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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 Penfold Grange. Many will be sad to see Barry O’Farrell go…
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…
The government’s financial system inquiry should consider whether growth in the system is hampering economic growth. AAP/Tony McDonough

Is Australia’s financial system a zero sum game?

Governments seem to be enamoured with financial markets, judging by the support they give them around the world to encourage their growth. The assumption seems to be that there’s always a positive relationship…
Curtains for Ten? Ratings have gone from bad to worse over the last year, and the network now trails even the ABC. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Revenues up, but the future is still bleak for Ten

Ten Network has delivered a significantly narrowed first-half loss, with revenue up 4.4% to A$315 million, and a net loss after tax of $8 million. This compares with a loss of of $243 million in the corresponding…
Woolworths SA chief Ian Moir announced a proposal for the South African retailer to acquire David Jones in Sydney yesterday. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Who is the South African retail giant behind the David Jones bid?

Yesterday morning came the news South African retailer Woolworths had offered $4 a share to acquire David Jones, a proposal that has the approval of the department store’s board. This offer, worth an estimated…
The Reserve Bank’s mandate is much broader than that of prudential regulator, APRA. ArchivesACT/Flickr

The case for the Reserve Bank to swallow APRA

One of the major recommendations made by the 1997 Wallis Inquiry into banking was to establish a prudential regulator for the financial sector separate from the Reserve Bank of Australia. The new regulator…
The government is seeking a free trade agreement with China by the end of the year, but concerns still remain about Chinese investment in Australia. Daniel Munoz/AAP

Don’t be misled on Chinese foreign investment: read the facts

As Prime Minister Tony Abbott shifts his Asian tour focus to China, it seems likely the threshold for formal approval on Chinese investment in Australia will be raised to A$1 billion. But any move to open…
Projects such as the recently-opened Shenzhen North Station in China, serves up Australia some lessons - if we’re willing to listen. Chris Hale

Time for Australia to consider Asian lessons on city infrastructure

As prime minister Tony Abbott completes a whistle-stop tour of Asia, Australia’s “place in Asia” is an ongoing discussion. Abbott hailed the “shared values” that enabled Australia’s free trade deal with…
All banking comes with risk, but it could be better disclosed. Shutterstock

Why your bank account should come with a risk rating

What is the interest rate on your savings account? If you don’t know, you can easily find out. Banks advertise their rates prominently. They want you to know what they’re offering. After all, the interest…
Proposed reforms to franchise rules are meant to make life easier for franchisees, but the changes are a missed opportunity. AAP/John Donegan

New franchising law no code for fairness

The government is moving to introduce a new Franchising Code of Conduct as part of wide ranging reforms to how franchising arrangements are regulated, claiming it will be fairer for small operators and…
New Zealand has increased its GST several times since it was introduced, so why does Australia find it so hard? Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Easy as, bro - raising the GST, New Zealand style

When long-time Kiwi expat John Clarke was asked why he left New Zealand, he said: “Because it was there.” Clarke at least knew what being “there” meant, in contrast to most of his new compatriots, whose…