Showing posts with label debt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label debt. Show all posts

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Quote of the Week



The numbers unveiled by Josh Frydenberg and Mathias Cormann are butt-clenchingly large: a deficit this financial year of at least $184.5 billion that will probably nudge $200 billion by the time of the October budget and its extra spending measures; gross debt that will go through the Morrison government's recently increased limit of $850 billion some time in 2021-22 with no idea how it will be paid down. Frydenberg likened the effort ahead to climbing a mountain. But this ain't no day-trip to Kosciuszko or even a planned assault on Everest. It's more Olympus Mons, the 25-kilometre high mountain on Mars.” [Senior economics correspondent Shane Wright in The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 2020,
p.6]

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Australia 2020: and now for some economic bad news


On 23 July 2020 Australian Treasurer and Liberal MP for Kooyong Josh Frydenberg delivered a national economic and fiscal update.

He dutifully posted an upbeat media release and published the official update documents.


Here is a preliminary takeaway from this update*:

  • total federal government payments have increased by $58.0 billion in 2019-20 and increased by $187.5 billion over the two years to 2020-21. The net impact of policy decisions since the 2019-20 MYEFO has increased payments by $58.0 billion in 2019-20 and $113.7 billion in 2020-21.
  • declines in taxation receipts were $31.7 billion in 2019-20 and are expected to be $63.9 billion in 2020-21;
  • the underlying cash balance is expected to decrease to an $85.8 billion deficit in 2019-20 and an $184.5 billion deficit in 2020-21. This is a a deterioration of $281.4 billion over these two years since the 2019-20 MYEFO;
  • as a percentage of GDP the underlying cash balance is expected to be -9.7 per cent in 2020-21;
  • debt levels have increased significantly. Gross debt was $546 billion (28.1 per cent of GDP) at 30 June 2019 and $684.3 billion (34.4 per cent of GDP) at 30 June 2020 and is expected to be $851.9 billion (45.0 per cent of GDP) at 30 June 2021. With net debt at 30 June 2019 standing at 373.5 billion (19.2 per cent of GDP), expected to be $488.2 billion (24.6 per cent of GDP) at 30 June 2020 and increase to $677.1 billion (35.7 per cent of GDP) at 30 June 2021;
  • on a calendar-year basis real GDP fell by 3.75 per cent;
  • real GDP is forecast to have fallen sharply in the June quarter 2020 by 7 per cent;
  • nominal GDP is expected to be -4.75 per cent in 2020-21;
  • nationally 709,000 jobs were lost in the June quarter 2020;
  • the unemployment rate in June 2020 was 7.4 per cent and is expected to peak at around 9.25 per cent in the December quarter 2020 and is forecast to be at 8.75 per cent in 2020-21;
  • Treasury has predicted that immigration will fall to 31,000 individuals in 2020-21 which is likely to affect the national budget bottom line; and
  • the Morrison Government's go-to remedy for the poor economic outlook is to (i) consider reducing the federal government's taxation income even further by est. $143 billion in personal income tax receipts over 10 years commencing in 2021-22, (ii) reduce welfare spending by further limiting eligibility and reducing payment levels for JobSeeker and JobKeeper recipients from 25 September 2020 with the Coronavirus Supplement due to be removed completely by 31 December 2020, (iii) incease the level of casual and insecure work via industrial relations 'reform', and (iv) encourage women to have more babies to compensate for the current moribund population growth rate.
NOTE

* The Economic and Fiscal Update June 2020 is affected by the economic impacts of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and to a lesser extent by the the impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires. 

Componding the situation is the high level of federal government borrowings which regularly occurred after 18 September 2013.

On 30 September 2013 the gross national debt stood at est. $220.67 billion and net national debt was $174.55 billion. At that time net national debt was in the vicinity of 13% of GDP. 

By 2 April 2019 the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government had raised the gross national debt to $534.42 billion. That's more than double the national debt left by the previous Labor federal government. 

On 2 April 2019 Frydenberg was predicting that gross national debt would rise to $627.26 billion by end of June 2019 with net national debt coming in at $373.47 billion and net debt predicted to come in at 19.2% of GDP by end of June. 

By 30 June 2019 the federal government paid est. $18.15 billion in interest on this debt in the 2018-19 financial year. 

The bottom line is that before either the bushfires or the pandemic even began the Morrison Government gross national debt stood at $546 billion or 28.1 per cent of Australia's GDP and net debt stood at 373.5 billion or 19.2 per cent of GDP by 30 June 2019.

Therefore emergency national funding for bushfires and pandemic only accounts for est. 23.5 per cent of the current national debt.

As at 30 May the Morrison Government's total liabilities in 2020 ran to $1,324.95 billion against assets of $700.74 billion according to Australian Government General Government Sector Monthly Financial Statements May 2020.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Reserve Bank of Australia dumps emergency $14.7 billion into banking system and states intention to buy up Morrison Government debt, as financial system is stressed by COVID-19 pandemic


Reserve Bank of Australia, media release, 16 March 2020:

Statement by Philip Lowe, Governor

As Australia's financial system adjusts to the coronavirus (COVID-19), financial regulators and the Australian Government are working closely together to help ensure that Australia's financial markets continue to operate effectively and that credit is available to households and businesses. (Refer to earlier Council of Financial Regulators' (CFR) press release.) Australia's financial system is resilient and it is well placed to deal with the effects of the coronavirus. At the same time, trading liquidity has deteriorated in some markets. 

In response, the Reserve Bank stands ready to purchase Australian government bonds in the secondary market to support the smooth functioning of that market, which is a key pricing benchmark for the Australian financial system. The Bank will also be conducting one-month and three-month repo operations in its daily market operations until further notice to provide liquidity to Australian financial markets. In addition the Bank will conduct longer term repo operations of six-months maturity or longer at least weekly, as long as market conditions warrant. The Reserve Bank and the AOFM are in close liaison in monitoring market conditions and supporting continued functioning of the market. 

The Bank will announce further policy measures to support the Australian economy on Thursday. 


Channel 9 News, 16 March 2020:

The Reserve Bank has pumped extra liquidity into the banking system, part of a package of measures aimed at ensuring business and households have access to credit as the coronavirus causes chaos in global financial markets.
The RBA used its daily money market operation to add $5.9 billion to the system through regular repurchase agreements, well above its original intention of $2.5 billion.
That followed an injection of $8.8 billion on Friday, which had left commercial banks with a hefty $10.7 billion of surplus cash held at the RBA.....

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

State of the Australian economy as it enters 2020


On 16 December 2019 Australian Treasurer and Liberal MP for Kooyong, Josh Frydenberg, put out a glowing media release concerning the health of the national economy which bears little resemblance to data his own department released on that same day.

Treasury on behalf of the Morrison Coalition Government informed Australia that it now has less income than was anticipated just prior to the 2019 federal election and, that economic growth is now slower.

Total receipts have been revised down by about $3.0 billion in 2019-20 and $32.6 billion over the four years to 2022-23.

These falls are due to less money coming into Treasury from individuals taxes, company tax and superannuation tax, as well as less dollars being collected through the tax on goods & services (GST) and lower non-tax income.

Federal government net debt is expected to be $392.3 billion in 2019-20 (19.5 per cent of GDP). Gross debt now stands at over $560.8 billion.

Slower economic growth is explained as due in part to decreased production and lower export levels in the farming sector, a decline in iron ore prices, softer wages growth, diminished business confidence & investment uncertainty.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) nominal growth is 3.25 per cent but is expected to fall to 2.25 per cent in the coming financial year.

Wages growth is still under performing at 2.5 per cent and, there is no guarantee that the revised projection of 3 per cent wage growth by 2022-23 is achievable.

Unemployment is beginning to rise.

The number of people who had jobs fell by 19,700 individuals between the May federal election and October 2019. Employment numbers are projected to fall over the next 5 years in Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing, Manufacturing and Information, Media & Technology.

Cost of living (CPI) is not coming down. CPI rose 1.7 per cent through the year to the September 2019 quarter. This followed a through the year rise of 1.6 per cent to the June 2019 quarter. Retail prices, particularly for clothing, footwear, meat, dairy, bread and cereal products, have risen.

As for the much lauded budget surplus for 2019-20, it has shrunk from $7.1 billion to $5 billion. While the rubbery figures in forward estimates see the expected surplus for 2020-2021 reduced from $11 billion to $6.1 billion, then from $17.8 billion down to $8.2 billion in 2021-22, with the fiscal year after that supposed to bring in a surplus of only $4 billion instead of the projected $9.2 billion.

One can almost hear Morrison ordering a funding red pen through even more health, disability and welfare services/programs in a vain attempt to avoid intensifying the economic squeeze his flawed political ideology is imposing on the nation.

Notes:

* Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg 16 December 2019 media release at 

* Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) December 2019 at https://budget.gov.au/2019-20/content/myefo/download/MYEFO_2019-20.pdf

* Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) April 2019 at https://treasury.gov.au/publication/2019-pefo

* Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) federal government debt updates at https://www.aofm.gov.au/


Labour Market Information Portal, “Industry Projections – 5 years to 2024” (Excel) at http://lmip.gov.au/PortalFile.axd?FieldID=2787734&.xlsx

Friday, 27 September 2019

Debt collector used by DHS-Centrelink to chase unproven robodebts being sued by Australia’s consumer watchdog for a raft of coercive and unconscionable practices


IT News, 24 September 2019: 

A debt collector recently awarded a $3.3 million contract by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to chase money for Centrelink is wholly owned by a company being sued by Australia’s consumer watchdog for a raft of coercive and unconscionable practices. 

In an embarrassing twist to the ongoing Robodebt controversy, iTnews can reveal ARL Collect (Pty Ltd), which is wholly owned by Queensland based Panthera Finance, snared a plum debt recovery deal from DHS just weeks before its parent company was hit by landmark legal action from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. 

The ACCC’s case against Panthera accuses the firm of coercing payments from people – including identity fraud victims – for bills they did not actually owe. 

The direct ownership link between the two companies, which technically are separate legal and financial entities, raises fresh questions around the adequacy of vetting and due diligence surrounding government outsourcing deals, especially those dealing with vulnerable people. 

The ACCC’s action against Panthera, lodged in the Federal Court on 24th July this year, sets out an appalling litany of allegations related to undue harassment and coercion, unconscionable conduct and false and misleading representation to consumers. 

They include forcing money from identity fraud victims by using credit default listings as leverage and follow consumer complaints made about Panthera. 

According to Department of Finance records, DHS published notification of the $3.3 million ARL Collect contract on 29th July; however the contract period is listed as running from 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2020, indicating the tender was let prior to commencement of action by the ACCC. 

The ACCC’s allegations against Panthera, ARL Collects’s owner, all stem from commercial recovery actions, namely attempts to collect on contested bills issued by utilities AGL, Origin Energy and Telstra, raising serious questions of governance and corporate culture. 

A particularly embarrassing coincidence for the government and DHS is that all the examples put forward to the court by the ACCC in its allegations arise from payment demands made by Panthera for bills that were not actually owed and actively disputed by those hit by recovery actions. 

The revelations that the ultimate owner of DHS’s contracted debt collector is a current target of regulatory action is another headache for the government as it vigorously defends its data matching-reliant enforcement regime. 

A class action now in the works against Robodebt being mounted by Gordon Legal also broadly makes its case along the lines of an unreasonable burden of proof being foisted on people labelled debtors, while organisations claiming to be creditors get away with questionable claims. 

The Department of Human Services, its minister Stuart Robert and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have steadfastly maintained welfare overpayment recovery mechanisms are subject to due administrative process, a stance that has done little to quell criticism of Robodebt, which has now become a political weapon. 

Irrespective of the politics, the ACCC’s case against Panthera is highly significant because it spotlights the poor conduct of some collection agencies. 

It also reveals how receivables ledgers of questionable data accuracy are on-sold and the way legitimately disputed debt is treated. 

And it goes deep into the hardball culture and often high pressure tactics of the darker corners of the collections industry, a sector that has been struggling to reform its image......

In one of the examples, a Queensland woman anonymised as “Witness A” disputed a $378 debt for an Origin electricity bill racked up under her name for an address in New South Wales where the woman had never lived. 

She had also never been a customer of Origin. After filing a complaint with the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and supplying Panthera with the case reference number the debt collector still pursued her. 

“Witness A again informed them that she had never lived in NSW, she had provided an ACORN reference number and stated that she had never received Centrelink payments in her life, referring to the Centrelink deductions recorded on the Origin bills provided to her,” the ACCC court documents state. 

“Witness A provided Panthera with the details of the person the police had informed her was responsible for the Origin Debt, including that the person still resided at the NSW premises to which the electricity was supplied, and also with the relevant police officer’s contact information,” the ACCC’s court documents continue. 

Despite this, Panthera continued asking her for information she just did not have, the ACCC alleges.....

In another case a man dubbed "Witness B" told Panthera that he believed a Telstra mobile broadband account created in his name had been fraudulently obtained. 

Despite a police officer telling Panthera that she was “looking into fraud” in relation to the account “the man still had a credit default listed against his name.” What came next borders on extortion. 

“On 4 April 2017, a Panthera representative called Witness B’s financial advisor and stated that Panthera was aware of Witness B’s dispute and was investigating it, offered to negotiate a payment in order to secure the removal of the default listing and represented that Witness B would need to make a payment of $100 to Panthera in order for the default listing to be removed,” the ACCC’s court documents state. 

“This was in circumstances where the Panthera representative knew that Witness B’s account was in the process of being ‘written off’ by Panthera, but also knew that Witness B needed the default listing removed quickly because he was trying to obtain finance.” 

Even after paying the $100 and Panthera telling the man the default listing had been removed “as at September 2018 Witness B’s credit file still contained a default listing with respect to the Telstra Debt”.......

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Governments must not allow private, profit-seeking parties such as Facebook Inc.to put the entire global financial system at risk


Wikipedia, 22 June 2019:

A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized digital currency and central banking systems……

As the popularity of and demand for online currencies has increased since the inception of bitcoin in 2009, so have concerns that such an unregulated person to person global economy that cryptocurrencies offer may become a threat to society. 

Concerns abound that altcoins may become tools for anonymous web criminals.
Cryptocurrency networks display a lack of regulation that has been criticized as enabling criminals who seek to evade taxes and launder money.

The Guardian, 22 June 2019:

Facebook is developing Libra from a base in Switzerland, in partnership with 27 other corporations – including Mastercard, Paypal, Uber and Vodafone – collectively known as the Libra Association.

Financial Review, 21 June 2019:

Facebook has just unveiled its latest bid for world domination: Libra, a cryptocurrency designed to function as private money anywhere on the planet. In preparing the venture, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been in negotiations with central banks, regulators, and 27 partner companies, each of which will contribute at least $US10 million. For fear of raising safety concerns, Facebook has avoided working directly with any commercial banks.

Zuckerberg seems to understand that technological innovation alone will not ensure Libra’s success. He also needs a commitment from governments to enforce the web of contractual relations underpinning the currency, and to endorse the use of their own currencies as collateral. Should Libra ever face a run, central banks would be obliged to provide liquidity.

The question is whether governments understand the risks to financial stability that such a system would entail. The idea of a private, frictionless payment system with 2.6 billion active users may sound attractive. But as every banker and monetary policymaker knows, payment systems require a level of liquidity backstopping that no private entity can provide.

Unlike states, private parties must operate within their means, and cannot unilaterally impose financial obligations on others as needed. That means they cannot rescue themselves; they must be bailed out by states, or be permitted to fail. Moreover, even when it comes to states, currency pegs offer only an illusion of safety. Plenty of countries have had to break such pegs, always while insisting that “this time is different”.

What sets Facebook apart from other issuers of “private money” is its size, global reach, and willingness to “move fast and break things.” It is easy to imagine a scenario in which rescuing Libra could require more liquidity than any one state could provide. Recall Ireland after the 2008 financial crisis. When the government announced that it would assume the private banking sector’s liabilities, the country plunged into a sovereign debt crisis. Next to a behemoth like Facebook, many nation-states could end up looking a lot like Ireland.

Facebook is barreling ahead as if Libra was just another private enterprise. But like many other financial intermediaries before it, the company is promising something that it cannot possibly deliver on its own: the protection of the currency’s value. 

Libra, we are told, will be pegged to a basket of currencies (fiat money issued by governments), and convertible on demand and at any cost. But this guarantee rests on an illusion, because neither Facebook nor any other private party involved will have access to unlimited stores of the pegged currencies…..

Read the full article here.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Where Australia's finances stand ahead of the convening of the 46th federal parliament



Given that Australian Prime Minister Scott ‘liar from the shire’ Morrison has already signalled that he does not intend to allow truth to interfere with his political rhetoric – describing truth telling as verballing that he “won’t be allowing to happen” – now is perhaps the time to remind ourselves of the truth about the nation’s finances under Morrison & Co ahead of the commencement of the 46th Parliament.

According to the Dept. of Finance the Morrison Government’s Assets and Liabilities as at 31 March 2019 (12 days out from the start of the 2019 federal election caretaker period) were:
• net worth minus $450.5 billion;
• net debt $376.7 billion; and
• net financial liabilities $656.4 billion.

In March 2019 the general government sector’s total revenue fell short of its total expenses by $1.5 billion.

The Australian Office of Financial Management reported on 17 May 2019 (the day before the federal election) that the face value of Australian Government borrowings (ie the national debt) stood at $538.2 billion.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s May 2019 Statement on Monetary Policy - Economic Outlook  has expected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the year ending in June 2019 at %, revised down from 2½% due to a slower domestic economy.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Less than 15 weeks out from a federal election and the Morrison Government continues to pile on the debt



According to the Australian Office of Financial Management as of 1 February 2019 the Australian Government’s gross public debt stood at est. $540.82 billionup from $277.34 billion on 30 September 2013.

So in the space of 5 years and 4 months the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government increased the nation’s gross public debt by est. $263.48 billion. 

That represents a rough average of over $4 billion borrowed from domestic and foreign sources for each month the Liberal-Nationals Coalition has been in office.

On Monday 4 February 2019 the Morrison Government will borrow another $400 million (not to be repaid till 2028) and on Wednesday 6 February another $900 million (not to be repaid till 2030) - $1.3 billion over three days.

Heaven only knows how much more debt Morrison & Co will pile on before the May 2019 federal election.

According to Stephen Koukoulas voters can add that additional $1.3 billion to this 28-year debt repayment schedule for just 29 per cent of the total public debt Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison racked up to date:

$19.0 billion - Nov 2029
$12.0 billion - May 2030
$13.9 billion - Apr 2033
$6.95 billion - Jun 2035
$12.0 billion - Apr 2037
$8.0 billion - Jun 2039
$3.6 billion - May 2041
$13.0 billion - Mar 2047

How old will you, your children or grandchildren be before this debt is paid off?

Friday, 13 July 2018

How Trump's corporate tax cuts played out in the US economy



Crikey.com.au, 10 July 2018:

Evidence is now emerging of just how extraordinarily wasteful Donald Trump's trillion-dollar corporate tax cut has been as the results -- or lack thereof -- filter into the real US economy.

It's now well-established that the bulk of the tax cuts have gone into record-breaking share buybacks and increased dividends by US companies, with hundreds of billions of dollars flowing or set to flow back to investors. But not a lot of the rest is flowing into extra investment -- the raison d'etre of company tax cuts. New investment data shows US equipment investment fell in the first quarter of the year compared to the final quarter of 2017. How about wages, which are supposed to increase due to company tax cuts (at least according to Mathias Cormann)? In June, monthly wage growth in the US fell to 0.2% from 0.3% in March, lower than expected and leaving wage growth at 2.7% for the 2017-18 year. Inflation in the US was 2.8% for the year to May, suggesting US workers are actually going backwards after inflation.

US unemployment is at 4% (up a tad) — far below our own level of 5.5%. Like the Kiwis, the Americans can’t get wages to grow even with full employment — or even with tax cuts that have massively inflated the US deficit at a time of peak employment.

The fact that Trump and his GOP cronies have pushed the US budget deficit toward $1 trillion a year (remember when the Republicans were the party of fiscal restraint?) at a time of such strong employment also has implications for the stimulatory effect of such largesse. New research from the San Francisco Federal Reserve shows that fiscal stimulus is significantly weaker at times of expansion than during recessions, and that the Republican tax cuts will not meet what the paper terms the “overly optimistic” expectations of boosters. Instead of the boost to US GDP growth this year of about 1.3 percentage points estimated by the Congressional Budget Office and other forecasters, they write, “the true boost is more likely to be less than 1 percentage point,” with some studies pointing to as little as zero.....  

Read the full article here.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Liberals continue to behave badly in 2018 - Part Four


FIGHTING

Police said they were called to Naji's Charcoal Chicken & Kebabs eatery on Firth Street in Arncliffe just after seven o'clock on Monday night, following reports of a "brawl". The roast chook shop is owned by Michael Nagi, a Liberal councillor for Bayside Council.

The meeting is understood to have turned ugly after an attempt by the moderate faction, which includes Nagi, to allow into the Bayside branch a nearby area, Earlwood, which is controlled by the moderates and has never been a part of the Bayside branch.

This would have constituted what those on the right of the party would class as a "hostile takeover" of their factional control, but a resolution was never reached because the disagreement turned violent.

Police said a man believed to be aged in his forties was taken to St George Hospital and treated for minor injuries.

"Police are now attempting to piece together exactly what happened and how many people were involved," a statement read.

"They are appealing for anyone who may have vision of the incident to come forward."

The Liberal Party said it would "fully cooperate" with police, as well as make their own inquiries.

"An internal investigation will also be undertaken and disciplinary action taken against those responsible," the party said.

"The Liberal Party strongly condemns the kind of behaviour that is alleged to have occurred."

ABC News, 19 June 2018:

One witness, who did not want to be identified, described the situation as an attempted "hostile takeover" of the branch.

"Just before the meeting started, there was an altercation where some people were intimidating and swearing and pushing and shoving of the others who belonged to the meeting," he said.

"Others outside were blocked from entering the meeting."

The man said an elderly lady inside the cafe was "trampled on", and a man who tried to intervene was "ganged up on".

"They started bashing him … they took him outside and started kicking him.

"To be honest I thought he was going to die."

The man also said some people tried to film the incident, but their phones were taken and smashed.

COMPLAINTS, DEBTS AND WORKING THE SYSTEM

“Two hundred thousand Australian dollars.….that’s not a lot of money” [Liberal Sen. Lucy Gichuhi speaking about here Australian parliamentary salary package on Kenyan television in January 2018]
Daily Mail, 20 June 2018:

Embattled Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi was taken to court seven times for failing to pay $8,359 worth of council rates and $1,372 in water bills.

Court documents obtained exclusively by Daily Mail Australia show the Kenyan-born federal MP faced legal action from City of Port Adelaide Enfield council, Whyalla City Council and the South Australian Water Corporation in 2013, 2014 and 2017.

The Turnbull Government senator, who is on a $203,000 salary, was ordered by local court magistrates to pay $9,731 in seven unpaid bills, related to two investment properties in Adelaide and one in regional Whyalla.

One unpaid council bill went to court just three weeks before she was sworn in last year as a senator, and another bill was taken to a magistrate four months after she became a member of Parliament.  

The backbencher, who owns four houses in South Australia with her husband William, had failed to pay $8,359 worth council rates and $1,372 in water bills.

On her pecuniary interest register, Senator Gichuhi declares she is the owner of investment properties in the Adelaide suburbs of Dernancourt and Gilles Plains, along with another home in the steelworks city of Whyalla.

The senator and mother-of-three, who moved to Australia from Kenya in 1999, received five arrears from the Port of Adelaide Enfield Council and one from Whyalla City Council, in areas where she owns three investment properties.

According to her Statement of Registerable Interests the senator in partnership with her husband owns 6 residential properties in South Australia and 3 properties in Kenya.

She appears to receive rental income on a number of these properties. 

The Advertiser, 21 June 2018, p.6:

Senator Gichuhi, already under pressure after spending thousands of taxpayer dollars flying her family to Canberra, was provided with staff, office space, a car, driver and entertainment by one of Kenya’s richest men. The SA senator spoke at events organised by Equity Bank and its wealthy chief executive James Mwangi.

Disclosure documents lodged earlier this year show Dr Mwangi provided Senator Gichuhi with “a car and a driver … to attend various events and functions”.

“Dr Mwangi also provided office facilities, refreshments and access to his staff to enable me to prepare speeches for Nairobi University and other functions,” the document reads.

Dr Mwangi, who is worth $230 million, invited Senator Gichuhi to speak at Equity Bank events including on January 4, where she addressed the bank’s Wings To Fly scholars….

Disclosures show Senator Gichuhi received free accommodation from another wealthy Kenyan businessman, Linus Gitahi, who she described as her “long-term friend”.

The Advertiser, 19 June 2018, p.5:

South Australian senator Lucy Gichuhi billed taxpayers more than $4500 to fly six family travellers to Canberra during the week she was sworn into Federal Parliament prompting calls for a tightening of expenses.

According to parliamentary records, Senator Gichuhi claimed three return flights from Adelaide, two from Darwin and a one-way flight from Sydney taken during the second week of May last year.

She has previously defended her decision to accept free accommodation from the High Commission of Kenya in Canberra for her family to attend her swearing-in on May 9 last year 2017, because they struggled to find accommodation.

Junkee, 19 June 2018:

Gichuhi billed taxpayers $2139 for two return flights from Darwin to Adelaide, which were used to fly family members to her birthday party in October last year. She has since agreed to pay that cost back in full, saying it was “an administrative error involving misunderstanding of travel rules”.

And while we’re on the point of corrections, it wasn’t even her 50th birthday party — Gichuhi is 55. She actually titled the birthday party her “50 plus GST” birthday, the omitted 5 years being the GST. In the speech she gave at the event, which is inexplicably available on her website, she told guests that “I have now also taught you to deduct 10 percent off your own age — if you want to!”….

Gichuhi has also come under fire for billing taxpayers around $12,000 for a number of trips to Sydney, which she listed as “electorate business”, despite her electorate actually being in South Australia.


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Shock, Horror! A Liberal minister finally makes a stab at lessening gouging by payday lending and rent-as-you-buy companies and Liberal MPs have a conniption




According to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) this bill has merit.


2. We support the financial inclusion objectives of the Exposure Draft of the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2017 (the Bill). The consumer harms that can be associated with payday loans and consumer leases are a longstanding and systemic feature of these sectors and often fall on financially vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers. We consider that the Bill will provide an effective suite of protections commensurable to the risk of harm to consumers from these products, balanced against the need to ensure that the industry can remain viable.

3 In particular, we support the level of the cap on costs for consumer leases proposed in the Bill. We expect a cap set at this level will address the excessive costs some lessors charge consumers, while still allowing a viable and sustainable consumer lease sector.

4 We also support the introduction of the Bill’s comprehensive anti-avoidance regime, which will benefit both consumers and compliant businesses. These measures will be essential to address the increased risk of avoidance activity following the introduction of the reforms.

Yet this is the response from Liberal Party backbenchers.........

The Courier Mail, 12 February 2018:

IRATE backbenchers have revolted over Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer’s tough payday lending draft laws and have successfully enlisted Treasurer Scott Morrison to reverse Cabinet’s support of the Bill.

As the Turnbull Government desperately searches for a circuit breaker from Barnaby Joyce’s sex scandal, frustrations have spilt over against Ms O’Dwyer’s original handling of new laws targeting payday lenders and rent-to-buy businesses, with backbenchers complaining to the Prime Minister.

A bloc of about 20 backbenchers, including several in Queensland, are warning Ms O’Dwyer’s reforms will send some businesses broke and are an affront to Liberal values.

In a move that will be pilloried by consumer groups angry over rent-to-buy lenders charging up to 800 per cent interest, a group of MPs, labelled by some in the Government as the “Parliamentary Friends of Payday Lenders” – a title that is angering the bloc – has convinced Mr Morrison to retreat on parts of the draft laws.

It would be an embarrassing move for Cabinet, which ticked off on the reforms last year.