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James Packer is back in the family fold on the tax front

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Science has yet to determine the effects of listening to Mariah Carey's music on a continuous loop.

So let's not be to hard on James Packer, and what it was the led him, at last year's Crown AGM, to take a much more generous position on paying tax than his late father, Kerry Packer.   

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Kerry Packer's approach to tax

Kerry Packer's responses during a 1991 federal investigation into the print media industry show he believed Australian who didn't minimise their tax needed 'their heads read'.

The budding Hollywood mogul gave Crown investors a script where corporate tax avoiders were the villains of corporate Australia.

"If you look at Transurban or Sydney Airport ... they are basically paying no tax," he said.

"If you are the [Australian Business Awards] employer of the year three out of the last five years, if you are paying more tax than any other top 50 business in Australia and if you spend the amount of capex we do, I think we are a role model Australian company." 

That position may have now changed as Crown prepares to battle the ATO over a disputed $362 million tax bill.


In case Packer Jr needs a new script, CBD has dug up his late father's view on the matter. 

 "If anybody in this country doesn't minimise their tax, they want their heads read, because as a government, I can tell you, you're not spending it that well that we should be donating extra," Kerry told a Senate committee in 1991. 

CBD is sure Kerry would not have minded the $73,000 of tax payers money that was spent on his state funeral some years later. 

Golden Summer 

Mining in 2016 is all about digging yourself a big hole and praying you don't go broke in the process. 

And it helps if there is a glimmer of gold at the bottom of the hole.

The dog's breakfast of a result on Monday from gold digger, Newcrest – which including earnings being cut by half and a continuing dividend drought – has not prevented the share price from soaring over the summer. 

It has gone from a low of $11 in late November, to a high above $16.80 last week – a golden summer for Newcrest investors indeed.

Some might even think that its years of misery and disaster – and productions stutters – are finally behind it.

That was the hint from Newcrest's highly remunerated chief executive, Sandeep Biswas, who took home $5.65 million last year, including a base salary of $2.25 million – one of the highest in the mining sector.  

"Newcrest has delivered a strong financial result in a lower gold and copper price environment," he said.

Shareholders with long memories might not be so enthused with the recent share gyrations.

To keep things in context, former Newcrest boss, Ian Smith, departed in 2011 after offloading $5.3 million worth of shares at more than $42 a pop. 

Soon after that, the company was forced to report the disastrous results of Smith's Lihir acquisition, and it was all downhill from there.

Bruce Almighty 

"They call him Bruce" Bruce Baird may not have the social media savvy of his son – NSW Premier Mike Baird – but the veteran politician can do The Hustle better than Van McCoy.

The former state federal Liberal MP, who is now ensconced as chairman of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) – and relishing it – was cranking away at the press release machine over the last week in response to the revolving door on Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet.

Last week it was the departure of Warren Truss as the Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister.

"Over the 26 years of Mr Truss' political career, I've had the honour and pleasure of working with the man and the Minister and was pleased to again continue our association through the nation's trucking Regulator," said a very personable Baird.

"Hailing from a farming family in Queensland, Mr Truss has been a tireless advocate for rural and regional Australia and knows well the impact that sound and practical regulatory reform has on the day-to-day operations of regional communities and families. I'm grateful for the particular interest he took in the regulator's growth and his steadfast support for us during challenging times." 

And Baird was just as chipper on Monday as he welcomed Truss' replacement, Darren Chester.

"As Member for the regional seat of Gippsland, Mr Chester would appreciate the importance of an efficient national road freight task and its role in giving regional economies the best chance for growth," said Baird in the NHVR press release.

"I'm looking forward to working with Mr Chester and the Coalition government to boost road safety for all road users, reduce red tape for the heavy vehicle industry and deliver consistency across borders."

We look forward to Bruce's announcements on the matter. 

Google minus

Google, the search engine giant which can't seem to find a home for its overseas subsidiaries anywhere other than in a tax haven, has finally erased the error that led it to declare recently that it made a $60,000 donation to the Labor Party in May last year. 

Google Australia Pty Ltd disclosure was amended "to reflect the fact that no donations have been made to the Australian Labor Party or any other Australia political party," it said in the amendment. 

Google said that, in the 2014/15 financial year it donated $66,000 to the Labor leaning Chifley Research Centre, and another $66,000 to the Liberal leaning Menzies Research Centre. Google said that it asked the two centres to "to conduct policy research and funded that research".

So there was nothing remotely political about the money shuffle at all. 

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