Michael West

Michael West

Michael West comments on companies, markets and the economy. He is a former SMH business editor.

Bigwigs won't be held to account in tax avoidance inquiry

Michael West The Senate Economics References Committee this week kicks off its hearings into corporate tax avoidance in a fortnight, but has confirmed that corporations can select their own witnesses.

Beyond the spin, the miners are in clover

Still hauling it in: As commodities prices fall, the mining lobby has become more brazen in its attempts to reduce taxes and rail against royalties.

Michael West The Mining Council put forth with its latest public relations extravaganza, overstating once again the contribution its mining company members make to the economy and calling for further cuts in the...

Tax strategies may distort power sales

Li Ka-shing and Spark Infrastructure – both big players in the Victorian and South Australian electricity markets – have been sued by the Australian Taxation Office.

Michael West Like Asia's richest man, the corporations bidding for the privatisation of NSW utilities are arch-exponents of aggressive tax minimisation.

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City state Singapore has a taste for our taxpayers

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Michael West Singapore is more than just a shining city state, a place of untrammelled commerce and cleanliness, and the jewel of Asia's economic miracle. It is a tax haven.

Economics consulting becomes a new art form

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Michael West Economics consulting truly is art. Look no further than the masterpiece of consulting from the Centre for International Economics, which managed to deliver entirely different outcomes for different...

Metadata retention laws will hurt big-business whistleblowers

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Michael West Powerful vested interests will use metadata retention laws to silence critics and whistleblowers.

The sun isn't shining on 'old energy' sectors

Victoria's brown coal-fired Hazelwood plant.

Michael West Renewable energy is rapidly getting cheaper, more efficient, and power companies are desperately trying to lock in customers and stave off the incursion from renewables.

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Screen Australia board meetings must be a game of musical chairs

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Michael West Reel deals: Screen Australia's financial statements list five pages of related party transactions, making its board meetings an interesting proposition.

Labor's corporate tax avoidance policy is mostly window dressing

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Michael West It's more about PR than it is about policy.

LNG lobby has well-oiled spruiking machine

The seven-month oil rout threatens to erode the returns of local LNG producers, whose contracts with Asian buyers are linked to crude.

Michael West The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association is yet to resile from its scaremongering strategy that there is a shortage of gas in Victoria and NSW and no choice but to ramp up...

Profit-shifting: Tax office settles for patting the elephant in the room

Schools

Michael West The very funding of our hospitals and schools is at stake here, our children’s future.

COMMENT

Watching the watchdog: Secondments spell trouble at ASIC

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Michael West When players from the industries ASIC is supervising are routinely seconded into its ranks, the public has a right to know.

Watchdogs are no longer tough cops on the beat on white collar crime

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Michael West When it comes to corporate regulation in this country there are one set of rules for the top end of town and another for the rest. The rest, put simply, are expected to obey the law.

A conspiracy to stiff gas consumers

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Michael West Coal prices have crashed, the carbon tax has gone, yet the cost of electricity continues to rise. Oil prices have halved, yet the price of gas, which is linked to oil, is going up 17 per cent.

MEDIA

News loans to Foxtel questioned

Lending and borrowing are helping the Foxtel Partners reduce their tax in Australia.

Michael West Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and Telstra Corporation are lending money to their cashed-up pay TV business Foxtel at 12 per cent, claiming tax deductions on the loan and lending the money...

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Tax haven explosion puts hole in corporate tax

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Michael West Confidential documents obtained from the Tax Office under the Freedom of Information Act show Australia’s corporate tax base is in crisis because of the explosion in tax haven dealings by...

Tax

Tax avoidance as bad as bottom of the harbour schemes

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Michael West John Miller says the infamous "bottom of the harbour" tax schemes of the 1970s and 80s are "no more scandalous" than some of the aggressive tax minimisation strategies used by multinational companies...

Comment

Google paying a fraction of the tax in Australia it should

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Michael West How much tax does Google really owe Australia? Its submission to the parliamentary inquiry into corporate tax avoidance says Google doesn't owe this country a zac.

Usual path

Australian filmmakers find success with the digital-only release of The Mule

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Michael West For an independent Aussie film about a football player holed up in a hotel room trying not to go to the toilet for a week, The Mule has done remarkably well.

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Inquiry's roll call of tax avoiders

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Michael West The list of submissions to the parliamentary inquiry into corporate tax avoidance reads like a Who's Who of Australia's biggest and sneakiest tax avoiders.