Spectators

Scoreboard: American muscle

Wall Street ended mixed as strong manufacturing and construction data had investors worrying about higher interest rates, while oil and gold came under pressure.

The tricky business of electricity tariffs

Proposed changes to the network tariff system could see lower charges for consumers. Now we just need politicians to act in the long-term interests of the electorate.

Time to move on from MRRT mistakes, Swan

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The former treasurer's response to today's MRRT repeal is foolish for all the same reasons the tax was doomed from conception.

PE industry hopes to lure super cash

Australia’s top private equity firms gather in Melbourne this week, hoping to win over greater commitments from the nation’s richest super funds.

Parliament can protect Abbott from Iraq blunders

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No doubt mistakes will be made in Iraq, as in the past, but the shared responsibility of a vote may minimise errors. And support from the Greens could be more forthcoming than assumed.

RBA faith is getting hard to take

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Whatever momentum the economy began the year with has largely washed away, and the Reserve Bank's belief it will simply return to trend is stretching credibility.

The super guarantee deferral is just the beginning

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Postponing the increase to super contributions will make Australia's labour costs more competitive, but high income earners could soon get a nasty surprise.

An apartment construction boom chaser

A rise in building approvals highlights the surprising resilience of the residential construction sector. But a weak outlook for commodity prices poses a risk.

Dick Warburton’s 10 minutes of woe

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In an interview that went from trouble to farce, the chair of the renewable energy review fumbled questions about coal's windfall before admitting he has no figures to support his argument to slash the renewables target because Direct Action is cheaper.

Small business in the gun over a RET reduction

A new report commissioned by the REC Agents Association paints a picture of a vibrant but vulnerable solar sector in Australia, dominated by small enterprises that would struggle to survive an RET cut.

Commercial solar up, residential PV steady in Queensland

The latest solar stats from Energex - southeast Queensland's network business - shows an upswing in commercial installations, but there may be bumps ahead for residential.

Big iron ore miners turn up the volume

BHP Billiton, Vale and Rio Tinto are set to ramp up iron ore production, despite softening demand from China and a sinking price. The pressure’s on for smaller miners and Chinese steel producers.

Laying down the law at the Communist Party plenum

China's upcoming party plenum will focus on legal reform for the first time -- but Beijing has little intention of building up legal institutions as a truly independent check on party power.

Xi Jinping's reform strategy is becoming clearer

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The President is trying to mark a clear distinction between the administrative role of the state and the executive management of the companies it owns. The big question is whether his reforms will get the job done.

Global markets showing GFC symptoms

Alan Kohler speaks to Warwick McKibbin about why economic recovery efforts are on the brink of unraveling, and how Australia can insulate itself against future pain.

Taxing times: Tech needs a holiday

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The notion that the government will remove the attractive tax-breaks given to property investment in this country and hand them to local tech investors is a pipe dream. So why are we still talking about it?

The rise of robotics will thin out the middle class

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Rather than simply destroying jobs, robotics will polarise the labour force by reducing wages in a number of sectors, thereby diminishing the middle class -- and the trend has already started.

The global stimulus drive has failed - so what now?

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Big stimulus programs around the world mitigated the severity of a global recession, but the enormous reduction in corporate costs and the globalisation of labour mean there hasn't been a corresponding rise in consumer spending.

Celebrities, nudity and how 4chan drives the internet

Online bulletin board, 4chan, is at it again and the latest episode of celebrity baiting again enhances its reputation as the platform of choice for controversy and internet virality.

Is the enterprise ready for web-scale IT?

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The journey to web-scale IT will not be easy for most enterprises. It won’t be a straight line but will look more like a roadmap with many twists and turns.

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