CBD

Illustration: John Shakespeare.

Illustration: John Shakespeare.

In a budget reply that deserved more attention, Sex Party president Fiona Patten lashed out at PM Tony Abbott's federal budget.

She says the government needs to take a hard line on foreign multinationals that are not paying their fair share of tax in Australia.

''If the Abbott government truly believes everyone needs to shoulder some of the burden, well it is time to seriously review the anti-competitive tax breaks given to the Catholic Church and other religious organisations,'' she says.

Patten also decried the $250 million increase in funding for the school chaplaincy program as evidence that the federal government ''is being run by religious zealots and is totally out of touch with modern Australia''.

''This budget … is straight out of a prayer book from the Dark Ages.''

The report ended with the information that Ms Patten's budget outcry was not distracting her from the main business of her constituents. She was ''in the city of churches launching Adelaide Sexpo''.

Oswal revelations

Our court system has not been kind to Indian-expat-now-in-exile, Radhika Oswal.

Last month the Federal Court ruled against her bid to vary a freezing order over her Australian assets - to meet the conditions of a new litigation funding agreement - as she battles the Tax Office over a $186,321,790.11 tax bill.

Justice Antony Siopis has now released the reasons for his judgment, which included details of the agreement she hoped to sign with the mysterious Dubai-based Mercury Services Ltd.

Justice Siopis noted that Mercury was to receive as much as 60 per cent of Oswal's winnings from her legal actions, on top of recovering its own costs.

In rejecting her application, Justice Siopis said: ''In effect, Mrs Oswal's application really amounts to an application to set aside the freezing order rather than merely seeking a variation of the freezing order.''

The judge expressed dissatisfaction with the relationship between Oswal and the three litigation funders she has engaged, especially Mercury. ''I am not satisfied on the evidence that there is an arms-length relationship between Mercury and Mrs Oswal. The evidence shows Mercury and Mrs Oswal once shared the same address in Dubai,'' he said.

The very generous Mercury also once lent her $45 million in 2009 and 2010 without requiring a written loan agreement.

Let's hope the company is still in a generous mood. Oswal was ordered to pay the ATO's costs in relation to this matter.

ASIC revisited

With ASIC facing $120 million in budget cuts over the next five years, it's worth revisiting the regulator's failed action against Fortescue and its founder Andrew ''Twiggy'' Forrest. The Federal Court judgment from February 2012 said: ''It is a curiosity of this case that there was no evidence that any member of the investing public was misled by, or suffered loss as a result of FMG's contraventions of the act. Presumably, that is because those who invested in FMG have profited handsomely from that investment.

''This circumstance may be said to raise a question as to whether the prosecution of this case by ASIC was a game worth the candle. It is not, however, for this court to call into question the exercise of ASIC's discretion to determine which cases it should pursue in the discharge of its regulatory functions.''

Kennett tops up

Jeff Kennett is still topping up his substantial stake in former mobile chat and dating service provider, Jumbuck Entertainment. He announced on Friday that he had splashed out on another 130,000 shares.

Next week, Kennett and his fellow Jumbuck investors meet to vote on a proposal to transform the company into an ''online knowledge and referral community'' for advisory professionals, to be called Primary Opinion.

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