Kevin Rudd has reclaimed the prime ministership after winning a leadership spill of the Australian Labor Party last night, defeating incumbent Julia Gillard 57-45, with Anthony Albanese replacing Wayne Swan as the deputy leader.
In his speech following the ballot, Rudd emphasised the business community and young Australians will be key priorities for his government.
“Let me say this to Australian business: I want to work closely with you. I’ve worked with you closely in the past, particularly during the GFC and there were some white knuckle moments there, as some of the heads of the major banks will remember,” Rudd said.
“But we came through because we worked together and I’m saying it loud and clear to businesses large and small across the country, that in partnership we can do great things for the country’s future.”
Julia Gillard announced she would not recontest her seat at the next election, also saying that while “[gender] doesn’t explain everything, it doesn’t explain nothing; it explains some things” in terms of the challenges she faced as leader.
Carriers demand more backhaul access
Competition watchdog the ACCC will begin an enquiry into Telstra’s charges to other carriers for use of its backhaul networks, following complaints from a group of carriers including iiNet, Vodafone and Macquarie Telecom.
Backhaul fibre optic networks are used to send calls and data to and from mobile phone base stations and exchanges, with Telstra owning the only cables to some parts of the country.
“We need the NBN to change some of its priorities to be able to help us bring competition to Australians,” says Vodafone Australia chief executive Bill Morrow.
“This is a huge impediment, and you’re now going to get customers faster and faster internet access and taxing them if they use it. It ends up being a disproportionate tax as well because for companies like iiNet and Internode, our customers have much higher usage than Telstra customers or Optus customers,” says iiNet chief executive Michael Malone.
ATO warning on profit shifting
Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan has issued a warning to Australian companies hoping to emulate the tax minimisation strategies of tech giants such as Google and Apple, telling the federal government it needs to do more to stamp out the practice.
“They can see what is happening as a result of these international companies taking profit out of the country. They are thinking: ‘What functions can we move offshore, what functions can we disconnect and have third-party providers fulfil to put the profit in a low-tax jurisdiction and receive an exempt dividend coming back into the system?'” Jordan says.
“That might be their assertion, but we are going to test every single aspect of those structures. We will want to know whether what purports to happen actually happens on the ground… It is one thing to put in place a fancy structure, but it is another to have it tested five years later, because by their nature these schemes are quite, sort of, artificial.
“We will be taking a leadership role internationally in addressing the problem, but we need to also look at how changes can be made here. The corporate tax base is under threat. What’s happening is unacceptable to the community, the government, and to regulators.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1.02% to 14910.14. The Aussie dollar is up to US92.81 cents.