The broken bits of Australian business life have been sticking out jaggedly from the otherwise silky-smooth performances at the Hayne royal commission. And not just at the commission: a new report from Australia’s prudential regulator adds more evidence of bad behaviour among bankers and advisers. There are signs the problems extend more widely.
Articles from Inside Story
“We’ve asked the sultans not to be on the wrong side of history,” a Pakatan Harapan candidate told me in a posh cafe in Kuala Lumpur in February. “They should not emulate the Indonesian royalty during the Indonesian revolution,” he continued, referring to East Indies rulers who sided with the Dutch on the eve of Indonesian independence. “We are very confident. Very confident.”
A fifth icy age has descended on China–Australia relations — cooling business, frosting diplomacy and chilling strategic perspectives.
In 2018–19 the federal government plans to spend almost $500 billion of taxpayers’ money. Listen to Malcom Turnbull, and you might think much of it is being spent on building infrastructure in Victoria, especially a rail link to Melbourne Airport. Not so — not yet.
The United States is juggling two hugely important nuclear proliferation crises simultaneously. While Donald Trump angles for a deal with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un, he has fulfilled a campaign promise to “terminate” an agreement for containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Both flashpoints create enormous challenges, and the price of failure is high.
It’s a puzzle. The Turnbull government almost brought off a really good budget. But it has deliberately chosen to focus our attention on tax cuts that won’t happen, if they do happen, for six years and are aimed at the top 10 to 15 per cent of taxpayers.
Scott Morrison was all smiles as he handed down his pre-election budget on Tuesday night. Economic good times — at least compared to forecasts — have allowed him to announce income tax cuts and an early return to surplus while making very few difficult spending decisions. But the new medium-term target of capping taxes as a share of the economy will only be achievable with superhuman spending restraint: and both history and demographic forces will be against him.
When the Howard government lost office in November 2007, former treasurer and heir apparent Peter Costello displayed rare political farsightedness when he declined to throw his hat into the leadership ring.
Most people think that “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” is a Roberta Flack song. It appeared on her debut album of 1969, First Take, and her record company released her ultra-slow and sultry performance as a single after it was used two years later in the film Play Misty for Me. It was a worldwide hit in 1972.
Breath, Simon Baker’s debut feature as director, is a small, delicate film, a coming-of-age movie that does great credit to Baker and his collaborators and honours the work from which it was adapted. Tim Winton’s 2008 novel celebrates the cleansing exhilaration of the surf, the beauty of it, the adrenalin summoned to overcome fear, the gliding calm.