Via Domainfax: Some big news in the media space today with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launching an inquiry into digital platforms, including Facebook and Google, and the impact they are having of competition in the media and advertising markets. The highly anticipated inquiry, which was a condition of a deal the Turnbull government struck with
Australian business media is the world’s dumbest and one of the most corrupt. It exists in a frozen duopolostic structure between Fairfax Media and News Corporation. These two focus one another rather than innovation or service delivery, poaching each other’s staff, copying businesses and generally overpaying for any assets that pop up to threaten the cosy relationship.
Business coverage in Australia is much more akin to a “boys club” of back-slapping private school alumni than it is any investigative or analytical force. It pretends to endorse private markets as a philosophy but in actuality largely exists to defend vested interests. Both halves of the duopoly are addicted to bank and real estate advertising, with Fairfax especially prepared to sell out its editorial in pursuit of higher house prices (and more ads). It’s real estate classifieds business, Domain, has slowly but surely turned its business news coverage from reporting and investigation to press-release recycling and property price cheer-leading.
MacroBusiness covers these foibles daily.
By Leith van Onselen This year, Crispin Hull has emerged as Fairfax’s rising star, demonstrating that unlike his colleagues Peter Martin, Jessica Irvine and Michael Pascoe, he actually understands the key issues afflicting Australia. Below are some key examples of Hull’s excellent work. Back in January, Hull argued that the main solution to making housing
An Amazon junket has produced the following at the AFR: I arrived in the US over the weekend. And as usual, the immigration officer asked what business brought me to the country. When I told him I was a journalist attending an Amazon Web Services conference in Las Vegas, our conversation immediately turned to its retail parent Amazon
More good Jess, bad Jess today: In reality, the high returns on equity enjoyed by Australian banks owe in large part to the higher leverage they hold. Australian banks are some of the most heavily exposed to household sector debt in the world. Aussies would rather sell their kids than miss a home loan repayment.
Oh dear: Australian publisher Allen & Unwin has ditched a book on Chinese Communist Party influence in Australian politics and academia, citing fear of legal action from the Chinese government or its proxies. The publisher’s chief executive, Robert Gorman, said last week that it would abandon publication of a completed manuscript by Clive Hamilton, a
The Domain spin-off was voted through this mooning by shareholders. What will happen to the failing media rump? nothing good, from Citi: Following the separation, the 60 per cent of Domain that Fairfax still owns should make up 72 per cent of Fairfax’s valuation (which Citi expects should be 74 cents a share). However Citi
Jacinda Ardern, legend: New Zealand prime-minister-elect Jacinda Ardern has described capitalism as a “blatant failure” in the country, nominating poverty and homelessness as her priorities when she takes office. Speaking in her first sit-down interview, on TV3’s The Nation, Ms Ardern said New Zealanders were not feeling the benefits of prosperity. Asked if capitalism had
By Leith van Onselen Why is it that only the conservative (“Right”) side of the media and politics seems capable of having a debate on Australia’s future population? Over the past year, we have seen conservative commentators like Judith Sloan, Terry McCrann, Adam Creighton, Andrew Bolt, and Mark Latham, Quadrant Magazine, as well as federal
It’s a truly ridiculous editorial tightrope that Jess Irvine has decided to walk. Recently she declared: Somewhere deep inside me, a switch has flicked. I feel different; changed somehow. I never thought it would happen to me. And, diary, I’m embarrassed by this new feeling. But I’m ready to confess. First, a little background. As
Today it’s the bubble: Home ownership among young Australians has fallen to the lowest level on record, as an explosive property boom squeezes out all but the wealthiest. Supercharged by record low interest rates, a lack of supply and a tax system that favors property investors, home prices have surged more than 140 percent in
From card-carrying bubble-boy and Pascoe ally, Bernard Keane, at Crikey In a piece in the Financial Review today with the sinister title “Australia’s luck is running out”, Das — a former banker turned author and commentator, manages to combine that staple of Fairfax, the property bubble/We’re All Rooned piece with a broader critique of the Australian economy. Das
For a long time we’ve mocked it but this week has really seen a new low in Domainfax journalism. First, admire the trivia: Note that this is the most dominant owner of media eyeballs in the country. Three pieces of fake news sum it up today. The first is by political commentator Mark Kenny: Pull the
Often wrong, never in doubt is Gotti: I have been reporting and commenting on large enterprises in the Australian private sector for more than half a century. I have never seen significant lumps of the private sector in such disarray as I am now seeing. And in the case of energy the private sector mess
Via Domainfax: A dramatic reshaping of Australia’s media industry is imminent after the Turnbull government’s plan to scrap “outdated and irrelevant” media ownership laws received endorsement from crucial Senate crossbenchers at the end of a day of furious backroom horse trading. In exchange for his support, Senate kingmaker Nick Xenophon secured a suite of concessions
The AFR hasn’t done too bad a job on energy. Ben Potter finally converted to energy transformation in recent years and Angela Macdonald-Smith has, at times, described the great gas gouge. But it sure ain’t coming from the top, via Michael Stutchbury’s note on the weekend: Coal is Turnbull’s new black. Wages the economic growth
Go Dick: Dick Smith is launching an advertising campaign against ABC TV news and current affairs, which he says has warped the debate he has tried to spur over Australian population growth. He claims both Labor and Liberal politicians have told him they agree that Australia needs to cut its immigration intake to avoid future
Unfortunately for 4Corners, I know pretty much everybody that they interviewed for their housing bubble busting expose last night and one complaint that has come back from my discussions with more than one is that despite considerable time being dedicated to discussion of the role of population growth in the formation of the bubble, it
I’m sure many of you watched the 4 Corners housing bubble take last night, here. It was nothing terribly new but did a reasonable job of summing up the issues: record household debt; dodgy broker incentives; over-exposed banks; macro-economic risk, and over-extended supports such as monetary policy. It was basically a decent cautionary tale. What
Politics is so weird these days (from The Australian): Under the deal announced last night, One Nation would support the abolition of the two-out-of-three and reach rules in return for the government agreeing to legislate a requirement for the ABC and SBS to be balanced and to publish the wages of highly paid ABC staff.
Thanks to McGrathmaggeddon we know exactly what to look for in over-inflated and poorly timed exit strategy IPO. Fairfax today announced something a little similar. It’s full year result was ordinary with falling revenue but costs falling even faster to deliver a rebounding net profit after big losses last year: Needless to say, shrinking to
At MB we are great fans of Jay Weatherill. His bank levy is bonza. His renewables shift is nation leading. And his temper is a Bobby Dazzler: South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has been urged to apologise after branding critics of the state’s power outages “right-wing f..kwits” at a federal colleague’s book launch. Speaking at
Matt Canavan has to go. He’s a foreign national in the parliament. Via the AFR: Matt Canavan “automatically” became an Italian citizen because of his blood ties, says a specialist migration lawyer. Melbourne lawyer Joseph Italiano, a former member of the Immigration Review Tribunal, said under Italian law a person has a blood right known
From Rob Burgess today: Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen gave a good speech on Tuesday, promising to super-size Labor’s planned banking royal commission. Originally intended to flush out illegal and deceptive activity in the banks, a royal commission should, he says, spring clean their legal activities too because that’s where the real damage to the economy is occurring. Actually,
From Ross Gittins today: The collapse of the “neoliberal consensus” is as apparent in Oz as it is in Trump’s America and Brexitting Britain, but our big-business people are taking a while to twig that their power to influence government policy has waned. Their trouble is the way the era of micro-economic reform initiated by
It appears MB’s constant prodding and mockery has paid off. Domainfax has been forced to deliver some editorial balance by recruiting Chris Kohler from The Australian and his debut is dark: Homeowners who have been wrestling with their mortgage repayments are about to find things can get a whole lot worse as the Reserve Bank
From a genuflecting Paul Kelly on the weekend: In the litany of words about the census the core issue has been avoided — the almost certain link between the generational decline in the Christian faith as guide to the common good and the collapsing relationship between the people and the political system. The reality is