Members of the Coalition appear to be split over its paid parental leave scheme policy, with finance spokesman Andrew Robb saying that the opposition “haven’t finalised any of our major policies.”
Although Robb distanced himself from backing the scheme, deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop said that she and Tony Abbott still supported a “fair dinkum” scheme that would require businesses to pay all new mothers their full wage for six months, with the benefit capped at $75,000.
Suppliers hit out at supermarket giants
A number of suppliers to supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths have contacted the competition watchdog over alleged bullying tactics.
Rod Sims, head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said that several businesses had contacted him in response to his call for evidence of “unconscionable conduct” by the supermarkets.
Sims said he was “encouraged” by the response so far.
Rates tipped to stay on hold
The Reserve Bank of Australia is widely expected to leave interest rates on hold today, with some economists tipping no change to the cash rate until 2013.
New figures that show a drop in inflation could give the RBA scope to lower rates but economists believe that the bank will weigh up global conditions and keep rates on hold.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 38.03 points, or 0.29%, to 12,939.54. The Australian dollar dipped to 106.73 US cents.