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Where brands would previously compete with no-frills brands, now they produce them as part of a new strategy. AAP/Daniel Munoz

No-frills alternatives are helping our favourite brands survive

Only a few years ago jokes about home brand products were quite common. Having a blue and white or red and white dinner meant enjoying generic brand fare that night around the table. But the recent intensification…
Research and development organisations have operated in rural sectors for more than 80 years, helping keep these sectors innovative and competitive. University of Tasmania

Rural Australia has innovation lessons to teach us all

The word innovation is often associated with banks of computers, not the back paddock. But Australia’s agricultural sector is actually a world leader when it comes to research and development. Calls are…
Large companies are investing in venture capital in the hope of replicating some of the successes of “garage entrepreneurs” like Steve Jobs. Flickr/Blake Patterson

Free to fail: why corporates are learning to love venture capital

Opening a venture capital branch seems to be the new “thing” in the corporate world. While Telstra and Westpac are the new big national players, Google is clearly ahead of the curve, with two distinct…
The Chinese TV market is hard to crack. Shutterstock

Looking behind the screens of the ABC’s China deal

ABC International has reasons to be proud of its recent “landmark” deal to provide ABC content in China. The deal, which will see the establishment of an online portal, also seems to make it harder for…
With the search for MH370 wreckage moving to under the ocean, the question of legal liability also moves closer. AAP/EPA/Leut Kelli Lunt/Australian Department of Defence

Will Malaysia Airlines be liable for compensation for MH370?

While Malaysia Airlines continues to provide welfare and support to the families of the passengers of MH370, compensation will soon become a priority. However, just what Malaysia Airlines' legal liability…
Chances are your every shopping move is being tracked. Phil Campbell/Flickr

Big Data and personalised pricing: consider yourself gamed

Imagine yourself the CEO of a company that mainly sells one product. One of your goals is to maximise profits. You know you can charge a flat price, or modestly raise profits by using quantity discounts…
Women are often left behind in the super stakes. Kicki/Flickr

Superannuation sharing can help bridge the gender divide

Anyone who has been married knows there is a lot of compromise involved. Each party gives up something in order to get the benefits which can arise from sharing. Nobody get exactly what he or she wants…
Committing to new infrastructure is dangerous when political motivations are the driver. AAP/AAP Image/Alan Porritt)

Trains, planes and automobiles: how our cities get the mix wrong

It’s hard to get past the feeling that we are stuck in 1970s thinking when it comes to planning infrastructure such as airports. The Federal government has finally announced Badgerys Creek in Sydney’s…
Beef sales in Japan involve tightly controlled captive supply chains. Andy Rain/AAP

Japan-Australia deal leaves beef trade in the 20th century

The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) signed last week is a bilateral trade deal in the old-fashioned mould. In the twenty-first century, global economic negotiations tend to be preoccupied…
US multinationals, through a network of lobby groups, are pushing back against attempts to reform international corporate taxation. EPA/Michael Reynolds

G20 tax reform mired in shadowy world of lobbying

Researchers estimate the US loses more than US$90 billion annually in corporate income tax revenues from tax loopholes and tax havens, also known as base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). With a growing…
Barry O'Farrell has resigned after acknowledging that his denial to ICAC of receiving expensive wine, was incorrect. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

O’Farrell fell short of basic standards in business and public life

It is tragic that New South Wales has lost an able and dedicated Premier apparently over a bottle of wine, even if it is a $3000 bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange. Many will be sad to see Barry O’Farrell…
Some people are looking for a new kind of journalism. Ted Eytan/Flickr

Journalism’s future needs entrepreneurial ‘hackers’

The Guardian and The Washington Post have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their work in bringing to light documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. It is fashionable…
Older workers are already working longer; but the debate around paying for the Age Pension has only just begun. Eric Yen/Flickr

Age Pension debate makes clear: adequate super is pivotal

Talk about increasing the Age Pension eligibility age to 70 has generated a lot of anxiety and indignation. What seems to be going unnoticed in all the hype is that we have just experienced a round of…
Having enough money for retirement will take more super contributions than most Australians are making. Shutterstock

Why Australians don’t make extra super contributions

Australians are increasingly relying on superannuation for their retirement income, but despite more than 20 years of compulsory super, many people are not retiring with enough. The assets under management…
An increasing number of consumers choose a broker over going direct to a bank for their home loan. Dan Peled/AAP

Looking for a home loan? Choose from one of these four options…

Over 40% of mortgages in Australia are sold by mortgage brokers, not by their manufacturers - an issue that has the CEO of Australia’s fifth largest bank, Suncorp, arguing the sector is skewed towards…
Australia’s loss of economic complexity is leading to a primitive economy in which the nation’s share of the value of its products shrinks and living standards fall. Marija Piliponyte/Shutterstock

For want of industry policy, our living standards are set to fall

Australia faces a fall in living standards unless policy action is taken. This is due to de-industrialisation and loss of economic complexity. The higher the economic complexity, the stronger the economy’s…
From July, the ATO will be able to levy new fines on self-managed superannuation fund trustees. Shutterstock

Taxing times for self-managed super funds

Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) are the fastest growing sector of the superannuation industry, spiking by 33% between 2008 and 2012, putting them in the sights of both the super industry and…
Superannuation: you give, they take. Paul Kelly/Flickr

Superannuation is too costly, so bill me

The main reason superannuation costs are too high in Australia is both simple and horrendously complex: it’s the only service we buy where we give the service provider our money to look after. It’s true…
US bankers like JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon fear increased bank regulation. Chuck Hagel/Flickr

Time for bankers to have a capital rethink

A plan by US regulators to impose greater capital requirements on the nation’s eight biggest banks has prompted complaints it will put the banks at a global disadvantage. The proposal is that the banks…
The original Woolworth Company dates back to 1878. Dominic Alves/Flickr

Which Woolies is that?

The bid for David Jones from South African retailer Woolworths brings to light one curious dimension of international business - the proliferation of firms with very similar brand names but distinct identities…
The importance of agreements such as Australia’s free trade deal with Japan may well be against future protectionism. AAP/EPA/TORU HANAI /POOL

FTA gains slight now, but the real insurance may lie in the future

Economists, unlike politicians, are often sceptical about the extent of any net benefits of free trade agreements. Economists are often concerned that such agreements may result in trade diversion rather…
Universities are obsessed with student retention, but should they be? Paul Miller/AAP

Universities can’t win a war on attrition

Retention and attrition rates have been a major concern to universities for many years, so much so that there are publications dedicated solely to the issue. Although universities and colleges are basically…
The only likely beneficiaries of a union-Labor split may be trade unionists. AAP

Why ending union ties would change little for Labor

In the wake of the ALP’s poor result in the recent Western Australia Senate election, The Conversation is publishing a series of articles looking at the party’s brand, organisation and future prospects…