Michael West

Michael West

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

William Hill having a bob each way

Michael West If you were running a book for the Golden Hypocrites Bookies Stakes you would have to price William Hill at onerously short odds.

Far from free, gas is becoming the 'risible' market - all the way to the bank

Michael West The business lobby is playing straight into the hands of the gas producers with its calls for a free market.

Senate banks inquiry may not fix advice malaise

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Michael West All of the country's big four banks have now been dragged into financial planning scandals after several customers took legal action against Westpac for misleading and deceptive conduct.

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Banks 'plunder' travellers with forex fees on credit card transactions

A longboat in Thailand.

Michael West The moral of the story for anyone travelling overseas is simple: if you are overseas and you are offered the opportunity to pay in Australian dollars or the foreign currency, select the foreign...

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From a famine to a feast – for the gas cartel

It is high time competition regulators turned their gaze on the gas cartel.

Michael West It is high time competition regulators turned their gaze on the gas cartel.

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Corporate tax: ex-ATO official criticises rushed settlements, 'climate of fear'

The ex-official said the ATO is giving up revenue in the rush to settle claims.

Nassim Khadem and Michael West A former Tax Office employee has told of a case against a big four bank in which a tax bill of $100 million was reduced to $30 million on settlement.

Big Four firms consistently 'unaware' before tax inquiry

Senator Christine Milne at the corporate tax avoidance inquiry.

Michael West Representatives from "Big Four" accounting firm Deloitte were up before the Senate tax inquiry on Friday morning.

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Senate tax avoidance inquiry: the secret of its success

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Michael West Corporate regulators were asked to explain to the Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance on Thursday how tech giant Facebook managed to get an exemption from being a "large company" .

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Sandwiches on the menu as corporate chiefs front tax inquiry

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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.

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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.