Gillard holds firm on carbon tax despite poll results: Midday Roundup
"I've always understood that arguing for a tough economic reform like pricing carbon was going to be a big debate, it's going to be a hard debate, but it's one that I am determined to win," Gillard told reporters in Washington.
Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan also said the Government is prepared for a Parliamentary battle on the topic.
"We are not doing this because it is easy, we are not doing it because it is popular, we are doing it because it is the right thing for the country," Swan told the ABC. "We always thought this would be a hard debate."
"What the polls show is that it's a really tough debate."
The new Newspoll shows Labor has dropped from 36% to 30% – one of the lowest points ever. But Swan says the poll is just one of many.
"We have got to go out there and argue the case for fundamental reform, for a cleaner energy future," he said.
"We have to work with the community. We have got to work through the multi-party committee. We are doing that," he said.
AXA executives to join AMP
Senior AXA executives will be joining AMP, with the two companies winning court approval for their merger, AAP has reported.
AXA chief financial officer Geoff Roberts will join the boards of AMP Life and National Mutual Life Assurance in a non-executive position.
AXA group chief actuary and chief risk officer Mike Thornton and Darryl Mackay will also be joining AMP as company secretary.
Shares open lower on Middle East turmoil
The Australian sharemarket has opened lower this morning after US stocks tumbled overnight due to the ongoing unrest in the Middle East.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell six points or 0.13% to 4791.7 at 12.10 AEST, while the Australian dollar also fell in value to be at just over $US1.01c.
ANZ shares rose 0.34% to $23.57, while Commonwealth Bank shares fell 0.15% to $51.61. Westpac rose 0.39% to $23.21 as NAB rose 0.08% to $25.16.
Lynas mulling over Crown sale
Earth miner Lynas has said it will consider selling the Crown deposit in Western Australia but that such a transaction would not be material.
Lynas told AAP it, "is in discussions regarding a possible transaction concerning the Crown polymetallic deposit at Mt Weld".
"These discussions are incomplete and the Board of Lynas is not yet in a position to make a decision," the company said. "The board does, however, consider the possible transaction is not a material one for Lynas."
Gail Kelly claims rates on hold for now
Westpac chief Gail Kelly told the ABC last night she expects the RBA will keep rates on hold for the first half of the year.
"I think we can see them (interest rates) on hold for awhile," she said last night, also adding that she did not explain well enough the bank's decisions to raise rates above the 25-point increase in November.
"I didn't do nearly a good enough job of getting out there personally to explain the factors," she said. "There's no question that we will be passing benefit (including interest rates) on to customers."
Obama meets with Gillard in Washington
United States president Barack Obama has met with Julia Gillard in Washington, saying the country has "no stronger ally than Australia".
He also expressed the US is standing with Australia with regard to the current turmoil in Libya, which continued to impact American stocks overnight.
"The bottom line is I think Australia and the United States stand shoulder to shoulder in sending a clear message that we stand for democracy, we stand for an observance of human rights. "
"We send a very clear message to the Libyan people that we will stand with them in the face of unwarranted violence and the continuing suppression of democratic ideals that we've seen there," Obama said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79 points or 0.66% to 12,090.33.