General Property Trust’s torturous path to independence faces its first
test with today’s unitholders vote. No-one could dispute that GPT
chairman Peter Joseph and his board fundamentally believe that the package
being presented is in the best interests of GPT, but that doesn’t make
them right, says the Fin Review’s Chanticleer. And, in fact, the package is a fundamentally bad deal for GPT unitholders.
The search for Ziggy Switkowski’s successor as Telstra’s chief
executive is almost over and given the near-certainty that the new man will be a foreigner,
probably American, and will have had to be promised a huge package
to relocate to Melbourne, the first hurdle and learning curve the successor
will have to overcome is the politicised, shock-jock-driven
response to their appointment, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Age. Everything to do with Telstra is high-profile and politicised,
and that can only get worse in the lead-up to T3. So the next Telstra CEO will need a thick skin and an ability to
keep the politics of Telstra in perspective – he will need to be
both resilient and politically sophisticated.
Australia is becoming a bipolar economy, says Malcolm Maiden in The Age. Demand is booming in
Queensland and Western Australia, where the commodity price boom is
an on-the-ground, in-your-face bonanza. Demand is lethargic in
Victoria, NSW and South Australia, where the boom is producing less
wealth, and some problems.
Australia’s economic growth rate
was lower than expected at 1.9% in the March quarter but the economy improved just enough to let
Treasurer Peter Costello boast about its health, reports Cherelle Murphy in
the Fin Review. However, drought and cautious
consumer behaviour are clouding the outlook. Also in AFR, schemes to avoid tax of shares, private-company
profits and financial deals that generate only tax deductions are under
Tax Office scrutiny, as demand for tax-effective investments – and
consequently ATO product rulings – has surged.
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The US Supreme Court’s reversal of Arthur
Andersen’s conviction for obstruction of justice in the Enron case, has
rumblings among former Andersen partners and some legal analysts that
this was proof that the accounting firm should never have been
indicted, much less
found guilty, says Kurt Eichenwald in TheNew York Times.
But in truth the Supreme Court’s judgment simply
underscores the significance of a rule in white-collar cases: a jury
properly convict without first being required to conclude that a
intended to engage in wrongdoing. The US government’s post-Enron
crackdown on corporate malfeasance has in many ways overstepped the
mark, says Stephen Ellis in The Australian.
But it would be deeply wrong to mark the US Supreme Court’s ruling as a
tipping point that heralds the return of the go-go 1990s approach to
The New York Times reports that Donald Trump and a consortium of Hong Kong investors are selling a stretch of riverfront land and three
buildings on the Upper West Side of New York for about $1.8
billion in the largest residential sale in city history and the latest
example of New York’s rocketing housing market – the average apartment price in Manhattan has soared
to more than $1.2 million as developable land has become increasingly rare.
On Wall Street, US stocks ended sharply overnight after a
Fed official hinted the current cycle of interest rate hikes may be
coming to an end, but a 5% spike in crude-oil prices took some of the
steam out of the rally in late trading. The Dow Jones ended up 81.72 points at 10,549. Marketwatch has a full report here.