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Providers to be able to share your credit history

15/02/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

If you haven?t been paying your bills on time, perhaps you should be concerned. Photo: Quentin JonesMajor changes to credit regulations are afoot that will add to the information licensed credit providers can share with each other. Until now they had not been able to supply comprehensive repayment history, but all that is about to change. From March 12, your bill-paying habits are being watched.
Nanjing Night Net

What are the changes?

The changes are to the Australian Privacy Laws, which will allow information additional to default data and failed lending applications to be included on your credit report.

This information now includes 24 months of your repayment history for loans, credit cards and other credit. So if you haven’t been paying your bills on time, perhaps you should be concerned. But on the positive side, if you pay regularly, this is new information that a credit issuer will be able to consider.

The peak body for credit providers and credit reporting bodies, the Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA), has launched a website (creditsmart.org.au) to inform consumers about the changes. The launch follows research that found many consumers were not only ill-prepared, but also unaware – 59 per cent – of what was about to happen.

”What awareness existed was negative,” says the ARCA’s chief executive, Damian Paull. ”We were concerned that consumers … wouldn’t have access to, or might not be able to understand, what the changes mean.”

The new data

It’s important to realise that credit providers will be able to collect and disseminate only repayment history information from other licensed credit providers. This means that your repayment history for your telephone, mobile, internet, utilities, etc, will not go on record.

However, other information about whether you have any of the above products will be able to be collected. ”Telcos and utilities can share the additional four data elements,” says David Grafton,an executive general manager with credit bureau Veda.

Those data elements are: The type of consumer credit; the terms and conditions; the credit limit and the day on which the consumer credit begins and the day it is terminated. ”That will also help consumers who don’t have a credit file now because they are not in the credit system, but a lot of people do have mobile phones. While repayment history won’t be there for those products, the fact that they [consumers] have them could be,” Paull says.

Communications

Paull says there are no requirements about how banks must notify you before they start collecting information. ”Certainly there is a requirement under the legislation – organisations entitled to collect that information are required to disclose,” he says.

Most credit providers will have notified their customers of the changes and you should have already received a letter. For example, ANZ has sent a brochure to all existing customers, and is notifying customers who have signed up for products since then.

Commonwealth Bank notified all its customers with a letter accompanying its statements in January. Westpac said it was ”working through how we will communicate to customers about these changes”.

Your credit report

All this information now forms part of your credit report. This has always been available to you, but it can now include the extra data.

”Remember also that credit providers are not going to suddenly be supplying this information from day one,” Grafton says. ”It’s going to take a couple of years [for all the information to become available].”

Organisations, such as Veda, Dun & Bradstreet and Experian Australia Credit Services, provide credit reports and credit scores in some instances, but you also have the right to obtain once a year one free credit report from each credit reporting body, as their reports might be different. You can also get a free credit report if an application for credit was declined in the past three months.

According to research conducted by Veda, many of us don’t even know we have credit reports. ”[We found] 80 per cent of Australians hadn’t checked their credit report and more than half of them didn’t realise they had one,” says Veda marketing manager, Belinda Diprose.

The best reason to obtain your credit report, particularly if you’re having problems obtaining credit or loans, is to work out how to fix it. There could be a mistake by the credit reporting agency, or the creditor, which could be easily fixed. If the creditor won’t help, contact the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Credit Ombudsman Service.

Of course, the best way to make sure you’ve got a clean record is to make sure you pay all your bills on time.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Grab some global exposure with ETF investing

15/02/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

  Some people have given up the volatility of shares to simply trade ETFs. Photo: Louise Kennerley
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Two weeks ago I was telling you that investors who wanted a diversified portfolio in a particular asset class without having to manage it themselves could buy Listed Investment Companies (LICs) on the ASX.

This week we are going to look at something conceptually similar, Exchange Trade Funds (ETFs). Like LICs, ETFs are traded on the ASX. That means you can buy and sell them just like LICs and shares.

But there are some major differences between LICs and ETFs. The main one is that, by comparison, the LIC market is a rather small domestic Australian affair, while the ETF sector is the plaything of the much bigger international investing community.

For instance, there are just under 60 Listed Investment Companies on the ASX with a total market capitalisation of around $23 billion, with the three biggest (AFIC, Argo and Milton) accounting for 57 per cent. But up the big end of town there are around 100 ASX-listed ETFs with a market capitalisation of $160 billion.

While the LIC market represents the Australian listings of mostly Australian fund manager offerings, they are of almost no interest to anyone outside Australia. The ETF market, on the other hand, represents the ASX listings of much larger internationally traded ETFs that have tiny exposures to Australia, if any, and are of interest globally. And that’s just the ones listed on the ASX. The global ETF market is 10 times the size with over 1500 ETFs on issue worth close to US$2.4 trillion. Only some are listed here.

The biggest is the MSCI EAFE ETF with a market cap of $41.5 billion. It invests in global large and midcap equities outside the US and Canada, so is used not by Australian SMSF investors looking for a diversified domestic portfolio but by international, mostly US, institutional and private investors looking for exposure outside the US.

The next biggest with a market cap of $23 billion is the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF, which invests in large capitalisation US equities.

Of the 100 or so ETFs listed in Australia there are (just) 10 broad-based Australian ETFs and 11 Australian sector ETFs that are only worth around $4 billion, or just 2.6 per cent of all the listed ETFs in Australia.

International ETFs

The bulk of the ETF offering on the ASX is made up of 23 international ETFs instead, ETFs which offer ASX listed exposure to MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital Index) country indices as well as exposures to the S&P 500, the Russell 2000, Emerging Markets, Japan, US small caps, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Europe and Singapore, to name the biggest. There are also three international sector ETFs covering the healthcare, telecoms and consumer staple sectors (accounting for 1.2 per cent of the sector), three currency exposure ETFs (0.1 per cent of the sector), 22 commodity exposure ETFs (3.3 per cent), 11 cash and fixed income ETFs (0.3 per cent) and 11 ”Domestic and International Strategy Focused” ETFs (0.6 per cent of the sector) which includes an “Australian equities bear hedge fund”.

A number of new breed ETFs include a ”Dividend”, ”High Dividend”, ”Top 20 Australian Yield Maximiser”, ”High Yield”, ”Value” and ”Select High Dividend Yield” fund, all of which pander to the Australian ”safe income” theme and have only been listed for a couple of years.

Apart from Betashares, who have 12 ETFs, other issuers include iShares with 26, Vanguard with 10, State Street SPDRs with 14, EFT Securities with 15 commodity-based ETFs, and Russell Investments with five Australian funds. Try their websites to see their products. There is a lot more to cover on ETFs, for instance, some are ‘Conventional’ and some are ‘Synthetic’. There are different risks with both. Liquidity is often an issue although some are so highly traded there is no issue.

The good thing about ETFs is that they all trade in exactly the same way as any other shares on the ASX. So you don’t have to change anything, just find out their codes and what they represent. Some people have given up the volatility of shares to simply trade ETFs.

It’s a lot easier making a few decisions each year about which country, sector and currency than it is managing the volatility, decision making and paperwork on 20 separate equities.

If you liked LICs, have a look at ETFs. There are more of them, they cover more exposures and they allow you to do man-in-the-moon investing rather than Australian tunnel-vision investing.

On top of that, the management expense ratios (fees) range from 0.07 per cent to 0.7 per cent for the big ones, rather than the 2 per cent-plus you can get charged in unlisted managed funds. Of course, you’ll be paying a commission in and out. Then there’s the spread. Then there’s the premium or discount to NTA. It all adds up again.

This article sounds like a sales pitch, but it’s more of a heads up, it’s not all glory in ETFs, but it may be worth a narrow-focused Australian investor educating themselves about them, at worst it’ll make a change from waiting for the bull market. Not everything is on the equity cycle. Have fun.

Marcus Padley is the author of the stock market newsletter Marcus Today.

Click here for a free trial.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Elliott Wave theory backs rise in dollar

15/02/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Ups and downsThe Aussie dollar has been bobbing like a cork on the ocean in recent times, as the jawboners from industry and government try to talk it down for the good of exports, while market traders look for opportunities in the turbulence as the emerging markets story unravels.
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The Reserve Bank of Australia’s recent decision to keep record low interest rates of 2.5 per cent on hold actually spiced up the currency a little, pushing it back above $US89¢ from lows just over $US86¢ inmid-January.

But looking over a longer time frame, the Aussie has been on a downward trend. But as this week’s chart, produced by Philip D’Souza, a director of the Australian Technical Analysts Association shows, the currency now appears to be on the cusp of an upward trend.

Last time we looked at the Aussie back in early October we applied Elliott Wave theory to the chart and the currency performed almost exactly as that analysis suggested. Then we had the currency coming off lows of $US88.49¢ and heading northwards on what we identified as the fourth upward leg of a five-leg Elliott Wave formation.

That fourth leg peaked out at $US97.58¢ on October 25 using a weekly chart. The downward wave five then kicked in pushing the currency down to $US86.60¢ on January 24 (using a weekly chart). There are two phenomena on the chart suggesting that bottom could mark the end of the downward fifth and final wave of the formation.

Firstly the decline from point 4 on the chart to point 5 represents an almost exact 127.2 per cent retracement of the gain made when the currency climbed from point 3 to point 4.

This is a significant Fibonacci number retracement level where most bullish or bearish trends tend to end.

To that is added a Fibonacci time count, the 13 weeks the market took to get from point 4 to point 5. That 13-week interval is seen as an indication of a possible counter trend rally, especially in this case where Fibonacci series on both price and time count coincide.

So watch the weekly chart of the Aussie. If its weekly price chart closes over $US88.49¢ and then $US90.86¢, the Elliott Wave pattern will be said to have completed and a counter rally may take hold. Green lines on the chart show resistance points to expect in such a rally.

This column is not investment advice. Contact Rod Myer at [email protected]南京夜网

Aata南京夜网.au

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

A fix over flat

15/02/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

  Photo: Michael MucciQ My mother recently had a stroke and is now unable to live on her own. We are hoping to move her into our granny flat and sell her house, which is worth $430,000. She is on a full single pension. Will her pension be affected if we sell her house and move this money into her savings or super?
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Do we need to consider our tax situation as well?

A If your mother moves into your granny flat, sells her former home and pays nothing for the right to live in the granny flat, she will be assessed as a non-homeowner. Non-homeowners can have assets of up to $339,250 and still receive the full pension. As your mother’s house is valued at more than this, she could exceed the asset test limit and her pension would be reduced by $1.50 a fortnight for each $1000 she is in excess of the limit.

Homeowners and non-homeowners are both subject to the same income test.

The limit is $156 a fortnight – when your mother’s income exceeds this, her pension is reduced by 50¢ for each dollar of income above the limit. Whichever test, asset or income, produces the lowest amount of pension is the amount she will be paid. As a non-homeowner your mother may be eligible for rent assistance.

Family arrangements involving granny flats can be complex, financially and emotionally. Your mother may want to consider a number of strategies, including how best to hold her savings, and whether or not she should invest more in her superannuation (if she is eligible). Keep in mind that any strategy will have consequences for her pension (including eligibility for rent assistance), cash flow, tax and estate planning, and these will need to be considered. You should seek advice from someone who specialises in this complex area.

Q My wife and I are both aged 28. I earn $75,000 a year and she earns $60,000 a year. We are totally focused on buying a home and are saving $1000 a week. We have saved $30,000 to date and are looking to buy a home for $650,000. Our biggest expense is rent, of $1890 a month.

We could buy now on 5 per cent deposit, but would be up for nearly $25,000 in mortgage insurance. Do you think we should buy now and pay the mortgage insurance or wait until we save 20 per cent?

A Unless prices are stagnant in the area where you intend to buy, you are probably better to buy sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you face the possibility that the increase in the value of the house you want to buy will outweigh any savings in mortgage insurance. Keep in mind that mortgage insurance can vary from lender to lender. It may be worthwhile consulting a good mortgage broker.

Q I am 65 and was made redundant last year. I own two properties debt free, which are worth $700,000 combined. I live in one and holiday let the other. I have very little super and live on a line of credit that cannot go on forever, so have placed the holiday house on the market. How would you suggest I invest the funds after the house is sold?

A First check with your accountant to find out if there is any capital gains tax payable on the sale of the property. If so, you will need to keep cash aside to pay it. If you can pass the work test, which involves working just 40 hours in 30 consecutive days, you may be able to reduce any CGT payable by making a tax-deductible contribution of $35,000 to superannuation from the proceeds of the sale. This is the time to be talking to a good adviser to agree on an asset mix that suits your goals and risk profile.

Q I am single, own my one-bedroom flat and am contemplating taking out a reverse mortgage next year when I turn 75. I am concerned about how this might affect my current age pension. My allocated pension is almost exhausted, so by the time I take out the reverse mortgage, I will have no significant assets other than household effects and a car.

The reverse mortgage would be arranged as a periodic draw-down of $600 a month to supplement my age pension. There may be an initial lump sum drawn-down of $15,000, which would be used immediately for renovations. The funds drawn would then be used for living expenses, strata levies and medical expenses.

A There should be no adverse Centrelink implications if you make small withdrawals as planned. Just try to draw it down as slowly as possible to minimise the compounding effect, which is going to happen, because you are not paying any interest on the reverse mortgage.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature. Readers should seek their own professional advice before making decisions. Email: [email protected]南京夜网.

@NoelWhittaker

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Sochi Winter Olympics: Foreign journalists worry they are being spied on

15/02/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Sochi: Just a day into the Winter Olympics, a worrying photo started circulating around the journalists in Sochi.
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Yahoo! senior investigative reporter Charles Robinson took a snap of a man in a press workroom at Sochi, wearing official accreditation, holding a reporter’s laptop and a strange triangular device.

“Happening right now: This guy is going computer to computer in the press room scanning the laptops of everyone here,” Robinson tweeted.

Happening right now: This guy is going computer to computer in the press room scanning the laptops of everyone here. pic.twitter南京夜网/ii9cSpWeuK— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) February 8, 2014

Paranoia about Russian government surveillance immediately went into overdrive.

“Can he read your hard drive?” asked one Twitterer.

The reality was more prosaic: he was from a “spectrum management team”, making sure media weren’t setting up their own Wi-Fi networks, which would interfere with the official ones used by the rest of the media and Olympics organisers.

Nevertheless it struck a sore nerve. Many of the media are worried about how secure they are.

There is real reason for concern: the Snowden revelations show how good governments are at eavesdropping on digital communications.

According to a report in The Guardian, athletes and spectators in Sochi would be monitored by Russia’s FSB security service using a wide net of telephone and internet intercepts dubbed “PRISM on steroids” (the Russians said it was to counter the very real threat of a terrorist attack on the Games).

And Russia is a well-known haunt for criminal hackers – by one estimate Russia is the source for around a third of all the world’s viruses, Trojans and malware, and a hotbed of identity theft and credit card fraud.

Last week, NBC TV news in the US mounted what they called a demonstration of the risks – they opened up a Mac, a PC and an Android smartphone in a coffee shop in Moscow, and “Malicious software hijacked our phone before we even finished our coffee, stealing my information and giving hackers the option to tap or record my phone calls,” reporter Richard Engel said.

His two laptops were also compromised, with a stream of information going from one of them to an unknown destination within Russia.

The report was pooh-poohed by experts, who labelled it a beat-up.

Blogger Robert Graham called it “100 per cent fraudulent”, pointing out that in order to get hacked the reporter had omitted basic precautions, such as not downloading software from mysterious links in unfamiliar websites or emails.

“Richard Engel hacked himself by knowingly downloading a hostile Android app,” he said. The hacks that were demonstrated could equally easily happen anywhere else in the world.

NBC defended the story, saying the reporter had been specifically targeted by a Russian hacker and sent an email designed to trick him into downloading hostile software.

Nevertheless, many of the media here are taking precautions to guard their data.

The Columbia Journalism Review reported that some had gone as far as using ‘burner phones’ and new laptops containing no personal data.

Others took care to sweep their computer of all personal information including auto-saved passwords, before entering Russia.

Yahoo! Sports reporters are communicating via private, secure networks using encrypted Web dongles.

Those taking more care belong to the bigger, better-resourced organisations, the CJR reported. Others don’t care as much.

“I don’t really care if the Russian government is reading everything I write,” Grantland’s Katie Baker told CJR in an email. “I care slightly more about whether Eastern European hackers are draining my bank account.”

She is avoiding using public Wi-Fi for that reason.

Most journalists seem more concerned about cybercrime than government surveillance.

But then there’s that odd comment from Dmitry Kozak, the deputy prime minister responsible for the Olympic preparations.

In trying to deflect criticism of hotel problems, he said: “We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day.”

A spokesman later clarified there was “absolutely no” surveillance in hotel rooms or bathrooms occupied by guests, and the minister was referring to surveillance of premises during construction and cleaning before the Olympics.

So that’s alright then.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

My Kitchen Rules recap: Don’t try the veal, Hapless Harry drops the prize

15/01/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Tough night over the stoves … My Kitchen Rules contestants Harry and Christo. Tough night over the stoves … My Kitchen Rules contestants Harry and Christo.
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MKR … The low-scoring Evil Jack Nicholson (David) and Mean Barbie (Corinne) snapped at the boys heels.

Judgement time …. the knives are out and it could mean the chopping block.

Poor Harry. You had to feel sorry for him. For all three meals so far, both he and “best mate” Christo had been nothing but dorky, polite dinner guests. So with the low-scoring Evil Jack Nicholson (David) and Mean Barbie (Corinne) snapping at their heels from the get go, we had ourselves an underdog.

The episode opens with a montage pitching Harry and Christo as potential champions. Melbourne’s food reputation and their alleged creativity are standard enough reasons but then Harry adds “what more do you need in a recipe for greatness?” showing both average punning skills and cruelly ironic hubris.

First, it’s off to the supermarket. This is a chance to show off Harry’s marking ability (we get it, they’re men) and reveal the menu. Entrée will be a caramelised onion tart, for mains they’re planning smoked mozzarella and prosciutto rolled veal and a sweet finish starring blueberry frangipane tart with blueberry ripple ice cream.

On the way back to the car, it’s time for Hapless Harry to make his first appearance with an upturned trolley in the parking lot. “Classic Harry” says Christo laughingly, a statement that proves sadly true as the show unfolds.

After painstakingly setting up the instant restaurant (“It’s not my decoration rules!”), the boys are already behind time.

In a rush, Harry botches the shortcut pastry finding he has over-kneaded it in the food processor. He then tries to “get the butter out of the pastry” with an action that looks suspiciously like kneading, knocks over a carton of eggs and discovers his finger is bleeding.

Anxious and unhygienic, Harry realises it’s time for Plan B and he runs back to the shops to buy what looks like a trolley full of “safety pastries”.

In the car, Haz, “the dropsy king” gets emotional. This is not the game face of a hard-bitten real estate agent but a best mate with a sinking guilty feeling. Things are not looking good.

By the time Harry returns, Christo has made excellent progress without him, making us wonder if Harry should just scoot on over to sick bay for the rest of the show. Despite this, the boys are still well and truly behind schedule.

The timer hits zero and the boys suit up to welcome their guests. David’s polite dinner banter starts early: “we’re going to need a disaster” he says.

With everyone already seated, the onions start caramelising, a process which can take hours. Panic is starting to set in when in strides man of action Manu with a “bonsoir” and a word of advice: to take a moment to calm down.

This pep talk gives the pair a second wind, eventually getting the tarts on the plate with roast tomatoes and rocket. By the time they walk in to serve, however, it has been a long wait and both Harry and Christo are nervous wrecks. “The boys look pretty bombed out” says empathetic newlywed Shanelle.

As if by fluke, the tart does anything but bomb out. A particular highlight was Manu talking about tomatoes “bursting in his mouth”. Not quite as good as when he proclaims something to be “cooked to perfection” but still pretty good. Pete is equally pleased, cautioning the undercooked grey onions let it down.

Back in the kitchen for main meal and yet again the boys prove slow and clumsy. Christo overcrowds the pan with veal, Harry makes too few potato croquettes. There is no crueller sight than watching tiny portion of veal overcook as croquettes are frantically subtracted from plates.

Decades later, mains are served and the conclusion foregone.

Manu, the broken record, is livid. “Why would you not put a sauce!”  he says. It’s a bloody good question. The boys have lost their minds, using half a grilled lemon to dress an entire main course. Adding insult to injury, David couldn’t be happier. “That was terrible,” he beams.

The boys slump into the kitchen to prepare dessert, the final nail in the coffin. Two and a half hours later, they emerge with slightly undercooked pastries, a non-intentionally “funky” tasting ice cream and toasted almonds that took so long they had to have been activating.

By the end of the show, it was carnage to be sure, but carnage worse than David and Corinne? The judges thought so, scoring the mains a devastating two points each. This brought Christo and Harry in at the bottom of the scoreboard with 44  out of 110 points. Don’t you just hate when the underdog loses?

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Daniel Morcombe murder suspect led police to body after elaborate ruse, court told

15/01/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Brett Peter Cowan listens to evidence in Brisbane’s Supreme Court. Photo: Nine News Murdered schoolboy Daniel Morcombe. Photo: Supplied
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After giving evidence at an inquest into the disappearance of Daniel Morcombe, Brett Peter Cowan boarded a domestic flight back to Perth.

It was early 2011 and the Sunshine Coast teen had been missing since December 7, 2003. Mr Cowan did not know he had been a suspect since a fortnight after the Sunshine Coast boy disappeared.

But he also did not know that the passenger seated next to him on the flight, known as Joe, was actually a police officer.

Queensland Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne, QC, on Tuesday outlined how an elaborate undercover police operation began, as he opened the case against Mr Cowan in Brisbane’s Supreme Court.

Within weeks, Joe introduced Mr Cowan to some friends of his, including a man known as Fitzy – also an undercover police officer.

The covert officers allegedly convinced Mr Cowan they were part of a wide-reaching criminal gang, with friends in high places, who could ”fix” anything.

”Part of what he was consistently told over a period of months is that there were three main mantras, or three main rules that members of this gang had to live by: loyalty, respect, honesty,” Mr Byrne said. ”This was a ruse. It was part of the undercover operation.”

Mr Cowan was slowly included in the gang’s criminal activities and was eventually allowed to observe some.

”He was then allowed to do some tasks for the gang,” Mr Byrne said. ”He started with the minor and it increased in significance.”

He took part in a total of 24 scenarios, the court heard.

On August 9, 2011, Fitzy took Mr Cowan to a Perth hotel room to meet the gang’s boss, Arnold – also an undercover police officer.

Arnold told Mr Cowan he expected loyalty, respect and honesty, Mr Byrne said. In return, he could make Mr Cowan’s problems go away.

It was then that Mr Cowan allegedly confessed to Daniel Morcombe’s murder, saying he had spotted him waiting at the bus stop and offered to give him a lift to the nearby shopping centre.

Instead of taking him to Maroochydore, Mr Cowan allegedly drove Daniel to an abandoned house on a Beerwah macadamia farm.

Mr Byrne read the recorded confession. ”I never got to molest him or anything like that. He panicked and I panicked and grabbed him around the throat and, before I knew it, he was dead,” Mr Cowan allegedly said.

Arnold told Mr Cowan he would need to see the alleged murder site to ensure no incriminating evidence was left behind.

Mr Cowan boarded a flight to Brisbane the following day, where he met another of the gang’s supposed members and drove with him to the site where he claimed to have dumped Daniel’s body.

There, in the bush, the undercover operation came to an end.

The trial continues.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Abbott moves towards Medibank Private sell-off

15/01/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

The Abbott government has taken its first serious steps towards the privatisation of $4b-valued Medibank Private. Photo: JOSH ROBENSTONEThe Abbott government is working on the sale of Medibank Private before receiving expert advice on the suitability and timing for the $4 billion privatisation.
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In November, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann appointed investment bank Lazard to advise on a sale – the biggest government sell-off since the float of rail company QR National.

Lazard has until the end of the month to deliver a scoping study advising on the readiness of Medibank for privatisation, a method of sale, timing and estimated proceeds.

In announcing the appointment of Lazard, Mr Cormann stressed: “The government has not made any decisions yet regarding the timing and structure of any sale.”

But the appointment of corporate spin doctors to a $2000-a-day, six-month contract is the clearest signal yet that Medibank will be put on the block before Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first Budget in May.

Newgate Communications, whose 10 senior executives include four former Liberal government staffers and former James Hardie and News Ltd spin doctor Greg Baxter, has been handed a $211,000 contract that runs until June 30.

According to the government’s AusTender website, Newgate has been appointed to “assist with the scoping study into the sale of Medibank Private.

Mr Cormann’s office said Newgate would provide communications advice on any announcements flowing from the findings of the scoping study. The contract contained the option of retaining the company for a sale process.

Fairfax Media understands that Newgate has been working for the past fortnight on ways to sell the case for a sale to the public.

Lazard will advise whether a full float on the Australian Stock Exchange, a partial float or a so-called “trade sale” to another health insurance provider will maximise value for the taxpayer. Medibank, which returned a profit to government of $315 million in 2013, is valued at about $4 billion by market analysts.

Labor claimed the government had already decided to sell Medibank without waiting for advice or demonstrating how it would increase competition or put downward pressure on health insurance premiums.

“$2,000 a day to spin to Australians why assets should be privatised is simply the most extraordinary government waste,” said shadow health spokeswoman Catherine King. “[the government] will pay $2000 a day for a spin doctor, but they won’t support Toyota jobs.”

Mr Cormann declined to comment. He has previously said there is “no compelling policy reason” for the government to retain ownership of Medibank, which operates in a competitive market against 34 other health funds.

Given the protracted time frames for government privatisations any full or partial listing may not be completed until 2015, according to reports.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Failure to narrow gap on Aboriginal employment

15/01/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Federal politics: full coverageSinging praises of reconciliation
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Australia has made no progress towards halving the employment gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians within a decade, six years after the effort began.

When Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers the annual report on progress towards closing the gap in Federal Parliament on Wednesday, he will also describe as ”disappointing” progress on reading, writing and numeracy.

Mr Abbott will report that while progress has been made in some areas, ”it is clear we are still failing in too many”.

”Our challenge is to turn good intentions into better outcomes,” he writes in his first Prime Minister’s report on progress towards closing the gap. ”For the gap to close, we must get kids to school, adults to work and the ordinary law of the land observed.

”We should want nothing less for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than we want for every Australian.”

The report shows the nation is on track to meet two of the six targets, relating to child mortality and year 12 completion.

There have been positive early signs on preschool enrolments but data to show whether this target has been met will not be available until later this year.

While there has been a small improvement in indigenous life expectancy, the report says progress will need to ”accelerate considerably” if the gap is to be closed by 2031.

All Australian governments committed to the six targets after the national apology in 2008.

In his reply, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will urge Mr Abbott to adopt three new targets proposed by Labor, relating to higher education, criminal justice and disability support. He will defend Labor’s record and plead with Mr Abbott not to discard the work of the Rudd and Gillard governments.

”I beseech the government – please don’t start again just because you can,” he will say. ”Please don’t go back to a blank piece of paper, just to enhance your claim to authorship.”

Signalling Labor would not automatically support Coalition measures on indigenous affairs, Mr Shorten will appeal to Mr Abbott to empower Aboriginal people to find their own solutions.

”Aboriginal people deserve better than being told it’s as simple as ‘go to school, go to work and obey the law’,” Mr Shorten will say. ”One size does not fit all.”

In a thinly veiled criticism of the Coalition’s efforts to lift school attendance, Mr Shorten will argue fostering a love of learning in children would do more than ”limited interaction with a time-poor truancy officer”.

Mr Shorten will also argue ”a sense of urgency” is required to achieve the recognition of the first Australians in the nation’s founding document.

”We risk missing a unifying moment,” he will say. ”We must be resolute and swift. Because justice delayed is justice denied.”

Mr Abbott has identified constitutional recognition as one of his priorities and has promised to release a draft proposal for public consultation by September.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Schapelle Corby interview deal splits Seven’s David Koch and Mike Willesee

15/01/2019 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Nothing on camera yet: Mike Willesee speaks to the media in Bali on Tuesday. Photo: Justin McManusTwo of Channel Seven’s biggest stars clashed spectacularly on Tuesday over the network’s paid exclusive interview with Schapelle Corby and whether she should be allowed to benefit from the proceeds of crime.
Nanjing Night Net

But the Indonesian authorities threatened to throw a dampener on proceedings, issuing a warning that there were some limits to what the parolled drug trafficker was legally able to say after her release.

The clash came as a bidding war between media organisations netted $20,000 for the first photo of Corby without her mask.

David Koch hit out at his network colleague Mike Willesee’s exclusive contract with the Corby family over the reputed $2 million fee.

”I reckon we should have nothing to do with her as a network. Totally disagree with paying a convicted drug smuggler $2 million,” Koch said on Sunrise.

Co-host Samantha Armytage responded: ”Too late for that.”

While noting his wife disagreed with his view, Koch said: ”I know Indonesia’s corrupt and all that sort of stuff but, you know, she’s convicted, so why pay the money?”

Willesee struck back immediately, saying the figure quoted by Koch was ”crazy … way silly”.

”Kochie can speak for himself. He got it drastically wrong, he’ll be proven to be wrong. That’s the only bit of dissension that I’m aware of and that’s just one guy having his opinion.”

The way Willesee tells it, no money has yet changed hands, and it is not even certain an interview will take place. ”I really don’t know. There are a few things up in the air … It’s not a sure thing and it’s not a close thing.”

On Monday, Corby was swept away from the media pack at the Bali Corrections Board office, with Willesee as part of the family convoy. He and his crew followed her into her luxury accommodation at the Sentosa Seminyak spa and villas, where they are staying.

The TV current affairs legend said that, by Tuesday morning, he still had not met Corby, had not spoken to her or any members of the family, and did not know which family members were located in the compound.

A note of warning about the interview came from Bali Corrections Board head Ketut Artha who said ”it’s possible” Corby’s parole could be revoked if she spoke too provocatively.

”We’d have to review what exactly has been said … and we’ll advise her, warn her, about it,” Mr Ketut said. ”But if it’s fatal, we’ll definitely review her parole.”

Asked what statement might prove ”fatal”, Mr Ketut would not comment.

Indonesian newspaper Kompas quoted an MP saying the Parliament’s legal affairs commission would soon discuss establishing a ”Corby working committee” to investigate the process of her being granted parole.

Sarifuddin Sudding said the prospect had already been canvassed informally among committee members: ”Corby deserved the death penalty from the start,” he said.

The first clear picture of Corby has been published after Woman’s Day paid $20,000 for an image of her celebrating after her release.

The snap showed a smiling Corby clinking a beer with her brother Michael. Fairfax Media has been told the image was taken by a friend.

Late on Tuesday, Mercedes Corby said ”the sums being reported are ridiculous” and her sister would speak to someone she trusted: ”It was never a matter of going with the highest bidder.”

”We also love the style of Sunday Night and, after meeting Mark Llewellyn, felt it was a good fit, particularly as we believe Mike Willesee is a great choice of interviewer.

”This choice was made easier with Channel Nine broadcasting a film based on a book which is full of false allegations and which we are taking defamation action against.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.