather than publish a paper on the risk that collaborating to dispose of an underwriting shortfall could be an illegal cartel.
In a way the outrage of those banks is understandable. They have always got together to organise this stuff, and everyone knows it.
Surely some kind of warning would have been nice, something like: “Ahem, chaps, having a meeting of competitors to organise selling something could be seen by some to be, you know, a bit on the collusive side, don’t you think? Absolute sticklers they are, of course, but perhaps better be safe than sorry in future. You know, keep yourself nice.”
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Commonwealth Bank pays for its past hubris

  • The Australian
  • 11:11AM June 4, 2018

John Durie

Austrac has scored a stunning victory in today’s massive $700 million settlement with Commonwealth Bank, in a key wake-up call to other financial institutions to comply with the regulator’s questions.
The case of alleged breaches of anti-money laundering laws epitomised the past hubris at CBA, which was the key flaw outlined in last month’s damning APRA review of the bank’s systems and failures in non-financial risks.
The civil fine is the biggest in Australian corporate history but in context $700m is seven per cent of CBA’s profit, as against the $45 million fine for Tabcorp which was 30 per cent of its profit.
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  • Updated Jun 4 2018 at 11:03 AM

Melbourne tops Sydney as worst performing property capital: Morgan Stanley

Melbourne has replaced Sydney as the worst performing national capital for residential property with prices falling by about 5 per cent in the past three months, according to analysis by investment bank Morgan Stanley.
Housing sentiment and expectations about prospects for real estate are plunging to near-record lows with most people nominating bank deposits a preferred option, despite low, single digit savings rates, its research shows.
Melburnians, which until recently has remained buoyant despite falls in other capitals, are the most pessimistic about investment in property, it shows.
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  • Jun 4 2018 at 1:01 PM

Chris Richardson: Australia lagging in infrastructure investment because of politics

Leading economist Chris Richardson says Australia has been lagging badly behind in investing in crucial infrastructure projects because of a "toxic" political situation which may now put the nation's prosperity in peril as the housing market turns down and global interest rates rise.
Mr Richardson, a partner with Deloitte Access Economics, says a "disappointingly patchy" approach to infrastructure investment means that Australia is running well behind on the infrastructure spending required to ensure smooth-functioning big cities like Melbourne and Sydney and a yawning gap has opened up. The angst among residents from this poor planning and under-investment may now result in politicians moving to cut migration levels to quell the rising anger. "The backlash is building".
He says that infrastructure spending in the next 50 years in Australia needs to be running at five times the rate it has been in the past 50 years. But a lack of bipartisanship in politics had crippled what should be a smooth process to deliver common-sense outcomes.
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Hold Facebook, Google/YouTube and Amazon algorithms to account

  • Robert Thomson
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 4, 2018
These are the best of times and the worst of times for media. There is certainly no lack of material for news and yet there is a lack of money for many of those who report and edit news.
Perversely, there is surely a surfeit of cash for those who distribute news but who insist that they are not publishers — or simply cannot pronounce the word publisher … for to be a publisher brings with it profound and enduring responsibilities, as the editors in this auditorium appreciate each day of their working lives.
So when we contemplate a robust commercial future for journalism and for professional media, we must first ponder an ecosystem that has punished the creators and profited disproportionately the distributors. That same ecosystem is fertile territory for the fabricators of the fabulous, and the furnishers of the fake and the faux. I’ve been holding forth on, some would say ranting about, this vexed topic for a decade or more. I was recently reminded of a UK House of Lords testimony delivered in 2007 in which I warned that the internet was ripe for exploitation by bad actors who could take advantage of the large digital platforms to disseminate drivel. Being grilled by the august peers 11 years ago, I suggested:
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  • Jun 4 2018 at 2:30 PM

Eight years of Donald Trump would be a global game changer

The world will probably survive four years of Donald Trump's turbulent presidency, but if he wins a second term at the 2020 election the global ramifications will be far more consequential.
Foreign allies appear to be trying to "wait out" four years of destabilising Trump leadership and work as constructively as possible with the broad United States political system.
Yet eight years of Trump – a distinct possibility – could fundamentally reshape the international order.
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Espionage laws to be toughened under bipartisan deal

By David Crowe
4 June 2018 — 11:50pm
New laws are likely to be agreed upon within days to punish spies and curb foreign interference in Australian politics amid heightened concerns about Chinese donors and Russian attempts to influence elections.
The Turnbull government has reached a broad agreement with Labor to legislate the new espionage laws with amendments to be outlined in a bipartisan review expected to be settled on Tuesday.
In one late change, the government will make it clear that people can take concerns to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, the government watchdog over spy agencies, without falling foul of the new laws because they disclose confidential information.
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Politics is broken because the whole system is broken

By John Birmingham
4 June 2018 — 9:09pm
Sometimes when things break, it’s a mystery. But even when we can’t figure out what went wrong, we understand that something did fail. A critical component or an essential process wore out, or overloaded or somehow reached the limits of its design.
If a dishwasher has a drainage problem it’s probably a blocked outlet. If a printer just stops printing, either the ink ran out, or the small time bomb the manufacturer placed deep inside the machine finally counted down to zero and exploded, forcing you to buy another crappy, unreliable unit.
But how did our politics break? Was it a simple failure or a complex mystery?
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CBA's Comyn ticks off big item on his 'to do' list, next up royal commission

By Stephen Bartholomeusz
4 June 2018 — 1:39pm
Matt Comyn has ticked off another major item on his "to do" list of the legacy controversies he inherited, albeit at a cost of $702.5 million, or nearly twice that which Commonwealth Bank had budgeted and provided for.
With the settlement of the Austrac money-laundering proceedings, "all" that’s left of the big issues the new CBA chief executive was confronted with when he succeeded Ian Narev earlier this year is the fallout from the banking royal commission.
Actually, it isn’t quite as straightforward as simply ticking items off a checklist and getting on with the business of banking.
There’s the upfront costs of settling issues like the civil action Austrac mounted against CBA or the $25 million CBA agreed to pay to settle the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s allegations that its traders attempted to engage in unconscionable conduct in manipulating the bank bill swap rate, and then there’s the ongoing costs and disruption.
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How we could revive faith in democracy

By ROSS GITTINS
6 June 2018 — 12:05am
How much is our disillusionment with politicians, governments and even democracy the result of our pollies’ 30-year love affair with that newly recognised mega-evil “neoliberalism”?
To a considerable extent, according to Dr Richard Denniss, of the Australia Institute, in the latest Quarterly Essay, Dead Right.
I’m not sure I’m fully convinced by his argument, but it’s a thought-provoking thesis that’s worth exploring.
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  • Jun 6 2018 at 10:00 AM

Just not cricket! Australia's cosy banking oligopoly needs a shake-up

by The Lex Column
The "four pillar" system that permitted a lending oligopoly has turned from smooth coastal highway into a washboard track bumping through the outback.
The policy was first expressed in the 1990s. Limiting mergers between the largest banks was seen as a way to preserve competition. Over time, instead of protecting consumers, it has exposed them to price gouging. Profits constituted 2.9 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product in 2016, according to data from think-tank The Australia Institute. That is the highest proportion in the world, slightly ahead of China and more than three times the same figure for the UK.
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Anarchic Senate is undermining our democracy

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 6, 2018

Paul Kelly

How much longer can the farce of the Senate continue? How much longer can election outcomes, party loyalty and democratic values be trashed in a performance that mocks the public interest?
The One Nation fiasco reveals not just the failures of Pauline Hanson’s party but structural and cultural flaws that plague the Senate. Its defenders offer the absurd excuse that this is democracy in action. In truth, the Senate is basic to the dysfunction of our politics; it is a risk to our governance and ultimately our living standards.
Since the 2016 double dissolution, 16 of the 76 senators elected have left the chamber, the result of ineptitude, breaching section 44 of the Constitution, ­unacceptable behaviour and personal convenience (this ­includes Lee Rhiannon, who is leaving in August). It is a dropout rate of about 20 per cent in just two years, a turnover that generates ­instability worthy of a banana republic.
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Fall in house prices is 'quite a bit larger' than expected, says ANZ

By Clancy Yeates
6 June 2018 — 12:58pm
ANZ Bank has warned the pace of decline in Australia's house prices is "quite a bit larger" than expected, and likely to last longer than it previously forecast.
With national auction clearance rates at a five-year low, ANZ senior economist Daniel Gradwell predicted in a research note published on Wednesday that further weakness was in store for the housing market, before it would start stabilising later this year.
Mr Gradwell pointed to recent figures showing that the rate of price decline had accelerated in Sydney. The weakness was also affecting Melbourne amid a slump in national auction clearance rates and a tightening in credit availability.
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  • Updated Jun 6 2018 at 11:00 PM

Two 'tweaks' tear a hole in Scott Morrison's budget surplus

Changes to just two variables – investment confidence and the terms of trade – could tear a hole in Treasurer Scott Morrison's over-optimistic growth and return-to-surplus projections, new modelling shows. 
The modelling by Janine Dixon of Victoria University's Centre of Policy Studies shows that if investment confidence – "animal spirits" – doesn't increase as much as the budget forecasts, and the prices paid for Australia's exports fall 3 percentage points faster than the "moderate unwinding" in the budget, growth will be 2.2 per cent per annum instead of 3 per cent. 
Modelling by Industry Super Australia chief economist Stephen Anthony based on Dr Dixon's modelling then shows that instead of balancing the budget in 2019-20, as Mr Morrison's budget forecasts, budget balance will not be achieved until about a year later. The modelling will be presented to the Melbourne Economic Forum on Thursday.
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  • Updated Jun 6 2018 at 11:00 PM

Poor bear brunt of Scott Morrison's tax cuts plan – Grattan Institute

Middle and lower income earners would pay more so that the top fifth can enjoy larger tax cuts under Treasurer Scott Morrison's budget plan, but the plan comes with political risks as voters wise up to "bracket creep", says Grattan Institute Budget Policy Program Director Danielle Wood.
Mr Morrison oversold the plan as "protection" against "bracket creep", but it returns only $20 billion of the $52 billion personal income tax slug from bracket creep over the next decade, creating risks for the government, Ms Wood writes in The Australian Financial Review.
Middle income earners bear the brunt of the largest increase in average income tax rates of any group, while most of the top 20 per cent of income earners won't see an increase in their average tax rate.
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Alarm bells are ringing loudly but markets are doing nothing

By John Hewson
6 June 2018 — 12:17pm
It is increasingly difficult to justify the complacency in global financial markets in the light of the magnitude and potential significance of events in the United States, Europe and beyond which could be defining elements of the next global financial crisis.
Having studied, analysed, and worked in financial markets since the late 1960s, I have drawn two clear conclusions – basically, financial markets, including key regulatory authorities, do not understand “risk”, and they certainly do not “price” it correctly.
Wall Street rallied with help from bank stocks as investors eyed strong economic data, and trade war fears took a back seat.
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Trump and the Fed have a new export - stress for developing countries

By Stephen Bartholomeusz
6 June 2018 — 3:40pm
When the US Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee members meet next Wednesday to discuss and decide the next step in US monetary policies it is unlikely they will devote much time to rising concerns about the impact of those policies on emerging market economies.
With an unemployment rate now below 4 per cent, the economy growing solidly and the full impact of the Trump administration’s $US1.5 trillion of tax cuts and $US300 billion increase in spending yet to come, the Fed will be more focused on domestic developments than their flow-on effects.
In fact the Fed has in the past said specifically that, while it might take into account the secondary effects of US policies on other economies and markets to the extent that they might flow back to the US, its mandate and focus is the domestic economy.
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GDP is so good, we mightn't need to cut company tax

By Peter Martin
6 June 2018 — 6:55pm
Economically, things could hardly be better. The national accounts show the economy temporarily growing faster than the Treasury’s long-term speed limit of a bit below 3 per cent, and the unemployment rate is slowly drifting down towards 5 per cent, which the Treasury has traditionally regarded as the long-term floor.
Australia has taken on far more workers than it has been delivered as a result of population growth in the past year and GDP per head (the measure that abstracts from population growth) is growing faster than at any time since the mining boom.
The gains are unevenly spread: profits are growing faster than wages. But that’ll change if the emerging signs of an improvement in wage growth turn into something.
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Jury set to decide bankers' fate in cartel case

By Clancy Yeates
6 June 2018 — 8:44pm
Would a bank executive stand a better chance of defending criminal charges in a trial before a judge, or a jury of their peers?
This is one of the many questions raised by the landmark criminal cartel charges laid against ANZ Bank, Citi and Deutsche Bank, and six senior bankers, by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) this week.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the government is determined to ensure banking misconduct is not repeated after action was taken against ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank.
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This not-so-super system is costing Australians dearly

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 7, 2018

Adam Creighton

The likelihood of a 25-year-old man dying before he turns 65 is more than 9 per cent; for our hardier womenfolk, it’s less than 6 per cent. More than a fifth of men today aged between 25 and 35 won’t make it to 75, according to survival probabilities provided by Rice Warner Actuaries, and neither will about 15 per cent of similarly aged women.
For these hundreds of thousands of people, compulsory superannuation, tragically, won’t be at all helpful. Forced saving has only sapped the quality of their working life without any ­payoff at the end.
It’s worse than simply the forced siphoning of 9.5 per cent of gross wages or salary into ­accounts that are typically ravaged by fees for decades, though.
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The problem with 'dangerous times'

By Waleed Aly
7 June 2018 — 12:51pm
There was a time when laws proposed in the name of national security ushered in weeks – even months – of news coverage and national debate. Take, for instance, the counter-terrorism laws the Howard government proposed in 2005 in the wake of the London Tube bombings.
These were the laws that created a new detention regime allowing police to detain terrorism suspects without evidence for up to two weeks, and put tracking devices on people they regarded as suspicious. It even revived the dormant crime of sedition, making it a crime to “excite disaffection against the government” in a radical way. Plenty of column inches would be occupied with this stuff, and there would be regular lead stories on these issues on shows that no longer exist, like Lateline.
I don’t mean to imply it was a particularly rich debate. The Labor opposition, lashed into meekness by a decade of John Howard’s domination and awful election defeats in 2001 and 2004, simply had no political will to question any counter-terrorism measure. Perhaps the most bonkers moment was when then-Labor leader Kim Beazley tried to outbid Howard by saying Labor would pass laws to empower police to lock down entire suburbs and then search anyone in the area without a warrant. No one thought that was a good idea.
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The case for destroying default super in order to save it

By Peter Martin
6 June 2018 — 7:18pm
So toxic has much of Australia’s superannuation industry become that some at the very top of the government think the Productivity Commission hasn’t gone far enough.
The commission wants to unpick the link between super funds and jobs, meaning everyone would need only one fund for life that they could choose from a dropdown menu of the top 10 (or pick another fund if they want to, or set up their own).
It can be thought of as a way of saving the house, chopping away some of the rotten wood. The alternative, being seriously considered by ministers including Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer, would be more like burning it down. It would be to set up a single government-run default scheme to which everyone would belong for life, until they decided otherwise.
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The end of western civilisation as they know it

8 June 2018 — 12:03am
The ANU has outraged an outspoken group of culture warriors by rejecting funding for a chair of western civilisation from a pressure-group organisation, the Paul Ramsay Foundation for Western Civilisation.
The foundation is, in the words of Tony Abbott, who is on its board, ''not merely about Western civilisation but in favour of it''. Nothing wrong with that – but equally, there is nothing wrong if a university rejects the funds it offers, which it may quite reasonably feel will have ideological strings attached.
There is a broader objection, too. The idea of drawing a fence around western civilisation and studying only what is inside it is inherently ridiculous – fatally undermined by the history and nature of western civilisation itself. The reason the west – through its economy, its ideas and its technology – has come to dominate the world so thoroughly is that it has always readily adopted and adapted outside influences.
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Sorry Scott, it's not clear the economy has lift-off

By ROSS GITTINS
9 June 2018 — 12:00am
It’s been the week of an economic miracle. Three months’ ago we were told the economy’s annual growth was a pathetic 2.4 per cent, but this week’s news is it’s now a very healthy 3.1 per cent. And wasn’t Treasurer Scott Morrison cock-a-hoop.
This is the vindication of everything he’s ever told us. It’s the proof the government’s plan for Jobs and Growth  is working a treat.
The Australian economy has beaten expectations, with very strong 1 per cent growth in the first quarter that Treasurer Scott Morrison says validates the outlook of the budget.
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Utes and sexist tax cuts: identity politics is a dangerous game to play

By Peter Hartcher
9 June 2018 — 12:05am
So now tax cuts and economic growth have been suited up in the armour of gender and marched out to fight in the war of identity politics.
The Labor party now says it opposes the third phase of the government's proposed personal tax cuts as being unfair to women. This is a new line of attack.
"The Parliamentary Budget Office analysis shows the financial benefits of stage three of the package overwhelmingly flow towards men instead of women," Labor's treasury spokesman, Chris Bowen, intoned.
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  • Jun 9 2018 at 10:28 AM

New taskforce to defend against election meddling

A task force to safeguard Australian elections from cyber interference and attacks has been established ahead of five upcoming federal by-elections.
The new electoral integrity assurance task force is thought to be the first to be established for the sole purpose of assessing cyber defences for election.
It was set up before the five polls on July 28 after a request from the Australian Electoral Commission, which feared a repeat of attacks which crashed the online census survey in 2016.
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Ramsay Centre has Tony Abbott to blame for ANU’s rejection

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 9, 2018

Peter Van Onselen

The first rule of trying to seal a deal is to give the other party an excuse to say yes, not an excuse to say no. Which brings us to the Australian National University’s decision to reject the Ramsay Centre-sponsored course on Western civilisation.
The excuse to say yes was the money, plain and simple. The centre was offering millions of dollars and, yes, there was internal opposition at ANU — which, according to the latest world university ­rankings released this week, has maintained its status as Australia’s No 1 university.
But the excuse for vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt to say yes was compelling — in an era when funding for higher education isn’t what it once was, here was a chance to lock in long-term funding for a course Schmidt had some sympathy for. As do I. When the Ramsay Centre was announced I contacted its chairman, John Howard, to voice my support. I’ve spent my working lifetime as an academic promoting democratic principles derived from Western civilisation. Many of my writings on this page have done the same, just as I equally have condemned dictatorships and totalitarian ­regimes that don’t ascribe to Western democratic values.
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Financial Royal Commission Issues.

Banks could tighten screws on small business after royal commission

By Clancy Yeates & Cara Waters
3 June 2018 — 7:30pm
Small businesses are tipped to face more hurdles in getting credit from a bank, with some marginal applicants at greater risk of being knocked back, following the royal commission's scrutiny of lending to small enterprises.
Although counsel assisting the commission, Michael Hodge, QC, did not call for extra regulation in his closing address on Friday, analysts say it is still likely the scrutiny of the past fortnight will make banks more conservative in lending to businesses.
Customers could be forced to submit extra paperwork, and more marginal loans may not be approved, analysts predicted. However, small business advocates argued there was no need for a retreat by banks, saying lending to small firms remained lucrative for banks, and tightening the screws would damage a key part of the economy.
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Beware a bank-bashing show trial of gotcha tricks and sob stories

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 6, 2018

Janet Albrechtsen

Lawyers, judges and legal institutions shine at some things and are dismal at others. The banking royal commission risks falling into the latter category. Using a simple scorecard of the three Ps — ­process, policy and populism — so far it’s not so good.
Courts, judges and barristers following the rules of evidence excel at finding the facts and applying the law to individual cases. They are good at adjudicating the rights and wrongs of past behaviour according to the law of the land.
Royal commissions, manned by judges and lawyers too, are a different beast. They are expected to set policy using inferior processes and lacking the necessary skills. No matter how clever they sound in court, judges and barristers frequently know little or nothing about commerce and even less about economics. This means their judgments and recommendations about future public policy can be ill-informed, even dangerous.
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National Budget Issues.

Aust economy powers ahead in early 2018

The Australian economy rebounded smartly from a dismal end to 2017, racing along at a 3.1 per cent annual pace by the end of March.
Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
Australian Associated PressJune 6, 201812:02pm
Treasurer Scott Morrison says he hopes the NSW Blues get as decent a result in Wednesday's State of Origin opener as the Australian economy.
Annual economic growth soared to its highest level in almost two years, buoyed by a rebound in exports in the first three months of 2018, after a subdued end to last year.
The economy grew by 1.0 per cent in the March quarter, the national accounts released on Wednesday showed, double the rate of the modest upwardly revised increase in the December quarter.
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GDP: Australia's economy grows at fastest pace in nearly two years

6 June 2018 — 11:36am
Australia's economy grew at the fastest annual pace in almost two years as it entered its 27th year of growth without a recession, but uncertainty over household consumption and global trade dimmed the outlook for future growth.
The Australian economy has beaten expectations, with very strong 1 per cent growth in the first quarter that Treasurer Scott Morrison says validates the outlook of the budget.
Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 1 per cent in the first quarter, from an upwardly revised 0.5 per cent in the December quarter, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.
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Health Budget Issues.

Health insurance merger: big risk, little gain in HCF-HBF deal

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 4, 2018

Sarah-Jane Tasker

Health funds HCF and HBF dumped plans to merge because the size of the prize was not enough to push through a complex deal in an increasingly challenging environment for the sector.
The companies announced plans to merge in February, promising lower premiums for customers, but late on Friday they said the deal was off.
Insiders said it had become evident that there were minimal synergies to be gained by integrating the two businesses.
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  • Updated Jun 4 2018 at 5:20 PM

Rule out chemotherapy for early breast cancer - but first take a $5000 test

by Jill Margo
There is good news for women with early breast cancer, but for Australians it comes at a price.
New research from the United States has just shown that many women with early breast cancer need not have chemotherapy, which can take three to nine months, depending on their tumour.
This year about 18,000 Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The research results mean more than 7000 of them can be saved the cost, personal pain and complicated side effects of chemotherapy.
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Private patients in public beds pushing up costs: Hunt

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

Samantha Hutchinson

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has accused the Andrews government of jacking up private health premiums around the country following new data showing private patients were taking up nearly one-third of all beds in some Victorian public hospitals.
Private patients made up ­almost 32 per cent of all admissions to the Peter Macallum Cancer Centre in the year to March, while private patients take up ­almost one in five beds at Calvary Health and one in four beds at The Austin hospital.
Private patient admissions have also grown at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, where private patients make up about 25 per cent of all patients.
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The artificial shortage that encourages doctor price gouging

By Vyom Sharma
5 June 2018 — 2:09pm
Trust is hard to win, but harder to win back.  That might be the parting lesson of the recent expose on Four Corners of exorbitant surgical fees and a Fairfax story along similar lines.
The conclusions are ghastly – patients are being price-gouged by some doctors. The egregious fees are being condemned by the medical community. But what’s instructive here is the timing: the condemnation came 48 hours prior to the news stories breaking. Late May, at the Australian Medical Association’s national conference, a resolution was carried condemning dubious billing practices. But here’s the kicker – a resolution was also carried to denounce these practices through a public campaign.
The timing of the condemnation, and the insistence that it be done publicly, says a lot. The most cynical interpretation is that this is PR 101 – preemptive damage control. The most charitable view is that medical professionals feel that the only way to effect change within the industry is to air the dirty laundry. Writing this as a medical doctor, I’m guilty of both motivations.
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Government funds AUD 22 mn to revolutionize kidney disease treatment

By taking the drug, the patient is less likely to suffer from kidney failure and have a shorter life on dialysis.

Government Press Release 06 Jun 2018, 10:22 AM Australia
An Australian medical breakthrough that could revolutionize the way kidney disease is treated, supporting millions of patients, will receive AUD 22 million.
Through the Federal Government’s Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF), fund managers Brandon Capital Partners will invest funding in Cara Therapeutics.
The funding will help commercialize Certa’s cutting-edge kidney disease treatment, providing Australian patients with direct access to this medicine through clinical trials, while giving taxpayers an opportunity to maximize their investment.
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  • Updated Jun 5 2018 at 11:00 PM

Medibank CEO Craig Drummond says fee cap plan could hit wider health sector

Medibank Private chief executive Craig Drummond says the private health insurer would crimp what it pays to companies that provide medical care to its 3.7 million members to share the pain of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's proposal to to cap annual premium rises.
Mr Drummond said the $7.8 billion private health insurer would revise its contracts with listed private hospital operators Healthscope and Ramsay Health Care, as well as allied health providers like dentists, physiotherapists and optical groups, if the opposition is voted into government and caps annual rises at 2 per cent.
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Clinics, hospitals and policies in need of intensive care

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 6, 2018

Sean Parnell

To look at it, Australia’s health system is, for the most part, healthy.
Our practitioners are among the most talented and well-regarded; our hospitals are kept to a high standard; public and universal ­access has served us well; and Medicare remains a trusted brand.
On face value, the health system is what keeps Australians happy and active: our average life expectancy is among the highest in the world. But test the system’s vital signs and you soon realise things aren’t quite as rosy as they seem. As with many of the Australians who rely on it, the system is no longer fit and fabulous, and it is grappling with issues of self-image, public expectations and how it can possibly meet the ideal.
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Hold-out states threaten $130bn national health deal

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 6, 2018

Samantha Hutchinson

Sean Parnell

The Turnbull government’s $133 billion National Health Agreement faces a serious challenge as Victoria and Queensland health ministers refuse to sign up to the deal and other states complain of discrepancies in back payments that have left them out of pocket.
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy has reiterated her resistance to signing up to the five-year scheme, arguing Victorians would be short-changed more than $2.1bn. She accused federal Health Minister Greg Hunt of withholding funds owed to the state, leaving it more than $100 million out of pocket for hospital services delivered during 2015-16 and agreed upon by the hospitals ­umpire.
Today Mr Hunt is due to hand back more than $547.1m owed to the states, which he says is re­imbursement for health and hospital services delivered during 2015 and 2016. But this is not true, Ms Hennessy says, because the payment is for services rendered in 2016-17. She claims the state is still owed $104m for 2015-16.
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Facing an expensive medical procedure? Get a quote and shop around

By Gerard Fogarty
5 June 2018 — 2:52pm
The recent ABC Four Corners investigation into out-of-pocket expenses highlighted a practice in the health system that has been going on for years with little scrutiny.
I recently received a letter from a member complaining about a $6000 out-of-pocket expense for his surgery. That’s $6000 to his surgeon over and above what his private health insurance covered!
I rang him and asked how many quotes he got for the procedure, as there are doctors out there who don’t charge their patients such exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses.
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  • Updated Jun 6 2018 at 11:00 PM

Private health insurers already using Labor policy as a threat in negotiations

Health insurers are already using the threat of Labor's cap on annual premium rises to apply pressure in contract negotiations with private hospital groups, underlining the risk that patients will be hit with higher out-of-pocket fees as both sides try to protect profits.
Medibank Private chief executive Craig Drummond told The Australian Financial Review on Tuesday that the health insurer planned to crimp what it pays to companies that provide medical care to its 3.7 million members to share the pain of the proposed 2 per cent cap on premium rises.
Although an election date has not been set and the proposal is far from being policy, Australian Private Hospitals Association CEO Michael Roff said health insurers were already turning the screws in contract negotiations that set the price for a hospital stay or use of a surgery theatre.
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More compassion and empathy will improve our health system

By Trevor Danos & Frank Daly
6 June 2018 — 7:07pm
Australia has a world class public hospital system. Success is generally assessed through the lens of patient outcomes such as emergency department waiting times, surgical waiting lists, hospital readmission rates, adverse outcomes and hospital acquired infections.
Yet despite the constant drive for better safety and quality outcomes and a shift in perspective to patient and family centred care, improvements in these areas are increasingly difficult to achieve. The latest Bureau of Health Information's quarterly report, issued on Wednesday, is a case in point, showing that amid increasing numbers of patients in NSW emergency departments, improvements in waiting times have been limited.
Perhaps surprisingly, patient experience in public hospitals is not well measured or understood even though there are many instances of outstanding experiences. Patient experience is different from a patient’s clinical outcome. Examples of poor patient experiences include excessive delays in discharge lounges; being discharged with incorrect or inadequate medical supplies; poor or inadequate communication; and poor physical access to the hospital. Where something is not measured then in all likelihood it is not being managed.
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Gene-targeted cancer treatment yields sixfold survival rate

  • Kat Lay
  • The Times
  • 12:00AM June 7, 2018
Treating cancers based on their genes, rather than where they occur in the body, gives patients a sixfold greater chance of surviving for a decade, a study has found.
Data presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago showed that 15 per cent of patients given drugs that targeted specific genetic ­mutations in their tumours survived for three years, compared with 7 per cent of patients who had standard therapy. Six per cent of the group given drugs matched for their genetic mutations survived for 10 years compared with 1 per cent of the unmatched group.
“All patients should have ­access to next-generation sequencing and I believe in the next few years we are going to see this ­approach dramatically improving outcomes,” Apostolia Tsimberidou, who led the research, said. “We need to know what is really causing these diseases so we can treat them properly.”
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Bupa backtracks from its medical gap scheme

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 7, 2018

Sean Parnell

Australia’s largest health fund, Bupa, has abandoned plans to remove its medical gap scheme from public hospitals and conceded other contentious policy changes could have been better communicated to members.
Three months after The Australian revealed the two major changes, sparking a complaint by Health Minister Greg Hunt to the Ombudsman, Bupa has thought better of its original attempts to control costs and give members greater certainty over gap fees.
Bupa Australia and New Zealand chief executive Richard Bowden yesterday said the proposal to restrict the medical gap scheme to participating doctors in only Bupa-contracted facilities — removing all public hospitals and some private facilities — had been well-intentioned.
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Public hospitals service backpay not enough, states say

  • The Australian
  • 11:33AM June 7, 2018

Sean Parnell

More than $500 million in commonwealth backpay for public hospital services delivered in 2015-16 is not enough to ease tensions with the states, with Queensland alone expecting a similar amount to be paid for the following year.
The Turnbull government will today pay the states an additional $547.1 million for 2015-16, ending a long-running dispute that has threatened the future of activity-based funding and the next intergovernmental agreement.
The dispute centred on unanticipated increases in certain hospital services and prompted Treasurer Scott Morrison to order an audit in late 2016.
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Brain’s cleaning system raises dementia hopes

  • Tom Whipple
  • The Times
  • 2:48PM June 7, 2018
The brain’s cleaning system has been observed working naturally by scientists for the first time in research that may help in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
Researchers have been able to use MRI scanners to watch in real time as spinal fluid flushes waste products out of the brain and circulates them alongside blood vessels, to be removed by the body.
The system that performs this has only recently been discovered and its mechanism remains controversial, but it is believed to be crucial to brain health. Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by the build-up of waste products, and some scientists hypothesise that it could be caused by the brain’s inability to clean itself.
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International Issues.

US mulling more South China Sea patrols - with allies

3 June 2018 — 2:52pm
Singapore: The United States is considering intensified naval patrols in the South China Sea in a bid to challenge China's growing militarisation of the waterway, actions that could further raise the stakes in one of the world's most volatile areas.
The Pentagon is weighing a more assertive program of so-called freedom-of-navigation operations close to Chinese installations on disputed reefs, two US officials and Western and Asian diplomats close to discussions said.
The officials declined to say how close they were to finalising a decision.
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New Russian internet accounts emerge to sway US voters, experts say

By Nafeesa Syeed
3 June 2018 — 1:24pm
Washington: A new Russian influence operation has surfaced that mirrors some of the activity of an internet company that the FBI says was deeply involved in efforts to sway the 2016 US elections, a cybersecurity business says.
A web site called usareally.com appeared on the internet May 17 and called on Americans to rally in front of the White House June 14 to celebrate President Donald Trump's birthday, which is also Flag Day.
FireEye, US-based cybersecurity company, said on Thursday that USA Really is a Russian-operated web site that carries content designed to foment racial division, harden feelings over immigration, gun control and police brutality, and undermine social cohesion.
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Chinese strategy in full force in Australia

By Andrew Foxall & John Hemmings
4 June 2018 — 12:23am
Don’t be fooled by last week's China Zhejiang–Australia Trade and Investment Symposium in Sydney. For all the positive spin put on the event, Canberra is increasingly wary of the influence Beijing reaps from its investments.
But China’s influence doesn’t flow solely from this. It uses a combination of diplomatic and political pressure, manipulation of its diaspora, illicit financing of political parties, and propaganda. According to some, Beijing spends up to US$10 billion ($13 billion) a year on its overseas operations. If this sounds familiar, it is because these are tactics taken straight from the KGB playbook Russia has followed for well over a decade.
Russia’s aim has been to portray itself as a great power on the world stage. Its tactics are often crude and short-term. China’s, by contrast, are slow-burning and systemic. Beijing’s ultimate ambition is to create a Sino-centric regional order, based around tianxia – an imperial concept that puts China at the centre of nations. This strategy is in full force in Australia.
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China sends trade war warning as Donald Trump's tariff deadline looms

By Kirsty Needham
4 June 2018 — 2:07am
Beijing: US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross left Beijing on Sunday with no word of a breakthrough that could avert a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.
Instead, China issued a public warning that any deal is off if US President Donald Trump makes good his threat to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese technology.
The latest round of trade talks between the US and China ended with China warning that all progress between the two economic superpowers could be lost if the US pushes ahead with trade sanctions, including tariffs.
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Donald Trump would be impeached if he pardoned himself: Rudy Giuliani

By Yasmeen Abutaleb
4 June 2018 — 4:59am
Washington: US President Donald Trump, under pressure from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 US election, probably has the power to pardon himself but does not plan to do so, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani says.
Asked whether Trump hads the power to give himself a pardon, Giuliani said, "He's not, but he probably does."
According to his attorney Rudy Giuliani, US President Donald Trump probably has the power to pardon himself but does not plan to do so.
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Great powers stepping up on China

By Peter Hartcher
5 June 2018 — 12:05am
One nation after another at a weekend conference lined up to denounce China for breaking international law and to reassert "the rules-based order", but a curious pattern quickly emerged.
The further a country from the front line of China's relentless expansion into the South China Sea, the tougher it talked.
The countries who are actually losing their claimed territories to China's military forces were much more diplomatic. So diplomatic, in fact, that they tiptoed carefully around the subject and had little or nothing to say.
One of the striking new responses to China's unchecked gains in the region is the rising protest from Europe. The annual Shangri-la security dialogue in Singapore heard stern words from the defence ministers of Britain, France and Germany on the weekend. All three declared that they will uphold "the rule of law" in the South China Sea.
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US may send aircraft carrier through Taiwan Strait

By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali
5 June 2018 — 9:16am
Washington: The United States is considering sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait, US officials say, in a move that could provoke a sharp reaction from Beijing at a time when Sino-US ties are under pressure from trade disputes and the North Korean nuclear crisis.
A US warship passage, should it happen, could be seen in Taiwan as a fresh sign of support by President Donald Trump after a series of Chinese military drills around the self-ruled island. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory.
US officials told Reuters that the United States had already examined plans for an aircraft carrier passage once this year but ultimately did not pursue them, perhaps because of concerns about upsetting China.
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Chair’s Summary: G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting

Over two days of discussions, G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors engaged on a range of topics including the importance of rules-based international trade, and ways of ensuring that economic growth works for everyone.
G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors agreed that, when they work together, the G7 can build on strong inter-personal and economic relationships to advance our common goals.
Concerns were expressed that the tariffs imposed by the United States on its friends and allies, on the grounds of national security, undermine open trade and confidence in the global economy.
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  • Updated Jun 6 2018 at 7:32 AM

Donald Trump wants to scrap Nafta for separate trade deals with Canada, Mexico

President Donald Trump couldn't get what he wanted from months of three-way trade talks with Canada and Mexico.
So now his administration wants to pursue separate negotiations with the two US neighbours to try to overhaul the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), which Trump has condemned as a job-killing disaster.
Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, went on Fox & Friends on Tuesday to convey the president's preference for dealing separately with Canada and Mexico. Kudlow said Trump doesn't plan to abandon NAFTA - something the president has threatened since taking office - but "is just going to try a different approach."
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'Uncertainty the real danger': Trump's trade war isn't worrying most economists, yet

By Andrew Mayeda
6 June 2018 — 6:40am
President Donald Trump's zeal for tariffs has yet to derail the global economic outlook.
While Trump has sown confusion and frustration among fellow political leaders, economists at most Wall Street banks are barely changing their forecasts for solid global growth this year as they estimate only modest fallout from a skirmish over commerce.
Take Trump's 25 per cent steel tariffs. After stripping out food and energy, consumer prices are poised to rise by three basis points in response, Goldman Sachs said in a research note Monday.
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Kevin Rudd’s China tale is not quite right

  • John Fitzgerald
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 6, 2018
Kevin Rudd made quite a splash when he dropped by in February on leave from duties running the prestigious Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. He berated Malcolm Turnbull for insulting the Chinese people and failing to understand what makes China tick. Then off he flew again.
Back in the US, Rudd presents himself as a highly experienced China expert who wants to help Washington make a better fist than Canberra of its relations with Beijing. In a TED Talk webcast to almost 1.8 million viewers he introduced himself with the words: “G’day, my name’s Kevin. I’m from Australia. I’m here to help.”
The problem with US-China relations, Rudd insists, is that the US fails to understand China. In March he wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times titled “What the West Doesn’t Get About Xi Jinping”. That same month he gave an address to West Point cadets on the theme “Understanding China’s rise under Xi Jinping”. In each case he challenged Americans to rethink their ideas about Xi’s government and come around to his own more balanced way of understanding China.
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  • Updated Jun 6 2018 at 11:00 PM

Trump's trade policy violates almost every strategic rule

by Lawrence Summers
Donald Trump has put aggressive trade policy at the centre of his approach to the economy. No other economic subject has received such sustained presidential attention or generated so much controversy. This is problematic, however, as most economists agree that changes in trade policy are unlikely to have large effects on either employment growth or gross domestic product, and that liberalising trade is likely to do more for US prosperity than managing trade.
But take as a given the President's mercantilist premise that the central priority of US economic policy should be achieving more fairness in opening up markets around the world. Even given this dubious judgment about ends, the US is proceeding in a remarkably unstrategic and ineffective way. Indeed, it is violating almost every strategic canon.
A first rule of strategy is to have well-defined objectives, so success can be judged and your negotiating partners are not confused about what you want.
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Europe invokes old 'Cuba rule' in bid to save Iran nuclear deal

By Nick Miller
7 June 2018 — 2:06am
The European Union has taken action to try to prevent the collapse of the Iran nuclear deal, adopting a new rule banning European companies from complying with US sanctions and allowing the European Investment Bank to fund projects in Iran.
But it will leave many companies with a painful choice whether to follow EU or US rules on doing business with Iran.
Iran kept up a drumbeat of opposition to US demands for sweeping change in its foreign policy and nuclear program, and Tehran's ally Damascus dismissed out of hand a US call for a withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria.
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Trump is stumbling toward inevitable disaster with his trade moves

By Noah Smith
7 June 2018 — 11:00am
A roundup of recent developments from the front lines of the Great Trade War doesn't look good.
President Donald Trump has publicly waffled on his plans for major tariffs on Chinese imports, seeming to reverse his position several times and provoking immediate threats of retaliation. After seeming to back off in the face of determined Chinese opposition, Trump then turned his fire on softer targets - US allies.
First announcing his intent to tax imported autos, then revoking promises to exempt allies from tariffs on steel and aluminum, Trump may have underestimated the world's democracies -- the European Union, Canada and Mexico swiftly made their own counterthreats.
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Of course it's about China

By David Crowe
8 June 2018 — 12:00am
Australians will instantly understand what their politicians cannot say about this new law against foreign interference: of course it is about China.
Allies such as the United States and Britain have to contend with meddling by Russians, but the risk to Australia is primarily from Chinese agencies or their proxies.
The downfall of Labor senator Sam Dastyari, who quit Parliament after a scandal over his links to a Chinese donor, is only one example of a significant vulnerability in any democracy.
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  • Updated Jun 9 2018 at 3:50 AM

Donald Trump lobbies for Russia to rejoin Group of Seven

by Damian Paletta, Anne Gearan and John Wagner
President Donald Trump on Friday said Russia should be readmitted to the Group of Seven leading economies, breaking with other world leaders who have insisted that Moscow remain ostracised after its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
"Now, I love our country. I have been Russia's worst nightmare. . . . But with that being said, Russia should be in this meeting," Trump said on Friday as he left the White House. "Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run. . . . They should let Russia come back in."
Trump's comments, made just hours before he arrived in Canada for the annual G-7 summit, have further scrambled talks with other leaders, most of whom were already fuming about the US leader's protectionist trade policies. But in a sign that European unity against Trump is cracking, new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he agreed with Trump and wanted Russia back in the fold.
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Brexit bust: Britain's dash for independence is on road to failure

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
8 June 2018 — 11:06am
Brexiteers, bring out your black suits of mourning. Grieve with private dignity. The quixotic bid for independence has failed. There will not be a return to sovereign and democratic self-rule in March 2019, or as far as the political eye can see. Britain will be bound and hemmed until the latent contradictions of such a colonial settlement cause a volcanic national uprising, as they surely must.
The Westminster class is edging crablike towards a double embrace of the EU single market and the customs union, the full EU package but without a veto in the European Council, or Euro-MPs with heft in the dominant blocs of Strasbourg, or judges on the European court (ECJ) to lean against "Napoleonic" jurisprudence. Both great parties are resiling from core manifesto pledges. Labour has now lurched twice, first towards the customs union and now this week calling for "full access to the EU's single market". This second step was inevitable once the party chose, for tactical advantage, to fan the flames over the Irish border. Most border checks are linked to the single market not the customs union. If you assert the Good Friday Accord is in jeopardy, you have to go all the way and this means accepting the ECJ.
I strongly suspect that the Tories will be compelled by events and cut-throat pressure from Brussels to opt for much the same formula. They will discover that the Franco-German axis aims to use its control over cliff-edge nodal points to force full acceptance of the EU's legal machinery. The EU can evoke the doomsday scenario of a trade crash. It can exploit Britain's psychological vulnerability on Ireland.
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G7: Justin Trudeau issues rebuke to Donald Trump’s trade threats

  • The Australian
  • 8:04AM June 10, 2018
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has closed the G7 summit by issuing a strong rebuke to US President Donald Trump’s trade threats, calling them “kind of insulting” and saying they would be met with retaliatory measures from July. “Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will not be pushed around,” Trudeau told reporters on Saturday.
Trump had told Trudeau any retaliation would be a mistake and the prime minister agreed that it was “not something we want to do”.
Trudeau added that he had not agreed to a new North American Free Trade Agreement with a sunset clause.
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I look forward to comments on all this!
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David.

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