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May 22, 2017

Labor and Coalition Clash Over Changes to 457 Visa Regime: The Guardian | Politics Live | Australia News - May 23, 2017
Paul Karp

Breaking news: Under questioning from Labor, George Brandis says there is no selfie officer for the prime minister.
Labor held its caucus meeting this morning and concerns were raised about a potential government loan to a South African coalmine.
As reported in Guardian on the weekend, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic) is considering a loan to develop the Boikarabelo coal project in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
The mine has approval to extract 32m tonnes a year of raw coal, making it of similar size to some proposals in Australia’s Galilee Basin.
With Efic’s help, the project could lead to the development of one of the biggest coalfields in the world, the Waterberg basin, a resource of about 75bn tonnes.
But the progressive thinktank the Australia Institute has questioned the rationale of the loan in a new report, African White Elephant: Should Australian taxpayers finance a South African coal mine?
Jason Clare, the shadow minister for trade and investment, says he will now be raising the matter in Senate estimates next week.

Rod Culleton wants George Brandis to explain his Senate reference to high court


Good morning Alan

After a night of celebrating Robert Menzies, Tony Abbott rose early for a chat with Alan Jones, who had travelled to Canberra to officiate at the anniversary proceedings.
Jones is clearly moved and inspired this morning, because Abbott was hanging on the line for a full seven minutes of monologue before being permitted to speak briefly at the conclusion of Alan’s Great Insights.
One such Jones insight compared Abbott to Menzies in his wilderness years, which then prompted the two to ruminate on Tennyson later in the conversation, and the coda of the poem Ulysses – “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Hint hint. Striving. Not yielding.
With such an epic preamble, Abbott really didn’t get a clear run at his task but he shared some general insights. Governments should never punish success. (Banks, anyone?) Punishing success only hurts everyone, Abbott thought.
Everyone in the end has to pay for government spending because there is “no such thing as free money.”
And with that he was off. Striving. Seeking, Finding. Not yielding.

Estimates get on to ATO scandal

ANZ is the last of the big four banks to warn its shareholders about the costs of the Turnbull government’s bank levy.
Last last night it issued a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange telling its shareholders the levy will cost $240m a year after tax.
So here’s what the big four say the levy will cost each year (after tax):
Westpac: $260m
Commonwealth Bank: $220m
NAB: $245m
ANZ: $240m
The bank levy will apply to the big four plus Macquarie Bank, and Macquarie has yet to make a public statement about the costs of the levy.
However, it is understood Macquarie does not plan to make a statement until it sees more details from the government.
The question now is: do the Turnbull government’s numbers stack up? It has been saying the bank levy will generate $6.2bn in revenue over four years.
The Greens say the levy could raise $1.5bn less than expected over four years, given the levy would be tax-deductible.
Analysis by the Tasmanian senator Peter Whish-Wilson, a former banker, suggests the amount raised could be almost quarter less than expected over the next four years.