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Sunday 10th July 2016 - 7:09 pm
Comments Off on PM claims victory

PM claims victory

by Alan Thornhill

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, claimed victory today in the Federal elections that were held on July 2.

 

He said the Labor Leader, Bill Shorten, had telephoned him earlier today and congratulated him on being re-elected as Prime Minister.

 

Then he added: “Mr Shorten said earlier today that he looked forward to seeking to reach common ground.

 

“And I welcome that remark, I welcome that.

 

“Because it is vital that this Parliament works.

 

“It is vital that we work together and as far as we can, find ways upon which we can all agree, consistent with our policies that we have taken to the election, consistent with our political principles, that we meet the great challenges Australia faces.

 

“We need to ensure that we have a strong economy in the years ahead,” Mr Turnbull said.

 

The newly re-elected Prime Minister then set out broad objectives, for his second term.

 

He said: “We need to ensure that we maintain a successful transition from the economy fuelled up by the mining construction boom, to one that is more diverse.

 

“We need to ensure that Medicare and education, our health services, and all those vital government services are provided for and Australians feel secure that they are provided for and guaranteed.

 

“And at the same time, we have to ensure that we bring our Budget back into balance.

 

“These challenges are not easy, there’s no simple solution to them.

 

“But that’s why they need our best brains, our best minds and above all, our best goodwill in this new Parliament to deliver that.,” he said.

 

 

He also dismissed a reporter’s suggestion that he might have more trouble with the new Senate than he had with the old, saying there were always cross benchers in the Senate  and there would only be one more in the new Senate.

 

Mr Turnbull also signalled, very clearly, that he would  not be taking his predecessor, Tony Abbott, back into Cabinet.

 

He said: “I have obviously given consideration to the Ministry both before and after the election and as you know I have said that the Ministry I lead – I led to the election, will be the Ministry I lead after the election.

 

“Regrettably several ministers have not been returned and so there will be some changes.

 

” but you shouldn’t anticipate large scale changes. ”

 

 

 

 

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Friday 8th July 2016 - 1:29 pm
Comments Off on ASIC tightens its watch on IOOF

ASIC tightens its watch on IOOF

by Alan Thornhill

The financial services giant IOOF will be required to accept a measure of external surveillance, under arrangements announced today by the industry watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

 

However ASIC stopped short of taking further action against IOOF, which offers superannuation products, financial advice and many other similar products.

 

It noted that, in July last year, it had commenced inquiries into allegations made against I.O.O.F. Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries (IOOF), including issues raised by a former employee of IOOF.

 

It said the allegations have been the subject of several media articles and an inquiry by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.

 

And it added: “ASIC has now finalised its inquiries.”

 

It had investigated several issues, including allegations of insider trading,raised by a former employee of IOOF.

 

ASIC  said the allegations had also been the subject of several media articles and an inquiry by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.
“ASIC has now finalised its inquiries,” the commission said.
It said the allegations of insider trading concerned an IOOF staff member’s involvement in insider trading before research reports became public.

 

The commission found that although this did occur it failed to move the share price enough to warrant action.

 
ASIC’s inquiries also included a review into allegations relating to corporate governance and licensee breaches by IOOF.

 

It said: “This review identified a number of concerns relating to IOOF’s compliance arrangements, breach reporting, management of conflicts of interest, staff trading policy, disclosure, whistleblower management and protection and cyber security.

 

And added:” We have raised these concerns with IOOF.

 

“We have also advised IOOF that in our view the corporate culture at that time within IOOF contributed to these issues occurring.”
Then the commission said:  “Concurrent with ASIC’s inquiries, IOOF appointed Price Waterhouse Coopers to conduct an independent review of its regulatory breach reporting policy and procedures and the control environment within its research team.

 

And it added:  “IOOF has made significant changes to their policies and procedures as a result.
The commission said:  “While ASIC welcomes such initiatives and steps taken by IOOF to rectify these issues, ASIC has also reached an agreement with IOOF to engage an external compliance consultant to conduct an expanded, broader and more comprehensive review of compliance arrangements within all IOOF business units.”

 
“ASIC will continue to monitor and work cooperatively with IOOF and its board to ensure the necessary changes are properly effected,it added.

Monday 4th July 2016 - 8:46 am
Comments Off on Australia’s next PM? The one who is better on the blower

Australia’s next PM? The one who is better on the blower

by Alan Thornhill

Australia’s political leaders will be hitting their phones this week, trying to scrape together enough support to give the country stable government for the next three years.

 

The main rivals, Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who heads a conservative coalition and Bill Shorten, who leads the Labor party both found themselves short of the 76 seats they would need, in the House of Representatives, to govern in their own right, at the end of the initial, but still incomplete, count.

 

Late yesterday, Labor had 67 seats, the Coalition 65, others 5 and 13 were still in doubt.

 

The Australian Electoral Commission had counted 78.2 per cent of the votes cast, at that point.

 

It will not resume the count until Tuesday, and the final result, for the House, will probably not be known until some time next week.

 

Mr Turnbull had made much of the need he saw for stability, during the late stages of the eight week election campaign, particularly after Britain’s vote to leave the EU.
However the swing to Labor, evident in Saturday’s election, showed that voters were more impressed with Mr Shorten’s warning that only Labor could be trusted to protect Australia’s health insurance system, Medicare.

 

Mr Turnbull had sought support for a plan centred on tax cuts for big companies and high income earners.

 

He had warned that a big spending Labor government could not be trusted to manage Australia’s economy responsibly.

 

And, at a news conference today, he welcomed a question from a reporter who asked him if the election result could threaten Australia’s TripleA credit rating.
He thanked the reporter and said: “This is why it is very important … for me to explain what is happening at the moment.”

 

“We are simply going through a process of completing a count,” Mr Turnbull said.

 

The Prime Minister also said that he could still form a new government, for the next three years.

 

However Bill Shorten greeted the initial count with a triumphal declaration.

 

He conceded that the public might not know the outcome of Saturday’s election : “…for some days to come.”

 

“But there is one thing for sure – the Labor Party is back.” he said.

 

But which of these two men is likely to be Australia’s Prime Minister over the next three years?

 

The answer to that question will depend, very much, on their relative telephone skills.

Thursday 30th June 2016 - 6:46 pm
Comments Off on Job vacancies:where to find them

Job vacancies:where to find them

by Alan Thornhill

 

The number of public sector job vacancies in Australia has been rising rapidly.

 

Trend figures that the Bureau of Statistics released today showed that there were 16,500 public sector job vacancies available in Australia in May.

 

This represented a 4.1 per cent rise from the February level and a 26.2 per cent rise over the year.

 

But most opportunities are still to be found in the private sector.

 

The Bureau also reported that there were 155,400 private sector vacancies in May this year.

 

This represented a 0.6 per cent rise from the February level sand a rise of 8.1 per cent over the year.

Tuesday 28th June 2016 - 7:25 pm
Comments Off on Bill Shorten sets his “markers”

Bill Shorten sets his “markers”

by Alan Thornhill

The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, set out his objectives for a Labor government after July 2, in his final speech of the current campaign to the National Press Club in Canberra today.

 

He said:   “We are setting our markers for the Australia of 2030.”

 

These were:-

 

  • Strong, universal, affordable Medicare
  • A school system back in the top 5 in the world
  • 50 per cent renewable energy
  • A first-rate, fibre NBN, putting us at the centre of the Asian Century
  • Revitalising advanced manufacturing and apprenticeships
  • Building the nation building, productive infrastructure unclogging our cities and joining our economic operations
  • 3 per cent of our GDP dedicated to science, research and technology
  • 300,000 more women in work
  • Halving the national suicide rate, and
  • Reducing the rates of ovarian cancer.

 

He said all  of this would be  matched with an economic and fiscal plan for the next decade, ” to fully-fund our investments in the future.”

 

This would mean: “Delivering the needed structural savings and tax reforms that will bring the budget back to balance in the same year as our opponents forecast, and build stronger, more sustainable surpluses in the years that follow.

 

“Achieving these goals over the next decade means starting work next week.

 

“My team and I have a clear set of priorities for our first 100 days.
“A new Labor government will hit the ground running:

–    Offering certainty to Arrium in South Australia – and protecting jobs in Laverton, Rooty Hill and Acacia Ridge

–    Setting up our transition fund to support 200,000 automotive supply chain jobs

–    Developing the Financing Mandate for our new $10 billion Concrete Bank, so we can get private investment flowing into public infrastructure

–    Drawing up the terms of reference and appointing a Royal Commissioner to investigate the rip-offs, scams and credit card interest rate rorts in the banking sector

–    And convening a National Crisis Summit on Family Violence, an assembly of the frontline: counsellors, law enforcement, community legal centres, state governments and – most importantly – survivors.

 

 

These are the  people who know, better than anyone, what is wrong with our system and what we need to do to end family violence.

 

“Underpinning all of this – our long-term objectives and our immediate plans for action – will be an old-fashioned focus on good public policy.

 

“A careful and considered approach – recognising that government is a most serious business, a long-term policy institution.

 

He said a Labor government would be “Dealing honestly with the challenges we face and being upfront about our plans.”

 

 

Wednesday 22nd June 2016 - 6:55 pm
Comments Off on Who gets the good jobs?

Who gets the good jobs?

by Alan Thornhill

The hours you spend studying – after you leave school – are  likely to  lead to better jobs – and much better pay.

These lessons have not been lost on Australia’s migrants, who often come to this country seeking better chances in life.

 

We can say these things confidently, because they are based on research just published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

 

The Bureau notes, for example, that more than three quarters – 82 per cent – of people with a non-school qualification were employed last year, compared with  just 61 per cent of those who didn’t.

A second degree, or other non school qualification, can also do much to boost personal income.

In fact the bureau said:  “average personal weekly income increased with the number of non-school qualifications completed.

 

“Men working full-time, who held two or more non-school qualifications, earned on average $813 per week more than their full-time working counterparts without a non-school qualification.

 

“Similarly, full-time employed females with multiple non-school qualifications earned an average $504 per week more than those working full-time without a non-school qualification.”

 

But what of those adult migrants?

 

That is people who came to this country after their 15th birthdays.

 

The Bureau said:  “In 2015, 73 per cent of adult migrants aged 15–64 years had a non-school qualification compared with 58 per cent of those born in Australia.

 

The proportion of adult migrants who had a Bachelor degree or higher on arrival had increased from 23 per cent  for those who migrated before 2001 to 45 per cent for those who migrated after 2010.

 

“The proportion of adult migrants who held a non-school qualification on arrival to Australia increased from 39 per cent for those who arrived before 2001, to 62 per cent for those arriving after 2010.

 

“This increase is most notable in female adult migrants, with 32 per cent having a non-school qualification on arrival before 2001 compared with 61 per cent for those arriving after 2010,”  the bureau said.

Tuesday 21st June 2016 - 2:33 pm
Comments Off on Jobs:Australia’s outsiders

Jobs:Australia’s outsiders

by Alan Thornhill

The profound changes in the ways in which Australians now work are reflected in detailed figures the Bureau of Statistics published today.

 

Although they were for February last year, they paint a picture of a modern work scene which still exists today.

 

It is one which Australian workers, of previous generations would barely recognise.

 

Full employment was dominant back then.

 

Not any more.

 

The bureau reported that in February 2015, when its latest job Participation, Job Search and Mobility survey was conducted, 33 per cent of Australia’s working age population was not in the nation’s work-force.

 

It estimated then that of the civilian population aged 15 years and over 6.3 million people were not in the labor force, 835,900 were unemployed and 11.7 million were employed.

 

Of the 6.3 million people not in the labour force:

  • 3.7 million (59 per cent were females)
  • 1.3 million wanted to work (23 per cent% of females and 18 per cent of males); and
  • 15 per cent were aged 15–24 years, 40 per cent were aged 25–64 years and 45 per cent were aged 65 years and over.

Of the 835,900 unemployed people::

  • 444,600 (53 per cent) were males;
  • 217,200 people had been looking for work for 1 year or more; and
  • 21 per cent were aged 25-34.

Of the 11.7 million employed people::

  • 10.6 million (91 per cent) were fully employed; and
  • 1 million were underemployed.

Of the 1 million underemployed workers:

  • 960,700 people who usually worked part-time, but would prefer more hours and were available to start work with more hours either in the reference week, or in the four weeks following the interview; and
  • 75,100 usually worked full-time, but worked part-time hours in the reference week due to economic reasons For example, because,  no work – or not enough work – was available,  or because they had been stood down.
Sunday 19th June 2016 - 7:04 pm
Comments Off on Shorten sharp:Labor chief’s warnings

Shorten sharp:Labor chief’s warnings

by Alan Thornhill

Bill Shorten sought to inspire Australian voters with a speech he gave today.

 
Acknowledging that the Labor party he leads polls more strongly among women than men, Mr Shorten opened his speech with a line that reverses an old favourite, of Australian politicians.

 
“Women and men of Australia,” he declared.

 

An edited version of his 5,000 word speech is reproduced below.

As expected, Mr Shorten concentrated on traditional Labor themes, health, education and jobs, while attacking the government’s “arrogance.”

And he warned that the Liberals pose a real threat to Medicare .

Mr Shorten said: “ We gather as one united party: ready to serve, ready to lead, ready for government.”

He declared that “a great future is within Australia’s reach” – and  said he is “certain that Labor has the plans to grasp it.”
“Labor knows “… that this election can be won…”Mr Shorten said

“Mr Turnbull says he’s got this in the bag, he claims he’s already won it,” Mr Shorten added.

“I say to him – never underestimate Labor.

“You ain’t seen anything yet, has he?”

“… only a Labor Government will build a stronger economy and a fairer society, Mr Shorten said.
Only Labor would:-

*…. fund our schools and protect Medicare.
*….create jobs and build roads, rail and a proper National Broadband Network.
On aborigines, Mr Shorten said:-“I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, I pay my respects to elders past and present,“…but let our respect travel past words into action.
“ because as long as a young Aboriginal man is more likely to go to jail than university, words are not enough. Action matters. ”
“Friends, our issues are starting to bite – please, keep up the great work, we count on all of you.
Mr Shorten thanked three previous Labor Prime Ministers, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Julia Gillard who attended his launch and mentioned Kevin Rudd who is overseas.

He said that under Labor “… Medicare stays.”
Mr Shorten also said: “We’ve got the best people, we’ve got the best policies and we’ve got the best plan to pay for them.”
He said Labor would be :” …accountable and responsible for every single dollar.”

It would deliver: “Only policies that we can fund, only policies our country can afford.
“We will not be a big spending government.
“We will be a government for the fair go, fully paid for.

“Bringing down the deficit each and every year.
Mr Shorten said: “… the difference in competing economic visions has never been sharper or starker:
“A Labor party investing in people, in productivity, in infrastructure and technology.

“And a Liberal party asking for three more years on the back of one bad idea.
“A $50 billion giveaway to big business, $30 billion of which goes straight overseas.
“This is not a plan for the Australian economy – it is foreign aid for foreign companies.

“Treasury has put a final figure on the economic benefits, such as they are.

“A growth dividend of 0.1 per cent a year.

“Zero. Point. One.

“$50 billion dollars for a benefit that rounds down to zero.

“But at least Mr Turnbull has already told us already how he is going to fill the void it that will leave in the Budget – a 15 per cent GST, on everything.

“Or ripping every single Commonwealth dollar out of every single government school.

“And letting the states loose to charge their own income tax.

“Make no mistake, if the Liberals win, we shouldn’t be worried about Mr Turnbull breaking his promises, we should be worried about him keeping his promises.

“Mr Turnbull’s plan, such as it is, means a $7.4 billion windfall for Westpac, ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank and NAB.

“Three out of four of these are under investigation for rigging the interest rates of Australians trying to save for a home, pay-off a mortgage or plan for a self-funded retirement.

Mr Shorten said: “The Australian economy needs a real jobs plan.”

And he said that was what Labor would provide. (see earlier story)

Mr Shorten also said: “… the two most important things for an economy in transition are: public investment in infrastructure and education.

‘Building and teaching.

“Labor will do both.

“We will turbo-charge Infrastructure and create a new ‘Concrete Bank’.

“We will clear away the market blockages that hold back our superannuation investing in good projects.

“We will build if given the opportunity by the Australian people, the Perth Metronet, AdeLINK, the Melbourne Metro and of course Brisbane’s Cross-River Rail.

“And we will build the Western Sydney Rail Line connecting fast growing communities.

“We’ll back this up with 15,000 new places for apprentices – of all ages – right across the nation.

“And we will clean-out the dodgy private colleges undermining vocational training in this country.

“Politics, as you understand, is about choices,” Mr Shorten said.

“We choose TAFE.

“We choose local content.

“We choose the apprenticeship system.”

“We choose renewable energy and Australian steel because we believe advanced manufacturing has a future in this country.”

On schools, Mr Shorten said: “We will build – and we will teach.

“And our future as a knowledge economy depends upon the National Broadband Network, “ Mr Shorten said.
“It’s vital to small businesses in the regions engaging in our region.”

But Mr Turnbull has made a horrible mess of the NBN.

The cost is now double what he promised – and it’s going to take as twice as long to build.

Australia’s ranking has collapsed from 30th to 60th in the world in global internet speeds.

“I suppose, this was the perfect preview for his time as Prime Minister.

“Over-promise, under-deliver and take forever to get to the point.

“Australia deserves so much better than this.
“A new Labor Government will connect up to 2 million more homes and businesses to a first-rate fibre National Broadband Network.

“Equality for women will be a national mission for my government,” Mr Shorten added.

“That would mean:-
A minimum of 18 weeks paid parental leave, guaranteed.
Better childcare, sooner – for 800,000 working families.
He said, ,too, that Family violence is not a family matter – it is a national disgrace.
Mr Shorten also said, Labor would provide “…will provide the leadership in the Parliament to deliver marriage equality within our first 100 days.”

And he added: “There is a hidden story in our country.

“Teenagers are taking days off school to attend the funerals of classmates who have taken their own life.

“Parents sitting at kitchen tables, numb with incomprehension, shattered by grief, trying to write a eulogy for their child. No parent should ever bury their child.

“Yet seven Australians die every day at their own hand.

“Every single day.

“We can do better than this.

“A new Labor Government will start by providing $72 million for 12 regional suicide prevention project, Mr Shorten said.

He said the election on July 2 would be “ a referendum on the future of Medicare.

“Medicare is the community standard, it’s the gold standard, it speaks to Australians about who we are,” he added.

“And Medicare costs Australia far less than other countries pay, and we get better care,” Mr Shorten said.

And he added:”The Liberals have given the Productivity Commission new riding instructions, to investigate privatising human services and Americanising Medicare.

“This is Mr Turnbull’s second strike on Medicare and we know he won’t stop, he won’t rest,” Mr Shorten added.

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