Showing posts with label News Corp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News Corp. Show all posts

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

So how is News Corp faring in the NSW Northern Rivers region?

The total resident population of the NSW Northern Rivers region is est. 302,649 people.

News Corp dominates print media in the region and, given that this multinational is losing cross-platform readership in Australia, here are the Northern Rivers region numbers News Corp admits to in July 2019.


The Northern Star (Lismore) – newspaper printed Monday to Sauturday – No print reach published, 178.6k digital & 140.4k mobile monthly reach self-reported. Average print readership per issue likely to be around 28,000.

The Daily Examiner (Grafton) – newspaper printed Monday to Saturday – No print reach published, 42.6k digital & 32.5k mobile monthly reach self-reported. Average print readership per issue likely to be less than 10,000.

The Lismore Echo – free weekly community newspaper home delivered – 45,000 monthly reach self-reported.

Ballina Shire Advocate – free weekly community newspaper home delivered – 27,000 monthly reach self-reported.

Richmond River Express-Examiner (Casino region) – weekly community newspaper – 20,000 monthly reach self-reported.

Coastal Views (Lower Clarence Valley) – free weekly community newspaper home deivered – 16,000 monthly reach self-reported.

By contrast non-News Corp news outlets, the free weekly community newspapers the Byron Shire Echo and Clarence Valley Independent self-report a reach of 53,000 & 13,500 per print issue respectively, with the Byron Shire Echo having a self-reported 128.6k monthly digital reach as part of the Echo NetDaily regional news website.

Friday, 20 December 2019

Facebook Inc. agrees to pay News Corp millions annually for news service content

Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 105, December 2019, p.6:

105.2.1 Facebook’s news service

The launch of Facebook’s news service is a “powerful precedent that will echo around editorial departments”, News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson has declared (Australian, 28 October 2019). Thomson said it had been a difficult decade for journalism, but Facebook’s service was an important step. He said, “Great journalism will only be sustainable at scale if there is a fundamental change to the digital ecosystem. This announcement is an important step on the road.”

News Corp’s deal with Facebook — which covers the New York Post and Dow Jones publications such as the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s — will generate licence fees reaching into the double-digit millions of dollars a year, people familiar with the agreement said. “Of itself, it begins to change the terms of trade for quality journalism, both in establishing the principle of payment, and in allowing news organisations a clearer opportunity to generate advertising revenue on their terms,” Thomson said. He has led a global battle against Facebook and Google over issues including opaque algorithms, digital advertising dominance and a failure to pay for journalists’ work.....

Facebook’s news service launched with a test audience of 200,000 US users, but the platform plans to roll it out beyond the US early next year. A date for launch in Australia has not been announced.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Very predictably News Corp rolled out a climate change denier to help buttress the Morrison Government's stubborn contrarian stance

Here is mining company director/shareholder and sometimes owner, as well as consultant to industry, Ian Plimer, joining in the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison-Murdoch Coalition's ongoing attempt to deny anthropomorphic global warming and climate change.

In the opening paragraphs of the article Plimer exceeds his previous infantile opposition to the science of climate change. 

The Australian, 22 November 2019, p.12:

Talk of an emergency is ignorant, populist scaremongering
As soon as the words carbon footprint, emissions, pollution, and decarbonisation, climate emergency, extreme weather, unprecedented and extinction are used, I know I am being conned by ignorant activ­ists, populist scaremonger­ing, vote-chasing politicians and rent seekers.
Pollution by plastics, sulphur and nitrogen gases, particulates and chemicals occurs in developing countries. That’s real pollution. The major pollution in advanced economies is the polluting of minds about the role of carbon dioxide. There are no carbon emissions. If there were, we could not see because most carbon is black. Such terms are deliberately misleading, as are many claims...... [my yellow highlighting]
As most high school students would be able to tell Mr. Plimer - not that he needs telling as he was university educated and his purpose here is to obfuscate not inform - "Carbon" is shorthand for "Carbon Dioxide Equivalent" or CO2-e. 
These terms covers what are known as "Greenhouse Gases" such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, some artificial chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons and hydrocarbons.
Again, a high school student would be aware that black carbon is a dangerous air polluting element - mainly produced by the incomplete combustion of oil or coal and the burning of wood. It also contributes to global warming.
However, the reason black carbon has not turned the sky into permanent darkness that Plimer suggests as an outcome is that it has not yet reached saturation levels in the atmosphere.
Though black carbon can lead to very low visibility for prolonged periods as the bushfire smoke over Sydney and rural/regional Australia this month demonstrated and, open-cut coal mining on a weekly basis and city traffic periodically demonstrate throughout the year.
Bushfire smoke over Sydney NSW, 21 November 2019
2GB Image

Bushfire smoke in Clarence Valley NSW, 22 November 2019

Air pollution over coal mine, Hunter Valley NSW, circa 2019
The Singleton Argus Image

Smog in Melbourne Vic, 28 June 2018
ABC News Image

Mr. Plimer makes a fool of himself in his attempt to fool others - when the evidence of black carbon pollution is both before our eyes and in the air quality readings that state governments collect. [See NSW EPA website]

Sunday, 16 June 2019

News Corp columnist's rant runs foul of Australian Press Council standards

Adjudication 1757: Complainant / The Daily Telegraph (June 2019)  
Document Type: Complaints
Outcome: Adjudications

The Press Council considered whether its Standards of Practice were breached by an article published by The Daily Telegraph on 13 September 2017 by The Daily Telegraph headed in print “An identity crisis” and online “WHAT MADNESS CAN JUSTIFY MUTILATING OUR CHILDREN” and a Podcast on 16 April 2018 titled “Ryan T. Anderson joins Miranda Devine live on gender identity”, included as a link in the online article.  

The article referred to a “pernicious social fad for transgenderism in children which has been embraced by an activist subset of the medical profession” and stated that “new laws in Victoria can punish therapists who oppose transitioning children” and “hundreds of children who say they are trapped in the body of the opposite sex are being referred to gender clinics in Australia, with numbers tripling in the past three years at one Sydney clinic.” It included comments by a named University Professor, who it described as “one of the few pediatricians courageous enough to speak out against this fashion for ‘child surgical abuse’”. It quoted the Professor saying that “Prepubertal children have no idea about sexuality and choices of procreation afterwards” and “We’re messing with their limbic system and expecting them to make this great evaluation.”

The article went on to say: “Yet there is no medical evidence to justify the epidemic of transgender kids. No evidence that changing sex will reduce the incidence of self-harm or suicide or lessen the impact of other associated mental states such as depression or autism.” The article concluded: “When they grow up, surely these children have grounds for a class ­action against the hospitals and drug companies which have ­mounted such a monstrous assault on their developing bodies.”

The podcast was referred to as an interview with Ryan T. Anderson to “discuss recent attempts in Australia and the United States to introduce gender theory into anti-bullying programs”. The introduction said: “Children are being given puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and having their breasts removed at the age of 14 and 15 with the permission of the Family Court. Yet there is little medical evidence to justify this experimentation on children, no evidence that these hormones are safe to be used on kids, no evidence of any reduction in self-harm or suicide.”

Following a complaint, the Council asked the publication to comment on whether the article and podcast complied with its Standards of Practice. In particular, the Council sought comment on the statement that there is “no evidence” that “cross-sex hormones are safe to be used on kids, no evidence of any reduction in self-harm or suicide” or “that changing sex will reduce the incidence of self-harm or suicide”. The Council referred the publication to a number of articles identified by the complainant, including one entitled “Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline” (2009).

In addition the Council sought comment on whether the article’s statement that “new laws in Victoria can punish therapists who oppose transitioning their children”, given the provisions of the new Victorian Health Complaints Act, and on the descriptions of medical procedures as “mutilation” and “child surgical abuse” and a “monstrous assault on their developing bodies” were a breach of the Council’s Standards.

The publication said the article and the content of the podcast were clearly identified as opinion and the author was entitled to express her opinion concerning the medical practices administered to children and adolescents in gender clinics. It said that in making comments, particularly those concerning there being “no evidence” of the matters referred to, the author relied on interviews with medical experts in the field, widespread reading of the scientific literature and anecdotal evidence of parents and people who regret childhood hormone or surgical interventions, as well as the experiences of a transgender friend of the author. The publication identified a number of medical articles as relevant.

The publication said the Victorian Health Complaints Act is designed to prevent conversion therapy of sexual minorities and to provide for a complaints process about health service provision.

It said the columnist was entitled to express her views on the appropriateness of how sections of the medical profession are treating children who they believe are transgender and to express her view that it is wrong for a child as young as 15 years to be receiving medically unnecessary double mastectomies.


The Council’s Standards of Practice applicable in this matter require that publications take reasonable steps to ensure that factual material is accurate and not misleading and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion (General Principle 1), and presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts (General Principle 3). If the material is significantly inaccurate or misleading, or unfair or unbalanced, publications must take reasonable steps to provide adequate remedial action or an opportunity for a response to be published (General Principles 2 and 4).  The Standards of Practice also require that publications take reasonable steps to avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or to a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest (General Principle 6).

The Council notes that the article and the podcast contain expressions of the author’s opinion. However, the Council considers they also contain material presented as facts, including the statement in the article that there is “No evidence that changing sex will reduce the incidence of self-harm or suicide or lessen the impact of other associated mental states such as depression or autism” and in the podcast that there is “no evidence that these hormones are safe to be used on kids, no evidence of any reduction in self-harm or suicide”.  

The Council accepts that it is open to an author to question the appropriateness of particular medical treatments and procedures. There may be conflicting evidence in support of, or opposition to, such treatments which the Council will not be in a position to resolve. However the statements that there was “no evidence” was not qualified in any way, such as asserting that there was no reliable evidence. The Council notes that the publication did not rely on any particular article as supporting a statement that there was “no evidence”. The Council considers that, given the existence of medical guidelines which recommend various treatments and procedures to assist transitioning children and adolescents, the statement that there was “no evidence” was made in such absolute terms that it was inaccurate and misleading.  The Council considers the publication failed to take reasonable steps to ensure these statements were accurate and not misleading. 

Accordingly, the Council finds that the publication breached General Principles 1 and 3 in these respects. This conclusion does not amount to a finding on the appropriateness of the medical treatments available.

As to the new laws in Victoria, the Council considers that the broad term ‘therapists’ could include persons who, if providing a general health service, may fall under the remit of the new Victorian Health Complaints Act and therefore be subject to penalties under the Act. The Council is satisfied on the material available to it that the statement “... new laws in Victoria can punish therapists who oppose transitioning children …” is not inaccurate or misleading. Accordingly, the Council does not consider that General Principles 1 and 3 were breached in this respect.

As the publication was not approached for a correction or right of reply, the Council considers there was no breach of General Principles 2 and 4.

The Council accepts that the columnist’s descriptions of medical procedures as “mutilation”, “child surgical abuse” and a “monstrous assault on their developing bodies” were likely to cause offence and distress amongst those undergoing such treatment and amongst their families, and were also likely to cause or exacerbate prejudice. However, the Council considers there is public interest in vigorous public debate about the issue, even when an argument is expressed in very strong terms, as is the case here. The Council considers that to the extent there was substantial offence, distress and prejudice, it was justified in the public interest. Accordingly, General Principle 6 was not breached. 

Relevant Council Standards (not required for publication)
This Adjudication applies the following General Principles of the Council.
Publications must take reasonable steps to:
General Principle 1 – Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion.
General Principle 2 – Provide a correction or other adequate remedial action if published material is significantly inaccurate or misleading.
General Principle 3 – Ensure that factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts.
General Principle 4 – Ensure that where material refers adversely to a person, a fair opportunity is given for subsequent publication of a reply if that is reasonably necessary to address a possible breach of General Principle 3.
General Principle 6 - Avoid causing or contributing materiality to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

On 4 June 2019 federal police raided home of Newscorp journalist over story detailing an alleged government proposal to spy on Australians

It seems that someone in the Morrison Government may have laid a complaint........

Braidwood Times, 4 June 2019:

Federal police have raided the home of a journalist over a 2018 story detailing an alleged government proposal to spy on Australians.

Australian Federal Police officers produced a warrant to search the home, computer and mobile phone of Canberra-based News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The story in question had included images of letters between the heads of the Home Affairs and Defence departments, discussing potential new powers for the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

The powers would have allowed the ASD's cyber sleuths to monitor Australian citizens and businesses on home soil, rather than being limited to gathering intelligence on foreigners, the story said.

The AFP said the raid is in relation to "alleged unauthorised disclosure of national security information" and that no arrests are expected on Tuesday.

"Police will allege the unauthorised disclosure of these specific documents undermines Australia's national security," the agency said in a statement…...


Sunday Tasmanian, 6 May 2018, p.13:

The Federal Government has “war-gamed” scenarios where our cyber spy agency needed to be given the power to investigate Australian citizens.

Last week the Sunday Tasmanian revealed a secret plan to increase the Australian Signals Directorate’s powers to allow them to spy on Aussies.

Department bosses claimed there was “no proposal to ­increase the ASD’s powers to collect intelligence on Australians”. But letters between Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo and Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty reveal the departments of Home ­Affairs and Defence allocated staff to war game a raft of scenarios where the ASD would need to spy on Australians.

The list of scenarios were compiled in two attachments and sent to the heads of both departments under the headline “scenarios proposed by Home Affairs”.

The document explains how ASD could be used to ­disrupt “onshore and offshore online threats” such as “disrupting child exploitation networks and terrorist networks” and “illicit drug importation, money laundering and serious crimes”.

Last week’s Sunday Tasmanian exclusive has prompted calls for MPs to have greater oversight of Australia’s intelligence agencies…..

Sunday Telegraph, 29 April 2018, p.5:

Australia’s intelligence watchdog has warned the Australian Signals Directorate against any moves that would change the agency’s focus “to people and organisations ­inside Australia” instead of focusing on activities overseas.

The veiled warning came in March during a review into new laws which established the ASD as a statutory body.

In her submission, Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) Margaret Stone, a former Federal Court judge, said under the current laws ASD is not permitted to access digital information ­located inside Australia.

“Accessing data located inside Australia is properly an action that requires an ASIO or police warrant,” she said in her submission.

“Nothing in the Intelligence Services Act would allow ASD to access restricted data on a computer physically located inside Australia — even where doing so would assist in gathering intelligence or disrupting crime,” she said…..

Sunday Telegraph, 29 April 2018, p.4:

Two powerful government agencies are discussing radical new espionage powers that would see Australia’s cyber spy agency monitor Australian citizens for the first time.

Under the plan, emails, bank records and text messages of Australians could be secretly accessed by digital spies without a trace, provided the Defence and Home Affairs ministers approved.

The power grab is detailed in top secret letters between the heads of the Department of Home Affairs and Defence, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, which outline proposed new powers for Australia’s electronic spy agency — the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs Mike Pezzullo first wrote to the Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty in February outlining the plan to potentially allow government hackers to “proactively disrupt and covertly remove” onshore cyber threats by “hacking into critical infrastructure”.

Under current laws the ASD — whose mission statement is “Reveal Their Secrets — Protect Our Own” — must not conduct an activity to produce intelligence on an Australian.

Instead, the Australian Federal Police and domestic spy agency ASIO have the power to investigate Australians with a warrant and can ask ASD for technical advice if they don’t have the capabilities they need.

The Attorney-General is responsible for issuing ASIO warrants, but the agency’s operations will fall under the umbrella of Home Affairs.

Under the proposal, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Defence Minister Marise Payne would tick off on orders allowing cyber spooks to target onshore threats without the country’s top law officer knowing.

Last month the proposal was ­compiled in a top secret ministerial submission signed by ASD boss Mike Burgess. The proposal outlines scenarios where Canberra-based cyber spies would use offensive tactics to “counter or disrupt cyber-enabled criminals both onshore and offshore”.

“The Department of Home Affairs advises that it is briefing the Minister for Home Affairs to write to you (Ms Payne) seeking your support for a further tranche of legislative reform to enable ASD to better support a range of Home Affairs priorities.” 

But The Sunday Telegraph understands Mr Dutton has not written to Minister Payne and no formal proposal for leglslative amendments have been presented to Government.

“The Australian Signals Directorate has not prepared ministerial advice seeking permissions to allow ASD to counter or disrupt cyber-enabled criminals onshore,” a spokesman for Ms Payne said.

An intelligence source said such ­reforms would allow cyber spies to ­secretly access digital information on Australians without detection, including financial transactions, health data and phone records.

“It would give the most powerful cyber spies the power to turn on its own citizens,” the source said.

The letter also details a proposal for coercive “step-in” powers, meaning the intelligence agency could force government agencies and ­private businesses to “comply with security measures”.

The intelligence source said ASD could be able to compel companies and government agencies to hand over data or security information…… [my yellow highlighting]

The Guardian, 25 January 2018:

Proposed changes to Australia’s national security laws that could see journalists and whistleblowers jailed for up to 20 years will “criminalise” reporting and undermine the media’s ability to act in the public interest, the nation’s major news outlets have warned. 

In a joint submission, 14 major media outlets including the ABC, Fairfax Media and News Corp said sweeping changes to national security laws proposed by the federal government would place journalists at “significant risk of jail time” for doing their jobs.

The reforms, tabled just hours after marriage equality became law in December, would increase tenfold the maximum penalty for anyone who communicates or “deals with” information which could potentially “cause harm to Australia’s interests,” where that information is obtained via a government official without authorisation.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Has U.S. citizen and media mogul Rupert Murdoch overplayed his hand in this Australian federal election cycle?

“It sounds unreal to say that News Corp is not a media organisation. It sounds outré to say that it is instead a political propaganda entity of a kind perhaps not seen since the 19th century, one that has climbed to its pedestal through regulatory capture, governmental favours and menace, and is now applying its energies to the promotion of white nationalism, even as white nationalists commit scores of murders.”  [Journalist Richard Cooke wiring in The Monthly, May 2019], 

It is your judgement that counts because the right and responsibility to elect the next Australian Government rests with you, the Australian voter, not with an elderly authoritarian U.S. billionaire who rarely visits this country.

Australian society is not as tolerant of Murdoch's sense of entitlement as it once may have been......

March 2018 to March 2019 year-to-year data shows News Corp's principal mastheads are losing readership over the 7 day circulation period, according to Roy Morgan.

By its own admission News Corp has been lobbying local government to keep its community papers afloat in South Australia.

Monday, 13 May 2019

This move by Murdoch’s News Corp has Scott Morrison’s political paw prints all over it

Standing in the shadows pulling the strings of those willing to make spurious or defamatory claims about a political opponent worked so well for the interim Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison in the past that he appears to be doing it again.

Last time the efforts of his political puppets cost News Corp tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs and like last time The Daily Telegraph is the Liberals vehicle of choice.

The smear campaign revealed……..

The Saturday Paper, 11 May 2019, excerpt:

Midweek, Murdoch’s Sydney tabloid The Daily Telegraph went for broke. On page one, it ran a story under the headline “Mother of invention”, and set out to destroy what it said was hailed as Shorten’s “election-winning moment”. It accused him of omitting the fact his mother went on to enjoy an illustrious career as a barrister. The paper said he had failed to disclose that his mother graduated law later in life “and [practised] at the bar for six years”. It said the Labor chief had only told half the family story. If that were the case, however, he left out the half that gives even more potency to his mother’s legacy.

One senior Liberal wondered who was the genius on their side who thought it a good idea to prompt the Telegraph’s ill-considered and cockamamie attack. Gallery journalists confirm the “Libs were shopping the story around on Tuesday”. 
Melbourne’s Herald Sun, unlike its Brisbane stablemate, The Courier-Mail, refused to take it. Scott Morrison played the innocent bystander. He told reporters it was a “very upsetting story” and he can understand that Shorten would have been “very hurt by it”. That was an understatement. The opposition leader was furious.

For 10 minutes during a half-hour press conference on Wednesday, Shorten spoke of his mother’s achievements. Fighting back tears, he told of a woman in her 50s with grey hair, who, even though she topped her law school, could not get a law firm to take her on for articles. When she eventually got to the bar, she struggled for briefs – “she got about nine briefs in her time”. Far from fulfilling her dream, as the Murdoch hatchet job claimed, she went back to education. The partisan attack on the Labor leader opened the way for him to hit back at one of the Liberals’ biggest vulnerabilities: their failure to promote more women through their parliamentary ranks. Their most high-profile and credible woman, Julie Bishop, has quit. She won’t be at the party’s Mother’s Day launch on Sunday to support Morrison, the man who blocked her run for the leadership. Shorten says the experience of his mother – “the smartest woman I’ve ever known” – is why he believes in the equal treatment of women.

News Corp sources say the Tele has another story on their news file to throw at Shorten. It is highly defamatory and legally dubious. The desperation that led to the attack on Shorten and his mother’s memory may give them pause to think about running it. As one Labor campaign worker says, “It’s difficult to know where the government ends and News Corp begins.” [my yellow highlighting]

Phase Two of the smear campaign.......

A scurrilous, below-the-radar whispering campaign has broken through onto social media.

News Corp cries poor - wants local government funding

The comment of tweeter @Greg_MarineLab says it all:

"How very NewsCorp! Begging for a taxpayer handout while never paying any tax & subverting democracy...."

News Corp unsuccessfully lobbied a number of South Australian councils and, like the City of Tea TreeCampbelltown, Playford and Salisbury councils didn't want to prop the Murdochs up when in all probability it would mean raising rates.

InDaily, 3 May 2019:

InDaily has confirmed with several sources a senior delegation of News Corp executives, including South Australian executive general manager Ish Davies and Messenger Newspapers editor-in-chief Nadja Fleet, approached four north-eastern councils in March requesting significant investment – totalling at least $1.6 million over two years – to keep the print run of the local North Eastern Weekly afloat.

It has only taken the Murdoch's 32 years to run this once independent group of community newspapers into the ground.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Bypass the Murdoch press and read Labor's policy costings for yourself

Going on the behaviour of Murdoch's News Corp mastheads during the 2019 federal election campaign to date, by 6am the headlines will be misleading at best.

Scott Morrison & Co have already begun their scare campaign in response to the policy costings Labor released yesterday.

Therefore I invite readers to bypass political posturing by both the Coalition and a large section of the media and look at the policy document for yourselves.

It is your judgement that counts because the responsibility to elect the next Australian Government rests with you, not with an elderly U.S. billionaire who rarely visits this country.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Scott Morrison and News Corp need fact checking - again!

The Australian Labor Party released its dividend imputation policy in 2018 and began to come under sustained political attack by the Morrison Government and News Corp with claims that there was a $10 billion dollar hole in Labor’s costing of its policy.

On 18 June 2018 the Parliamentary Budget Office issued a media release:

Imputation credits policy costing

Earlier today, comments have been made about the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) estimates of the gains to revenue that may flow from the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP’s) policy to make imputation credits non-refundable.

“The PBO brings our best professional judgement to the independent policy costing advice we provide.  We have access to the same data and economic parameters as The Treasury and draw upon similar information in forming our judgements,” Parliamentary Budget Officer Jenny Wilkinson stated today.

“We stand behind the PBO estimates that have been published by the ALP in relation to this policy, noting that all policy costings, no matter who they are prepared by, are subject to uncertainty.”  In its advice, the PBO is explicit about the judgements and uncertainties associated with individual policy costings.

The PBO confirms that it always takes into account current and future policy commitments, as well as behavioural changes, in its policy costings.  In this case, as outlined at the recent Senate Estimates hearings, these included the superannuation changes announced in the 2016–17 Budget and the scheduled company tax cuts.  In addition, the PBO explicitly assumed that there would be significant behavioural changes that would flow from this policy, particularly for trustees of self-managed superannuation funds. 

The PBO was established as an independent institution in 2012 with broad support from the Parliament.  A key rationale for the formation of the PBO was to develop a more level playing field, by providing independent and unbiased advice to all parliamentarians about the estimated fiscal cost of policy proposals.  The purpose of establishing the PBO was to improve the public’s understanding of, and confidence in, policy costings and enable policy debates to focus on the merits of alternative policy proposals. 

Ten months later on 25 April 2019 News Corp’s The Daily Examiner ran an article on page 8 concerning Labor’s dividend imputation policy which stated:

The independent Parliamentary Budget Office has estimated Labor’s plan would save $7 billion less over a decade than the party expects and that it would affect 840,000 individuals, 210,000 self-managed super funds (SMSFs) plus some bigger funds.

Now the Parliamentary Budget Office publishes the requests for information it receives, including requests for policy implications and costings, however there appears to be no new request for information and costings on Labor’s dividend imputation policy on its website.

Morrison & Co have been caught out misrepresenting the source of their costings before and even flat out lying on occasion, so one has to suspect the veracity of their latest attack on this particular policy.

It's just as likely costings and other figures were done on the back of an envelope by Morrison or Frydenberg.

Monday, 22 April 2019

News Corp mastheads back Big Coal during 2019 federal election campaign

These were News Corp mastheads on 18 April 2019.
Images found @JennaCairney1 on Twitter

Apparently we voters don’t understand the role mining has in our country and Murdoch journalists are eager to pressure politicians on the subject of mining jobs and taxation revenue which they fear are on the line because these same politicians might go weak-kneed at the sight of Stop Adani hashtags, earrings or stage invasions[Townsville Bulletin, 18 April 2019, p.2].

I on the other hand think rural and regional areas know the mining industry rather well when it comes to jobs and taxes.

According to the Australian Government Labour Market Information Portal as of February 2019 the Mining Industry in this country“employs approximately 251,700 persons (ABS trend data), which accounts for 2.0 per cent of the total workforce. Over the past five years, employment in the industry has decreased by 5.4 per cent”.

Employment growth in the industry in the five years to February 2019 was in fact minus 14,400 employees.

Projected employment growth in the five years to May 2023 is predicted to be 2.4 per cent.

Not all mining industry employment is new jobs created by a mining venture either. The Australia Institute points to the fact that economic modelling done by Waratah Coal in 2011 found that a single Qld mine would displace 3,000 jobs in other industries and crowd out $1.2 billion in manufacturing activity.

Australian Tax Office (ATO) data for 2013-14 to 2015-16 show that almost 60 percent of corporations in the energy and resources sector paid zero tax in that period.

This percentage appears to be something of an industry norm as in 2007-08 ATO data indicated there were 4,290 mining companies operating in Australia and 68.3pc of all these companies paid no tax.

It is worth noting that in 2007 the Business Council of Australia (BCA) calculated corporate tax (as a percentage of profit) at 20pc for the mining industry.

Interestingly, BCA also stated “taxes collected are negative for the mining industry group because as major exporters survey participants reported a significant GST refund which more than offset other taxes collected”.

In 2016-17 BHP Billiton Aluminium Australia Pty Ltd with a total income $1.81 billion for that year paid no tax. Neither did Whitehaven Coal Limited with a total income of $2.39 billion, Claremont Coal Mines Ltd with a total income of $1.01 billion and Ulan Coal Mines Limited with a total income of $1.03 billion - to name just a few examples for that financial year. 

So there we have it.

An Australia-wide industry sector which in February 2019 employed less people than sectors such as Health & Social Assistance (est.1,702,700 persons), Retail (est.1,284,700 persons), Education & Training (est,1,032,400 persons) and Manufacturing (est. 872,500 persons) and, has a future growth projection which makes it unlikely to return even 2015 employment levels.

A sector which also regularly takes tax minimisation to an extreme.

Yet for some reason voters are supposed to ignore the ramifications of continuing to allow open slather to fossil fuel mining corporations as climate change impacts begin to bite.

The mining industry has pulled this sort of stunt before when it fought the proposed Resource Super Profits Tax which would have applied to mining companies involved in the extraction of non-renewable resources. It talked up inflated figures for mining employment and tax revenue and quoted the same in industry media releases.

The stakes for present and future generations were not quite as high nor as urgent then as they are now and it’s time the rapacious mining industry is firmly put in its place by concerned voters on 18 May 2019 – right at the back of the queue along with those political parties and candidates who blindly support Big Coal and Big Oil.

Australia can't afford politicians of that ilk anymore.