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Iron ore and oil rally; $A eases; Top Republicans dismiss Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer if he looses US Presidential election.

Source : PortMac.News | Independent :

Source : PortMac.News | Independent | News Story:

News Summary 25-09-20 | Iron & Oil Up, $A Eases | Westpac
Iron ore and oil rally; $A eases; Top Republicans dismiss Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer if he looses US Presidential election.

Latest updates on Key Economic Indicators 

Australian Dollar: $0.7049 USD (down $0.0021 USD)

Iron Ore Oct Spot Price (SGX): $113.18 USD (up $1.53 USD)

Oil Price (WTI): $40.19 USD (up $0.60 USD)

Gold Price: $1,868.15 (up $4.59 USD)

Dow Jones: 26,815.44 (up 52.31 points)

All changes compared to 7am yesterday.

Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said there will be an "orderly" post-election transition after the president questioned the process's integrity.

The top US senator said that, regardless of who wins the 3 November presidential election, there will be a peaceful inauguration on 20 January.

A day earlier, President Donald Trump refused to commit to this, saying "we'll have to see what happens".

He has cast doubt on postal voting, but election officials insist it is safe.

The president currently trails his challenger, Democrat Joe Biden, in national opinion polls with 40 days to go until the election.

Many more Americans than usual will be casting their votes by post this year, due to the pandemic, and Mr Trump has been questioning the security of this mail-in ballot system.

Every losing presidential candidate has conceded. If Mr Trump were to refuse to accept the result of the election, it would take the country into uncharted territory.

Mr Biden has suggested that should this happen, the military could remove Mr Trump from the White House.

"The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th," Mr McConnell tweeted on Thursday.

"There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792."

What did Trump say?

On Thursday, Mr Trump again cast doubt on the integrity of the election, saying he was not sure it could be "honest" because, he claimed, postal ballots are "a whole big scam".

"I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots," Mr Trump said. "And the ballots are a disaster."

When the journalist countered that "people are rioting", Mr Trump interjected: "Get rid of the ballots, and you'll have a very - you'll have a very peaceful - there won't be a transfer, frankly, there'll be a continuation."

No budget deficit repair until jobless drops below 6pc

The Australian Financial Review - Page 1 & 4 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Phillip Coorey - PortMac.News Summary

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says "temporary, targeted and proportionate" spending measures will be a key element of the first stage of the federal government's revised fiscal strategy.

He has confirmed that returning the Budget to surplus is no longer a priority in the wake of the coronavirus-induced recession. Frydenberg has indicated that the government will not focus on balancing the Budget and reducing debt until the nation's unemployment rate has fallen "comfortably" below six per cent.

The government will release details of the deficit for 2019-20 on 25 September; it is expected to be between $80bn and $90bn. The deficit is widely tipped to blow out to more than $200bn in 2020-21.

AUSTRAC sights big new target

The Australian Financial Review - Page 1 & 8 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Pamela Williams, James Eyers - PortMac.News Summary

Australian companies have been put on notice that they will continue to come under scrutiny from Austrac after Westpac agreed to a record fine of $1.3bn for breaching anti-money laundering laws.

Austrac CEO Nicole Rose has flagged further enforcement action against financial service providers in 2020, including a "Major non-banking institution".

Westpac had already made provisions of $900m in its financial accounts for a settlement with Austrac, which it will now increase by $404m.

Nathan Lynch of Thomson Reuters says the record fine sends a "profound message" to corporate Australia.

Staff payments 'obstacle' to small business rescues

The Australian Financial Review - Page 5 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Matthew Cranston, John Kehoe, Michael Pelly - PortMac.News Summary

Turnaround Management Association president Carl Gunther has welcomed the federal government's proposed overhaul of insolvency laws for small and medium enterprises.

However, he contends that reforms are also needed with regard to larger companies.

Meanwhile, insolvency lawyers warn that many SMEs may still collapse due to the requirement that businesses that are covered by the proposed regime must pay employees' entitlements in full.

Justin Walsh of Ernst & Young says this means that many SMEs may not qualify.

Responsible' lending laws to be axed

The Australian Financial Review - Page 1 & 4 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by John Kehoe - PortMac.News Summary

The federal government will effectively abolish the responsible lending laws that were introduced by Labor in response to the global financial crisis.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the move will make it easiser for households and businesses to gain access to credit. Banks will be subject to lending standards that are overseen by the Australian Prudential Regulation

Authority, which are less onerous than the responsible lending laws that are enforced by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.

The responsible lending regime came under scrutiny in the recent 'shiraz and wagyu' case involving Westpac.

'Dan, drop your virus detention law'

The Australian - Page 4 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Damon Johnston - PortMac.News Summary

Orica chairman Malcolm Broomhead has urged the Victorian government to abandon its controversial COVID-19 Omnibus bill.

Broomhead has written an open letter to Premier Daniel Andrews in which he argues that the proposed laws are "neither necessary nor desirable" and that there is huge potential for them to be misused.

The bill would allow 'authorised officers' to detain people who are perceived to be a COVID risk.

Broomhead argues that Australia's freedoms and values have been hard won and differentiate the nation from authoritarian regimes.

Australians 'abandoned not stranded' by cap on flight arrivals, families say

The Guardian Australia - Page Online : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Elias Visontay, Naaman Zhou - PortMac.News Summary

The Senate's COVID-19 inquiry has heard from eight people either stuck overseas or impacted by the current cap on international arrivals.

Peta Stoyanovich-Kristie, whose husband and mother-in-law are stuck in Serbia, told the inquiry that federal politicians have "abandoned" Australian citizens trying to return from overseas.

The Opposition and some state governments have urged the federal government to use federal quarantine facilities to help lift the cap, while the inquiry has heard that most Australians stuck overseas would be prepared to wear an ankle bracelet to enforce home quarantine if that would result in the cap being increased.

There are currently 26,800 Australians stranded overseas.

Australia's drug regulator TGA approves Covid tests that deliver results in 15 minutes

The Guardian Australia - Page Online : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Melissa Davey - PortMac.News Summary

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved four COVID-19 tests that can provide results within fifteen minutes.

The rapid antigen tests are being imported from South Korea and the US, and are expected to be used in environments where having to wait up to 24 hours for the result from the widely used polymerase chain reaction test can be a problem, such ad hospitals and food distribution centres.

Professor Deborah Williamson from the Doherty Institute says the antigen tests are likely to be less sensitive than a PCR test, which means they could produce false negatives.

Theatres to increase audience numbers as restrictions ease in NSW

The Sydney Morning Herald - Page Online : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Alexandria Smith, Kate Aubesson - PortMac.News Summary

Theatres, cinemas and concert halls in New South Wales will be able to increase audience numbers up to 1,000 as from 1 October as COVID-19 restrictions are further eased in that state.

Other changes include allowing corporate events to have up to 300 people as long as everyone is seated, more than one parent will now be allowed to watch their children play weekend sport, and bridal parties of up to 20 will be allowed on the dance floor at weddings.

Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres says allowing more people to attend entertainment venues and conference centres will play a key role in reactivating the NSW visitor economy.

Sydney to go ahead with smaller NYE fireworks, 9pm celebration scrapped

The Sydney Morning Herald - Page Online : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Megan Gorrey - PortMac.News Summary

The New South Wales government will assume 'Temporary custodianship' of Sydney's New Years Eve fireworks, following an agreement with the Sydney City Council.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore had expressed concerns about the cost and safety of staging the world-famous event during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 fireworks are now expected to focus on a smaller midnight display on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with the childrens' fireworks at 9pm to be scrapped.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the fireworks could be seen as a "Symbol of hope" and a sign that 2021 was a new year.

Aged care bond time bomb

Herald Sun - Page 10 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Sue Dunlevy - PortMac.News Summary

Australia's aged-care operators now hold nearly $30bn worth of Refundable Accommodation Bonds, which must be repaid when a resident leaves a nursing home or dies.

Aged-care consultant Cam Ansell estimates that the aged-care sector has lost $1bn in bond revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, while a government report notes that 141 providers - which hold a combined $5.3bn worth of bonds - are financially challenged.

The accommodation bonds are guaranteed by the federal government, so taxpayers would bear the cost of repaying the bonds if these aged-care providers collapse.

Dutton pushes trusted 5G suppliers to stop espionage

The Australian Financial Review - Page 2 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Ronald Mizen, Matthew Cranston - PortMac.News Summary

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has called for the use of secure and trusted technology suppliers in "like minded-countries" at the Prague 5G Security Conference.

The conference is considered the world's leading forum for discussing the risks associated with the rollout of 5G infrastructure.

Commenting on the rollout of Australia's 5G network, Dutton told the conference that the federal government made sure that its 5G networks will not be provided by vendors who could be subject to "extrajudicial directions from a foreign government" that may be in conflict with Australia's laws.

Phoenixing: how unscrupulous dealers rise debt-free from the ashes of failed companies

The Guardian - Page Online : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Anne Davies - PortMac.News Summary

The federal government has put a moratorium on companies being wound up by creditors during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is due to come to an end on 31 December.

This is expected to see a rise in the number of genuine insolvencies, but also an increase in what is known as 'phoenixing', whereby a new firm is formed to continue the business of an entity that has been deliberately liquidated to avoid paying its debts.

It was estimated by PwC in 2018 that the direct economic impact of illegal phoenix activity was between $2.85 billion and $5.13 billion a year, but the federal government has been accused of being too slow to clamp down on the practice.

Talks near collapse as ACTU cries sabotage

The Australian Financial Review - Page 3 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Phillip Coorey - PortMac.News Summary

The ACTU and five key business groups have been meeting in recent months in an effort to find consensus in five areas of industrial relations reform.

However, the process began to falter after the Business Council of Australia fell foul of the other four groups after entering into a side deal with the ACTU for changes to the enterprise bargaining system.

A meeting was then arranged between ACTU secretary Sally McManus and the other four groups, but McManus says she will no longer meet with them after details of the meeting were leaked.

McManus has accusing some members of the 'group of four' of trying to sabotage the process.

Wharfies screwing the country: top farmer

The Australian Financial Review - Page 3 : 25 September 2020

Original article by Brad Thompson - PortMac.News Summary

Fletcher International Exports founder Roger Fletcher has attacked the Maritime Union of Australia over its industrial action at Sydney's Port Botany.

Fletcher International Exports is Australia's biggest sheep meat exporter to China, but the MUA's actions, which are impacting stevedore firms DP World, Patrick and Hutchinson, has left it with containers piling up at the port.

The MUA's actions include stoppages and go-slows, and Fletcher says go-slows would not be tolerated at his company or in many others. Fletcher says the wharfies involved in the industrial action are "screwing the guts out of the country".

Qantas clipped for misusing JobKeeper

The Australian Financial Review - Page 23 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by David Marin-Guzman - PortMac.News Summary

Qantas may appeal a Federal Court ruling that the airline has been misusing the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

The ruling could require Qantas to give staff thousands of dollars in backpay, and could have implications for all companies that are receiving JobKeeper and which pay staff in arrears.

The case against Qantas was brought by airline unions, with the Transport Workers Union's national secretary Michael Kaine accusing it of engaging in "systematic wage theft".

Frydenberg and Trump show labour awareness

The Australian - Page 20 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Robert Gottliebsen - PortMac.News Summary

A report released by the US Department of Labour shows that the Trump administration plans to simplify the rules that determine whether somebody is an employee or an independent contractor.

It would replace California's controversial AB5 legislation, which Democrats' candidate Joe Biden proposes to adopt nationwide if he wins the presidential election in November.

The Trump rules are similar to the existing ones in Australia, and the proposal has concided with plans by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to adopt some elements of the US bankruptcy protection regime for small businesses.

Claremont serial killings verdict: Sarah Spiers search 'goes on' as Bradley Edwards is acquitted of her murder

perthnow.com.au - Page Online : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Michael Ramsay - PortMac.News Summary

Bradley Edwards will return to court for sentencing submissions in December after being found guilty of abducting and killing Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon in Perth in the 1990s.

However, he was acquitted of killing Sarah Spiers, who disappeared from a night out in Claremont in 1996 but whose body has never been found.

Western Australian Supreme Court Justice Stephen Hall said he was satisfied Spiers had been abducted and murdered, but it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt that Edwards had killed her. Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said WA police would never stop trying to find Spiers' body, while the cost of Edwards' seven-month trial has been put at over $11 million.

Nationals MP at centre of fresh koala policy controversy

The Sydney Morning Herald - Page Online : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Tom Rabe, Alexandria Smith - PortMac.News Summary

Proposed koala planning policies are causing a lot of angst within the New South Wales coalition government.

The Nationals state their concern with the policy relates to how it might impact on farmers using their land, but Liberals suggest the Nationals are more worried about how it will impact on developers.

It has been revealed that National MP Stephen Bromhead relayed concerns about the policy to Planning Minister Rob Stokes in February on behalf of a political donor linked to a major property venture.

Despite suggestions by Labor that such representation might be inappropriate, Stokes said on 24 September he did not see anything wrong with it.

Tech weakness weighs on stocks

The Australian - Page 20 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Samantha Bailey - PortMac.News Summary

The Australian sharemarket lost ground on 24 September, with the S&P/ASX 200 easing 0.81 per cent to close at 5,875.9 points.

BHP was down 0.6 per cent at $36.91, Evolution Mining shed 5.3 per cent to end the session at $5.53 and Afterpay slumped 5.8 per cent to finish at $74.14. However, National Australia Bank firmed 0.4 per cent to close at $17.19 and Treasury Wine Estates was up two per cent at $9.08.

Soul Pattinson primed with $1bn war chest

The Australian - Page 15 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Eli Greenblat - PortMac.News Summary

Investment company Washington H. Soul Pattinson released its latest full-year results on 24 September, reporting a statutory net profit of $953 million, up 284.3 per cent.

Regular profit fell by 44.7 per cent to $169.8 million, while revenue was down 15.3 per cent to $1.368 billion. Soul Pattinson declared a final dividend of $0.35 per share, up 2.9 per cent, with the dividend to be paid on 14 December.

CEO Todd Barlow says the company has a $1 billion 'war chest' to invest in equity markets and private equity deals, with Barlow saying COVID-19 has led to reduced valuations in sectors such as healthcare and financial services.

Telstra to push tech ambitions with Microsoft partnership

The Australian Financial Review - Page Online : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Paul Smith - PortMac.News Summary

Telstra will formally adopt Microsoft's Azure platform as its preferred cloud computing supplier as part of a partnership agreement between the two companies.

The agreement will see Telstra and Microsoft develop new products and services, in order to take advantage of the increased capabilities of cloud computing, 5G technology and artificial intelligence.

Telstra CEO Andy Penn says the agreement follows on from a discussion he had with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella earlier in 2020 about the convergence of "compute and telecommunications".

Packer lieutenant 'sought to alter Crown forecasts'

The Australian Financial Review - Page 20 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Lucas Baird - PortMac.News Summary

Gaming company Crown Resorts is currently the subject of an inquiry in New South Wales as to its suitability to hold a restricted gambling licence at its soon-to-be completed tower at Barangaroo on Sydney's waterfront.

The inquiry has heard that Michael Johnston suggested in 2019 to then Crown CFO Ken Barton that he make a number of adjustments to his financial projections out to the 2022 fiscal year.

The suggestions from Johnston, a director at Crown and a director of James Packer's investment vehicle Consolidated Press Holding, came just two weeks before Packer negotiated to sell almost half of his shares in Crown.

Barton, who is now Crown's CEO, told the inquiry he could not recall if he made the suggested changes.

ABC's horse expose 'pandered to activists'

The Australian - Page 3 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Kieran Gair - PortMac.News Summary

Racing New South Wales CEO Peter V'landys is suing the ABC and journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna for defamation over a segment that appeared on the '7.30' program in 2019.

The segment showed acts of cruelty against former racehorses and featured graphic images from a Queensland abbatoir.

V'landys, who is also chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission, says he was not afforded the same courtesy and "procedural fairness" as two animal activists who appeared in the segment.

ARLC commissioner Peter Beattie says the segment came close to putting V'landys' position on its board in jeopardy.

Ex-Seven star seeks 'at least $500k' from network, court told

The Age - Page Online : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Georgina Mitchell - PortMac.News Summary

Former Seven Network presenter Simon Reeve has launched legal action against the broadcaster and is said to be seeking at least $500,000 in damages.

Reeve claims that Seven's decision to make him redundant was in breach of his contract, while he also alleges that it breached the Fair Work Act by misrepresenting his employment as being an independent contracting arrangement instead of that of an employee.

Reeve is also claiming that Seven failed to make redundancy payments or pay him annual leave. The matter will return to the Federal Court on 11 November.

Netflix has been getting a free ride from Australia. It's time for them to stump up

The Guardian Australia - Page Online : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Trent Zimmerman - PortMac.News Summary

Deloitte recently reported that there has been a 39 per cent increase in the hours being spent by Australians watching paid movie and streaming services such as Netflix as a result of COVID-19.

However, the Australian screen industry is not seeing any reward from this increase, while traditional local content rules are not easily applied to "multi-channel streaming services" or platforms that offer streaming services alongside other products.

The best way to address this would be for streaming services to have to spend a percentage of their Australian revenue on new local content, while it is worth noting that the Australian screen industry contributes $5.43 billion in "value-add".

BHP ends domestic thermal coal sales

The Australian Financial Review - Page 22 : 25 September 2020 - Original article by Peter Ker - PortMac.News Summary

BHP will cease supplying thermal coal from its Mount Arthur mine to AGL Energy's Liddell and Bayswater power stations in New South Wales.

The resoures group has began to dismantle a 10-kilometre conveyor belt that fed coal to the power stations.

The end of the supply deal with AGL means that BHP will no longer sell thermal for power generation in Australia.

BHP is seeking to sell the Mount Arthur mine, while the Liddell power station is slated to shut down in April 2023. The Bayswater station is expected to close in 2035.

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