Government way ahead on Wal King’s to-do list Australia’s highest-paid CEO, 66-year old Wal King at Leightons, also heads up the Australian Constructors Association (clearly Apostrophe Man isn’t a member) and today issued a ukase on the RSPT, “CONTRACTORS SET OUT PRINCIPLES FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE RSPT” which brings the long-awaited perspective of the construction sector to the debate.

After bagging the Government, Wal then lists a number of principles that should guide the implementation of the RSPT.  Happily for Wayne Swan, he’s already got much of the list ticked off.

“The RSPT should not apply retrospectively to profits earned prior to the announcement,” Wal insists.

Presumably the Government is happy to oblige on that, since the tax doesn’t even start until 2012, more than two years after the announcement, making it a bit hard to snare 2009-10 profits.

“There should be appropriate arrangements to fully make up the loss of revenue for state and territory governments,” Wal says.

Um, Wal, the Government’s not doing anything to the states’ royalty collection, so you can consider that one done too.  And “the definition of a “normal profit” should be such that a mining project with an expectation of earning this or a higher return would proceed.”

Again, you’d almost think Swanny had read Wal’s mind, because that’s kinda pretty much the basis of a super-profits-based tax. Uncanny. — Bernard Keane

Gloucester Coal clings to Cato. It seems self-described “liberal pinko” Sue Cato is still spruiking for Gloucester Coal, despite her unequivocal proclamation on Deborah Cameron’s ABC 702 radio show earlier this month that she doesn’t “work for any miners” during a fiery discussion on the RSPT. In our original outraged story on the gaffe, Cato protested her innocence, claiming she had “finished” her engagement and submitted her “final invoice” a few days before, despite the offer period remaining open and Gloucester media inquiries being directed to her mobile phone. But it appears the parting of ways has failed to penetrate her former employer’s inner sanctum. A full week after the Cameron appearance, on May 13, Gloucester send out this press release declaring the bid dead, including Cato’s mobile on a re-issued statement by the firm’s independent directors. So what’s going on? A possible clue could reside in the veteran spin doctor’s admission to Crikey that she would be happily re-engaged by Gloucester “if they asked me”. — Andrew Crook

US TV ratings take a hit. It’s bad news for American TV, and especially News Corp’s Fox Network from the last week of official ratings in the US. We had the finale of Lost on Sunday night (which can be ignored because it is gone) and now we’ve had the end-of-season finales for American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, House and some other high-profile programs. The final ep of Lost averaged 13.5 million viewers.

The news was bad for Fox: Idol had its worst final program ever, apart from the first summer season one. It averaged 24.2 million total viewers, 16% down from 28.8 million last year. Among 18-49s, the key US TV demo, the fall was bigger at 18%. Still, it was was the highest audience for a regular program on US TV this year (the Super Bowl was tops with 106.5 million people). Idol‘s season average was down 10%, and with judge Simon Cowell leaving it needs to be refreshed.

But it wasn’t just Idol that felt the sting of viewer indifference. ABC’s Dancing with the Stars finale averaged 18.4 million people, 6 million behind Idol and lower than the average for the Monday night performance eps which averaged 21.6 million this year, which was up on a years ago and the best figures ever. And Desperate Housewives slid 17%. Fox’s House dipped 11%, and CBS’s CSI and NBC’s The Office were also down. — Glenn Dyer

A week without the web

“When eight Post reporters got to talking about their attachment — no, addiction — to their BlackBerrys, phones, Twitter and Facebook, it was only natural that someone said, OK, let’s go without, if only for a week. No web, period. If you need to talk to someone, do it in person or by phone.” – Washington Post

The future of fonts

“Typography is an important design element that can drastically alter the look and even the feel of content. However, because of technical (and licensing) restrictions, dynamic fonts used on the web have been limited to a small subset of styles. On the positive side, over the past 12  months the landscape for web typography has changed dramatically.” — Mashable

Hirschberg’s response to phone number tweet

This morning, M.I.A. tweeted out writer Lynn Hirschberg’s phone number in response to a piece in this weekend’s Times Magazine. The tweet seemed to suggest that M.I.A. wasn’t much of a fan of the piece. What was Ms Hirschberg’s reaction? — New York Observer

Afghan women and the media

“This past March, Pat Mitchell, President and CEO of The Paley Center for Media, hosted a round table discussion in conjunction with the US — Afghan Women’s Council. The focus was to examine how to support Afghan women in media. The agenda also addressed the type of stories about Afghan women that continue to grab the headlines — when stories make it to the public’s awareness.” — Huffington Post

Facebook slims down privacy

“Facebook has simplified some of its user privacy controls down to “a couple of clicks,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg, facing the music earlier today after a month of controversy. Zuckerberg admitted that the recent settings were too complicated, broke the changes down into a few topical sections, and stated that Facebook users will be informed of them in a home page message.” — ClickZ

Murdoch’s wonderful world of paywalls

“When Rupert Murdoch arrived at The Wall Street Journal, the word on the executive floor was that WSJ.com would soon become an entirely free site. After Murdoch was given a look at the numbers by the business side, the subscriptions remained.” – Nieman Journalism Lab

The power of citizen journalism

“Something magical has happened to our smarter citizens and it may well be the salvation of our democracy: they bought little itty-bitty digital video cameras for $75 and not surprisingly started pointing them at things that bothered them.” – Huffington Post

The iPad isn’t just a big iPhone

“What’s the difference between Apple’s new iPad tablet and its iPhone? Based on a quick analysis of the apps people are buying on the devices, it’s pretty simple: The iPhone and iPod touch are for games. The iPad is for a lot more.” — Business Insider

Google buys AdMob for $750 million

“The FTC has unanimously approved Google’s $750 million purchase of AdMob to make it the largest advertising network in mobile. Despite how many believed the FTC was leaning, the regulatory body said it approved the deal after ‘thoroughly reviewing the deal and concluding that it is unlikely to harm competition in the emerging market for mobile advertising networks’.” — paidContent

Peter Fray

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