Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Thursday, November 15, 2018

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

November 15, 2018 Edition.
Well Trump is in the process of doubling down, firing his Attorney General and issuing all sorts of Executive Orders. That won’t end well! And of course all the while China is rising…
Who knows where Brexit is up to – other than another Cabinet Minister has resigned.
In Australia the Government is still running around like an energizer bunny – being a tourist in Qld and pretending all is well with the myHR which it is not.
To add fuel to the fire Malcolm Turnbull did a special Q&A and The Saturday seems to have a fun scandal story on ScoMo.

Major Issues.

  • Updated Nov 2 2018 at 4:41 PM

What torpedoed the market in 'Red October'

If February's sell-off was about adjusting expectations around inflation in the US and the path of Fed monetary policy, the second major correction for the year has been all about earnings.
Look at the stats. Year-on-year US profit growth is running at 26 per cent through to September, the fastest pace since 2010. But that run rate is expected to drop to high single digits in the first half of next year.
So what we have had in October is a brutal reassessment of the earnings potential for Wall Street stocks.

After a fortnight of counting, Kerryn Phelps to be declared Wentworth victor

By Eryk Bagshaw
4 November 2018 — 1:37pm
Kerryn Phelps will be declared the winner of the Wentworth byelection, pushing the Coalition into minority government after a fortnight of counting.
The result, to be announced by the Australian Electoral Commission on Monday, will see Dr Phelps narrowly come out ahead of Liberal candidate Dave Sharma by 1851 votes.
The independent's win comes on the back of a historic 19 per cent swing against the government following the ousting of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and his resignation from the blue-ribbon seat.

How proposed franking credit changes could affect retirement income & goals

29 Oct, 2018
Franking credits and the uplift in income they deliver are crucial for every retiree’s investment strategy. The income benefits of franking credits are an intrinsic part of the strategy many investors adopt to attain their retirement goals. These credits, from Australian equities and hybrids, boost the average dividend yield on Australian shares by around 1.5%.
But those benefits could be impacted if limitations proposed by Labor on access to franking credits for some individuals and superannuation funds go ahead.
And even more dramatic changes have been mooted. When the Federal Government was discussing its full suite of corporate tax cuts earlier in the year, some  commentators recommended that the entire franking system should be scrapped. While that policy discussion has been parked, it highlights the existential threat to the existing franking credit system.
  • Updated Nov 4 2018 at 11:45 PM

Why franking credit refunds have to go

by Chris Bowen
"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in a new order of things" Niccolò Machiavelli wrote around five centuries ago. The beneficiaries of reform, he wrote, will be quiet, but those who benefit from existing arrangements will be very loud in their defence of the status quo.
Geoff Wilson, writing on these pages last Friday, is certainly intent on being noisy. As I have said, he is entitled to set up a partisan campaign with the Liberal Party if he wants to: that is clearly what he is doing. And the campaign is getting shriller and more ridiculous as the next election approaches. He started a petition against Labor's imputation policy but now campaigns against our negative gearing reforms as well and is now clearly engaging in a political campaign, not a policy discussion. Mr Wilson can engage in politics all he likes. But he should not expect his factual inaccuracies to go unanswered.

Knifing PMs stops populist backlash, Niall Ferguson tells Festival of Dangerous Ideas

  • November 4, 2018
Australia’s revolving door of prime ministers has spared us a popular uprising like those occurring in other parts of the West, British conservative commentator Niall Ferguson says.
The renowned libertarian historian, who was one of the few commentators who foresaw Donald Trump’s 2016 election win, predicts the populist backlash reverberating around the world will shift to the Left as political violence threatens to spill from social media onto the streets.
“It’s impossible to get a populist backlash going because, just as soon people have got to hate one guy, they bring out another,” Ferguson told the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in a keynote address on populism in Sydney on Sunday.
  • Nov 4 2018 at 6:30 PM

Business lost in political wilderness

Many corporate boards are retreating from more than the traditional demonstrations of lavish hospitality during Melbourne Cup week. In the broader world, they are in a state of uneasy disengagement from federal politics, grappling with a Liberal government aggressively determined to punish them in word and in action.
The alternative, of course, is a Labor Party even more sneeringly hostile to big business. But even though most chief executives and chairs regard Labor's agenda with horror, they are increasingly alarmed by their supposed allies and what used to be the party of business. Yet they have no real idea what to do about this – other than become steadily more alienated while going through the motions of "consultation"with Canberra.
  • Updated Nov 4 2018 at 11:00 PM

Confusion surrounds Chinese regulations as import deadline nears

Shanghai | Australian companies are unprepared for a dramatic tightening of China's e-commerce regulations and licensing rules, which could shut down cross-border sales of infant formula and vitamins unless they are able to comply in time.
There is also speculation China's move to more closely regulate the flow of imports into the country could effectively end the network of personal shoppers known as daigous, which underpinned the rise of exporters such as vitamins makers Blackmores and Swisse and infant formula companies Bellamy's and a2 Milk. China is attempting to use the new rules, which are due to start in January, to crack down on tax avoidance and ramp up food safety.
Confusion surrounds China's new cross-border e-commerce rules, less than two months before they are due to be introduced. Executives at key Australian exporters admit they remain in the dark about exactly how the new regulations and licensing process will work. Many hope China's President Xi Jinping will use a major trade fair in Shanghai to announce a delay in the implementation of the new regulations to give them more time to comply.

Our oldies have never had it so good

By Ross Gittins
5 November 2018 — 12:05am
Don’t let anyone tell you Scott Morrison is out of touch. When he says that, if he had the money, he’d increase the age pension rather than the dole, he’s reflecting the views of most older Australians. Everyone knows it’s the old who are the deserving poor.
Except it ain’t true. It was true once, but not for many years.
You might expect the Prime Minister to be better informed than the average punter, but Morrison is from the new breed of politician who see a leader’s job as to reflect the voters’ misperceptions back to them. Read the focus group reports, not the briefing notes.

Coroner compares drug prohibition laws to racism

By Angus Thompson
5 November 2018 — 12:00am
A NSW coroner has likened the effects of drug prohibition to state sanctioned racism, saying future generations would look back at current laws on illicit substances with incredulity.
Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame also took aim at sniffer dogs patrolling train stations as a "low-hanging" law enforcement tactic during an ongoing inquest examining government policy on prescription opiates and illegal drug use.
Ms Grahame said she did not doubt that "in a hundred years from now people will look back" and be "incredulous" about the law's treatment of drug users under the current regime of prohibition.

Why the Austal hack is important

Austal hack reveals need for vigilance: PM

  • 6:15AM November 5, 2018
The fact that some hackers strolled into Australia’s biggest defence contractor’s computer and made off with email addresses, mobile phone numbers, oh and some drawings of ships, was the best news the blossoming cybersecurity industry has had all year.
Visions were raised of bespectacled nerds with pizza crumbs in their beards in front of an array of screens, or perhaps serried rows of silent Chinese soldiers in a Beijing basement. Either way, they are at the moat; more money must be spent on drawbridges.
But the Austal hack suggests that our defences are not great, or alternatively that the hackers are getting better. Most likely it’s a bit of both, with the emphasis on the latter.

Scott Morrison has staked foreign policy on values Beijing abhors

By Peter Hartcher
6 November 2018 — 12:00am
In his first prime ministerial speech about Australia's place in the world, Scott Morrison lamented that foreign policy lately is too much about transactions, not enough about values. "We are more than the sum of our deals," he told the Asia Society in Sydney on Thursday. "We are better than that."
This would have led on to a banal blather of motherhood principles at any other time in Australia's history since World War Two. Australia's democratic values were the same as almost every one of its key partners. But today it is a bold and powerful statement, perhaps even a risky one.
Why? Australia's future will be dominated by China, according to Hugh White, an ANU professor of strategic studies. He points to the Australian Treasury's projection that the Chinese economy will be about 80 per cent bigger than America's within a dozen years. "Everything else is detail."

Ethics must be at core of artificial intelligence in order to gain trust

  • By Bob Easton
  • 12:00AM November 6, 2018
Trust is an essential agent of a normal functioning society. It greases the interaction between individuals, institutions and communities. It connects business to its consumers and communities.
Is it possible to put the deeply human emotion of trust into artificial intelligence? Well, only if it can be relied on to have integrity, truth and ethics is at its core — and that’s our responsibility.
This is an important issue because AI is weaving itself ever more seamlessly into the fabric of how people work, live, play and grow here in Australia. Rebuilding trust to sustain partnerships with consumers, governments and the public, once broken, is a massive undertaking.
  • Updated Nov 7 2018 at 7:44 AM

Bond investors like Labor's dividend franking cut

Bond fund managers have backed Labor's proposal to cut the generosity of franking credits, assessing that the shake-up will reduce the tax bias for dividends and encourage retirees to put money into the debt market.
Fixed income portfolio managers said ending refunds of excess franking credits would make shares and hybrids relatively less attractive for low-taxed investors such as self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs).
Equity investment managers have lashed the policy for hurting owners of shares and hybrid securities, but debt investors anticipate it could nudge SMSFs to consider corporate bonds offering steady interest payments.
  • Updated Nov 6 2018 at 9:00 PM

Retirees today are far better off than 20 years ago: Grattan

The Grattan Institute has urged federal Parliament to abandon plans to divert 12 per cent of wages to superannuation, arguing most people can already expect to live comfortably in retirement.
In a new report that heavily criticises the financial services industry for peddling fear about retirement income adequacy, Grattan says retirees today are much better off than they were 20 years ago.
Moreover, future retirees can expect to receive at least 91 per cent of their pre-retirement income thanks to a combination of super savings and the age pension.
  • Updated Nov 6 2018 at 11:00 PM

Trust ebbs in our era of big stick politics

In any normal circumstance the mining industry's patently pre-emptive defence of the occasionally controversial diesel tax rebate might seem just that little bit provocative.
But, given all that has preceded it in the distant and nearer past, who could blame the industry for firing a rhetorical warning shot across the bows of a future Labor government.
The realty is the level of trust between a very broad church of industry and all corners of the Parliament has rarely been at a lower ebb.

Australia set to be a leader in $1.7 trillion battery industry

By Cole Latimer
7 November 2018 — 12:27pm
Australia is forecast to be a global leader in a more aggressive than previously expected battery storage technology boom.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance has predicted batteries will swiftly become cheaper than they originally forecast last year, with prices to fall by more 50 per cent through to 2030 as it grows into a $US1.2 trillion ($1.7 trillion) industry. It had previously forecast the industry would be worth only around $US548 billion.
Australia will be one of the nine countries leading this battery charge.

Grattan Institute got it right: raising the super guarantee is a bad idea

Grattan super report "not grounded in reality"

  • 12:00AM November 7, 2018
There’s no government policy with more powerful backing than compulsory superannuation in Australia. In what other area are the union movement and financial services in lock step?
The sheer number of bodies that exist to perpetuate the myth that lifting the superannuation guarantee from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent is a good idea should ring alarm bells.
For the ordinary Australian, it’s the worst idea going around.

The three great lies corroding western cultures

  • 12:00AM November 7, 2018
The degeneration in the culture that drives the corrosion in our politics has its origins in three great lies now being propounded daily in our universities, media, corporates and obviously among the politicians.
These lies are becoming embedded in our discourse. National politics in America and Australia was once about the fight for control of the shared narrative or common destiny. Not any more. Politics is about tribal messages derived from the breakdown of the agreed national ethos.
The recent statement of this pathology based on the US university sector comes from American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and lawyer Greg Lukianoff in this year’s The Coddling of the American Mind, and in this column I have drawn on their thesis as modified by my own assessments.

What's an arts degree really worth? $200,000, just for starters

By Jessica Irvine
7 November 2018 — 4:03pm
You’ve heard the joke before. “What do you say to an arts graduate with a job?” Answer: “I’ll have a Quarter Pounder, with fries.”
The study of humanities – once the cornerstone of our universities – has developed an image problem.
As our year 12 students emerge blinking from exam rooms to ponder life after school, they are met with headlines questioning the value of a university degree in the humanities.

Scott Morrison splashes cash in the Pacific as China fears loom

By David Wroe
8 November 2018 — 12:01am
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will pledge $3 billion towards much-needed infrastructure in Pacific nations as part of a frank admission Australia has sometimes taken its neighbours for granted and amid concerns that China is building its influence on Australia’s doorstep.
In what he badges a "step-up to the Pacific", Mr Morrison will on Thursday also announce the establishment of an Australian Defence Force mobile training team that can travel to Pacific nations to help them with skills including infantry fighting, peacekeeping and disaster response.
The announcements in a speech to soldiers in Townsville will be widely read as aiming to edge out growing Chinese infrastructure-building in Pacific nations and will come shortly after Foreign Minister Marise Payne arrives in Beijing for talks that signal a thaw in the year-long diplomatic frostiness between the two countries.
  • Nov 8 2018 at 1:51 PM

ABC journalist details sexual harassment allegation against NSW Labor leader Luke Foley

An ABC journalist has detailed a sexual harassment allegation against NSW Labor leader Luke Foley for the first time, describing his promise to resign over drunken groping.
In a statement released by the broadcaster on Thursday, former ABC state political reporter Ashleigh Raper confirmed she was the journalist at the centre of speculation about a drunken incident involving Mr Foley at a Christmas party in 2016.
Mr Foley has been under pressure to explain his actions after the incident was raised in NSW state Parliament and Senate estimates hearings in Canberra.
  • Updated Nov 8 2018 at 8:04 PM

ScoMo takes the bus as power starts to drain away

In the past 20 years, Kim Beazley, Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten are among those who have done bus trips, but all were Opposition leaders, needing to lift their profile.
That Scott Morrison had to behave more like an opposition leader with this week's four day bus (and VIP jet) tour of Queensland underscores the urgency of his task between now and the impending election. 
Queensland, with its eight Coalition-held marginal seats is again the battleground state. Not only does Morrison need to stop half these seats falling to Labor, he needs to guard the Coalition's right flank against One Nation.

The wealthy country: Australians are the richest people in the world

By Shayanne Gal & Hilary Brueck
9 November 2018 — 9:53am
The United States is home to more millionaires than any other country in the world. But whether the country is truly the wealthiest in the world depends on how you measure. Judging by where the greatest number of people are well off, Australia is taking the top spot.
A report released by Credit Suisse in October says the US is “in the lead” when it comes to global wealth. Yet a closer look at the numbers in that report reveals a different story.
While it’s true that wealth in the US is growing faster than anywhere else in the world, it’s not the richest when you compare the average amount of wealth per adult.

Once again, the woman cleans up the mess

By Jacqueline Maley
Updated 8 November 2018 — 7:33pm first published at 3:27pm
It was left to the woman to clean up the mess.
The statement from ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper on what she says Labor leader Luke Foley drunkenly did to her at a Christmas Party in 2016, tells you everything you need to know about why women generally don’t report sexual harassment.
Luke Foley has said the allegations against him are false, and has indicated he will sue for defamation.

Why our retirement system doesn’t work for all

  • By John Daley and Brendan Coates
  • 12:00AM November 9, 2018
The conventional wisdom is that Australians don’t save enough for retirement. But this belief, encouraged by the financial services industry fear factory, is mistaken.
The vast majority of retirees today and in future are likely to be financially comfortable. Most retirees today feel more comfortable financially than younger Australians who are still working. Retirees today are less likely than working-age Australians to suffer financial stress such as being unable to pay a bill on time. Across the income distribution, people typically have enough money to sustain the same, or higher, living standard in retirement as when working.
Most own their own homes and most retirees are more likely to be able to afford optional extras such as annual holidays. Australians tend to spend less after they retire, and even less into old age. While their medical costs increase, these are largely borne by the taxpayer.

Women are burning with a kind of cold fury

By Julia Baird
9 November 2018 — 12:14pm
It is a sick and ancient truth that the unwanted sexual attention of powerful men can be extremely dangerous for women.
First, the physical approach. Second, the subsequent attack. Think of Medusa. She was a beautiful maiden, once. But we forget her story, the origins of her myth. We remember she could turn men to stone with her rage, that she was monstrous and ugly and to be feared. We forget that as a young woman she was raped in the temple of Athena, by the god of the sea, Poseidon. And for this, she was cursed. Punished for being a victim.
Which brings me to the events of this week. There have been few days I can remember when I have seen so many women suddenly burn with a kind of cold fury and disgust. But Thursday was one.

  • Updated Nov 9 2018 at 11:00 PM

Josh Frydenberg tells banks to ease up on lending crackdown

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has urged banks to ease their lending clampdown for the public good as the government seeks to head off a royal commission-inspired credit crunch just as the housing market hits the skids.
As the Reserve Bank of Australia noted in its quarterly statement on monetary policy on Friday that housing credit growth had slowed, Mr Frydenberg expressed concern that lending across the board – for homebuyers, small business and borrowers – could tighten further after Commissioner Kenneth Hayne releases his final report by February 1.

'Public good' invoked

"I would encourage the banks when it comes to lending, in particular for small business, make sure you get the balance right, keep the books open and don't lose sight of the broader public good," he said.
  • Updated Nov 9 2018 at 5:51 PM

An awful realisation dawns on the Morrison government

'Crazy': Turnbull lashes MPs that dumped him
Scott Morrison started talking on Tuesday morning and it seemed for a while as if he didn't know how to stop
There he was at Beefy's Pies in Kunda Park in Maroochydore, fresh off his "Scomobile" bus, wearing the silly hat and being fair dinkum, which on this particular occasion involved what seemed to be a stream-of-consciousness monologue that started with which horse he was backing to win in the Melbourne Cup (Youngstar, it came sixth) through to why Labor was evil.
Along the journey there were lightning stops at all the old reliables of the Coalition credo: infrastructure, getting taxes down, getting electricity prices down, taking on the big energy companies, reducing small business paperwork.

Services are taking over the economy - despite political pushback

By Ross Gittins
10 November 2018 — 12:05am
One test of whether our political leaders are looking to the economy’s future or clinging to its past is whether they show an understanding that most of our future lies in the services economy.
Whether they hanker for an economy where most people earn their living by growing things, digging things out of the ground or making things.
Probably only the dearly departed Malcolm Turnbull passes this test, with his early enthusiasm for innovation and agility. Kevin Rudd said he didn’t want to be the leader of a country that didn’t make things. Scott Morrison took a lump of coal into the Parliament to show where his allegiances lay.

Scott Morrison explains the logic behind Malcolm Turnbull's knifing

By Nicole Hasham & Michael Koziol
9 November 2018 — 3:31pm
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says conservative Liberal insurgents who orchestrated Malcolm Turnbull's demise believed the party must better connect with the values of its grassroots members.
Mr Morrison on Friday attempted to shed light on the logic behind the August leadership chaos after Mr Turnbull's appearance on the ABC's Q&A program on Thursday night, where he said the reasons for his knifing were "the question I can't answer".
"The only people that can answer that are the people that engineered the coup - people like [senior Liberals] Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt and Mathias Cormann - the people who voted for the spill," Mr Turnbull said.

Death throes mark start of another cycle

By Crispin Hull
10 November 2018 — 12:00am
The past couple of decades are not unique in Australian political history: the despising of the loathsome politicians, and the sudden and late coming around of those loathsome politicians to abandon the positions of their financial backers and appease the majority of thoughtful people in the face of impending electoral defeat.
No doubt some diehard Labor supporters are nervous that Scott Morrison's government will neutralise the big issues like Nauru, climate change and an anti-corruption commission with a bit of policy sop and then sneak back into office – that Morrison will road-to-Damascus-like see the light and be as successful as Saint Paul in gaining conversions and followers.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlines his plan for 'fair dinkum power' in this video posted to social media.

Has Chinese investment become toxic?

By Cole Latimer
10 November 2018 — 12:15am
As the shockwaves ripple from the federal government's decision to knock back the CK Group's $13 billion bid for local gas pipeline outfit APA, one Australian banker sees things in very black and white terms.
"State-owned Chinese companies will never buy anything material in Australia again," the banker told Fairfax Media.
The banker who has worked on multiple Chinese investment projects, and preferred to remain anonymous, tipped Chinese investment will keep knocking on the door in Australia but the days of aggressive Chinese state-owned acquisitions are in the past.

Australia's diplomacy with China comes in from the cold. Finally.

By Kirsty Needham & David Wroe
9 November 2018 — 11:37pm
Beijing: In the Australian embassy in Beijing on Thursday night, a celebration was held a year too late. Still the champagne and sausage rolls flowed.
The 45th anniversary of Australia’s diplomatic ties with China had long since passed, but there was finally a minister in town to do the honours.
So Marise Payne, two months into the job of foreign affairs minister, launched a book of 45 personal stories of Australians and Chinese whose lives had become links between the two countries since December 1972. That was a time during which China had opened up to the world, despite a Cold War.
While mystery surrounds Scott Morrison’s sacking from Tourism Australia, a buried audit report shows numerous anomalies and concerns over contracts worth $184 million. By Karen Middleton.

Exclusive: Auditor-general found Morrison breaches

Ever since Scott Morrison was sacked from his job as managing director of Tourism Australia in 2006, the reasons for his dismissal have been kept secret.
At the time and since, public speculation has variously attributed the now prime minister’s removal to a personality clash with his minister, a falling out over changes to the organisation’s structure, and a dispute over the agency’s contentious “Where the bloody hell are you?” campaign.
But an auditor-general’s report completed 10 years ago, which has escaped public scrutiny until now, reveals that in the period leading up to Morrison’s dismissal, his agency faced a series of audits and a review of its contractual processes ordered by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, amid serious concerns about its governance.

The incontrovertible truth about World War I

By Peter FitzSimons
11 November 2018 — 12:12am
Five years ago, the famed Australian military historian Professor Bruce Scates, of Monash University, stepped forward in a Canberra conference room to present to the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board the first lot of the 100 emblematic stories he and his researchers had prepared concerning Australians who’d fought in the Great War.
The lights went down, the stories came up on screen, and their lives unfolded before us. The first was Hugo Throssell, son of a Western Australian premier who was awarded the VC for his bravery at Gallipoli, only to return to WA, marry a fine woman, have a son, and ultimately take his own life. The second was about a man whose shell shock was so bad it had totally wiped out his memory – and it never came back to him. While his mates had died around him on the day of the battle, this particular fellow endured for another five decades of misery, finally dying in what was then known as “a lunatic asylum”.
Each story seemed more horrifying than the last, with more devastating consequences: young men dying grisly deaths and leaving behind ruined families.

Lone wolf attacks hard to prevent but so are simplistic reactions

By Greg Barton
10 November 2018 — 6:06pm
Friday's terrorist attack in Melbourne's Bourke Street was the sort of lone-actor attack that police have been fearing and training for ever since the rise of the Islamic State movement in 2014.
Such attacks are feared in large part because they are so difficult to predict and therefore prevent.
Attacks involving larger teams are often many months in the planning and involve extensive communication that authorities are increasingly able to detect and intercept.

Financial Services Royal Commission Issues.

  • Updated Nov 4 2018 at 11:00 PM

Financial planners to make last stand on reforms

As far as reputations go, financial planning doesn't get much worse.
In 2014, the former chairman of ASIC Greg Medcraft described the industry as "absolutely appalling" and said it was "heartbreaking to actually see people who have been given inappropriate advice". Commonwealth Bank whistleblower Jeff Morris accused it of rampant misconduct, lax education and poor ethics.
Financial advice is an industry in dire need of reform. It's why it is so puzzling that sections of the industry are taking up the cudgels in an attempt to delay, dilute or redo a reform package of legislative instruments due for release this month.

Super investors abandoning the for-profit sector

  • 12:00AM November 5, 2018
The nation’s superannuation savers are continuing to abandon funds managed by major financial institutions in favour of the not-for-profit sector. Funds flowing to AustralianSuper are almost 90 per cent higher than at the same time last year and funds flowing to Cbus from AMP have increased three-fold.
AustralianSuper, a not-for-profit and the nation’s biggest super fund, holding more than $140 billion in retirement savings, said it had seen inflows of $4.65bn in the four months since July 1, up 87 per cent on the same period last year. And the rate of growth was still gathering pace.
“Since the start of the royal commission (into banks), there has been a sharp rise in member contributions,” said Rose Kerlin, AustralianSuper’s group executive for membership.

Funds have been peddling the Great Super Lie

By Ross Gittins
7 November 2018 — 12:00am
Some years ago I went to an investment adviser, gave him my financial details and asked if I had enough super to do me in retirement. He didn’t answer, just laughed. I think he thought that someone with my amount of savings shouldn’t have needed to ask.
Truth is, no matter how high or low the standard of living we’re used to, just about all of us worry that we haven’t saved enough to keep it going in retirement. No matter how much we’ve put away, it’s only human to feel a twinge of guilt that we could have saved more. And how much is enough?
The superannuation industry has spent decades convincing us our savings are inadequate, and pressing the government to raise the rate of compulsory super contributions. The “retail” super funds run by the banks keep doing this, but so do the not-for-profit industry funds.

CBA's focus on profits was an 'imbalance,' its chairman concedes

By Clancy Yeates
7 November 2018 — 11:45am
Commonwealth Bank chairman Catherine Livingstone has conceded there was an "imbalance' in the bank, which resulted in a focus on profitability that left some of its customers worse off.
After a tumultuous year for the country's biggest bank, Ms Livingstone told shareholders on Wednesday that the royal commission into financial misconduct had raised questions about "competency, complacency and priorities" within CBA.
Ms Livingstone said there had been failings in the banks' systems, it did not act quickly enough to address problems, and it focused too much on profitability.

Ethical data use: How is this relevant in Australia in 2018?

In the wake of the Hayne Royal Commission we are hearing about multiple examples of basic governance failures. If we couple this with the requirements of the European Union Global Data Protection Regulation which are impacting organisations dealing with European companies or individuals, the governance of information is an increasing issue for businesses.
While medical, and health and research organisations have long been familiar with ethics committees, the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the sheer complexity of data analytics means that an area that has not previously been a focus now needs management attention and buy in, and resources to train and implement staff across the organisation.
We consider at the end of this article some questions businesses can ask themselves about their use of big data to ensure legal risks are mitigated.
  • Nov 9 2018 at 10:00 AM

Banks must curb conflicts of interest: banking royal commission paper

Research published by the banking royal commission has cast doubt on the push by regulators for more professionalism in banking, finding that conflicts should be reduced and not simply managed.
The work casts doubt on the effectiveness of recent calls from the chairmen of the corporate and prudential regulator for bankers to act more like professionals, as a strategy to rebuild trust.
The paper finds advisers are often unaware of biases created by remuneration policies and that a focus on enhanced disclosure and professional ethics may be insufficient to protect customers.
  • Updated Nov 9 2018 at 11:00 PM

The dark heart of Australian banking

If you looked carefully, the writing was on the wall last December. Shortly after Commissioner Kenneth Hayne was appointed to lead the banking royal commission, the final terms of reference was expanded by a single, yet crucial, sentence.
It took Commissioner Hayne just two weeks to realise the draft terms did not explicitly capture mortgage brokers. He pressed the government to expand on its definition of a financial services entity to include persons or entities "acting as an intermediary between borrowers and lenders". 
It was a small but important change.

Revealed: bank royal commission rap sheets made public

By Sarah Danckert, Clancy Yeates & John Collett
7 November 2018 — 7:42pm
Assault, sexual harassment, ripped off children, homophobic treatment of customers and bankers setting up fake accounts in their customers’ names - this is just a taste of the misconduct laid bare by the nation’s biggest banks in their initial submissions to the royal commission.
Banks handed over the rap sheets to the royal commission after being asked by Commissioner Kenneth Hayne to confess to their misconduct.
The extraordinary list of misdeeds in the banking industry was produced to guide the scope of inquiry's investigations and was provided to the commission earlier this year.

National Budget Issues.

  • Updated Nov 2 2018 at 7:17 PM

Softer retail sales a red flag for consumer health

Rising prices for petrol and food are eating into household budgets threatening to further weigh on consumer spending and drag down economic growth that has only just picked up after years in the doldrums.
Retail spending rose just 0.2 per cent on a seasonally-adjusted basis in September, failing to lift to the 0.3 per cent level expected by economists and that retail sales had reached a month ago.
Consumers reeled in spending on clothes, shoes and accessories during September while continuing to spend at supermarkets, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data out at the end of the week.
  • Nov 4 2018 at 2:00 PM

Sydney drags auction clearances to six-year low amid weak Melbourne Cup volumes

Auction numbers dropped in Melbourne last week due to the Spring Racing Carnival but the laggard was Sydney, which pulled the national preliminary clearance rate to a six-year low. 
Sydney's initial rate for the week to Saturday fell to 47.7 per cent, while the number of scheduled auctions was little changed at 801 from 798 the previous week, data provider CoreLogic showed on Sunday.
This was well below the previous week's initial print of 50.7 per cent - subsequently revised down to 45.3 per cent - and the lowest preliminary rate in an equivalent market since the first week of December 2012, when the rate was 48.6 per cent.

Autism revealed as major NDIS cost

  • 12:00AM November 5, 2018
The flagship National Disability Insurance Scheme is on track to cost more than $33 billion by the end of the next decade after executives in charge of the rollout for the first time singled out children with “high-functioning autism, developmental delay and sensory disabilities” as one of the key challenges.
In its five years, the Nat­ional Disability Insurance Agency, which handles the rollout of the scheme, has not gone into detail about specific causes of budget risks, but its 2017-18 annual report confirms there are at least four major factors never modelled by the Productivity Commission.
The agency is now predicting total NDIS costs will rise from 0.9 per cent of GDP in 2020 to 1.4 per cent in 2030, hitting an even more expensive peak 15 years earlier than first forecast.
  • Nov 6 2018 at 9:56 AM

What economists predict for Australian house prices in 2019

As property values fall across the country, interest in the future direction of prices – particularly as many Australians contemplate whether it's the time to buy, hold or sell – has never been stronger.
After a meteoric rise in Sydney prices over the past five years, aided by a fear of missing out by both investors and owner occupiers, property prices quickly changed tack midway through 2017, catching many experts by surprise.
In the middle of last year, several top economists were predicting house prices to in fact increase in 2018 - one forecasting as much as 9 per cent, but since then house prices have experienced their largest and longest peak to trough decline in recent history spurred on by increased housing affordability constraints, a banking royal commission with a microscope on lending standards, and APRA's restrictions on new investor loans.
  • Updated Nov 5 2018 at 11:24 AM

Housing credit growth to ease: Westpac

Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer has given a sober outlook for mortgage lending growth as the housing market cools and investors pull out.
That forecast was delivered as the country's second biggest bank reported a flat full-year cash earnings of $8.07 billion as provisions for customer refunds, tough operating conditions and higher funding costs put a brake on its profit growth.
"We expect house prices to cool further, and investor demand to remain weak," Mr Hartzer said.

Reserve Bank to weigh 'trifecta' of risks this Melbourne Cup day

By Jessica Irvine
5 November 2018 — 4:24pm
A trifecta of falling home prices, sluggish wages growth and high household debt will dominate discussion at Tuesday’s Reserve Bank board meeting.
The Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, will also meet with the board on Melbourne Cup day to discuss the trio of issues, it is believed.
But Governor Philip Lowe will not stop the nation’s unprecedented run of record low interest rates when he announces the board’s decision at 2:30pm, economists say.
  • Nov 6 2018 at 2:30 PM

Reserve Bank of Australia keeps cash rate on hold at 1.5pc

The Reserve Bank of Australia has upgraded its outlook for the domestic economy and is tipping the unemployment rate to fall below 5 per cent.
Despite the bullish forecasts, the RBA left the official interest rate unchanged for the 27th consecutive month at its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and gave no indication it would lift rates from a record-low 1.5 per cent any time soon.
RBA governor Philip Lowe said in a statement that economic growth was forecast to average about 3.5 per cent this year and in 2019 - above the previous estimates of 3.25 per cent.
  • Updated Nov 7 2018 at 7:49 AM

Soaring listings, credit concerns cloud Melbourne, Sydney housing market outlook

Falling investor and owner-occupier demand is prompting economists to predict deeper falls in the key Sydney and Melbourne housing markets than they expected six months ago.
Prices in the two largest cities are now falling at an annualised rate of 10 per cent and while the pace of decline has not accelerated recently, the final report of the banking royal commission in February could depress lending – and the market – further, Macquarie Securities economists Justin Fabo and Ric Deverell said.
The economists, who in June predicted Sydney and Melbourne dwelling prices to fall 10 per cent from peak to trough with a decline nationally of between 4 per cent and 6 per cent, cut their outlook on Tuesday.
  • Nov 8 2018 at 9:26 AM

APRA proposes lifting major bank capital levels to protect from any shock

Banks face more upward pressure on funding costs, with the prudential regulator proposing to lift capital requirements to ensure the majors have sufficient "loss-absorbing capacity", a move major credit ratings agencies say could strengthen the outlook for the sector. 
The Australia Prudential Regulation Authority said on Thursday morning it will increase the total capital requirement for the four major banks by 4 to 5 percentage points of risk-weighted assets within five years.
It said any form of capital will be able to be used to meet the stricter standards, and it expects most banks to raise it via Tier 2 capital. Banks will not be required to create a new type of loss absorbing instrument.

Health Issues.

Insurance cover ditching natural therapies to save taxpayer dollars

  • 12:00AM November 5, 2018
The popularity of natural therapies and over-the-counter remedies is being tested as the federal government moves to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.
While health insurers paid out $53 million on natural therapies in the June quarter, the government will restrict such policy ­offerings from April 1, leaving members to decide whether it is worth paying for them outright.
The move is designed to put downward pressure on premiums and the government rebate, but comes amid an ongoing debate over rising out-of-pocket expenses across the health sector.

McKinsey scoops $20m from Medicare review

  • 12:00AM November 5, 2018
Consultants from McKinsey have been awarded $20 million in government contracts to help a Medicare review taskforce find savings to be reinvested in the health ­budget.
While the Medicare Benefits Schedule review has previously had the support of the sector, a delay in crucial recommendations around general practice is set to test the patience of lobby groups in the lead-up to the federal election.
The review arose from the failed GP co-payment talks and has been examining some 5700 MBS item numbers to ensure they are evidence-based, provide value-for-money and are used wisely. Its recommendations have already seen more than $400m redirected by the government.
  • Updated Nov 6 2018 at 9:30 AM

Health provider Osana works on prevention, not cure

Cheng, a medical doctor and former management consultant, cites a prediction that by 2040, the proportion of government revenue spent on health will rise to 40 per cent, up from 24 per cent in 2014.
By 2040, healthcare will account for 36 per cent of gross household income, up from 16 per cent in 2017.

 Junior doctors deliver fail grades to Sydney hospitals

By Kate Aubusson
6 November 2018 — 12:00am
Junior doctors have accused Westmead Hospital of allowing a culture of intimidation, discrimination and harassment to permeate, as the alarm over bullying in NSW hospitals grows.
More than half of doctors-in-training (DITs) at the western Sydney hospital reported that they had been bullied, discriminated against or harassed by a hospital staff member, and more than two-thirds witnessed the behaviour.
The damning results were contained in the 2018 Hospital Health Check survey of 1351 DITs working across NSW.

Bitter pill over PBS savings shortfall

  • 12:00AM November 6, 2018
A key savings measure for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme came up $864 million short last year, after a similar shortfall the year before, prompting the federal government to quietly cease ­reporting on its performance.
Under price disclosure, pharmaceutical companies submit sales information to the government so it can adjust its payment to more closely reflect the price at which the medicines are supplied.
As a result, some medicines subject to competition come down in price, saving consumers and the government money.

ALP’s planned cap on health premiums could force 85pc of funds into negative earnings: Macquarie

  • 11:22AM November 7, 2018
Bill Shorten’s plan to cap health insurance premium increases at two per cent could force more than 85 per cent of funds into negative earnings and erode excess capital.
That is the conclusion of investment bank Macquarie’s analysts who have reviewed the impact Labor’s policy would have on the industry. The opposition leader has promised to cap the annual premium increase at two per cent for the first two years of a Labor government.
“The private health insurance industry is facing substantial challenges with the disparity of profitability widening, the largest states becoming more competitive and more than 85 per cent of funds could have insufficient excess capital to weather two consecutive years of a two per cent price cap,” Macquarie’s analysts said in a report to clients.

Opioids killing three Australians every day

  • 12:00AM November 9, 2018
Deaths involving prescription painkillers and illicit opioids are on the rise — killing three Australians, on average, every day — but are yet to reach the toll of the end of last century.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more than one in 10 people has used illegal opioids or misused prescription drugs.
This abuse of painkillers most recently prompted a ban on over-the-counter codeine and a proposed national strategy to better manage painful conditions and help prevent addiction.
The AIHW report, released today, shows that the number of opioid-related deaths in 2016, the most recent year for which data was available, hit 1119.
That was the highest death toll since a peak of 1245 in 1999.

Health insurers fear Labor plan blowout

  • 12:00AM November 10, 2018
Australian health insurers have warned Bill Shorten that if he fails to introduce reforms to support his plan to cap premium increases at 2 per cent, the policy will eventually push the cost of ­insurance significantly higher.
Leaders in the health insurance industry told The Weekend Australian that while Labor’s promise to cap health insurance premium increases at 2 per cent for the first two years of a Labor government had forced debate on the affordability issue, it lacked detail and could significantly hurt the sector.
“What is the detail of the 2 per cent policy that achieves competitive neutrality and does not destabilise a sector that pays for two-thirds of non-emergency surgical procedures?” said Matt Walsh, the chief executive of ­Australian Unity.

International Issues.

  • Updated Nov 4 2018 at 11:45 PM

Jamal Khashoggi was a player, not a bleeding heart liberal: Alexander Downer

I was at a dinner last week with the new British Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Hunt was telling us of his recent meeting with Henry Kissinger. He had asked that doyen of diplomacy what separated the good foreign ministers from the ordinary. "Good foreign ministers have an understanding of strategy," the great man growled. Indeed.
The temptation foreign ministers must avoid is to lose sight of strategy as they react to day to day events, often driven by the ephemeral excitement of the media. Well, the West's media is in overdrive over the murder by the Saudis of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. There's a demand the West should turn its collective back on Saudi Arabia in response to this criminal act.
I'm not defending what the Saudis did. It was clearly unacceptable. Murder always is. But what is it about Saudi Arabia we have learned in the last month that we didn't already know? It's a tough autocracy, the home of Wahhabism, the hardline sect of Islam which harks back to the values and practices of the middle ages. Its political and economic system is run by an eye-wateringly rich royal family who spray their wealth around Mayfair and Fifth Avenue, if not entirely at home.

French Pacific territory New Caledonia rejects independence

4 November 2018 — 11:12pm
Noumea: A majority of voters in the South Pacific territory of New Caledonia have chosen to remain part of France instead of backing independence, election officials announced Sunday as French President Emmanuel Macron promised a full dialogue on the region's future.
The decision to keep ties with France was a watershed moment for the archipelago that lies east of Australia and has sun-kissed lagoons and a strong nickel mining industry.
The independence referendum itself was a milestone in New Caledonia's three-decades-long decolonisation process, which was borne out of deep resentment by the region's native Kanaks of decades of ill treatment by their European coloniser.

Once again, Trump doubles down on hate

By Nicole Hemmer
4 November 2018 — 11:19pm
On the eve of the midterm elections, the American economy is humming. Another quarter-million jobs in October have pushed unemployment down to 3.7 per cent, and, for the first time in a long, long time, wages are starting to rise.
That, however, is not Donald Trump’s closing argument.
Instead, Trump has returned to the rhetoric that launched his presidential campaign more than three years ago: fear-mongering and racism.

US heading for recession in 2020: Russell Investments

  • 12:00AM November 5, 2018
A US recession and President Donald Trump’s escalating China trade spat are two of the biggest worries for global markets. For Australia, the economic shock of a housing correction looms a larger threat.
That’s the view from Russell Pease, the London-based Australian in charge of investment strategy at $US300 billion ($415bn) global fund manager Russell Investments.
For Mr Pease — who previously worked in Macquarie’s funds management unit and as JPMorgan’s Australian chief economist — a domestic jolt such as a housing downturn stands as a more immediate concern for Australia’s economy over offshore volatility. “What people always get wrong about Australia is that if it’s going to have a problem, it’s going to be caused domestically and not going to be caused by the rest of the world so much,” Mr Pease told The Australian.

Twitter deletes over 10,000 accounts that sought to discourage U.S. voting

The removals took place in late September and early October
Reuters (Computerworld) 05 November, 2018 08:56
Twitter deleted more than 10,000 automated accounts posting messages that discouraged people from voting in the U.S. election and wrongly appeared to be from Democrats, after the party flagged the misleading tweets to the social media company.
"We took action on relevant accounts and activity on Twitter," a Twitter spokesman said in an email. The removals took place in late September and early October.
Twitter removed more than 10,000 accounts, according to three sources familiar with the Democrats' effort. The number is modest, considering that Twitter has previously deleted millions of accounts it determined were responsible for spreading misinformation in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
  • Updated Nov 5 2018 at 11:00 PM

Donald Trump to become more 'extreme' on trade if GOP loses Congress, warns Rudd

Washington | A politically wounded Donald Trump in   the US midterm elections may be the world's worst nightmare, prompting him to become even more "extreme" in his America First approach, attacks on the WTO, and escalating trade war with China, warns Kevin Rudd.
While a strong showing from the American people for their President may shock and dismay many Australians, Mr Trump would be more likely to strike a deal with China's President on trade "if he feels politically affirmed by the result", Mr Rudd told The Australian Financial Review in an interview.
"If he emerges in an embattled state from the midterms, having lost the House, and a further embattled state if he then faces adverse findings from the Mueller investigation, I'm less optimistic that he would have the political capital in his own mind to strike a deal with Xi Jinping to bring the trade war to an end," he said.

Diplomatic thaw shows Beijing eager for friends, experts say

By David Wroe
6 November 2018 — 12:07am
Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne’s crucial visit to Beijing this week shows the Chinese government is eager to get its relationship with Australia back on a friendly footing after a year of diplomatic frostiness, China experts say.
Senator Payne’s planned visit - the first by an Australian foreign minister since Julie Bishop in 2016 - comes as the Trump administration cranks up pressure on Beijing over issues such as trade, intellectual property theft and the militarisation of artificial islands in the South China Sea.
Richard McGregor, a China expert at the Lowy Institute, said that in this combustible atmosphere with Washington, Beijing was looking to re-engage with countries such as Australia.

Ban Ki-moon 'deeply concerned' by rise in xenophobia, nationalism

By Ruth Williams
6 November 2018 — 12:05am
Businesses must lead the way in adapting to the new reality of climate change, says former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, who has called on the corporate world to help combat what he describes as "the single most devastating threat" facing humanity.
And Mr Ban has urged Australia to remember its "proud legacy" as a founding member and "integral part" of the United Nations, calling on it to play a leading global role on issues like climate change and human rights amid what he describes as "gratuitous attacks" on multilateralism and the "re-emergence of nationalism, xenophobia and isolationist political parties and governments" in some parts of the world.
In an interview via email with Fairfax Media, Mr Ban, 74, says he is "deeply concerned" by this trend and the risks he fears it poses to global stability.
  • Updated Nov 7 2018 at 8:35 AM

China's mysterious H-20 bomber has a nuclear mission and a threat that's worse

by Alex Lockie
China's much-hyped but never-before-seen H-20 nuclear bomber has reportedly made "great progress" in its development recently and may even fly publicly in a 2019 military parade.
But while China bills the mysterious jet as a modern answer to the US' airborne leg of its nuclear triad, a close read of Beijing's military and nuclear posture reveals another mission much more likely to actually draw blood.
Though the jet remains an absolute unknown with only concept-art depictions in existence, let's start with what we know. China describes the H-20 as a "new long-distance strategic bomber", which recent imagery suggests will take a stealthy delta-wing design.
  • Nov 8 2018 at 10:33 AM

Donald Trump now faces an almighty battle with Congress

by Edward Luce
The biggest feat of Donald Trump's first two years as US president was a huge tax cut. The remaining two will probably start off with an almighty battle over whether his personal tax returns will be made public.
The difference between a unified US federal government and a divided one is always immense.
This time, the contrast will be like night and day. Mr Trump repeatedly pilloried Democrats as a party of crime on the campaign trail for the midterm elections. On Tuesday night (Wednesday AEDT) they gained control of the House of Representatives, which means they now have the majority's power to investigate criminal allegations against his administration. They will make full use of it. The next few months will be a golden age of congressional subpoenas.
  • Nov 8 2018 at 11:00 AM

Donald Trump freaks out after midterms and ousts Jeff Sessions

Trump accuses reporter of asking 'racist question'
by Jennifer Rubin
Washington |President Trump's party lost the House — handing Democrats one chamber's subpoena powers — and racked up big losses in governors' races. So naturally, Trump freaked out.
First came the press conference, freakish even for him. Behaving more like a wounded animal than a president claiming vindication, he sounded peevish and more overtly racist than usual.
He claimed not to understand questions from reporters who spoke in somewhat accented English. And he singled out and excoriated one Republican losing incumbent after another, bashing them for not embracing him more strongly.
  • Nov 8 2018 at 11:22 AM

China economy at risk of 'downward spiral', state think tank warns

by Leng Cheng
Shanghai |The head of an influential state-backed think tank has forecast that China's economic expansion may be entering a long-term "downward spiral" as all three engines of growth — investment, exports and consumption — slow.
The comments by Li Yang, head of the National Institution for Finance & Development and the former deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, come against the backdrop of increasing concern among the country's top policymakers about the outlook for the world's second-largest economy and the impact of the trade war with the US.
Gross domestic product, a measure of all goods and services produced in an economy, rose by 6.5 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, the lowest in almost a decade.
"GDP [growth] is slowing, investment [growth] is slowing, export [growth] is slowing and consumption [growth] is slowing" and the growth rates are slowing at the same pace or faster than GDP growth, Li said in a speech at the Chinese Institutional Investors Summit in Beijing recently.

If you think a gridlocked Congress will rein in Trump, think again

By Stephen Bartholomeusz
8 November 2018 — 11:57am
The immediate reaction of financial markets to the outcome of the US midterm elections suggests investors expect history to repeat itself. Given the unpredictability of the Trump presidency, that may be a flawed assumption.
The 12 months after the midterms has historically been a particularly strong period for equity markets, even after outcomes like this week’s, which leaves Congress now in "gridlock".
An outcome where neither Republicans nor Democrats control both chambers provides markets with reassurance that nothing too radical will emerge, making the outlook for the next two years appear more predictable and the settings more stable.

Rebuke but not rejection gives Trump hope for a second term

By Matthew Knott
7 November 2018 — 5:51pm
New York: The US midterm elections should deliver a blaring wake-up call to both Donald Trump and to the Democratic Party.
The question is whether either Trump or his political opponents possess the self-reflection required to turn the results into a springboard to victory at the 2020 presidential election.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told supporters the day was about restoring "checks and balances to the Trump administration."

China-Australia thaw to be tested in Beijing today

By Kirsty Needham
8 November 2018 — 5:33am
Beijing: It is the same state guesthouse where North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was entertained by Chinese president Xi Jinping as Kim made his first secret visit abroad in March.
That was a significant thaw for China. Now the Australian thaw will be tested at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.
Foreign affairs minister Marise Payne arrived to a chilly Beijing late on Wednesday evening, the first day of winter in the ancient Chinese solar calendar.

The limits of Trump’s politics of race

By Waleed Aly
8 November 2018 — 11:44am
Ever since Donald Trump’s stunning presidential victory in 2016, there has been a quiet, enduring debate on precisely how he won it. To simplify, crudely, there are those who put it down to culture, and others who hold it was, more importantly, about economics and class.
For the former, Trump won on race, immigration and misogyny, assembling a coalition of white voters energised by all that talk of walls and Muslim bans and ramped-up deportations of immigrants, framed disproportionately as rapists and murderers and drug dealers. The latter emphasise Trump’s surprisingly protectionist economic rhetoric – once unthinkable from a Republican – that railed against a system controlled by global elites to the detriment of the working Americans who’ve watched their jobs disappear.
Full disclosure, I was in the economics camp. That doesn’t mean I think race and immigration weren’t a major part of Trump’s election pitch. And it doesn’t even mean they weren’t really important issues for many – even most – of those who voted for Trump.

Trump's $2.1 trillion deal with the devil has failed

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
8 November 2018 — 7:30pm
Donald Trump's economic deal with the devil has failed even in its most immediate and cynical objective. It is downhill on every front from now on. The president debased the US public accounts with a Peronist fiscal policy of staggering irresponsibility in order to keep control of Congress - or rather to buy Congress with $US1.5 trillion ($2.1 trillion) of future public debt, might be a better description.
He lost the House anyway, and with it his chances of avoiding a blizzard of subpoenas from the oversight and intelligence committees. The Democrats won the popular vote by 7 per cent at the absolute apogee of a Republican fiscal boom.
The sugar rush of stimulus so late in the economic cycle is already starting to fade. Over the course of 2019 the Faustian pact will progressively close in on Mr Trump, and on the credit-rating of the US Treasury. Morgan Stanley said it will turn ineluctably into "fiscal drag" as the months pass without more handouts to feed the monster.

White House shares fake video to support punishment of CNN's Jim Acosta

By Drew Harwell
9 November 2018 — 3:25am
Washington: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday night shared a video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta that appeared to have been edited to make his actions at a news conference look more aggressive than they were.
The edited video looks authentic: Acosta appeared to swiftly chop down on the arm of a White House aide as he held onto a microphone while questioning US President Donald Trump. However in the original video, Acosta's arm appears to move only as a response to a tussle for the microphone. His statement, "Pardon me, ma'am," is not included in the video Sanders shared.
Sarah Sanders has shared a doctored video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta that appears to make his actions at a news conference look more aggressive than they were. This video posted on Twitter @aymanndotcom shows the discrepancies.

Australia must tread carefully in its Pacific contest with China

By Richard McGregor and Jonathan Pryke
9 November 2018 — 12:00am
If you want a glimpse into the future of Australia's relationship with China, with all the elements of competition and co-operation, and tensions and bridge-building, then this week is a good place to start.
Marise Payne is in Beijing, the first visit by an Australian foreign minister to the Chinese capital for over two years, evidence enough of the depths to which the relationship had sunk. While she was there, Scott Morrison announced a swathe of fresh policies to reassert Australia’s place as the prime economic and security partner of Pacific island nations.
The initiatives include new aid, a development bank, military partnerships and new diplomatic posts, including one in Niue, population 1624. No one has any doubt as to why the Cabinet has suddenly become excited about what many politicians crassly call “our backyard”.

China on road to a big crash

  • 12:00AM November 10, 2018
Relations with China look set to thaw after a lengthy diplomatic freeze brought about by the ­Coalition’s tough response to Chinese influence operations in Australia, cyber theft and a growing rivalry in the South ­Pacific.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s two-day visit to Beijing is being touted as an icebreaker. A follow-up visit by Scott Morrison is likely despite China’s displeasure over Canberra’s decision to block a Hong Kong company’s bid for gas pipeline company APA on national interest grounds. Business leaders are delighted Xi Jinping has signalled his apparent willingness to allow foreign companies better access to the Chinese market in a landmark speech to an international import expo in Shanghai this week.
But not everyone is convinced that this marks a decisive turning point in Sino-Australian relations or that Beijing will really open its protected domestic market to international competition. And critics are sceptical of China’s ability to weather the approaching trade and geopolitical storms that are clouding the rosy future Xi depicts for his country. The paradox of China’s rise is that the more successful it becomes, the more there are doubts about the durability of the Chinese economic miracle.
I look forward to comments on all this!


Anonymous said...

Another bad look - https://www.smh.com.au/healthcare/hidden-conflict-my-health-record-boss-privately-giving-advice-to-health-firms-20181107-p50eh9.html

Anonymous said...

So we get a glimpse of the graveyard train passengers. Tim was ask a few questions in the UK regarding TLG Communications: TLG was a lobbying firm taken over by consultants FTI. TLG's lobbying clients included Prudential, Serco and BT. It's not known who FTI lobbies for but raise some questions and put a spotlight on someone in 2015, not long after opendemocracy dig some digging linking questionable relationships involving NHS Telstra Australia Health 2.0

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, do tell more @9:01pm.

Email David if you'd like to have an off-the-record chat.

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Slightly edited quotes from Tim Kelsey

"(we have) failed to adequately inform patients about how they can opt out of having their GP medical records shared."

"I think that maybe we haven't been clear enough about the opt-out"

These are from a Report in the Register in 2014 about the failure of care.data in the UK

On the Drum (ABC TV) tonight Dr Norman Swan, a friend of of myhr (his vested interests were made clear) made the rather obvious observation that the government had made a mess of communications in conducting the opt-out process.

Some people just never learn.

If anyone expects them to get it right in the next ten weeks, having made such a mess already, they are naive optimists. IMHO.

Someone sarcastically tweeted:

"So Australians have until 31 January 2019 to opt out of the #MyHealthRecord.

If you don't opt out by the 31 January 2019 you will then have until the next extension period yet to be announced by this incompetent Health Minister and disaster of a government."


If the ADHA thinks that the world is watching Australia's efforts in Digital Health in admiration, they also are naive optimists.

The Daily Mail and The Guardian are reporting with great glee ADHA's misfortunes, knowing full well who it behind them.

Anonymous said...

Changed the policy, now change the personnel. The LNP ministers for health had one simple job - hire someone who could gain acceptance of and usefulness of the GovHR system. Instead they have failed and Minister Hunt has been made to look simple. On a positive perhaps now the unstoppable wave of health applications with privacy and service by design have a chance to take root in Australia.

Anonymous said...

Jim Birch is a professional board memeber, he should and does know better. I am all for people reaching out and receiving help from seasoned professionals. However, this is not a good look for the public sector as there are pretty clears rules around this. As a point interest he has been advising Personify Care:

Personify Care also announced this week the release of ‘Personify Connect’ which will provide hospitals with seamless integration of the Personify Care Platform with both their existing patient management systems, and the Federal Government’s My Health Record. This new product offering has been developed as part of the company’s national partnership with Chamonix, another Adelaide-based technology company. Chamonix have developed technology for the Australian Digital Health Agency deployed across hundreds of hospitals in Australia.

Chamonix has been receiving lots of tax payer money for many years and came out of the blue. All the hallmarks of how Epic came to be.

I don’t think it is coincidence some of the Executive are dim witted followers who if they could see would turn a blind eye, the CEO is could be argued made a fortune buying directors and board memeber influences.

I guess one mans corruption is another’s conflict of interest is another’s networking opportunity conference

Anonymous said...

You guys in the closed bubble of sites like this are making a big splash in a small pond. The real game is on mainstream TV and radio.

That's how I found out about the privacy website which led me to this blog.

You've got 10 weeks to do it again. If you get it right, that'll buy you another 10 weeks etc until the election. If the ALP are smart they'll smell blood - Tim, Jim and Greg's - And the big prize of government.

Tim's lost control of the agenda. Tim and Jim have embarrassed the government - a mortal sin. It's always possible that Greg will read the tea leaves but he has a bigger problem - loss of face.

There's only one outcome that makes any sense. The death of My Health Record. For politicians there's only cost and risk. My Health Record is basically big brother government and fits nobody's ideological mindset. Jane Halton has already seen the writing on the wall, she got out well and early. Martin Bowles didn't go along with it, he jumped. Glenys Beauchamp is a lightweight who doesn’t know what’s going on – she’s reliant on advisers, not a group that have covered themselves in glory so far.

Have a merry Christmas guys, your wishes may come true - if you play the game right.
Just remember - My Health Record now has nothing to do with health, records or technology.

Anonymous said...

Reading this useful site and others does not exclude one from watching TV reading the papers or surfing the net. Nor are we all “guys”. I may not always agree or like what is on this site but that is what makes it so readable and you can gain some valuable insights from a number of perspectives. David’s blog is probably one of the few “bubbles” that allows anyone’s views to be heard, unedited (except occasionally when emotion gets the better of a contributor. Outside this bubble it is not like that. The rise of Anon positing is evident, I and many others now the consequences of posting your name on this site.

Anonymous said...

5 Health Ministers since the PCEHR was launched in 2012 set this program up to fail. What a shameful waste of tax payer money by the body politic!

Anonymous said...

This Jim Birch seems on the surface to be a useful man to many small and larger organisations. Perhaps he should be cut some slack, everyone makes mistakes and joining the Government ranks might not have been a wise move.

That said he should step down from the board.