THE NEWS WRAP: Gillard facing internal divisions over 457 visas

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is facing increasing divisions within Caucus over 457 visas, including accusations of xenophobia from some of her MPs.


The Australian reports some MPs – including several Gillard supporters – are highly critical of the issue and its potential to damage Labor’s relations with business, with one anonymous MP reportedly describing the issue as “sinister” and a “throwback to the White Australia policy”.


Other MPs, including Senator Doug Cameron, are arguing the government should introduce much tougher policies around 457 visas, including mandatory inspections, funded by major mining companies, to ensure basic workplace conditions are met by the employers of 457 visa holders.


Telstra issues $1.28 billion in bonds to fund spectrum bid


Telecommunications giant Telstra has issued around $1.28 billion in bonds, denominated in euros, in order to fund its bid for additional spectrum at the upcoming auction.


“The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, which include a range of different business needs and may include funding spectrum. We may predominantly finance spectrum through debt in the first instance,” Telstra spokesperson Scott Whiffin told Fairfax.


The bonds issue comes ahead of a federal government auction for 720 Mhz spectrum, which will be freed up following the decommissioning of analogue TV in Australia.


Wesfarmers establishes venture capital arm


Coles’ parent company Wesfarmers is establishing a venture capital division, called Wesfarmers Emerging Ventures, which will invest in emerging tech businesses.


Chief executive Richard Goyder says the new division will look for high-growth investments outside the group’s traditional business streams and will be headed up by the company’s former head of Aboriginal affairs, Kate Chaney.


“If there’s an opportunity for us to create value for all our stakeholders, particularly our shareholders, (we need to) to take that risk. I think it has been easy for a while for people to say no, and we need to move back to a position where people are going to say: ‘Yes, we can do this for these reasons’,” Goyder told The Australian earlier this month.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.3% to 14338.6. The Aussie dollar is up to $US102.75 cents.


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