ACCC chair ups the courtroom ante. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is set to take on more cases with less predictable outcomes under the watch of new chairman Rod Sims, who believes the watchdog needs to lose a few cases to truly flex its muscle.

In his first speech since taking up the chairman post, Sims told an audience at a Law Council workshop on the Gold Coast over the weekend that the ACCC must start to take a more strategic approach to deciding where to focus its time and energy. He said that the competition watchdog’s success rate in first instance litigation — which stands at almost 100% — is too high. — Angela Priestley (read the full report)

Chau Chak Wing: our most prolific political donor. Money can’t always buy happiness but, as property developer and newspaper tycoon Chau Chak Wing has learnt, it can help give you remarkable access to Australia’s most powerful politicians.

Treasurer Wayne Swan arrives in China for a one-day visit on Wednesday and will spend half the time opening a lavish new convention and entertainment centre owned by the secretive billionaire. — Matthew Knott (read the full report)

Palmer recruited to anti-coal seam gas campaign. Mining kingpin Clive Palmer has hopped aboard the anti-coal seam gas bandwagon, accusing the industry of using “lethal” technologies that could have devastating health and environmental impacts. Queensland’s richest man is the latest recruit to an unlikely alliance of conservatives, farmers and greenies opposed to the controversial gas extraction technique.

Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce, Greens leader Bob Brown and talkback host Alan Jones have all called for greater regulation of the fledgling industry. “Coal seam gas technology currently used in Australia is lethal and will kill Australians, poison our water table and destroy the land,” Palmer told the National Party’s federal council in Canberra over the weekend. — Matthew Knott (read the full report)

Peter Fray

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