Australian News Headlines, Auspol News Headlines, Monday 22 January 2018
Bob Katter questions Adani funding.
The Townsville Bulletin writes that Federal MP Bob Katter has demanded an explanation from the Townsville City Council for their funding contribution to Adani, questioning the contribution from ratepayers. It is reported that Mr Katter said he will send a letter to Townsville City Council questioning why “one of the wealthiest people on earth” requires an additional $18.5 million from local ratepayers.
“I did not believe the news item when I heard it, that rate payers of Townsville were going to be building an airport 200 to 300km away for a foreign corporation,” Mr Katter commented.
“If the foreign corporation needs $18.5m, then I think we can safely assume the project is in real trouble.
Pay of Australian university heads called into question after UK protest.
The Guardian writes that Australians should start questioning just how much university vice-chancellors really earn, the education minister has said, amid controversy in the UK over the “outrageous” salary of the University of Bath’s vice chancellor which was only half that of Australia’s highest-paid equivalent. It is reported that Simon Birmingham said on Thursday that universities should reconsider the pay packets of their senior executives, some of whom earn more than a million dollars a year in salary and accommodation benefits. On Wednesday writes the Guardian, the University of Bath vice-chancellor, Dame Glynis Breakwell, retired after controversy over her salary of £468,000 a year ($812,500). The furore led to a national conversation and drove students to the streets in protest. However, the Guardian reports, in Australia, Breakwell’s pay packet – which was Britain’s largest – would be Australia’s 28th highest, and half of what the vice-chancellor of the University of Sydney earns after benefits are added. According to the Australian, 12 vice-chancellors in Australia took home an outrageous amount which was more than a million dollars in 2016, and the University of Sydney’s Michael Spence nearly doubled Breakwell’s total pay at $1.44m.
Pork barrelling 'undermining public trust' says former Turnbull minister Darren Chester.
The Age reports that former Turnbull cabinet minister Darren Chester has slammed a $1 billion government slush fund over its lack of transparency after Fairfax Media revealed hundreds of millions of dollars were going to marginal electorates while safe seats missed out. It is reported that Mr Chester, who was controversially dumped from cabinet in a pre-Christmas reshuffle by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, lashed the "Community Development Grants" program on Saturday over its opaque funding allocations.
"It's not the projects that are funded which are always the issue, it's the ones which miss out," he commented.
"[The] lack of transparency on grant allocations is undermining public trust in our system of government."
Centrelink systematically ripping off clients: whistleblower.
The Canberra Times reports that Centrelink is deliberately ripping-off thousands of Australians caught up in its data matching "robo-debt" program, with managers telling public servants at the agency to enforce debts they know are bogus, according to explosive new claims. They report that the serious allegations have emerged as a second Liberal backbench senator breaks ranks and criticises the data matching effort which the government hopes will add $4.5 billion to the budget bottom line. Another whistleblower they report, has come forward with an insider's account of how the so-called "debts" are being pursued, alleging that glaring errors are deliberately ignored by Centrelink to allow it to extract money from its clients while others are being told they must repay "fictitious payments".
Eighty per cent of capital gains tax benefits go to top 10pc.
The Financial Times writes that People earning in excess of $110,000 a year receive more than 80 per cent - or $7.6 billion - of the annual benefits of the capital gains tax discount, new Tax Office figures show. They report that that's up from 70 per cent a decade or so ago, prompting the Grattan Institute to renew calls for an overhaul of the 50 per cent discount on capital gains, which many experts believe to be the most pernicious aspect of property taxation. They write that Grattan budget policy program director Danielle Wood analysed data released by the Australian Tax Office this month and found that there was little change in the distribution of negative gearing benefits according to income.
"The thing that has changed over time is the share of the tax benefits from the capital gains tax discount going to the top 10 per cent of income earners," she said.
"In 2003-04 they were getting about 70 per cent of the benefits, but in 2014-15 it had risen to more than 80 per cent."
Morrison lauds Trump's corporate tax cuts.
SBS News writes that Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has praised Donald Trump's trickle down economics corporate tax cuts, saying they have already pushed up wages for Walmart workers. Treasurer Scott Morrison has suggested Australia should copy Donald Trump's tax policies, saying that struggling Aussie families won't get ahead if their employers are taxed too heavily. It is reported that Mr Morrison made the comments in the wake of a new Oxfam report on the widening gap between Australia's haves and have-nots. The report says wealth inequality in Australia is among the worst in the developed world, with Australia ranked 22 out of the 35 OECD countries reports SBS News.
Inequality gap grows as Australia sees massive leap in billionaires.
The Age reports that last year saw the largest increase in the number of billionaires, and their wealth, since the start of this century, widening the gap between Australia's richest and the rest of the nation. The number of Australian billionaires they write grew by a third in 2017, and has more than doubled in the last decade, prompting calls for greater income equality in the country. They report that Australia added eight new billionaires in 2017, lifting the number to 33, while their overall wealth increased by around $38 billion and their total wealth sitting at around $115.4 billion.
Not surprisingly miners make up a large proportion of the nation’s top 10 billionaires, Gina Rinehart, her daughter Bianca Rinehart, and Andrew Forrest – who made their wealth through iron ore mining – and are joined by property and shopping centre magnates Harry Triguboff, Frank Lowy and John Gandel, Visy manufacturer Anthony Pratt, James Packer, Linfox transport owner Lindsay Fox, and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.
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Image 1 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/i-want-the-word-gay-back-katter/news-story/17ebd6aba7552149f650eb76d19b6324
Image 2 http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/gippsland-mp-darren-chester-promoted-to-federal-cabinet/news-story/5a5a1538e4d80f87f9e83fa2344e1d70
Image 3 https://newmatilda.com/2017/03/01/robo-prcks-centrelink-sinks-to-a-new-low-in-growing-debt-fiasco/
Image 4 https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2012/february/1328593883/nick-bryant/so-who-bloody-hell-are-you