leadership

Federal election 2013: The market and the bookies

Colin Benjamin /

As electors buy their celebratory bubbly or a consoling slab, the best indication comes from two sources – the bookies and the redundancy packaging industry.

The bookies have over 90% confidence that Tony Abbott has achieved his lifelong ambition, and the latter is already popping the corks with a return to salary packaging and cash cheques for those now looking for new work packages.

As indicated (in earlier columns) the media polls have followed their master’s voice in declaring that the results are already in after more than a million voters have already cast their stones. Now even the regular Canberra gallery accepts that the Palmer United Party could end up holding the balance of power and that independent candidates are doing much better than they had expected, demanding at least some limited local coverage.

No doubt those quietly spoken company executives who dumped their shares when Rudd made his “fill in your log books” announcement have already booked out their post-election night celebratory venues. The rest of us may have to sip our favourite tipple for some weeks before we know how long we will have to wait for a rematch.

The restoration of shareholder support for this stock indicates belief that the incoming government will retain the nearly 30-year-old practice of being able to rely on the statutory formula method to quantify the amount of FBT payable on employer-provided motor vehicles (as introduced in 1986 by the then federal Labor government). Current broker recommendations of “hold” on ASX-listed salary packaging company McMillan Shakespeare Limited (MMS) stock suggests a wait and see approach to the coming year.

The surest sign of an increasingly likely Senate stoush over the carbon tax is the Coalition acceptance that we are going to see a continuing fall in revenue, a decade before the budget comes back to surplus and a call on the next Labor PM to back them in the Senate against the Greens. Parties that have no chance of gaining a quota this time can prepare now for the next round, which will more than double their chances of having the balance of power without responsibility.

MMS acquired Holden Leasing in 2010, and in doing so, added to its workplace benefit suite complementary expertise in operating leases and asset management services.

MMS shares indicate that there is confidence that the company will be the big election winner, It plans to consolidate its market leadership as a strong, reliable business that delivers genuine savings and now has an unequalled service offering employers’ complete workplace benefits needs with expertise in salary packaging, novated leasing, associated Fringe Benefits Tax administration and management, operating leases and asset management for small businesses offering ‘tool of trade’ vehicles.

Discussions with campaigners in Sydney’s West indicate that electors are still waiting with baseball ballots to record their disapproval of the Sussex Street culture and the failure of Labor to focus on job security and the barriers to affordable home ownership. The recorded swings could see the end of significant ministerial careers and the election of some very unknown local candidates in a landslide.

Independent budget analyst, Stephen Anthony, of the consultancy Macroeconomics, said yesterday: “You can quibble about the costings on both sides of politics, but we are not talking about a significant ‘black hole’ on either side. We are looking at a decade of unsustainable long-term commitments.”

There’s more on this shift in fiscal focus here.

Dr Colin Benjamin OAM is the chairman of Cultural Infusion Ltd and director general of the Life: ‘Be in it’ Australia charity.

 

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