Thursday, July 05, 2018

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

July 05, 2018 Edition.
The big news in Trumpland is that he plans to have a Summit with President Putin in the middle of July. Heavens what could possibly go wrong with that! Elsewhere the various tariffs and retaliations are coming into force and even General Motors is worried about the potential harm.
Worst news is that Trump is going to get to appoint another Supreme Court judge – that might be a disaster of the first order!
In the UK Ms May looks like a dead PM walking.
In OZ we have personal tax cuts but no major company cuts – they need more time to convince us / the Senate. Parliament is on leave for six weeks so all good for a while.
Additionally we have a stupid outbreak of the Culture Wars with hyper-partisanship all over. It really is pathetic.
The Royal Commission has been agonising with a strong flavour of farmer abuse! Things really seem to be going downhill - and this week we have had awful funeral insurance stories and abuse. The case studies are really sad and awful.
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Here are a few other things I have noticed.
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Major Issues.

Global “debt bomb”: be alert but not alarmed

by Shane Oliver, Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist, AMP Capital
on 22 Jun 2018 in
Economy
Global debt levels have reached a new record of around $US200 trillion. While this may cause alarm as most downturns start when debt is at a record and are made worse by high debt, there are a number of other factors to consider.
Global debt levels have reached a new record of around $US200 trillion including public and private debt. It’s a perfect time for me to write a headline shrieking, “There’s a debt bomb and so the global economy is about to turn for the worse!”

As good as that would be for getting attention, it takes a truism - as most downturns start when debt is at a record and are made worse by high debt - and infers an outcome that’s not so reliable as to timing.
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  • Updated Jun 24 2018 at 1:00 PM

More storms brewing for emerging markets, analysts say

by Roger Blitz and Jonathan Wheatley
Emerging markets had a few days of relative calm at the end of the week after their rocky ride over the past two months. But investors should not relax. Many analysts expect more trouble in the months to come.
"It has been painful; there is no other way to say it, and there will be more pain ahead," said Uday Patnaik, head of EM debt at Legal & General Investment Management.
The drivers are familiar: withdrawal of dollar liquidity, rising US interest rates and a resurgent dollar. The results have not yet been on the scale of the taper tantrum of 2013, when the US Federal Reserve promised to pare back its post-crisis stimulus program. But they are playing out in ways that have caught many investors in a bind.
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‘Advice needed’ for retirement income products

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 25, 2018

Michael Roddan

Superannuation experts are concerned Treasury may force funds to offer complex new retirement income products that will encourage older Australians to lock away a large amount of their savings without consideration from a financial adviser that it would be in their best interests.
It stems from proposals set to be enshrined in law by Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer that would require super funds to offer specialised comprehensive income products for retirement that provide income for life.
The annuity-style products, which involve handing over a large chunk of savings in return for a steady income, provide an option for retirees wanting guaranteed income stream for the rest of their lives.
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  • Updated Jun 24 2018 at 11:30 PM

Prepare Australians for rate hikes now, Warwick McKibbin tells RBA

A former board member has hit out at the Reserve Bank of Australia for talking itself into a monetary policy dead-end and urged it to prepare households for a rising global interest rate environment through an official hike of at least 25 basis points.
Australian National University economist Warwick McKibbin said the Reserve Bank should evolve away from its quarter-century-old 2-3 per cent inflation target towards a "nominal income target" that would allow the economy to better cope with climate change policies, digital disruption and the changing global economy.
"If the argument is 'we can't raise rates because if we do we could make the housing market a lot worse', or prick some other asset bubble and cause a shock – if that's the problem – it's better to raise rates now than wait six months," he said.
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Polling gets personal: What voters really think of Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten

A new Fairfax-Ipsos poll asked Australians to rate their leaders. We now know who has the edge - but will it be enough to win him the election?
By David Crowe
24 June 2018
Australian voters rate Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as their preferred leader in key areas including economic policy but his lead over Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is narrowing amid a pivotal clash on tax reform.
Mr Turnbull's grasp on economic policy is backed by 67 per cent of voters compared to 48 per cent who prefer Mr Shorten, one of nine key benchmarks where the Prime Minister holds the upper hand.
An exclusive Fairfax-Ipsos poll shows Mr Shorten holds a significant lead over the Prime Minister on social policy and that 65 per cent of voters believe he has the confidence of his party compared to 55 per cent for Mr Turnbull.
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Studying the Western canon 'future-proofs' students

By Pano Kanelos
24 June 2018 — 8:14pm
The discussion over the course in Western Civilisation proposed by the Ramsay Centre is an important one to have. In many ways, the program of study proposed by the Ramsay Centre is very close to that of St. John’s College, the preeminent “Great Books” liberal arts college in the United States. As the president of St. John’s College in Annapolis (we are also located in Santa Fe), I would like to share my perspective on our institution, in the hope that it will shed light, rather than heat, on the spirited debate that is underway.
Although some might consider a course of study centred on the Western tradition to be political in orientation, St. John’s College is one of the least ideological institutions of higher learning in the United States. We have students and faculty from across the political spectrum, progressives and conservatives, committed atheists and devout Muslims. Yet we maintain one of the most open and civil college campuses in the country. We achieve this by adhering to the liberal arts model of education, integrating knowledge across diverse fields of inquiry, from literature and philosophy, to music, languages, mathematics and the sciences. At St. John’s College, we place the questions generated by the humane disciplines beside those raised by the sciences, holding that human experience is multi-faceted.
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It takes a village to raise a child but the village is missing

By Jessica Irvine
24 June 2018 — 7:51pm
The birth announcement was simple, but profound - in so many ways. “Welcome to our village wee one,” read the caption to an Instagram picture of New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, bearing the exhausted smile – recognised by every new mother - as she cradled her newborn baby girl in her arms, her partner by her side.
Ardern made history last week by becoming only the second world leader in history to give birth while in office. Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto was the first, in 1990. Village life is a key element to Maori culture, so it’s hard to know whether the reference was an off-the-cuff remark, or meant to carry a deeper meaning. But for modern parents everywhere, it strikes a chord. A gentle reminder: it takes a village to raise a child. And so often in modern life, new parents can find that village to be missing in action.
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'Quick and sharp': the global economy set to suffer from debt hangover

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
25 June 2018 — 10:07am
World debt ratios have spiralled to record levels during the era of super-easy money and markets are showing telltale signs of late-cycle excess, leaving the international financial system acutely vulnerable to a jump in borrowing costs.
Any reversal in our fortunes could be "quick and sharp", says the Bank for International Settlements, the global watchdog based in Switzerland and the scourge of dissolute practice.
The warnings cascade from the BIS's annual report released over the weekend, always a sobering read for investors and central bankers alike.
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  • Jun 25 2018 at 12:48 PM

Bank economists back RBA's inaction on interest rates

The Reserve Bank is acutely focused on the state of incomes in Australia and looks "at everything" in crafting monetary policy, according to top bank economists, who defended the central bank's long stretch of inaction on interest rates and see no case for hiking soon.
Australian National University economist Warwick McKibbin, who sat on the Reserve Bank board for 10 years, criticised the RBA for boxing itself into a policy dead-end and urged it to prepare households for rising rates. He also argued in an interview with The Australian Financial Review that the Reserve Bank should move away from its 2 to 3 per cent inflation target in favour of a nominal income target.
Governor Philip Lowe told an audience in Melbourne earlier this month that "it is clear that the slow growth in wages is affecting our economy", and it was unlikely that inflation would reach the midpoint of the target "in the period ahead".
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Why ANU knocked back the Ramsay Centre course

  • Gareth Evans, Brian Schmidt
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 26, 2018
On June 1, the Australian National University announced it was withdrawing from negotiations to create a degree program with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. We took our decision for no other reason than the centre’s continued demands for control over the program that were inconsistent with the university’s academic autonomy.
We anticipated attacks from some for even contemplating introducing the degree, and from others for being anti-Western civilisation. What we had less reason to expect was the protracted media firestorm that has continued daily in certain sections of the press. ANU has been constantly assaulted for capitulating to pressure from those hostile to the Ramsay Centre, but without evidence or new information being offered.
Press scrutiny is crucial in Western democracies in holding public institutions to account and universities should not escape it. But does stating over and again a false narrative make it true?
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Science a strange omission from Ramsay Centre's study of the West

By Warwick Anderson
26 June 2018 — 12:05am
Surely Simon Haines and others at the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation are correct in claiming that some humanities education at our universities fails to convey to students the grandeur and scope of the civilisation that shapes them. Too much of it turns out shallow and faddish, catering to the whims of immature students with short attention spans.
But it is paranoid and hysterical to attribute these failings to some vast left-wing conspiracy—and about as illuminating as a shouting match among student politicians. Rather than engage in partisan convulsions, we should be asking whether the Ramsay Centre has made exactly the right diagnosis and is prescribing the best medicine to fix the problem.
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AI will enhance us, not replace us

  • Colin Priest
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 26, 2018
When I was young, way back in the 1970s, my schoolteacher asked us what we wanted to do when we grew up. My friends and I all wanted to have exciting jobs like being a pilot or a fireman. Then one friend spoke up and told us that computers were going to take our jobs. For the next several years I heard similar comments, but then something changed. It seemed as if all of a sudden, new jobs were created to work with computers.
Travel forward a few decades, the fourth industrial revolution is upon us and the key technology behind the industrial revolution is artificial intelligence. Yet when I hear people speak about upcoming changes, I feel that history is repeating itself, with computers replaced by AI.
A recent study by Gartner concluded that AI will create 2.3 million jobs over the next 2 years, with a net increase of half a million jobs. Other studies have made similar conclusions. And contrary to what you may expect, these jobs won’t just be for computer geeks. We will see more and more AI-enhanced human roles.
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Danger signs in world markets

  • The Australian
  • 8:07AM June 26, 2018

Robert Gottliebsen

A dangerous set of conflicting forces is now enveloping many global markets, led by the US and China.
The looming trade war with China which is triggering the latest market falls is only part of the conflict of forces.
The conflicting forces sent Wall Street down two over cent last week and the current week has opened with a further loss of almost 1.4 per cent.
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After 40 years in my job, this is what I've learnt

By ROSS GITTINS
27 June 2018 — 12:05am
Fortunately, I made the greatest misjudgment of my working life while I was still at university in Newcastle. I concluded that economics was hopelessly unrealistic and boring, whereas accounting was practical and fascinating.
The most disillusioning moment of my working life came soon after I heard that I’d passed the last exam to become a chartered accountant. For years I’d told myself that, once I was qualified, I’d be confident, capable and contented as an auditor.
Nothing changed. I had to admit to myself I neither enjoyed being an accountant nor was much good at it. A year or so later I washed up at The Sydney Morning Herald to offer my services as an over-aged graduate cadet, at a much lower wage.
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Brace for the class war election - it's going to be taxing

Australians traditionally hate being told they live in a class-ridden society. But in an increasingly high-stakes political debate over tax, the next election is shaping up as a battle over wealth.

By Tony Wright
26 June 2018 — 3:53pm

Talking points

  • Labor has announced it will repeal tax cuts for businesses with an annual turnover of between $10 million and $50 million
  • The government wants to cut company taxes for all Australian businesses, but the plan is blocked in the Senate 
  • Both parties will also take rival income tax cut proposals to the next federal election
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, by announcing a Labor government would repeal tax cuts for companies turning over $10 million to $50 million annually, has guaranteed Australia will be heartily sick of the term “class warfare” by the next election.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his colleagues will howl it from dawn to dusk and beyond, declaring it will destroy employment prospects for workers. Treasurer Scott Morrison called it “the snake of envy” within minutes of the Labor leader announcing his decision on Tuesday.
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Are personality tests like Myers-Briggs just corporate astrology?

By Caitlin Fitzsimmons
26 June 2018 — 7:30pm
My name is Caitlin, I’m a Gemini and an ENTP.
Chances are most of you know your Myers-Briggs type too – or perhaps you’ve taken one of the hundreds of other personality tests on the market.
You may have done a test as part of a job application, or for “development” purposes alongside team building exercises on a corporate “away-day”.
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Turbulence: Why sharemarkets have become so vulnerable to rhetoric

By Mohamed El-Erian
27 June 2018 — 6:51am
Financial markets have long been able to ignore the spillover from political and geopolitical developments.
US stocks bounced back modestly on Tuesday on gains in the energy and tech sectors after a sharp sell-off a day earlier on global trade tensions.
Now, they seem a lot more sensitive to possible disruptions these events could cause to growth and corporate earnings, and with good reason: The threats seem to be spreading and the fortifications are weaker. Unless the possibility of a full-blown trade war turns into to an opportunity to fix longstanding defects in the global system, the defenses that have proved effective in recent years risk being overwhelmed in both the financial and, more damaging, economic realms.
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'Fundamentals are very bad': China slumps into a bear market, and it could get worse

27 June 2018 — 10:08am
A deepening sense of unease is rippling through China's financial markets.
The benchmark Shanghai stock index has tumbled 20 per cent in just five months to enter a bear market. The yuan is heading for its longest losing streak in four years in Hong Kong. Corporate defaults are mounting.
Tech stocks stumbled in Asia on Tuesday, after mixed messages from Washington on trade had sparked a sell-off in the US.
There are homegrown reasons for the concern: The nation's deleveraging campaign is reducing the amount of liquidity available - threatening growth in the world's second-largest economy. Then throw in an unpredictable trade war with the US, and investors are facing a long list of reasons to sell.
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Know your rights: threat of NBN broadband limbo still looms for many

By Adam Turner
26 June 2018 — 11:59am
New standards will force telcos to reconnect Australians to their old broadband service or mobile broadband within days if an NBN installation fails, but the rules still don't apply to the majority of Aussie homes.
Taking effect on September 21, the new NBN Service Continuity Standard is designed to break the broadband deadlock which has left some Australian homes without home phone and broadband services for months after a failed NBN installation.
A couple in Victoria has been told they will have to pay up to $1.2 million to get the NBN, but Communications Minister Mitch Fifield say they have a choice of how they connect to the network.
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  • Jun 27 2018 at 9:51 AM

Where will you work when the machines take over?

With current technology, predictable physical tasks and collecting and processing of data will be especially vulnerable. Simon Dawson
by Martin Wolf
As long ago as 1984, in his Paths to Paradise, André Gorz, a self-proclaimed "revolutionary-reformist" stated, baldly, that the "micro-economic revolution heralds the abolition of work". He even argued that "waged work . . . may cease to be a central preoccupation by the end of the century". His timing was wrong. But serious analysts think he was directionally right.
So what might a world of intelligent machines mean for humanity? Will human beings become as economically irrelevant as horses? If so, what will happen to our individual self-worth and the organisation of our societies?
In a remarkable recent lecture, Adair Turner, former chairman of the UK's financial regulator and chairman of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, addresses just these questions. He started from the assumption that intelligent machines will ultimately be able to perform most forms of current work better than people and at lower cost. This, he argues, is a question of when, not if. It will happen because of the progressive advance of processing power, the costless replicability of software and the rise of machine learning. Robot gods will make us all redundant.
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  • Updated Jun 28 2018 at 12:00 AM

New call-out powers allow military to respond to terror attacks, riots

Soldiers will be able to be called out to help put down riots, with new powers intended to make it easier for the military to respond to terror attacks going further than anticipated.
The military will also have "shoot to kill" powers but they could only be used when "reasonable and necessary" to protect life - the same standard that applies to police.
"The use of force by the ADF in a battle situation off Australian soil in a war zone is somewhat different, and this is a much higher and more stringent standard, and the same standard in effect that police have been operating under for many decades in our variety of jurisdictions," Attorney-General Christian Porter said. 
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  • Updated Jun 27 2018 at 11:00 PM

Australian universities helping China to modernise its military

China's Communist Party is seeking to exploit academic collaborations in Australia to modernise its defence capability, prompting a prominent think tank to call for export controls and investment restrictions on companies developing artificial intelligence and big data applications with dual military and civilian use.
The report by Elsa Kania for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) recommends a radical overhaul of how universities and the federal government approach collaborations with Beijing, which it portrays as a hostile actor at a time of heightened strategic conflict.
"The core dilemma is that the Chinese party-state has demonstrated the capacity and intention to co-opt private tech companies and academic research to advance national and defence objectives in ways that are far from transparent," she writes.
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Investors, not banks, could spark the next crisis with these timebombs

By Satyajit Das
27 June 2018 — 11:46am
Banks must bear much of the blame for previous financial crises. In the next one, ordinary investors could play a more central role.
Ironically, they'll do so through vehicles created with them in mind – exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. These listed funds are passive by nature, designed to track the performance of an index of stocks, bonds, currencies or commodities rather than to pick and choose among individual companies.
The popularity of ETFs has soared in the past decade. The proportion of US equity-fund assets that are passively managed has nearly doubled in that time to nearly 40 per cent. Vanguard alone owns positions greater than 5 per cent in 491 of the stocks on the S&P 500, adding up to nearly 7 per cent of the index's total market cap. In Japan, where the central bank owns big stakes in ETFs, passive investors hold over half of all sharemarket assets.
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John Howard warns China seeks power and influence through its expats

By Nick Miller
28 June 2018 — 12:47am
London: John Howard has warned that China is “very interested” in using its big diaspora of citizens, including the one million in Australia, to further its power and influence.
However he also emphasised that Chinese expats made “terrific” Australian citizens and contributed enormously to our nation.
Speaking at a conference in London on the Five Eyes intelligence network, the former Australian prime minister warned that China was “asserting herself” and it was crucial to use our own and allied intelligence agencies to work out what was going on.
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  • Jun 28 2018 at 2:44 PM

ASIC, ATO to target dodgy SMSF advice after finding 90pc breached the law

Regulators will target the use of self-managed superannuation funds to invest in property after a review uncovered high levels of detrimental advice being provided to DIY trustees.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission reviewed 250 randomly selected client files and found 90 per cent failed to comply with the "best interests" test and other legal obligations.
In a report on Thursday, ASIC raised particular concerns about people being encouraged to set up an SMSF with the narrow purpose of investing in property. 
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  • Updated Jun 28 2018 at 11:00 PM

Rule Britannia as Malcolm Turnbull chooses UK design for $35b frigate contract

British defence giant BAE Systems has won the $35 billion contract to build nine frigates in Adelaide, completing the final piece of the Turnbull government's $89 billion naval shipbuilding plan and forming the backbone of the navy for the next three decades. 
And as forecast by The Australian Financial Review, the government-owned shipbuilder ASC will be given a role in the project, although there is no word yet whether Perth-based Austal will have any involvement.
Cabinet's national security committee met on Thursday evening to finalise the choice, with BAE seeing off Spain's Navantia and Italy's Fincantieri.
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  • Updated Jun 28 2018 at 1:40 PM

Government rejects Senate report that slams its 'unprecedented' tech failures

The government has rejected findings of a damning Senate Committee report into the digital delivery of government services, which recommended reforms following an unprecedented litany of failure.
The report was tabled on Wednesday night, after an inquiry that was demanded by Labor, in order to investigate the trail of government tech wrecks and digital transformation projects, which have befallen the public service in recent years.
Its tabling by committee chairman Labor Senator Jenny McAllister, came just days after the head of the government's Digital Transformation Authority Gavin Slater, abruptly left his position after just 16 months in the role.
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Increasing militarisation of police invites tragedy

By Michael Pembroke
29 June 2018 — 12:05am
One issue raised by debate over the findings of the coronial inquiry into the Lindt Cafe siege, and Deborah Snow’s important book on the subject, is whether the increasing militarisation of the police in Australia is desirable.
The new federal "call-out" powers, which lower the threshold for deployment of the military to help police deal with major terrorist and violent attacks, are welcome. This is a better development than greater militarisation of the police - a change that has been taking place incipiently in Australia, without informed discussion, political debate or public oversight. It is an unhealthy development.
The police have no incentive to say "no" to military assault rifles, flash bang grenades or armoured personnel carriers. But do we, as a society, really want to see our police so heavily armed, looking, and sometimes behaving, like an invasion force? Is it necessary or desirable? The more the police are given military-style weaponry, the more likely they are to use it. As the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
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Nine out of 10 DIY super funds based on poor financial advice

By Caitlin Fitzsimmons
Updated 28 June 2018 — 6:10pm first published at 6:01pm
The corporate regulator has fired a broadside at the $697 billion DIY super industry, with a new report suggesting nine out of 10 self-managed super funds are underpinned by poor financial advice.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission reviewed 250 files randomly selected based on Tax Office data and found in 91 per cent of cases the financial adviser did not comply with the Corporations Act’s “best interests” duty and related obligations.
In one out of 10 files reviewed, the client was likely to be significantly worse off in retirement due to the advice. In almost one in five cases, clients were at an increased risk of losing money due to lack of diversification.
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World Trade Organisation rules in favour of Australian tobacco packaging laws

  • Saabira Chaudhuri
  • Dow Jones
  • 7:50AM June 29, 2018
The World Trade Organisation has given a long-awaited ruling in favour of Australian health laws requiring tobacco products be plainly packaged to make them less appealing, a move that could pave the way for the spread of unbranded tobacco packs globally.
The decision marks a blow for big tobacco, which is already grappling with declining smoking volumes in major, developed markets around the world.
Indonesia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Honduras had previously challenged Australia’s plain packaging law, which requires all cigarette packs in the country to be coloured olive brown and use standard colours and positions in a plain font and size, at the WTO.
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When all your basic needs are covered, you can fight for 'freedom'

By Jacqueline Maley
29 June 2018 — 12:16pm
I have an idea for a new affluence indicator - the more privileged you are, financially and socially, the more likely you are to engage in culture wars involving “freedom”.
Academic freedom, freedom of speech, the right to be a bigot that former Attorney-General George Brandis so famously advocated - the fight for such liberties is a luxurious hobby for people who have all their basic needs covered.
I have a hunch that the people who have enjoyed the greatest personal freedom the modern world can offer - those with money, freedom of career choice, and few caring responsibilities at home - are the ones most pre-occupied with freedom-based culture wars.
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ABC most trusted | Facebook most distrusted

  • June 26 2018
  • Finding No. 7641
  • Topic: Press Release Special Poll
  • Country: Australia
Australians trust the ABC and distrust Facebook the most, a landmark new survey reveals.
Conducted in May by Roy Morgan, the MEDIA Net Trust Survey reveals that while Facebook – and Social Media generally – is deeply distrusted in Australia, the ABC is by far the nation’s most trusted media organisation.
Half of all Australians (47 per cent) distrust social media, compared to only 9 per cent who distrust the ABC.
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Parliament passes sweeping new foreign influence laws

By Matt Coughlan
29 June 2018 — 1:43am
Secret attempts by foreign spies to influence Australia's politicians and media will face harsh new penalties in measures to combat unprecedented meddling in the nation's democracy.
Legislation cleared the Senate on Thursday night with Labor supporting the government's push to pass its package targeting foreign influence before parliament rises for the long winter break.
The measures respond to warnings from intelligence chiefs that foreign countries are trying to access classified information about Australia's global alliances and military, as well as economic and energy systems.
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Defence expert warns of cost and delay risks to $35bn frigate program

By David Wroe
29 June 2018 — 4:51pm
There is an “inherent risk” of delays and cost blowouts in the British-led frigate program because any flaws in the futuristic design might not be ironed out by the time Australia starts building its fleet, a top defence expert has warned.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Friday that Britain’s BAE Systems would lead the $35 billion design and build of the nine-strong fleet of Hunter class frigates, which will form the backbone of Australia’s surface naval power for the coming decades.
BAE Systems has long argued that although its Type-26 design has not yet been built, the company is constructing the first few ships for the British navy, meaning any bugs will be fixed before it starts cutting steel on the first of the Australian fleet in 2022.
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'Disease of poverty': Malaria 'back with a vengeance' in Australia's closest neighbours

By Kate Aubusson
30 June 2018 — 12:00am
Malaria rates have soared among some of Australia's closest neighbours as complacency risks undoing a decade of sustained and extraordinary progress towards eradicating the disease, experts warn.
The world’s foremost malaria scientists, clinicians and activists, policymakers and national leaders will meet at the inaugural Malaria World Congress in Melbourne as the World Health Organisation (WHO) declares progress to combat the potentially fatal disease has stalled.
In 2016 there were an estimated 216 million malaria cases globally.
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  • Jun 29 2018 at 2:47 PM

The 'high risk' SMSFs that caught ASIC's attention

Unscrupulous one-stop property shops are earning commissions of $40,000 plus by tipping naive investors into self-managed superannuation funds, financial adviser Liam Shorte said.
"I get people coming in and they want to set up an SMSF because they've been to a seminar but when I drill down into it they've done no research themselves," he said.
"What hasn't been disclosed to them is the commissions of $40,000 plus these spruikers stand to make."
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Appen’s ASX 200 leap: Artificial intelligence, powered by humans

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

David Swan

Artificial intelligence firm Appen is the S&P/ASX 200’s best performing stock over the past 12 months, up a whopping 230 per cent year-on-year.
It is growth that chief executive Mark Brayan said showed the enormous rise in demand for artificial intelligence data. His company powers some of the world’s largest technology groups, helping social media companies surface recommendations for their users, for example, or e-commerce sites offer AI-based support to their customers.
“There is extraordinary demand behind what we’re doing,” Mr Brayan told The Weekend Australian.
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Good so far, but markets will get rocky from here

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

Don Stammer

This weekend marks the end of another good year for investors — the Australian sharemarket has finished up 8.5 per cent before dividends. In 2017 and in January this year, most asset classes delivered positive returns, with unusually low volatility. That was a time of strong and synchronised recovery in the global economy, and of highly accommodative financial conditions.
This spell of strong and synchronised growth, led by the US economy, is now said to be running out of puff. Last year’s optimism ran too far. Could the fading of investor confidence in the global economic upswing also turn out to be excessive, as in late 2011 and early 2016? Or are shares entering a lengthy period of intense gloom?
The mood of caution is understandable. Monetary policy is being tightened in the US. The cycle in monetary policy in Europe is turning. The trade war skirmishes are becoming a real worry. Corporate debt is high, especially in the US. Emerging economies with heavy indebtedness in US dollars face weaker growth as the US dollar strengthens. Forecasts for the world economy are likely to be revised down in coming months — and the risks of an early recession in the world economy will probably at times be overstated. These are the influences to keep watch on:
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'It's a mess': credit ratings lottery revealed

By John Collett
1 July 2018 — 12:20am
The national system to determine personal credit scores is a "mess", with consumers potentially being denied loans or charged wildly different rates based on which credit agency the lender uses.
Lenders seeking information about a borrower's creditworthiness can go to one of four main credit agencies in Australia: Equifax, Experian, Dun & Bradstreet or Tasmanian Collection Service in Tasmania.
But consumers’ credit scores vary enormously depending on which credit agency the lender uses, according to data obtained exclusively for Fairfax Media. In one example of someone who wanted to borrow $5000 to buy a used car, they had a credit score of 260 out of 1200 from one credit agency and 600 out of 1000 from another.
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After Cambridge Analytica scandal ACCC’s Rod Sims warns of risks of political parties’ big data use

SECRET emails reveal the nation’s top consumer cop fears political parties’ use of big data can be “harmful”, triggering demands to end exemptions from privacy and spamming laws plus new rules on psychological influencing on social media.
John Rolfe
News Corp Australia Network June 30, 201810:00pm
SECRET emails reveal the nation’s top consumer cop fears political parties’ use of big data is “harmful”.
The emergence of the emails has triggered demands for an end to parties’ exemption from privacy and spamming laws — as well as the introduction of new rules covering psychological influencing on social media.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims’ concerns have come to light after an unknown person used freedom of information laws to unearth an exchange between him and staff working on its “digital platforms” inquiry into Facebook, Google and Twitter.
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Global supply chains make trade war difficult

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

Adam Creighton

How much less American will Harley-Davidson motorcycles be if they’re made in Thailand?
A lot, Donald Trump thinks. “A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country — never! Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end,” he tweeted recently, chastising the American icon for shifting some of its production to Thailand.
The US President’s determination to reduce the US trade deficit has sharpened focus on where goods are made. (He doesn’t care much about trade in services, which are typically in the US favour, only goods). But stamping Made in America, or Australia even, on goods isn’t as easy as it was.
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Financial Royal Commission Issues.

Banking royal commission: Kenneth Hayne appeals to Bankwest ‘victims’ for new evidence

  • Michel Roddan
  • The Australian
  • 10:32AM June 25, 2018
Royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne has told self-identified victims of Commonwealth Bank’s wholly-owned Bankwest subsidiary to contribute claims relating to issues that have not yet been focused on by the royal commission.
Mr Hayne, in his opening remarks to the fourth round of hearings for the banking and financial services royal commission in Brisbane, addressed criticisms that the inquiry had not conducted a credible or thorough investigation into CBA’s conduct after the 2008 takeover of Bankwest.
Aggrieved customers have sent the royal commission submissions calling on Mr Hayne to seek more time from the government to conduct further investigation into Bankwest’s conduct when lending to small businesses.
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  • Jun 25 2018 at 3:01 PM

Banking royal commission: Commissioner Kenneth Hayne not on the victims' plane

So often it seems like the royal commission sits above the fray it has created, untroubled by the thousands of words written and spoken about it, the political grandstanding that has surrounded it, or the many interested parties who want to use the commission to score their own points.
On day one of the fourth round of hearings, Commissioner Kenneth Hayne showed that he is listening to the noise around the commission – and he doesn't like what he's heard.
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  • Updated Jun 25 2018 at 11:04 PM

Banking royal commission: Hayne revives the terrors of the financial crisis

As the shockwaves of the 2008 financial crisis reverberated through the world, you'd have thought that local businesses would have been living in dread that the economy would plunge into a deep recession, causing demand for their products to shrivel.
But there was a far more sinister threat hanging over them: the risk that their familiar, long-standing financier would stumble – and that in future they'd find themselves thrust into the clutches of a far less sympathetic lender.
At the time, it tended to be St George commercial customers – particularly those in the Sydney property development game – who cried the loudest.
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  • Updated Jun 27 2018 at 7:34 AM

Lessons from the royal commission on how not to annoy your banker

The Hayne royal commission provided some valuable tips for farmers and other bank borrowers on how best to avoid irritating their lawyers.
Of course, bankers are now diligent when it comes to paying lip service to the codes of conduct that require them to act fairly and reasonably towards their customers, and to maintain a consistent and ethical manner.
But we all know that bankers are apt to forget these lofty standards, and to revert to more primitive forms of vengeance if their customers start to try their patience.
So how best to avoid riling one's bankers?
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Firebrand Katter lashes royal commission for filtering out 'pain and horror'

By Felicity Caldwell
26 June 2018 — 6:19pm
Firebrand north Queensland MP Bob Katter has lashed the banking royal commission and the corporate regulator over its action on the banks.
Speaking to the media outside the banking royal commission hearing in Brisbane, Mr Katter said the forensic process was filtering out the "pain and horror", and the commissioner Ken Hayne should hear from more farmers.
"It's been filtered through a forensic process, which is filtering out the rage and passion and the heartbreaking stories that are in them, and they should be coming through," he said.
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National Budget Issues.

Why many retirees fear for the future

  • The Australian
  • 7:24AM June 25, 2018

Robert Gottliebsen

For the last four weeks I have been holidaying in Scotland and Norway, where I encountered a lot of Australians who self fund their retirement.
Once the conversation moved from the latest scenic encounter, I discovered a combination of anger, frustration and a fear of the future---a deep emotion that I have never previously encountered on a widespread basis.
Accordingly, those businesses that rely on the spending of self-funded retirees need to understand that the game has changed.
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  • Jun 25 2018 at 11:00 PM

Interest rates must be tightened to wean Australia off cheap money

In March last year, The Australian Financial Review warned that policy failures elsewhere were sucking Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe into a bubble of housing price speculation that was injecting more risk into the nation's financial system. By then the central bank had kept its cash rate at a record low 1.5 per cent for eight months. We suggested that lifting the cash rate to 1.75 per cent would impress on property buyers that the rate cycle was turning up. Then, a year ago next week, we again called on the Reserve Bank to at least indicate it was likely to tighten in 2018. Since then, the second best policy of lending controls has started to deflate housing prices. Also since then, the economy generated a record 400,000 jobs in the latest calendar year, economic growth has accelerated to 3 per cent and a mini-resources boom has been ignited by the recovery in commodity export prices. Yet Dr Lowe has kept his cash rate stuck well below the 3 per cent emergency level of the global financial crisis for an extraordinary 22 months even as the US Fed has signalled an acceleration in its tightening cycle. And his public pronouncements have cemented financial market expectations that his record low cash rate will continue well into 2019 and perhaps even into 2020. The minutes of the Reserve Bank's June board meeting even dropped its previous suggestion that the next rates move would be up, apparently due to an oversight.
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Australia to spend nearly $7 billion buying unmanned military planes from America

By David Wroe
25 June 2018 — 6:56pm

Talking points

  • The Tritons represent a massive increase in Australia's surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities
  • Each aircraft can monitor an area the size of Switzerland in a day
  • The first RAAF Triton will come into service in 2023
The Turnbull government will spend nearly $7 billion on massive, long-range surveillance drones that will dramatically expand Australia’s ability to spot military ships on the seas of Asia and tighten joint operations with the United States in the region.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will on Tuesday announce the purchase of the country's first Triton drone, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 and will easily be able to complete a lap of the South China Sea after taking off from the Northern Territory.
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  • Jun 29 2018 at 12:14 PM

Bill Shorten in partial back down on company tax hike plan

Bill Shorten has dumped plans to totally repeal tax cuts for companies with turnovers between $10 million and $50 million following a fierce internal backlash and anger from business. But the repeal is only partial.
Following a snap shadow cabinet meeting in Sydney on Friday, Mr Shorten announced he had junked the policy to fully repeal the legislated cuts that would reduce the rate to 25 per cent over a decade and return it to 30 per cent
Instead, Labor will keep the rates for these firms frozen at the current rate of 27.5 per cent.
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Rate rise an even-money bet as inflation gets up off the floor

By Peter Martin
30 June 2018 — 12:15am
At last, an end to the Reserve Bank’s two-year freeze on interest rates is in sight. But not this year, and not because of particularly high wage growth.
For the first time since rates were cut in August 2016, the BusinessDay Scope economic panel gives the RBA an even chance of lifting its cash rate by the end of the financial year. If it happens, it will come after a record 34 months of inaction. And only half of the panel thinks it will.
The bank’s cash rate has been steady since RBA governor Philip Lowe’s predecessor, Glenn Stevens, cut it to a record low of 1.5 per cent in his last meeting before handing over. In public comments, Lowe has said the next move will most likely be up, but it will depend on inflation and wage growth, which he expects to improve only gradually.
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Health Budget Issues.

Out-of-pocket fees of specialists and surgeons revealed

By Esther Han
24 June 2018 — 7:01pm

In numbers

·         Average cost of a hip replacement can range from $19,439 to $42,007, depending on the surgeon. $22,500 difference
·         Average cost of a knee replacement can range from $17,797 to $30,285. $12,500 difference
·         Average cost of a knee ACL repair can range from $5076 to $13,950. $8,900 difference
For the first time, patients can view how often a surgeon or specialist has used their private health insurer's gap cover scheme and gauge the likelihood of facing out-of-pocket costs.
Amid growing anger over "bad apple" surgeons issuing excessive bills, online medical directory Healthshare has published gap scheme participation data on the profile pages of more than 14,000 specialists across Australia.
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Australia’s new weapon against superbugs and overprescription of antibiotics

  • The Australian
  • 10:04AM June 25, 2018

Sean Parnell

Australia has a new weapon in the battle against superbugs and it may be more effective than more costly and complex programs — a carefully crafted letter from the nation’s chief medical officer to the GPs prescribing the most antibiotics.
The Australian has obtained a report from a secret commonwealth trial that found a personally addressed letter from Professor Brendan Murphy, containing the right information, could reduce prescribing rates by almost 15 per cent.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a global problem, causing infections that are harder or impossible to treat, rendering powerful drugs useless and making some surgical procedures higher risk. Superbugs feed off the abuse and misuse of antibiotics — and Australia has one of the highest prescribing rates in the world.
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ACCC tells private health funds: be more honest with your customers

By Nassim Khadem
26 June 2018 — 12:03am
Private health funds need to be more transparent about their policies, especially exclusions that often leave consumers out-of-pocket, according to Australia’s consumer watchdog.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found consumers paid private health insurance premiums of about $23.1 billion in 2016-17, an increase of $1 billion from 2015-16.
The report, which the watchdog produces annually, found while more than half of all Australians, that is 13.5 million people, still held hospital or general health insurance cover, many were dissatisfied due higher premiums and gap payments.
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ACCC tells health insurers to explain policies

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 26, 2018

Sarah-Jane Tasker

The competition regulator says health insurers must increase transparency to rebuild waning trust in the sector as complaints about the industry rise for the fourth year.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission released its annual report into the private health insurance industry yesterday, which outlined that complaints to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman had increased by 30 per cent in 2016-2017.
The benefits paid by insurers to consumers continued to receive the most complaints.
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Surgery figures a sign of private health insurance ills

  • The Australian
  • 2:34PM June 26, 2018

Sarah-Jane Tasker

Surgical volume growth in Australian hospitals is slowing, in another warning sign about the health of the private healthcare system.
Medicare data for May has revealed that adjusted surgical volumes increased 3.7 per cent on a 12-month rolling basis, which was down on the prior month (4.1 per cent) and below the five-year average of 4.2 per cent.
It comes after warnings early this month that surgeons’ fees were one reason why consumers are fleeing private health.
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26 June 2018

ALP commits to disclaimers for evidence-free medicine

Complementary TheHill
Posted by Felicity Nelson
The federal Labor Party has taken a hard line on complementary medicines, saying all medicines that are not backed by scientific evidence will need to include a disclaimer, if it wins the next federal election.
Under the policy, all traditional medicines listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods will have to declare that “the efficacy of the claims have not been independently assessed”, according to a statement from the office of Tony Zappia, the shadow assistant minister for Medicare.
Labor’s position falls into line with a recommendation by the Review of Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation in 2015.
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'Waste of money': women ditch private hospitals, go public to give birth

By Nassim Khadem
27 June 2018 — 7:26pm
For 32-year-old mother of three Libby Nuttall, giving birth through the private hospital system would have been a “waste of money” .
Ms Nuttall and husband Rhys have three sons: Maxwell, 5, Lawson, 2, and Elliott, 6 months.
She is one of a growing number of women who opted to use public rather than private hospitals to give birth because of the high out-of-pockets costs involved with the private system.
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Medicine law overhaul could save lives

10:17am Jun 28, 2018
Shortages of potentially life-saving medicines must be reported to the drug watchdog under a proposed overhaul of medicine reporting laws.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says some situations, like an EpiPen shortage in April, could put patient lives at risk.
A voluntary scheme has been in place since 2014 but it has been ineffective, he says.
"A significant number of medicine shortages of critical patient impact have not been reported to the TGA, or not reported in a timely manner," he said.
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Higher excesses set to ease health insurers’ pain

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 29, 2018

Sean Parnell

Allowing a higher excess on health insurance policies will not only give members more flexibility and possibly deter thousands from dump­ing their cover, but may also help stop public hospitals billing insurers to treat their members.
Under federal government changes, the maximum permitted excess will rise from $500 to $750 for singles and from $1000 to $1500 for couples and families from April 1. The change will also be incorporated into the minimum cover that higher income earners need to avoid the Medicare levy surcharge.
Excess levels have not changed since 2000 and the move is designed to allow members to save on premiums by agreeing to pay more if they go to hospital. The government anticipates this will keep, or attract, 8300 more members next year than would have been the case, and may reduce overall premiums by about 1 per cent on average. It is also expected to reduce overall premiums on average by about one per cent as the nature of payments shifts.
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Health cap to leave insurers on the brink

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 27, 2018

Sean Parnell

Labor’s proposed 2 per cent cap on health insurance premium increases would lead to eight insurers operating at a loss in the first year and put three on the brink of insolvency in the second, according to an industry analysis.
The biggest health policy from Bill Shorten to date — capping premium increases at roughly half the current rate for two years to allow for another inquiry — would also put the more dominant health funds at a competitive ­advantage.
Slashing premium revenue would likely prompt insurers to reduce benefits and payments, undermining several years of reforms before a Labor government would even be in a position to ­respond to an inquiry by the Productivity Commission.
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Braddon by-election threat for ALP over health insurance cap

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

Dennis Shanahan

Labor is facing a new political threat ahead of the Braddon by-election, with small regional health funds facing financial failure, job losses and cost cutting under Bill Shorten’s proposed 2 per cent cap on insurance premium rises.
St LukesHealth in Launceston — which covers 62,000 people, just under a quarter of Tasmanians with private insurance, including 10,600 low-income earners in the seat of Braddon — and the smaller, Burnie-based Health Care Insurance, are both identified by industry leaders as being at risk.
Health industry sources told The Weekend Australian that HCI, which was founded in 1938 to help pulp mill workers and has 5000 members in Braddon, would be “under supervision” shortly after a Labor-imposed cap on premium rises.
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Private health insurance a hard sell to Medicare generation

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

Sean Parnell

The Coalition’s health insurance reforms are needed to prevent a decade-long decline in the sector, according to internal government documents, partly because people who grew up with Medicare do not want to pay more for healthcare.
The documents, obtained by The Weekend Australian, reveal the government expects its measures to keep premiums under 4 per cent for two years — the first time such a figure has been given — in contrast to Labor’s contentious plan for a 2 per cent cap if elected.
The government warns in the documents, prepared last month, that an ongoing decline in hospital coverage must be halted or people will flock to public hospitals and increase the cost to governments.
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Revealed: the results of the Health Department’s secret GP letter experiment

The tactic caused a 'dramatic' effect in prescribing rates
29th June 2018
A behavioural experiment on GPs designed to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribing resulted in 126,000 fewer scripts being filled, the Health Department has revealed.
A little-known unit in the Health Department — called BERT (Behavioural Economics and Research Team) — devised the experiment, which ran from June to December last year.
About 5300 GPs were sent letters - signed by the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy - telling them they were among the top 30% of highest antibiotic prescribing GPs in the country based on PBS data.
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'Not at a crisis point yet': Doctors defend going private to give birth

By Nassim Khadem
28 June 2018 — 9:14pm
A decline in the numbers of women giving birth through the private health system, and associated closures of maternity services at private hospitals, has caused obstetricians to call for government intervention.
They say that unless changes are made to the Medicare rebate – allowing women to claim back a higher portion of out-of-pocket expenses if they use a private obstetrician during their pregnancy and for the delivery – the incidence of women ditching private cover could increase.
There were 72,295 births in private hospitals in 2016-17, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data. This is down from 75,881 in 2015-16.
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International Issues.

  • Updated Jun 23 2018 at 2:59 AM

Donald Trump threatens 20pc tariff on imported European cars

by Alex Wayne
President Donald Trump said he plans to impose a 20 per cent tariff on all cars imported from the European Union unless the trade bloc "soon" removes import duties and other barriers to US goods, escalating global trade tensions.
"Based on the Tariffs and Trade Barriers long placed on the U.S. and it great companies and workers by the European Union, if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here!" Trump said in a tweet on Friday.
Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW each fell in Frankfurt.
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  • Jun 26 2018 at 3:58 AM

Trump trade war backfires as Harley-Davidson moves offshore

Donald Trump's trade rows are starting to backfire, with Harley-Davidson announcing that tit-for-tat tariffs had forced it to shift manufacturing away from the US, pacing Wall Street lower for the ninth day in 10 sessions.
Equities slid in the US, Europe and Asia as investors became more fearful about a potential serious US-China trade war breaking out and President Trump's threat to slap 20 per cent import duties on European cars.
As Washington prepared to impose investment restrictions on Chinese acquisitions of sensitive US technologies, reports emerged of China's President Xi Jinping telling American and European chief executives in Beijing late last week that it was China's culture to "punch back" if someone hits you on the cheek.
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China, Europe warn trade war could trigger a global recession

26 June 2018 — 6:44am
China and the European Union vowed to oppose trade protectionism in an apparent rebuke to the US, saying unilateral actions risked pushing the world into a recession.
Vice Premier Liu He -- President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser -- said China and the EU had agreed to defend the multilateral trading system, following talks Monday in Beijing. The comments, made at a press briefing with European Commission Vice President Jyrki Kaitanen , come as both sides prepare to face off against President Donald Trump's tariff threats.
"Unilateralism is on the rise and trade tensions have appeared in major economies," Liu said. "China and the EU firmly oppose trade unilateralism and protectionism and think these actions may bring recession and turbulence to the global economy."
Both China and the EU are coming under pressure from Trump, as the US president seeks to remake a global trading system that he sees as rigged against the world's largest economy.
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Harley Davidson 'waving the white flag', tweets Trump

26 June 2018 — 9:12am
Donald Trump accused Harley-Davidson of surrendering in his budding trade war with the EU after the company said it would relocate production outside the US in response to European retaliation for the president's tariffs on imported metals.
Harley-Davidson plans to shift some motorcycle production outside of the US to avoid European Union tariffs.
"Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag," Trump said in a tweet shortly after departing the White House on the presidential helicopter. "I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the EU, which has hurt us badly on trade, down $US151 billion ($204 billion). Taxes just a Harley excuse - be patient!"
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  • Updated Jun 26 2018 at 5:07 PM

Jack Daniel's maker may need a drink as tariffs hit shares

by Janine Wolf
The maker of Jack Daniel's may be in need of a drink.
Brown-Forman will have to raise prices for American whiskey sold in the European Union following the implementation of a 25 per cent tariff, according to spokesman Phil Lynch. The higher prices, which he said will primarily affect Jack Daniel's, will translate to about a 10 per cent increase at the customer level.
"A 25 per cent tariff does not translate into a 25 per cent increase on the price of a bottle of Jack Daniel's," Lynch said. Due to advanced shipment in Europe, price increases will roll out over the next couple of months and market by market, he said.
Shares in Brown-Forman, which also makes bourbons including Woodford Reserve, fell to the lowest level in nearly seven months this week.
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  • Updated Jun 26 2018 at 11:00 PM

The UK's great Brexit slowdown

'Brexit dividend' part of extra UK health funding
Not long before his passing, the great British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking said: "I deal with tough mathematical questions every day, but please don't ask me to help with Brexit."
A cruder response from one UK observer is that Brexit is like relieving yourself in the middle of the room at a house party because nobody is talking to you, and then complaining about the smell.
But Brexit is here and now, even though the decision by the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union is already two years old, following the narrow referendum result in favour of leaving midway through 2016.
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'This cannot be overstated': Trump's massive chance to reshape America

By Matthew Knott
28 June 2018 — 8:50am
New York: In the early days of Donald Trump's presidency, many progressive Americans dared to believe that maybe, just maybe, his election victory would not prove as consequential as they first feared. Yes, a man they thought dangerous and demagogic was in the White House but the other branches of government - Congress and the courts - were providing an effective brake on executive power.
In Trump's first year in office the Senate rejected the eradication of the Affordable Care Act and the federal court blocked his ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Now, with the retirement of Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday, the true magnitude of Trump's victory has come into clearer focus than ever before. Kennedy's departure will allow Trump to shift the court decisively to the right, possibly for a generation, and opens the door to a rollback of access to abortion, gay rights and protections for minorities.
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  • Updated Jun 29 2018 at 3:30 AM

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin to meet in Helsinki on July 16

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold their first summit on July 16 in Helsinki, a venue famed for its Cold War diplomacy, with nervous US allies in Europe and Russia sceptics looking on.
The Kremlin and the White House simultaneously announced the place and date of the summit a day after striking a deal on holding the meeting following a visit to Moscow by US national security adviser John Bolton.
"The two leaders will discuss relations between the United States and Russia and a range of national security issues," the White House said in a statement similar to one released by the Kremlin.
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  • Jun 29 2018 at 3:30 PM

EU pledges greater defence cooperation amid concern over President Donald Trump

by Gregory Viscusi
European Union leaders are planning to boost defence cooperation, amid doubts about US President Donald Trump's commitment to the continent's security.
"Europe must take greater responsibility for its own security and underpin its role as a credible and reliable actor and partner in the area of security and defence," leaders said in a communique issued following a summit in Brussels early Friday.
The measures include more spending on joint defence research, preparing forces to deploy more quickly, and better coordination with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The EU's existing defence cooperation program, which began last year, has 17 projects in areas such as joint radio communications, logistical hubs, training convergence, and developing infantry vehicles. It will announce another set of projects in November.
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Canada hits back at Trump administration with tariffs on US goods

CANADA is hitting back at the imposition of US trade tariffs with retaliatory measures of its own, with Ottawa declaring: “We will not escalate and we will not back down.”
David Ljunggren, Reuters
News Corp Australia Network June 30, 20189:09am
CANADA has struck back at the Trump administration over US steel and aluminium tariffs, vowing to impose punitive measures on $C16.6 billion ($A17 billion) worth of American goods until Washington relents.
The announcement by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland marks a new low in ties between the neighbours and trading partners which have become increasingly strained since US President Donald Trump took power in January 2017.
The Canadian tariffs will come into effect on July 1 and largely target US steel and aluminium products, but also foodstuffs such as coffee, ketchup and whiskies, according to a list by the Department of Finance.
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I look forward to comments on all this!
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David.

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