Regulation of industries

Apr 1, 2014

Q. Do you think there needs to be more or less regulation of the following, or is the current regulation about right?

 

 

More regulation

Less regulation

Current regulation about right

Don’t know

Aged care providers

47%

13%

18%

22%

Banking

42%

10%

30%

18%

Financial planning

40%

10%

26%

24%

Mining

39%

14%

25%

22%

Building and construction

38%

15%

26%

21%

Planning and development

34%

19%

24%

23%

Private education services

32%

19%

26%

24%

Overall, respondents were more likely to think there should be more rather than less regulation of the industries listed.

In particular, they wanted more regulation of aged care providers (47%), banking (42%) and financial planning (40%).

While respondents aged 55+ were more likely to think there was too much regulation of businesses overall, they were more likely to want more regulation of financial planning (48%), building and construction (49%) and aged care providers (55%).

48% of those on income over $1,600pw wanted more regulation of financial planning.

Importance of industries

Feb 18, 2014

Q. How important are the following industries for providing jobs for Australians into the future?

 

Very important

Quite important

Somewhat important

Not very important

Don’t know

 

Very important Feb 2012

Construction

58%

30%

9%

1%

3%

58%

Agriculture

57%

27%

12%

2%

3%

-

Manufacturing

55%

26%

12%

4%

3%

55%

Tourism

53%

31%

11%

3%

2%

53%

Mining

52%

29%

13%

4%

2%

64%

Retail

46%

35%

14%

2%

2%

47%

Hospitality

45%

37%

14%

2%

2%

46%

Finance

40%

34%

19%

3%

4%

39%

Telecommunications

37%

37%

19%

4%

3%

39%

Respondents regard the construction (58%), agriculture (57%) and manufacturing (55%) industries to be the most important for providing jobs for Australians in the future. These were followed closely by the tourism (53%) and mining (52%) industries.

Since this question was last asked in February 2012, those think mining is very important for future jobs has dropped from 64% to 52%.

Trust in industries

Jan 21, 2013

Q. How much trust do you have in the following industries to act in the public interest

 

Total a lot/some trust

A lot of trust

Some trust

Not much trust

No trust at all

Don’t know

Agriculture

72%

20%

52%

18%

4%

5%

Tourism

68%

12%

56%

22%

6%

5%

Manufacturing

56%

8%

48%

30%

8%

7%

Construction and development

48%

5%

43%

33%

12%

6%

Retail

47%

3%

44%

38%

12%

3%

Telecommunications

37%

3%

34%

41%

18%

3%

Banking

33%

5%

28%

36%

29%

3%

Mining

32%

3%

29%

35%

25%

8%

Media

30%

2%

28%

40%

27%

2%

Power companies

18%

1%

17%

37%

41%

4%

The industries most trusted to act in the public interest were agriculture (72% some/a lot of trust), tourism (68%) and manufacturing (56%).

The industries least trusted to act in the public interest were power companies (18%), the media (30%), mining (32%) and banking (33%).

The only industry on which there were major differences was mining where 43% of Liberal/National voters had a lot/some trust compared to only 25% of Labor voters and 17% of Greens voters.

The past year – the economy and industries

Dec 17, 2012

Q. Thinking about the last 12 months, has it been a good or bad year for each of the following?

 

Total good

(Dec 10

Total bad

(Dec 10)

Total good

(Dec 11)

Total bad (Dec 11)

Total good

(Dec 12)

Total bad

(Dec 12)

Very good

Good

Neither good nor
bad

Bad

Very bad

Don’t know

The banks

69%

13%

71%

8%

68%

11%

30%

38%

17%

8%

3%

5%

The mining industry

57%

14%

68%

11%

53%

19%

17%

36%

22%

15%

4%

6%

Large companies and corporations

44%

15%

40%

22%

32%

31%

5%

27%

32%

25%

6%

6%

The Australian economy

41%

20%

33%

31%

29%

37%

4%

25%

32%

28%

9%

3%

You and your family

na

na

na

na

29%

36%

6%

23%

34%

25%

11%

2%

The media

30%

14%

25%

27%

21%

40%

5%

16%

33%

29%

11%

6%

Farming and agriculture

14%

50%

23%

40%

20%

40%

2%

18%

33%

28%

12%

7%

Trade unions

na

na

na

na

18%

30%

4%

14%

37%

22%

8%

15%

The environment

14%

37%

20%

33%

18%

37%

3%

15%

40%

26%

11%

6%

The average Australian

na

na

na

na

17%

45%

2%

15%

36%

34%

11%

3%

Small business

14%

45%

10%

61%

10%

62%

1%

9%

24%

39%

23%

5%

Australian politics in general

na

na

na

na

9%

61%

2%

7%

26%

29%

32%

4%

A majority of respondents think it has been a good year for the banks (68%) and the mining industry (53%). They are split over whether it has been a good year for large companies and corporations (32% good/31% bad). However, they are much more likely to think the year has been bad for small business (62%), Australian politics in general (61%), the average Australian (45%), farming and agriculture (40%) and the media (40%).

Compared to last year’s results, respondents considered 2012 a worse year than 2011 for the mining industry (“good” down 15% to 53%), large companies and corporations (“good” down 8% to 32%) and the media (“bad” up 13% to 40%).

Keeping Our Eye On The Boom

Aug 24, 2012

Deep in the weeds of the 24-hour dust-up over whether the mining boom is over—on the very day that BHP reported a $15 billion profit— lurks a more obvious strategy on the part of the mining companies: a determination to build up the specter of a threat to the boom if “costs” are not controlled—”costs” being workers’ wages—and to take absolutely no responsibility for the blow-back from the boom.

Some of this is subtle, some not so subtle. The boom is far from bust, as Paul Cleary pointed out in The Australian:

The projects that mining companies have put on hold are completely overshadowed by the $260 billion in investment already approved by company boards and government authorities that is being poured into mammoth mining and energy projects across the country.

And:

Even if commodity prices fall by 50 per cent, these increased volumes will generate increased flows of income into Australia, keeping the dollar strong while driving far-reaching structural change in our economy. This means the mining boom can be expected to deliver benefits and challenges for all Australians for some time to come. [emphasis added]

The mining barons, themselves, swore up and down yesterday that, no, the boom wasn’t over. But, the Fin gives a little insight into where they are going:

At The Australian Financial Review and Macquarie Future Forum in Perth, resources chiefs were confident that Chinese demand for commodities will grow in the longer term, despite a slowdown that has seen iron ore and coking coal prices fall to four-year lows.

However, they warned Australia had become a high-cost place to develop projects, and needed to improve its international competitiveness through reforms to taxation, industrial relations and environmental approvals. [emphasis added]

Aha. “Reforms” in taxation and industrial relations are code words for the Coalition’s agenda: repeal the resources tax and attack the system of bargaining that protects wages and benefits that makes Australia a decent society. In a decent society, leaders would embrace a once-in-a-lifetime mining boom to invest some of the profits in infrastructure, schools and other in life-changing, society-altering projects. Nope, the mining barons make clear, we’re just not in to that.

Note that “high cost” never refers to the compensation of the CEOs of the mining companies, or the staggering wealth of the owners of the companies like Gina Reinhart, the richest woman in the world. “High cost” translates into “take it out of the hide of society and the working person”.

The mining barons view can be summed up thus:

We don’t care how many people are hurt by the rising Australian dollar. That’s the “free market”.

We will fight tooth and nail against resources taxes because, well, the “free market” cannot be messed with.

We truly don’t care  what Australia looks like in 20, 30 or 40 years.


@jonathantasini

Slipping Away?

Jul 23, 2012

Hate to say, “we told you so” because that won’t pay the bills. But, remember, when we pointed out that China was slowing down and it was downright foolish to let the American Disease infect the thinking in Oz? Well, the mining boom’s last act is coming faster than you think–and that’s a huge warning to take seriously.

It’s upon us:

AUSTRALIA’S budget surplus has evaporated and its mining investment boom has only two years to run, according to Deloitte Access Economics.

The forecast marks a watershed in assessments of Australia’s prospects, implying in the words of this morning’s Access publication: ”The strong bit of Australia’s two-speed economy won’t stay strong for more than another two years or so”.

The sad thing is that it doesn’t have to be a rocky road. If the mining barons, and their political patron– the man in The Empty Suit, leader of the Coalition– would stop resisting, blocking or whittling back serious taxes on the staggering riches a few people are pocketing from every Australian’s birthright, there would be plenty of money to invest in economic strategically smart efforts that would help the country blossom even when the mining boom evaporates.

And if people would stop wringing their hands over a non-existent deficit problem, we could even be plowing money into projects now.

The head aches.


@jonathantasini

 

Deflation Is English For “The Elites Have Screwed You”

Jul 20, 2012

Fridays are a great time to dig deep into the truth— you know, just before you make plans to pray this weekend at your favorite…watering hole. Not to let the air out of the fun-and-games on tap, but, let’s talk, indeed, about deflation. This isn’t about ego, or size, or anything other than: how the elites have totally screwed up the economy–here and in every corner of the globe.

It’s a teensy bit wonky here but don’t run and hide because this is going to be real easy— and it will give you an insight into the dangers facing workers everywhere, and why we should not stop demanding that the captains of the entire “free market” ideology (whose main man in Oz is The Empty Suit, Leader of the Coalition) be fired for gross negligence.

Let’s start with the wonky part. Across the ocean in Washington, D.C. sit the offices of the International Monetary Fund. Be clear: the IMF has done some really, really bad things over the years– as in demanding, in return for money for loans needed by really poor countries, that those countries open up their people to marauding corporations looking for cheap labor and new markets to suck dry.

But, a broken clock is right twice a day— and the IMF is ringing the alarm about a big deal: DEFLATION!

Looking at the deep crisis in Europe, the IMF is warning:

Inflation is set to decline significantly and could even become negative. Headline inflation is expected to fall well below 2 percent in 2013 and remain there through 2014. Although survey-based inflation expectations are still broadly anchored, market-based indicators are clearly pointing downward and core inflation (stripping out the most volatile components, such as energy and food prices) signals very low underlying inflation pressures (see Figure 2). Moreover, given the subdued growth outlook, there is a sizable risk that inflation could even turn negative in the medium run. Specifically, the IMF’s GPM projections indicate about a 25 percent probability of below-zero inflation by early 2014.

In English, what becoming “negative” and “below-zero inflation” means is: deflation. As in, prices going down.

Now, you might think: Whoopee!!! Prices going down. Stuff is cheaper. Hit the stores. Shop til you drop.

Well, careful what you wish for. Deflation is what happened in the 1920s in the Great Depression. People don’t have jobs. No one buys anything. So, prices go down. Think of it like a bath full of water— you pull the plug and the vortex sucks the water down, down, down…nothing stops it–unless you plug the hole.

Now, the important question to ask is: how did we get here? A simple 5-step explanation will do:

1. The “free market” zealots ran around the world for decades flogging a system of lower wages, no unions, no regulations and the glory of competition.

2. Peoples’ paychecks got smaller, in real terms. They had no money. They used credit cards. Or, cash poor, everyone took money out of their over-valued homes, primarily in the United States.

3. Bankers, mainly led by the Wall Street financial elite, committed moral, if not actual, crimes. Driven by greed and stupidity, they obliterated, in a short few years, trillions of dollars of wealth and millions of jobs.

4. Thanks to #3, people had even less money.

5. The people were told, “you now have to pay the bill for the failure of the system”. “Austerity for all” was the cry. Don’t raise taxes on the rich. And don’t dare spend public money to create jobs. The opposite: even though people don’t have money to spend, take away their jobs, take away government jobs and suck out of the system even more spending money of real people.

Voila! Deflation is upon us. Of course, the above five-step explanation of reality is entirely NOT part of the language used by The Empty Suit, Leader of the Coalition, or his sidekicks around the world. They want to continue to lead the people down the path to disaster. And this is so dumb even a theatrical farce could not it justice.

And, trust us, if deflation starts spreading, and China continues to slow down, the decline of the resource sector will continue here and…well, you get the picture.

You won’t like it.


@jonathantasini

Slowdown: Warning Shot

Jul 13, 2012

If you want to know why we need a significant tax on the billions being pocket by Gina and the gang, look no further than China and the nervousness circling the globe on the stability of the economy. Eventually the party of the resource boom will be gone–and only Gina and her gang of robber barons will benefit.

The warning:

EXPECTATIONS that China will today release its weakest quarterly economic growth figures in three years have added to market pessimism on the mining sector.

Yesterday, Australia’s top mining stocks suffered another selloff as investment banks continued to trim forecasts for commodity prices and share prices, with Credit Suisse downgrading its target share price for both BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

And you have to connect this to the world economy:

Australian shares are set for a weak start after Wall Street slipped on earnings fears and European markets closed lower following another spike in Spanish bond yields.

This is not rocket science: everywhere in the world, austerity is the order of the day. People don’t have money to spend. People are afraid.

What we need to do here is see the mining boom as our seed corn: you sock it away for the harder times surely to follow. Not in Gina’s pocket. But, in the public’s pocket.

Rolling in Dough

Jun 25, 2012

As Gina continues on her “I, Gina” self-absorbed stomp, it’s always useful to keep in mind that a society always has the ultimate option: if rich people, or mining barons, don’t care about the national interest, they can just move somewhere else. And what is pretty clear is that most don’t, and won’t, because they have it good where they are–which brings us to the whinging about resources taxes.

Gina and her ilk–Clive Palmer and Twiggy Forrest come most quickly to mind–bring up the usual fiction heard around the world whenever higher taxes on the wealthy are pushed as a way of making sure a society sustains itself: it’s anti-business and hurts “us” from being competitive.

Well, to focus on just mining, that’s pure rubbish, as we learn from a pithy summary from Peter Colley, National Research Director at the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (we don’t have a link to a place it might be posted–we’re just privileged to get such gripping, novelistic American Idol-like fare sent our way…). As Peter writes:

One would think the mining companies were losing money when the overall picture for the mining industry globally is one of rude good health.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the global Big 4 accounting firms, in their annual survey of the mining industry summarised the good news for big mining companies:

“In 2011, the financial results for the Top 40 hit new heights”, it said, listing the following facts:

• Revenues increased 26% to over $700 billion

• Net profit was up 21% to $133 billion

• Operating cash flows grew 34% to $174 billion

• Investing cash flows grew 92%

• The Top 40 returned 156% more to shareholders than in 2010

• Total assets remained above $1 trillion and grew a further 13%.

Imagine that. They are rolling in dough. And it isn’t the case that the local barons, Gina and The Gang, would have it so much better in another place on the planet. Back to Peter:

At least 25 countries increased taxes and royalties on their mining industries, or announced intentions to do so. These include all the major mining nations – Canada, the USA, South Africa, Indonesia, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and even China and India.

These taxes and royalties are often far higher than in Australia – in Colombia they can reach 81% of coal mining profit, while in the oil and gas sector it is well known that Norway taxes almost all the profit of the North Sea oil industry – but what remains is still enough to keep the investors coming.

So, the proper response to “we’ll take our business elsewhere” should be, “what flight can we book you on?” The truth is that what Gina and The Gang are really up to is a extortion–but they aren’t holding much of a weapon. The resources are in the ground. You can’t take it with you. But, by all means, if life is so cruel for Gina and The Gang, the country should organize a collective farewell party, wave goodbye and invite others to do their business here.

UPDATE:

And we neglected to mention that Fortescue is out there whinging about the mining tax and, per the SMH, taking the government to court:

While large miners Rio Tinto and BHP were able to strike a deal with the federal government over the final scope of the tax, smaller miners including Fortescue and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting have waged a fierce battle against the tax.

Fortescue has been threatening to challenge the MRRT in the High Court for months, arguing it is unfair and was been stitched up by the government in conjunction with the big miners.

A spokesman for the acting prime minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan said the challenge had not come as a surprise.

”Mr Forrest has made it clear that he is staunchly opposed to the government spreading the benefits of the mining boom to millions of households and small businesses who aren’t in the fast lane,” he said.

“The Gillard government believes Australia’s non-renewable natural resources belong to all Australians, not just to a handful of mining billionaires, and is determined to deliver the MRRT to ensure the Australian community shares in the benefits and opportunities of the mining boom.” [emphasis added]

To which we say: good on the government, and the Swanster for saying what needed to be said.


@jonathantasini

Are The Chinese Lying–And What That Means In The Mines

Jun 25, 2012

Before they shuffled off for the weekend, you kind of wonder weather the PM, or the Empty Suit (leader of the Opposition) orr Gina, the mining baron who is busy with her “I, Gina” show, had a chance to catch a story in the paper of record on the other side of the planet, which, if true, could mean a huge headache for the economy here at home. The upshot: China might be lying about its economic health. Uh-oh.

The New York Times weighed in with this nugget:

As the Chinese economy continues to sputter, prominent corporate executives in China and Western economists say there is evidence that local and provincial officials are falsifying economic statistics to disguise the true depth of the troubles.

Someone apparently is going around counting coal cars (talk about boring jobs–does that person get extra pay?):

Record-setting mountains of excess coal have accumulated at the country’s biggest storage areas because power plants are burning less coal in the face of tumbling electricity demand. But local and provincial government officials have forced plant managers not to report to Beijing the full extent of the slowdown, power sector executives said.

Electricity production and consumption have been considered a telltale sign of a wide variety of economic activity. They are widely viewed by foreign investors and even some Chinese officials as the gold standard for measuring what is really happening in the country’s economy, because the gathering and reporting of data in China is not considered as reliable as it is in many countries.

Indeed, officials in some cities and provinces are also overstating economic output, corporate revenue, corporate profits and tax receipts, the corporate executives and economists said. The officials do so by urging businesses to keep separate sets of books, showing improving business results and tax payments that do not exist.

What might this mean…nothing good:

The executives and economists roughly estimated that the effect of the inaccurate statistics was to falsely inflate a variety of economic indicators by 1 or 2 percentage points. That may be enough to make very bad economic news look merely bad. [emphasis added]

If the point of the story isn’t obvious: If China’s economy is actually very bad, not just bad, then, it will get worse here. Or to put a more fashionable for the season spin, perhaps inspired by the cacophony of sneezing and hacking rumbling from office pod to office pod, if China is coming down with an economic flu, it’s going to spread fast across Western Australia and every corner of the mining boom.

So, maybe all those regular people who aren’t feeling as optimistic as the Reserve Bank keeps telling they should be feeling know a lot more than the people in charge of monetary policy.


@jonathantasini

Australian Industries

May 21, 2012

Q. How much do average Australians benefit from having strong industries in each of the following sectors?

Benefit a lot

Some benefit

A little benefit

No benefit

Don’t know

Tourism

45%

30%

11%

4%

10%

Agriculture

45%

29%

12%

4%

11%

Construction

44%

32%

11%

3%

10%

Mining

44%

31%

10%

4%

11%

Manufacturing

44%

30%

11%

4%

10%

Retail

40%

34%

11%

5%

10%

Hospitality

36%

36%

13%

4%

10%

Finance

34%

34%

15%

5%

11%

Telecommunications

31%

36%

17%

5%

11%

 Over 40% of respondents think the average Australian benefits a lot from having strong industries in tourism (45%), agriculture (45%), construction (44%), mining (44%) and manufacturing (44%).

Major demographic differences were -

60% of aged 55+ think there is a lot of benefit from manufacturing

62% of aged 55+ and 50% of Labor voters think there is a lot of benefit from construction

53% of aged 45-64 think there is a lot of benefit from retail

60% of aged 55+ and 52% of Labor voters think there is a lot of benefit from tourism

58% of aged 55+ and 48% of Coalition voters think there is a lot of benefit from mining

57% of aged 55+ think there is a lot of benefit from agriculture

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