Michael West

Michael West

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

Sandwiches on the menu as corporate chiefs front tax inquiry

Michael West There wasn't much time for lunch at the tax inquiry on Wednesday but there was a lot of discussion about Irish and Dutch sandwiches.

Rupert Murdoch's US empire siphons $4.5b from Australian business virtually tax-free

According to an UNSW academic, Rupert Murdoch's Australian companies have paid income tax equivalent to only 10 per cent of their operating profits.

Michael West Rupert Murdoch's media empire in the US has siphoned off $4.5 billion of cash and shares from his Australian media businesses in the past two years, virtually tax free.

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India's Sysiphean task

A general view shows solar panels to produce renewable energy at the photovoltaic park in Les Mees, in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, southern France March 31, 2015. The solar farm of the Colle des Mees, the biggest in France, consists of 112,780 solar modules covering an area of 200 hectares of land and representing 100 MW of power.    REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Michael West It is both a masterstroke of international financing and yet another blow to thermal coal, a commodity whose price reeled another 10 per cent last month, rendering the biggest project in Australia,...

Dynamic currency conversion - robbery by choice

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Michael West As far as bank robberies go, this one is bigger, and just as fiendish, as any.

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

The political system is 'all but paralysed by vested interests' when it comes to tax avoidance issues, writes Michael West.

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...