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Wednesday 28th December 2016 - 7:46 am
Comments Off on The news:Wednesday December 28

The news:Wednesday December 28

by Alan Thornhill

Actress and Author Carrie Fisher dies after suffering a heart attack on an intnertionl flight  ABC

 

 

 

Russian authorities find one of the  black  boxes that fell into thr Black  when plane crashed there earlier this week with thr loss of 92 lives BBC

 

 

Late pop superstar George Michael will be remembered not only as an artist who pushed the boundaries of British pop music, but as one who challenged the

way gay celebrities expressed their sexuality in public. ABC

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Monday 26th December 2016 - 10:10 pm
Comments Off on Consumer watchdog “takes on” our big banks

Consumer watchdog “takes on” our big banks

by Alan Thornhill

Australia’s consumer watchdog is taking Westpac subsidiaries to court over actions they took while pursuing fresh superannuation business.

 

In a statement today, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said the issues it is raising relate to its ‘best interests duty’ to superannuation customers.

 

These are covered by law.

 

ASIC also said:  “these proceedings form part of ASIC’s Wealth Management Project, focusing on the wealth divisions of the major banks, AMP and Macquarie financial advice licensees when they provide personal advice.”

 

 

The Commission said too that: “ASIC has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against Westpac subsidiaries Westpac Securities Administration Limited (WSAL) and BT Funds Management Limited (BTFM) for a number of contraventions, including failures of the ‘best interests duty’ introduced under the Future of Financial Advice reforms.”

 

 

It said these  “proceedings follow an ASIC investigation into Westpac’s telephone sales campaigns targeting superannuation fund members.

 

“ Specifically, ASIC’s case sets out 15 examples of alleged contraventions of the ‘best interests duty’ arising from two telephone campaigns instigated by WSAL and BTFM.”

 

The Commission also said: “ASIC alleges that during the two telephone campaigns, WSAL and BTFM provided personal financial product advice to customers, specifically recommending that customers roll out of their other superannuation funds into their Westpac-related superannuation accounts.

 

“WSAL and BTFM are not permitted to provide personal financial product advice under their Australian financial services licences. Further, ASIC alleges that WSAL and BTFM did not undertake a proper comparison of the superannuation funds as required by law.”

 

 

ASIC said: “the law provides enhanced consumer protections and imposes greater obligations on ASIC.

 

So the Commission had comencenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against Westpac subsidiaries Westpac Securities Administration Limited (WSAL) and BT Funds Management Limited (BTFM) for a number of contraventions, including failures of the ‘best interests duty’ introduced under the Future of Financial Advice reforms.

 

It said:  “the proceedings follow an ASIC investigation into Westpac’s telephone sales campaigns targeting superannuation fund members.

 

“Specifically, ASIC’s case sets out 15 examples of alleged contraventions of the ‘best interests duty’ arising from two telephone campaigns instigated by WSAL and BTFM.

 

The Commission said: “ASIC alleges that during the two telephone campaigns, WSAL and BTFM provided personal financial product advice to customers, specifically recommending that customers roll out of their other superannuation funds into their Westpac-related superannuation accounts.

 

“ WSAL and BTFM are not permitted to provide personal financial product advice under their Australian financial services licences. Further, ASIC alleges that WSAL and BTFM did not undertake a proper comparison of the superannuation funds as required by law.

 

“The law provides enhanced consumer protections and imposes greater obligations on financial advice licensees when they provide personal advice.

 

ASIC also alleges that WSAL and BTFM have:

  • failed to do all things necessary to ensure that the financial services covered by their  licences are provided efficiently, honestly and fairly;
  • failed to comply with the conditions of their licences which only permits those licensees to provide general advice; and
  • failed to comply with the financial services laws in the Corporations Act.

 

“ASIC and Westpac will continue to cooperate to limit the facts in dispute in the proceedings. The first hearing for the proceedings will be on 2 February 2017 at 9.30am in the Federal Court in Sydney.

 

These proceedings form part of ASIC’s Wealth Management Project, focusing on the wealth divisions of the major banks, AMP and Macquarie financial advice licensees when they provide personal advice,the  Commission said..

ASIC also alleges that WSAL and BTFM have:

 

  • failed to do all things necessary to ensure that the financial services covered by their  licences are provided efficiently, honestly and fairly;
  • failed to comply with the conditions of their licences which only permits those licensees to provide general advice; and
  • failed to comply with the financial services laws in the Corporations Act.

ASIC and Westpac will continue to cooperate to limit the facts in dispute in the proceedings.

 

The first hearing for the proceedings will be on 2 February 2017 at 9.30am in the Federal Court in Sydney.

 

Monday 26th December 2016 - 7:10 pm
Comments Off on Government “shaving” pensions: Labor

Government “shaving” pensions: Labor

by Alan Thornhill

Labor has again accused the Federal government of shaving  pensioners’ incomes, despite its pre-election promise not to do so.

 

 

The government leader in the Senate, Penny Wong, said the government is doing this by withdrawing valuable concessions, including discounts on Council rates.

 

She said thousands of Australian pensioners will lose present concessions, including discounts on Council rates, Senator Wong said.

 

 

Some 90,000 pensioners would be hit in this way.

 

“Thousands of pensioners will lose important concessions, including discounts on council rates because of the Turnbull Government’s changes to the pension assets test,” Senator Wong said.

 

“Not only will these pensioners lose their pension but they will also lose important concessions as well.

 

“This is a double blow for pensioners,” she added.

 

Senator Wong also said that Joe Hockey, who was then Treasurer, had promised at the time of the 2015 budget  “Anyone who currently has a Pensioner Concession Card will continue to receive a concession card that provides the same benefits.”

 

“Turns out the Liberals were lying all along,”  Senator Wong said.

Monday 26th December 2016 - 7:30 am
Comments Off on The news:Monday December 26

The news:Monday December 26

by Alan Thornhill

All 92 people on board a Russian military aircraft are feared dead after it crashed into the Black Sea.BBC

 

 

 

Israel’s prime minister has summoned the US ambassador amid a growing row after the US eased the passage of a resolution against Israel at the UN.BBC

 

 

 

Pope Francis delivers a Christmas message filled with hope for peace in a world lacerated by war and terrorism, urging people to remember migrants, refugees

and those hit by economic instability caused by “idolatry of money”.  ABC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 24th December 2016 - 4:43 pm
Comments Off on The PM’s overlooked advantages

The PM’s overlooked advantages

by Alan Thornhill

Malcolm Turnbull has two under-rated qualities that will help him keep his job, beyond the end of this parliamentary year.

 

Firstly, he looks and sounds like a Prime Minister, in the tradition of the Liberal party’s founder, Robert Gordon Menzies.

 

That means he will, at least, have a chance of escaping the criticism Mr Turnbull might otherwise have expected from party elders.

 

They are, frankly, disappointed at the Prime Minister’s apparent inability to curb insiders, like South Australia’s Cory Bernadi, who want to see the Coalition take tougher lines on internal, right wing policies.

 

The Federal Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, declared immediately after the Federal election in July, that Mr Turnbull would be displaced, before the end of the year, by divisions within Australia’s conservative parties.

 

That hasn’t happened yet, although there have been moments of real excitement at times.

 

One came when the three major ratings agencies threatened to end our Triple-A credit rating if we did not get our debts under control.

 

That threat has now receded, with the higher prices we have been getting for our iron ore and coal.

 

 

However Mr Turnbull’s plans to proceed with  public referendums on same sex marriage and whether Australia should become a republic both remain political hazards.

Saturday 24th December 2016 - 7:25 am
Comments Off on The news: Saturday December 24

The news: Saturday December 24

by Alan Thornhill

Police consider charging a fourth man with attacks on three Melbourne landmarks, including Flinders Street Station and Saint Paul’s Cathedral  ABC

 

 


 

 

Footage shows a man being arrested after the Libya Malta hijack. He acted with another man who was also arrested.  102 passengers set free BBC
Second property searched by police investigating the Claremont serial killings.thewest.com.au
Friday 23rd December 2016 - 7:00 am
Comments Off on The news: Friday December 23

The news: Friday December 23

by Alan Thornhill

The Syrian army has retaken control of the besieged city of Aleppo, following the evacuation of the last group of civilians and rebels, a statement says.BBC  file:

 

 

 

Donald Trump says the US must expand its nuclear arsenal until the world  comes to its senses on the use of nuclear weapons  BBC

 

 

 

Christian lobby group chief, whose building was attacked by a van bomber, has described the driver’s argument – that the attack was not related to religion- as “unconvincing.” ABC

Thursday 22nd December 2016 - 8:12 am
Comments Off on The news: Thursday December 22

The news: Thursday December 22

by Alan Thornhill

In the early hours of this morning a van, loaded with gas bottles, rams into a building owned by the Australian Christian Lobby in the Canberra suburb of Deakin.

Building damaged.  No one hurt  ABC

 

 

Retired conservative MP  Tony Windsor urges Cory Bernadi to defect from the Liberals adding that the should “piss-or-get-off-the-potty” if  Bernadi refuses SMH

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Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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