Thursday, August 1, 2013

Labor deposits tax risks voter ire - The Australian

Treasurer Chris Bowen has risked a voter backlash on the eve of an election by placing a new levy on deposits to plug his budget hole.

Slug (Oz): BANK customers will pay a levy on all deposits worth up to $250,000 in a Labor move that aims to prepare for future economic shocks but exposes Kevin Rudd to attacks for increasing the burden on consumers.

Fight (AFR): Senior banking figures indicated they would oppose the levy and depict it as a tax on bank depositors.

NSW Inc (SMH): Former senior Labor ministers Michael Costa, Tony Kelly and Joe Tripodi are to be embroiled in a fresh investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which has launched another fully-fledged graft inquiry into the former minister Eddie Obeid.

Blowout (Oz): KEVIN Rudd's vow to send asylum-seekers to Papua New Guinea will come at a headline cost of $1 billion in the government's budget update today, but the price tag will be cut by $400 million through savings on reduced onshore processing.

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Family business: Kevin Rudd used to micro manage everything, but he's learned from his mistakes. Now he gets family members to do it for him. Capital Circle can reveal Nicholas Rudd is completing an "audit" of Labor's social media operations. One of those whose work he'll review is the talented Erin Swan, daughter of ex-treasurer Wayne. Sources say there's been no visible tension but it's all a bit awkward. It's unclear what special experience the 24-year-old lawyer has in the field of social media, other than being a Rudd. His old man was, of course, an early Twitter adopter and has 1.3 million followers to Tony Abbott's 147,000. Rudd's youngest son Marcus is also working on the campaign in the digital campaigning unit, while daughter Jess is providing informal advice.

Howzat?: Kevin Rudd used his social media clout to complain last night at yesterday's shocking umpiring decision that sent Usman Khawaja back to the rooms in the Third Ashes Test. "I've just sat down to watch the test. That was one of the worst cricket umpiring decisions I have ever seen. KRudd", the Prime Minister tweeted about the highly-dubious caught behind ruling. As The Australian's cricket writer Wayne Smith observed, "Rudd knows, like Julia Gillard before him, that it never hurts to be seen as being interested in the one game that unites all Australians".

Gourmet travellers: Anecdotal evidence has emerged to support Tony Abbott's claim that Nauru is, in fact, "quite a pleasant island". We hear the local delicacy is fresh tuna, marinated in vinegar and lime juice, served in a coconut sauce with rice. It's apparently delicious, and costs just $6 at local cafes. The opposition better hope the news doesn't get out in Jakarta, or their Nauru Solution will be swamped in no time.

Pasta picture: The opposition has gone all spaghetti and meatballs over NSW Labor Inc in an attempt to draw links between the key players and serving Labor figures. Some of the links are tenuous. Jason Clare is listed for being a "senior adviser to Bob Carr when premier", while Ed Husic is included as a former staffer to transport minister and gay sex club patron David Campbell. See the graphic here.

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Today: Treasurer Chris Bowen will release his economic statement at 1pm.

Kevin Rudd is in Sydney.

Tony Abbott is in Melbourne.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell will announce a cabinet reshuffle following the sacking of finance minister Greg Pearce.

Bob Katter will unveil his party's Queensland Senate ticket for the federal election.

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Numbers: LEAKED Coalition polling suggests the national swing to Labor since Kevin Rudd's comeback, which has the major parties neck and neck in the published polls, is not being reflected in key marginal seats.

Lifeline: The SMH reports the government has found about $300 million to support car manufacturers hit by what until recently has been a relentlessly high dollar, an Australian fascination with imported sports utility vehicles, and a government decision to tighten the fringe benefit rules applying to employer-provided and salary packaged cars.

Slowdown: EXPORT prices have fallen more heavily over the past year than Treasury's May budget forecast, but economists expect slowing economic growth will have a bigger impact on the bottom line in the government's economic statement, due today.

Sibling rivalry: THE fallout from Kevin Rudd's dying days as prime minister in 2010 opened a rift in the family that left his older brother frozen out for three years.

Stain: DISGRACED ALP powerbroker Eddie Obeid claims he actively lobbied members of the powerful NSW Right faction to support Kevin Rudd's push to become the party's leader in 2006.

Tick: LABOR'S national executive last night signed off on Kevin Rudd's NSW reform plan, endorsing measures to ban property developers becoming ALP election candidates and suspending the membership of people being investigated or found to be involved in corruption.

Cha ching: The SMH reports Nauru stands to reap up to $5 million each month in visa fees alone should an Abbott government go ahead with plans for a massive expansion of asylum-seeker numbers on the tiny Pacific island.

Message: LABOR has launched phase two of its big asylum-seeker advertising campaign, amid revelations the domestic budget was "up to $30 million", a figure that dramatically overshadows the $7m set aside for overseas information.

Expectations: The SMH reports Papua New Guinea and the Rudd government are at odds over what new infrastructure Australia will pay for as overseas aid under the controversial asylum-seeker deal.

Trash: ONE day after NSW Labor hit rock bottom with the devastating findings of corruption against members of the previous state government, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has been forced to sack his first minister.

Not happy: The Daily Telegraph reports Kevin Rudd faces a multi-million-dollar election blitz - including national advertising and letterbox drops from angry industry and community groups.

Costly: The AFR reports businesses will be required to buy more overseas carbon permits under a plan being drawn up by the federal government's climate change adviser to make deep cuts in emissions by 2030.

Backyard: TONY Abbott's indigenous affairs spokesman Nigel Scullion has attacked both sides of politics for an obsession with "boats" over indigenous Australians, arguing the bigger crisis was with closing the gap.

Road not rail: TONY Abbott has slapped down Denis Napthine, insisting the states will have to fund their own commuter rail infrastructure and leave nation building projects to the commonwealth.

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Dennis Shanahan: NSW Labor's corruption will taint the PM's election campaign.

John Durie: THE last country to impose taxes on bank deposits was Cyprus back in April, reflecting the desperation in evidence from Canberra.

Greg Sheridan: THE Papua New Guinea solution is sinking under the weight of its own contradictions.

Simon Benson: IT was only a matter of weeks ago that Labor was looking at holding on to just two seats in Sydney. One was Tanya Plibersek's seat.

Phil Hudson: SMOKERS are paying higher taxes so motorists don't.

Dennis Atkins: TAXING cigarettes is the lowest hanging fruit for desperate politicians who think they can mask their financial greed with a "it's really good for you" health message.

Richo: THERE are a few bad apples among members but this is not a culture of corruption.

Penbo: The truth is that Kevin Rudd's original creation and recent reincarnation could not have been possible without his own orchestrated and sustained suck-job to the NSW Right.

Josh Bournstein: I've been a lifelong ALP voter, but not any more. Inflicting human rights abuses to achieve the PNG solution crosses the line for me.

Laura Tingle: The developments at Gove only highlight how the outcome of this election will be so much more complicated than one party winning extra seats.
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