This is the next stuff up for the government — the $89.2 million, 10-year Australian Business Number (ABN) Business Names Registration project. An official in Western Australia told me the Commonwealth wants to reduce the consultation period on the legislation from three months to just one. The states will not be consulted before the release to the public because the Commonwealth wants to meet its milestone and shift blame to the states. Also, referral legislation is being drafted by WA — the state that never refers powers to the Commonwealth.

How Australian is the “Australian” film Accidents Happen? Starring American actress Geena Davis, it is essentially an American film where Sydney’s North Shore appears to double for a suburb in Boston. The Australian actors speak in American accents. The cars drive on the funny side of the road. Quick research reveals that Screen Australia (actually its predecessor Film Finance Corporation Australia), wholly owned by the federal government, invested $2.1 million in this film. Is this investment part of the “cultural dividend” taxpayers receive by investing in Australian films? Now which federal bureaucrats will be ducking for cover over this investment? Perhaps Peter Garrett needs Greg Combet to help him tell the difference between an American and Australian film…

Increasingly desperate Myer is running the biggest storewide discount sale ever — bigger than anything under much criticised former Coles Myer managers. In a sign that things are not going well, customers can receive a $20 gift card if they spend $75 anywhere in the store this week, a discount equivalent to 37.5%. With the share price edging towards all time lows, the store is trying anything to get disinterested customers to spend, without much success.

Peter Fray

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