Prime Minister continues to commit to surplus: Midday roundup

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has reiterated the Government’s commitment to deliver a Budget surplus after media reports suggested that Labor is preparing to dump its pledge.

The reports were prompted by data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier this week which showed that national income has fallen at its fastest pace since both the global financial crisis and recession of the early 1990s.

However speaking to ABC Radio, Gillard rejected the reports, and said the Government was determined to fulfil its pledge.

“Our last economic update had us at trend growth, and that’s why the last economic update had us with a surplus,” she said.

“We are still determined to deliver the surplus.”

Court orders Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines to pay $23 million

The Federal Court has ordered Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines to pay $23 million in penalties for engaging in cartel.

The fine is part of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s actions against a number of international airlines.

“The penalties against Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines Cargo bring the total penalties ordered in Australia to $91 million,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

“These are the highest total penalties resulting from a single ACCC investigation.”

Australian stockmarket hits six-week high

The Australian stock market hit a six-week high in early trade, after gains on markets in Europe and the United States.

At the official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 0.69% to 4540.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lifted 0.66% to 4545.3 points.

It climbed as high as 4545.6 in morning trade, the stock market’s highest point since October 23.

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