Friday, August 24, 2018

Malcolm Turnbull mate Bruce McWilliam says PM's demise a sad day

One of Malcolm Turnbull's closest friends and confidantes says the Prime Minister's demise is a sad day. 

But Bruce McWilliam, Seven Network commercial director, says Mr Turnbull knew politics was not a bad of roses and is philosophical about being rejected by the Liberal Party. 

Bruce McWilliam speaks with the ABC's Peter Ryan.

AGL Energy chief executive Andy Vesey quits while succession process continues

AGL chief executive Andy Vesey has resigned from the energy company after a controversial four years in the role marked by a tense relationship with Canberra over energy policy.

Mr Vesey will be temporarily replaced by AGL chief financial officer Brett Redman while a domestic and international search gets underway.

The sudden exit comes after the company rejected earlier speculation that Mr Vesey would quit or retire after delivering AGL's full year results.

Read my story here

Australian dollar dips overnight as political crisis worries global investors

The Australian dollar dipped overnight as global investors worried about the political standoff in Canberra and a likely early election. 

The dollar fell 1.4 percent to 72.4 US cents as currency traders backed away from Australia as a safe destination. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says until now business leaders have been numb to the uncertainty but are now deeply concerned about fallout to the economy.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Policy paralysis: business increasingly frustrated by leadership stoush

Away from Canberra, the prime ministerial showdown is continuing to rattle business confidence, amid plenty of unknowns about the policies of a potential Dutton government.

CMC market analyst Michael McCarthy tells ABC's Peter Ryan the mood of Australian investors as "pure frustration" as politicians shoot themselves in their feet.

Listen: Qantas boss Alan Joyce calls for quick resolution to Canberra power games

The political showdown in Canberra continues to rattle business - and this morning it overshadowed a record full year profit from Qantas.

The ABC's senior business correspondent Peter Ryan has been speaking with Qantas boss Alan Joyce who's calling for an urgent resolution on who gets to live in The Lodge.
Here's my coverage from The World Today on the ABC

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie says big business now numb to leadership instability in Canberra

BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie says political instability in Australia is now business as usual. 

Mr Mackenzie is also critical of proposed new powers for the ACCC to force energy companies to sell or divest some assets. 

BHP has reported a full year after tax profit of US$3.7 billion, down 37 percent due to one-off writeoffs and losses.  

I spoke with Andrew Mackenzie on The World Today

Former ACCC boss Allan Fels says energy asset divestiture powers need to be extended to major banks

Former ACCC chairman Prof Allan Fels has backed tough new powers for the competition regulator to force energy companies to divest or sell some assets. 

But Professor Fels says powers should be across the board to include the major banks given revelations from the financial services Royal Commission. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says the extreme measures are the latest market intervention for a free market government.

Here's my interview with Allan Fels from this morning's AM program

Monday, August 20, 2018

Woolworths Brad Banducci boss calls for certainty amid leadership speculation in Canberra

Woolworths shares have dived as much as 3.5 percent after the retailer said supermarket sales had slowed thanks to the phase-out of single use plastic bags. 

As he posted a 12.5 percent better profit of $1.7 billion, chief executive Brad Banducci called for certainty amid the leadership speculation. 

ABC's Peter Ryan says Mr Banducci warns the lack of certainty could harm consumer confidence.

Here's my report from The World Today.

Faith in Australian governments falls amid corruption concerns

Trust and confidence in all levels of government is continuing to slide as calls intensify for the establishment of a national anti-corruption agency.

A global corruption barometer conducted by Griffith University and Transparency International Australia has also flagged concerns about public officials or politicians using their positions to benefit themselves or their families.

Kim Landers speaks with Professor AJ Brown on the ABC's "AM"

A telephone survey of 2,218 adults is the first measure since 2012 gauging the growing impact of corruption on trust and condifence in government.

Project leader Professor AJ Brown of Griffith University says rising citizen distrust in real or suspected corruption underscores support for a new anti-corruption body sponsored by the federal government.

"We now see a stronger correlation between trust and action against corruption," Professor Brown said.

"Continued slippage in the perceived integrity of federal officials clearly has a disproportionate effect on overall trust and confidence, nationwide."

According to the survey, trust and confidence in all levels of government fell last year to 46 percent for federal and state levels and 51 percent for local government.

While concerns about bribery remain low at two percent, concerns about public officials and politicians abusing their position to benefit themselves or family rose to 62 percent.

The report says there has been a nine percent increase in perceptions that federal members of parliament are corrupt, with 85 percent of respondents saying at least "some" are corrupt with 18 percent believing "most or all" are corrupt.

Transparency International Australia chief executive Serena Lillywhite said the survey shows the risks of undue influence that benefits the rich and powerful is real.

"For 56% of respondents – equating to over 10.2 million Australians – to say they had personally witnessed or suspected favouritism by a politician or official in exchange for donations or support is nothing less than shocking," Ms Lillywhite said.

"This snapshot also shows the case for a strong, comprehensive federal anti-corruption agency is well understood by those within government, not just based on the fears of outsiders."

"Improved transparency and strengthened oversight of government decision making, including the regulation of lobbyists, is also long overdue," Ms Lillywhite concluded.

The barometer shows 67 percent of respondents support the creation of a federal anti-corruption body with 43 percent expressing strong support.

The full findings to be released tomorrow at a Canberra symposium come as the federal government examines the merits of a national integrity commission similar to the Independent Commission Against Corruption in New South Wales.