Author: Michael West

Go to FOS, CBA tells victim of identity theft

Three years after his identity had been stolen and his private banking documents found on the side of the road, Barry Lakeman has been advised by Commonwealth Bank that a review is under way. Originally, the bank suggested to Lakeman that he and his wife were to blame, that they dumped their own documents on the side of the road in Victoria. This week, the bank advised Lakeman to seek redress via the Financial Ombudsman’s Service (FOS), a private complaints service funded by the banks according to how many complaints they incur. revealed the identity theft claims earlier...

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Come hide with us: inside the Big Four raid on law firms

It is strange that none of the major law firms are kicking up a fuss about the swelling exodus of senior lawyers to the Big Four accounting firms, given it is a matter of significant public interest and, more to the point, given the beancounters are pinching hundreds of millions of dollars of their business. Aren’t lawyers meant to be special? Don’t they have super powers and privileges and extra obligations of loyalty which set them apart from other professions? Like the priest with his confessional, a lawyer owes a special duty of confidentiality to the client. On the...

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Adani trumps sale of Manhattan as worst deal in history

The sale of Manhattan Island to the Dutch is fabled as the worse deal of all time; worse even than Adani inveigling Australian politicians into paying for the world’s biggest new thermal coal mine, Carmichael. We disagree, however. Adani is worse. While it is true that the Dutch picked up New York for just 60 guilders worth of beads and trinkets, there is reasonable evidence to suggest that the Indians who sold them the island were not the rightful property owners anyway. The deal was struck by the Canarsie Indians who did not even live in Manhattan but liked...

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Bad deal, bad partner. Why Adani?

Why, if Adani’s gigantic Carmichael coal project is so on-the-nose for the banks and so environmentally destructive, are the federal and Queensland governments so avid in their support of it? Once again the absurdity of building the world’s biggest new thermal coal mine was put in stark relief on Monday evening via an ABC Four Corners investigation, Digging into Adani. Read more: Adani gives itself the green light, but that doesn’t change the economics of coal Where the ABC broke new ground was in exposing the sheer breadth of corruption by this Indian energy conglomerate. And its power too. The TV crew was detained and questioned in an...

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The Minerals Council, coal and the half a billion spent by the resources lobby

There is no peak body in the country which conducts its business as belligerently, and its proponents would say as successfully, as the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA). Flush with funding thanks to the contributions of its multinational mining company members such as BHP, Rio and Swiss-owned coal giant Glencore, the miners’ peak body can raise a campaign warchest at a moment’s notice. And it is uncompromising, often venomous, in its rhetoric. In 2010, the MCA managed to oust a sitting prime minister, Kevin Rudd, from office with a $22 million advertising blitz against the mining tax. Earlier this...

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