Author: Michael West

Rodney Culleton, One Nation senator extraordinaire

“I have now become the hunter,” declared One Nation’s Rodney Culleton boldly in his maiden speech to parliament. Swept to power on a populist platform of bashing the banks, Rodney is now advocating – although he seems to be alone in this – “The Culleton Inquiry” into the financial sector. As the government smooches the four elected representatives of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party for political favours, lately gleaning their support for its ABCC bill, Rodney’s star is on the rise. He is a power broker. It is worth asking however how long his star can ascend when Rodney...

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Beaconsfield: another mine, another taxpayer hit

The bankers, the miners, their consultants and assorted hangers-on have taken their millions in bonuses, profits, fees and commissions and moved on and, once again, taxpayers will pick up the chit. This time, it’s the controversial Beaconsfield gold mine in Tasmania which collapsed on Anzac Day 2005, killing miner Larry Knight and trapping Todd Russell and Brant Webb under a pile of rubble nearly one kilometre beneath the surface. After a flood in June, cracks were found in the mine yard and bits of the concrete yard have since collapsed by more than a metre. The earth below is...

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Sheepish stewards of ASIC sale face a sceptical Senate

The stupendous profitability of the corporate watchdog’s database, which the government is trying to privatise, was on display at hearings in Canberra this week. The Senate Estimates hearings were further proof, if any were required, that the world’s most expensive and profitable public information resides right here in our island nation care of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). They might not be able to reel in the big fish of white collar crime, but they surely know how to flog data back to taxpayers (who have already paid for it) at exorbitant prices. Investigation: ASIC fees highest...

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Government whips big business on payments efficiency. Time for reform

When it comes to paying its suppliers on time, the government is making large private enterprise look inefficient, and that’s saying something. In August, it was revealed here that two multinationals, Kellogg’s and Fonterra, had dragged their payment times for small business suppliers out to an excruciating 120 days. Many others have pushed out from 30 days to 90 days in recent years. It is bad for the entire economy. To reign in payment terms would enhance the “velocity of money” or the speed of money through the system. For political reform, this one is a no-brainer. Pay time:...

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Facebook claims to own the word “book”

There’s no flies on Facebook. This is a company which reckons it is so wonderful that it owns the worldwide intellectual property rights to the word “book”. Sydney businessman John Maconochie has been in a barney with lawyers for the social networking site since May this year after establishing the business marque “medibook”. No matter that Maconochie’s business is preoccupied with recording patients’ medical files, rather than social networking. No matter that the word “book” is one of the world’s most common words, Facebook believes it has the suffix well and truly trademarked and nobody else is entitled to...

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The countdown is on.

Who will be ranked as Australia’s biggest tax dodger?


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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