Author: Michael West

Dick Smith disaster turns legal circus amid bank contortions

A phalanx of forty lawyers will parade into a Sydney courtroom this morning to spar over the scraps of electronics retailer Dick Smith. The damage of a corporate collapse – the hit to creditors, shareholders and taxpayers – will be on display. Almost 3,000 employees lost their jobs. The private equity sharks from Anchorage Capital, who are said to have spent roughly $10 million of their own money to buy Dick Smith before floating it on the Australian Securities Exchange for $520 million, have made off with their proceeds from the float. Besides a hill of debts and a...

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ACCC lets Expedia and duopoly off the hook again and Expedia are two of the biggest multinational tax cheats about and their rapid growth and now market dominance has become a headache for competition regulators. They now control 85 per cent of the short-stay market in Australia and small accomodation operators are utterly at their mercy as, if they don’t pay the steeply rising commissions to the Online Travel Agency (OTA) duopoly, they don’t get seen on Google searches. Mum and dad operators are increasingly directing their anger at the ACCC which they accuse of allowing the market dominance to arise and recently failing to prevent the...

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Royal Commission: no easy fix for systemic corruption

There has been great surprise at the revelations of bad behaviour by this country’s biggest financial institutions in recent days, though not everybody was shocked. For two decades, this reporter has fielded complaints about rip-offs and bank victims getting the regulatory cold shoulder. What will come of the Royal Commission? Will AMP be lose its financial services licence like small operators who break the law, or will the systemic corruption which was on display at the Royal Commission this week continue to flourish? When James Wheeldon was a young lawyer working at the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, he...

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Multinationals mollycoddled: former ATO official calls for tax secrecy to go

The number one weapon of the multinational tax avoider is secrecy. Together with tougher enforcement, transparency laws enacted three years ago have brought billions of dollars into Commonwealth coffers. More disclosure is vital, writes former Tax Office official, Martin Lock. Lock also questions tax breaks on offshore loans which spur the toxic practice of “debt-loading” where foreign companies rake out millions in interest payments on loans from their associates overseas. When it comes to corporate tax avoidance, there is a question no-one asks: what valid reason can there be for public companies to have tax secrecy? Tax secrecy was...

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New Michael West Podcast

Created by PodcastOne, this 3 part series looks into how Australia has gone from one of the cheapest countries in the world for energy to one of the most expensive, and reveals just what has happened with our gas and electricity supply and why we are on the verge of an energy crisis.

Listen to THE ENERGY TRUTH on the PodcastOne website