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Wednesday 21st December 2016 - 8:10 am
Comments Off on The news: Wednesday December 21

The news: Wednesday December 21

by Alan Thornhill

Sick of politics: Ten charts that show why Donald Trump and Brexit could happen in Australia



Turkey and Russia agree on ways of dealing with the murder of Russia’s smbassdor in Ankara  BBC

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Tuesday 20th December 2016 - 8:21 am
Comments Off on The news:Tuesday December 20

The news:Tuesday December 20

by Alan Thornhill

Treasurer Scott Morrison says the Federal’s financial plans are “on track.” ABC



A Turkish policeman has shot dead Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, apparently in protest at Russia’s involvement in Aleppo as

German police in Berlin say a truck attack which killed 9 people in that city appears to have been deliberate. BBC


Powerful senator Nick Xenophon has predicted 2017 will be a “very unhappy year for the gambling industry” as he pledges to haul retail giant Woolworths and pokie machine makers to a Senate inquiry to explain their opposition to limiting pokie bets to $1. the age


Monday 19th December 2016 - 10:21 pm
Comments Off on Australia likely to keep its Triple A credit rating

Australia likely to keep its Triple A credit rating

by Alan Thornhill

Australia will probably keep its prized Triple A credit rating, even though the Federal government now admits that its troublesome debt levels are likely to keep rising

over the next four years.


However the spokesman for one agency, Standard and Poors, also said pressure would remain on the $A for that time.


The concession from the Federal government was made by the Finance Minister, Matthias Corman.


If the agencies had proceeded with their original threat,  Australian companies wishing to borrow, to finance finance particular projects, might well have found that much

more expensive than they do now.


They said Australia’s foreign debt now is three times as big as it was, when Tony Abbott first became Prime Minister.


Labor, too, has been warning of the possible consequences, if Australia lets its foreign debt get out of control

Friday 16th December 2016 - 4:14 pm
Comments Off on Super: don’t subsidise the governmemt

Super: don’t subsidise the governmemt

by Alan Thornhill

Australia’s superannuation funds are urging their clients to reclaim their lost and forgotten contributions before that money sinks into the Federal government’s consolidated revenue.


They admit that a little detective work might be needed,to find  it but say the results could help many families with their finances, particularly when seasonal expenses are high,


The funds made their pitch through their industry association.


ASFA  is urging hundreds of thousands of Australians with forgotten or inactive super accounts to reclaim their money before it goes into consolidated revenue


ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy said Australians should do themselves “a festive favour”  and find their missing money.


“$2.5 billion currently sits in consolidated revenue as unclaimed super,” he said.


“Super belongs to individuals and families so gift yourself and give super a go to boost your savings.


“Take an interest in your super now, while you may have a bit of holiday time,,


“Then reap the long term rewards.


“In addition to getting your money back from the government there are compound interest benefits from being invested in super.


“You can check your super accounts by registering for the ATO’s online services via MyGov or contact your current super fund for assistance,” he added..

“There are currently around 300,000 people with more than six super accounts, so it’s clear many could enjoy a boost to their funds by consolidating missing amounts, particularly balances that have or will soon go to the ATO as unclaimed,” Dr Fahy said.

“More than 14.8 million Australians have super and many have lost and missing super.

Currently lost or inactive super account balances under $4,000 must be transferred to consolidated revenue, via the ATO.

From December this year that threshold rises to capture accounts valued at up to $6,000.

For a person who has a $5,000 account taken by the ATO this means a loss of around $225 a year in earnings on average compared to what you would receive if that account was consolidated into your active super account.

ASFA estimates up to 100,000 additional accounts could be captured when the threshold rises to $6,000 this month.

Last year when the threshold lifted from $2,000 to $4,000, more than 130,000 extra accounts were transferred tthe ATO.

“Fund members with missing or lost accounts are more likely to generate earnings with their balance in a super fund, rather than with the ATO, where balances only attract interest at a current rate of 1.5 per cent per year,” Dr Fahy said.

“Additionally, at least half the inactive accounts, whether it’s $2,000, $4,000 or $6,000 are likely to have insurance cover. Acting now can preserve these benefits from being lost.”

Meanwhile, a separate study showed that customer  satisfaction with financial performance of superannuation steady in November but down over the year.

Thursday 15th December 2016 - 12:47 pm
Comments Off on Full-time employment “steady”

Full-time employment “steady”

by Alan Thornhill

Full time employment remained steady – at 5.6 per cent last month the bureau of statistics

said today.

It added that 6 mnthly trend full-time employment was largely unchanged in Australia in November 2016, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Total trend employment increased by 3,100 persons to 11,949,300 persons in November 2016, reflecting an increase in part-time employment of 3,200 persons and a small decrease of 100 persons working full-time.

“Over the past year we have seen a shift towards part-time employment, particularly in the first half of 2016.

There are now around 138,300 more people working part-time than there were a year ago, and around 51,000 fewer people working full-time,” said the General Manager of ABS’ Macroeconomic Statistics Division, Bruce Hockman.

The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.6 per cent for the second consecutive month, having fallen over the past two years from 6.2 per cent in November 2014.

The trend participation rate was unchanged at 64.5 per cent.

The trend monthly hours worked increased by 0.8 million hours (0.1 per cent), with decreases in total hours worked by full-time workers and an increase in hours worked by part-time workers.

The quarterly trend underemployment rate remained at 8.5 per cent for a third successive quarter

“The underemployment rate is still at a historically high level for Australia, but has been relatively unchanged over the past two years,”Mr Hockman said .

Trend series smooth the more volatile seasonally adjusted estimates and provide the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market.

The seasonally adjusted number of persons employed increased by 39,100 in November 2016.


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.7 per cent, and the seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 64.6 per cent.

elease on 22 December 2016. Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003), which includes employment by industry, is also due for release on 22 December.

These publications are available for free download (after release) from the ABS website:

Media note:

When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or AB

Thursday 15th December 2016 - 6:31 am
Comments Off on The news: week starting Monday December 15

The news: week starting Monday December 15

by Alan Thornhill

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison to reveal more about the government’s response to the debt crisis  on Monday ABC


Fresh unemployment figures due out later today  ABC



England’s new rugby union captain Dylan Hartley will be available for their opening fixture of the Six Nations against France after receiving a six-week ban for striking  BBC

Wednesday 14th December 2016 - 7:35 pm
Comments Off on The big squeeze:it’s at your doorstep

The big squeeze:it’s at your doorstep

by Alan Thornhill

Many Australians had their first glimpse of new threats to their financial independence and comfort today.


That happened when the Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison sought to explain the differences between good and bad debt, in a speech he gave in Sydney.


But “glimpse”?


Surely the people taking out these loans knew both the risks, as well as the rewards that go with them.


Yes, they did.


But for some years now, the rewards, not the risks, have dominated the thinking of Australian investors.


Or might we say speculators?


They have used debt vigorously to build their wealth both in middle age, when they took advantage of negative gearing, to acquire not one, but several homes.


And feathering their nests, with borrowed money, in retirement.


The incentives, behind all this, changed suddenly when major international ratings agencies called, saying Australia’s triple-A credit rating would be cut, if it didn’t get its debts under control soon.


All this became more urgent,  as Australia’s banks were squeezed, and may have to raise their own rates soon, to cope with the new outlook.


Guess who gets squeezed, then?

Wednesday 14th December 2016 - 7:23 am
Comments Off on The news: Thursday December 14

The news: Thursday December 14

by Alan Thornhill

An agreement just t reached wioll allow Syrian rebel fighters to leave enclaves they still hold in eastern Aleppo, Russia’s ambassador to the UN has said.BBC






President-elect Donald Trump has confirmed the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson, as his choice for US secretary of state.




The all-important democracy sausage is a staple at polling booths across the nation on election day. But now the term describing the time-honoured culinary tradition has been given the recognition it deserves — being crowned Australia’s Word of the Year for 2016


My book

wx 2

Weathercoast by Alan Thornhill

A novel on the murder of seven young Anglican Christian Brothers in the Solomon Islands.

Available now on the iTunes store.


Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.

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