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The Australian newspaper reported that the Federal Treasurer has refused to back down on a proposed $4 billion cut to schools and hospital funding – a move that will anger the states. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Federalism at stake if $4b is cut from schools and hospitals

The government’s attempt to engage the States on one hand while whipping them with the other does not augur well for tackling growing health and education costs -- or for lasting federal reform.
The People’s Bank of China surprised observers by cutting its reserve requirement ratio by 100 basis points to 18.5% on the weekend. EPA/MARK

China’s required reserve ratio cut will nudge Australia along

Most of the new credit released after China's central bank cut the required reserve ratio will be used to fund new investment in infrastructure and construction -- and that's good news for Australia.
Introducing a so-called ‘Netflix" tax in Australia makes sense. AAP/NewZulu/Richard Goldschmidt

The “Netflix tax” - coming to a country near you

The arrival of Netflix in Australia has brought into sharp relief the GST base erosion problem caused by global digital commerce. Along with the non-taxation of low-value imported goods, the absence of…
Opposition leader Bill Shorten, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh have said their multinational tax package will make big firms pay their fair share. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Labor’s multinational tax package misses the point

The tax package recently announced by the Federal Labor party is clearly well intentioned but it misses the point about multinationals paying their fair share.
The cut to China’s reserve requirement ratio (RRR) can also be seen as a move against China’s unregulated shadow banking sector. Flickr/Mike Behnken

China’s monetary easing to bolster growth, tackle shadow banking

The 100 basis points cut by the People's Bank of China is as much as about containing unregulated credit within China as a bolster to slowing growth.
The rationale for cutting advisory bodies has been reducing red tape - but the loss can often be a valuable counter-opinion. Image sourced from shutterstock.com

Dumping of markets advisory board is another independent voice lost

The decommissioning of the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee mans the government loses an independent source of advice - at a time they arguably need it.
The Commonwealth appear to hold the aces when it comes to state-federal funding, but the states have cards to play. AAP/Stefan Postles

Time for states to change the script over GST gains

The stoush over GST redistribution followed a predictable script of squabbling between states; but now is the time for an alternative agenda.
Intergenerational home: the residents (particularly children and dogs!) move through the gaps in the dividing garden wall. Katherine Lu

How co-housing could make homes cheaper and greener

With a few tweaks to planning or land title laws, co-housing could help to reduce the costs of buying, owning and renting a home.
They came in like a wrecking ball… online firms like YouTube, Spotify and Apple have fundamentally changed the way we consume. But whose rights are protected? AAP Image/Julian Smith

Shift to online music underscores power of a handful of tech giants

The sheer market power concentrated in the hands of such few online companies represents a formidable hurdle to fair competition.
Chinese workers are often aided by NGOs and usually receive little to no help from the main Chinese trade union. EPA/ALEX HOFFORD

China’s growing labour movement offers hope for workers globally

The growing labour movement in China, as fragmented and repressed as it is, offers hope for workers everywhere as an example of organising against incredible odds.
Men like Australian official correspondent, and later official war historian, Charles Bean (pictured on the island of Imbros, in 1915) understood the myth-making power of images. Source: Australian War Memorial

Why the Anzac legend has always been about branding

The Anzac legend is under siege by marketers trying to cash in: but the government also has a branding stake.
Leaked details around a investor-state dispute settlement clause in a major free trade agreement have sparked debate. AAP Image/NewZulu/Peter Boyle

Investor rights to sue governments pose real dangers

Despite arguments that a controversial clause in the Transpacific Partnership will not affect sovereignty, governments would be foolish to agreeing to it.
Has treasurer Joe Hockey already made up his mind about the more controversial tax suggestions in the recent Re:think discussion paper? AAP/Lukas Coch

The Tax white paper - only good for fish and chips now?

Treasurer Joe Hockey's media comments this week around contentious tax issues don't bode well for the Taxation White paper.
Microsoft Corporation’s Bill Sample, Google Australia’s Maile Carnegie and Corporate Vice President of Apple Australia Tony King appeared before Senate committee public hearings on corporate tax avoidance last week. AAP/Nikki Short

Explainer: the difference between tax avoidance and evasion

Tax avoidance or tax evasion? One is legal and one isn't, but there are acres of grey area in-between.