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Premiership Bulldog changes his surname

Clay Smith won a premiership with the Bulldogs last year. Clay Smith is contracted to the Bulldogs for next year, but Clay Smith may not play for the club again.
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Not as Clay Smith anyway. Clay O’donohue-Smith instead is likely to turn out for the Dogs next year. He is identical to Smith in every way but name and would wear the same number.

Smith married in the off-season and has decided to officially add his wife Sarah O’donohue’s surname to his own to officially become Clay O’donohue-Smith.

He is unsure if he will ask for the name change in football – for the team sheets and official paperwork, club team lists and photos, the record and media guide – but in all other facets of his life he will become O’donohue-Smith.

The move is reminiscent of another former Bulldog player Brian Lake who began his career as Brian Harris but changed his surname mid-career when he decided he did not want to carry the name of a father who had not been part of his life.

Unlike Harris to Lake, this is a change out of respect to his new wife’s family and bucks the patriarchial convention for wives to take a husband’s name or the trend of more recent decades for both parties to retain their own surnames.

“It’s not official yet, but it will be,” Smith said.

“It’s more something I’ve taken on for Sarah’s side of the family. There were two girls and no more O’donohue’s. It meant a lot to her and her family.

“I don’t know if I’ll change it for footy but legally we’ll both have hyphenated names and so will the kids.”

It’s understood his only reservation about changing the name for football was a professional concern at having established a reputation as Clay Smith and out of respect for footy followers who have grown to know him as Clay Smith and might wonder who this hyphenated chap is.

And there was a mild worry about commentators dealing with the change and stumbling over the hyphen.

The name change is already Instagram official, with the couple making the switch on social media.

At other clubs, Collingwood premiership player Heritier Lumumba had arrived at the club known as Harry O’Brien. He later dropped the nickname Harry and invoked his official first name and changed his surname to Lumumba to adopt the name of his Congolese birth father.

Coincidentally, another player who changed his name – St Kilda and West Coast player Beau Wilkes who became Beau Maister – had been a teammate of Lumumba’s at Claremont Colts and they sat together on the same table on the day of the 2005 rookie draft when they were both finally selected to AFL lists.

Wilkes’ parents separated when he was young and he changed his surname to accept his mother’s name – in part because he did not want the relatively unusual surname to die out. Pretty stoked with the last 3 weeks with this one @sarah_odonohue, been amazing getting married sharing it with friends and family, than going on a honeymoon through Mexico and America, drinking, eating, exploring and meeting some pretty cool people along the way But it’s nice to be back home with the rest of our little fam A post shared by Clay O’donohue Smith (@claybe_14) on Nov 13, 2017 at 10:00pm PST



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‘It made me feel pretty s—‘: Marsh hits back at online trolls

Mitchell Marsh has revealed the impact social media abuse has had on him, saying he no longer cares what the online trolls think.
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The all-rounder revealed he felt “pretty shit” last summer after reading feedback from irate punters unhappy with his performance, but still could not look away.

The boo boys will again be out in force if Marsh, who has taken over from Shane Watson as the whipping boy for cricket fans around the country, breaks back into the n XI for the third Test in Perth.

Marsh’s fate, and that of Peter Handscomb’s, hinges on the WACA pitch, but the signs are pointing in favour of the West n.

Selectors are desperate to keep intact their prized pace trio of Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins for as long as possible.

The welfare of their quicks was a major consideration in Steve Smith’s decision not to enforce the follow-on in Adelaide.

Marsh’s selection would enable to have a fourth seam bowling option on a wicket that has been a batsman’s paradise at times this season.

But there will be sceptics who believe Marsh, with a Test average of 22 compared to Peter Handscomb’s 47, does not have the runs on the board to bat in the top six.

While some of the criticism of the younger Marsh brother is fair, there is little doubt the 26-year-old has copped more vitriol than his teammates. Marsh said the abuse had upset him.

“I went through a stage where I read everything, Facebook comments and all that sort of stuff. I find them quite funny now and I actually think it’s great that the n public can be so passionate about sport, especially cricket,” Marsh said.

“People are always entitled to their opinions. Eight months ago I stopped reading everything pretty much. I think I’ll probably stay that way.

“At the time it made me feel pretty shit to be honest, but people are entitled to their opinion and passionate about cricket, so it’s all good.”

Marsh almost could not resist the chance to fire back at critics of his brother, Shaun, another maligned by many, after his game-changing century.

“I felt like I was going to comment on Facebook comments last week when Shaun got his hundred, but I thought that might put the heat on me!” Marsh said.

“I just let it go. I just stopped caring really what people thought. The boys have all spoken about the inner sanctum of the n cricket team and really that’s all that matters. So that’s how I’m going about it.”

Marsh worked extensively on his batting with batting coach Scott Meuleman, a close friend of his brother and former WA player, while he was recovering from shoulder surgery that prevented him from bowling.

After struggling to find the right tempo at the crease, he believes he has now found a “recipe for success” based on defence.

“If you want to be a top-six batsman you’ve got to make bigger runs,” Marsh said.

“There will be times in games in my position batting down the order you need to go out and get quick runs and I feel like I have the game to do that.

“But at the same time I’ve got to make sure I’m batting long periods of time for this team to do that.”



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Top doctors ‘extremely worried’ about Manus Island asylum seekers

‘s top medical colleges are demanding the Turnbull government to immediately provide care and treatment to the asylum seekers and refugees recently kicked out of the decommissioned Manus Island detention centre and likely experiencing trauma.
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The presidents of the Royal n College of General Practitioners, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal n and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, have sent a letter to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton expressing their concern for the health of hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers recently transferred to new transit centres on the island.

It follows the release of footage showing the asylum seekers being threatened and intimidated by locals since being removed from the now-defunct detention centre.

“Our concerns involve their immediate health care access and living conditions; their ongoing health and wellbeing; and the impacts on Lorengau General Hospital and the Manusian community,” the letter reads.

The presidents, together representing 61,500 doctors, have called for improved transparency on living conditions and health care services, assurances about the provision of medications and the creation of a mental health service, amongst other things.

Dr Kym Jenkins, president of the psychiatrists’ college, said the transfer from one detention centre to another would place a severe toll on their mental health.

“Asylum seekers and refugees are among the most vulnerable and marginalised people, many having experienced torture, trauma and other catastrophic events,” she said.

“It is crucial that their psychiatric and other health needs are urgently addressed and that they receive the expert trauma-informed care they require.”

Dr Bastian Seidel, head of RACGP, said he was “extremely worried” about the wellbeing of the men.

“We cannot sit back knowing the standard of care received by those seeking asylum in is anything but acceptable,” he said.

“Many of the men … will be experiencing significant trauma. This is not about politics. This is about the health and safety of a group of very helpless people.”

Dr Catherine Yelland, president of RACP, said access to health care was a basic human right and the government must provide a guarantee that asylum seekers are getting the care they need.

“Many asylum seekers are already suffering physical and mental illness due to the reasons they had for leaving their homeland, and these issues are only exacerbated by mandatory detention,” she said.

” has a moral obligation to ensure asylum seekers are medically assessed, treated promptly and offered a standard of care that they would receive in any n hospital or community.”

In November, as the month-long standoff at the decommissioned Manus Island detention centre came to a violent end, 18 of ‘s most senior doctors – including Dr Seidel – wrote an open letter to the government offering to fly to Manus Island and treat patients for free.

The centre was closed after the PNG Supreme Court last year ruled the detention of asylum seekers at the facility on Manus Island was unconstitutional.

The refugees now have the option of resettling in PNG, waiting for possible resettlement in the United States, or returning to the country from which they fled from.

The federal government’s policy is to not allow any of the men to be resettled in under any circumstances.

Earlier this week, footage was released of Manusian locals threatening the asylum seekers, with one making death threats and shouting, “You’re a dead man”. One man wielded a long, metal pipe.

Mr Dutton on Monday dismissed the videos as “complete nonsense” and said the “propaganda must stop”.

The letter has also been sent to Health Minister Greg Hunt, Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt and Assistant Minister for Health David Gillespie.

Mr Dutton and Mr Hunt did not provide a response to Fairfax Media before deadline.



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Aussie Hells Angels member arrested over drug haul

Bangkok: Police have arrested an n Hells Angels member and bar owner over an attempt to smuggle millions of dollars worth of crystal methamphetamines into a Thai port.
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Luke Joshua Cook, 34, was arrested at Bangkok’s international airport with his Thai wife only days after a crackdown on other members of the outlawed motor cycle gang in the Thai seaside city of Pattaya.

Police allege that Cook and his wife Kanyarat Wechapitak, 40, bought 500 kilograms of the drug from a Chinese supplier in international waters on June 22.

They allege the couple dropped the drugs into the sea and escaped as their boat was about to be intercepted by a Thai patrol ship off the Thai coast.

Police later found 50 kilograms of the drug washed ashore.

Police Lieutenant General Sommai Kongwisaisuk of the Thai Narcotics Suppression Bureau said Cook was a member of the Hells Angels gang in Pattaya, a city 150 kilometres from Bangkok that is known for its booming sex industry and as a haven for international criminal networks.

Cook, owner of the Piss Stop Bar in Pattaya, was convicted in 2016 of helping n kick-boxer and former Sydney businessman Antonio Bagnato flee Thailand after he murdered Wayne Schneider, another Hells Angels member and prominent figure of Sydney’s underworld, in 2016.

The naked and mutilated body of Schneider, 37, was found in a shallow grave near Pattaya.

Cook, who drove Bagnato in a private car to the Cambodian border after the killing, was convicted in a Thai court of aiding and abetting a crime and sentenced to three months jail, which was suspended for two years.

A coronial inquest into Schneider’s death in Sydney on December 6 heard that Bagnato had been trying to recruit new members for Sydney’s Saint Michael Fight Club. With others, he was demanding payment from Schneider before Schneider was kidnapped and bludgeoned to death.

A brief of evidence at the hearing said Bagnato was living above Cook’s bar at the time.

After Cook was arrested arriving in Bangkok on a flight from on Sunday, police raided nine properties in Pattaya and Bangkok and seized assets worth millions of dollars, including luxury cars, motor bikes, condominiums and houses.

Last week Thai police detained three n and one Canadian Hells Angels members aged between 32 and 42 and raided five luxury properties in a crackdown on the club in Pattaya, where the gang has a bar and a heavily guarded clubhouse.

Guns, ammunition, knives and luxury cars were seized, police said.

Police said the ns would be deported.

Five other club members were being hunted, they said.

Police Major General Surachet Hakpal told reporters at the time that “some members of the Hells Angels gang have been disguised as tourists and threaten national security, as they were involved in extortion, money laundering, illicit drugs and human trafficking.”

“These people entered Thailand, married Thai women, were without regular jobs but had luxury houses and cars and spent lavishly,” he said.

Thai police have identified other n suspects in Schneider’s murder who they believe have fled to .



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Harassment rife in the book industry, a new survey says

Sexual harassment is rife in the n book world, according to a survey carried out by the industry newsletter, Books & Publishing.
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More than half the people who responded said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment. A total of 213 people contributed their experiences to the survey, of whom 114 reported harassment. Of these 101 were women; 11 men, and two identified as gender non-binary.

According to the report, the incidents reported included “leering, suggestive jokes, comments about physical appearance, intrusive questions about personal life, repeated unwanted advances, inappropriate touching and groping. One person reported being raped at a publisher’s sales conference.”

Books & Publishing editor Jackie Tang said she was not surprised by the results of the survey. “It’s in line with the booksellers’ survey and what we’re hearing from other arts-related industries.”

The areas of work where most harassment occurred were editorial, marketing and publicity, followed by bookselling.

The most vulnerable to harassment were young female publicists, according to the report. One respondent said: “One of our company’s focuses is ‘author care’, which for a publicist means make the authors happy no matter what the cost. Publicists are essentially pimped out and if you dare complain about it, the big impressive campaigns will be taken off you.”

Another commented: “Over my years as a publicist I had incidents of unwanted touching and comments from a bookseller, an author and a senior journalist. The first and last incidents were at industry social events. The author was touring and made numerous attempts to hit on me over several days. I felt trapped, and thought I had to endure him and very gently, smilingly rebuff his repeated overtures rather than cause him embarrassment and risk upsetting his publicity and event commitments.”

Jane Finemore, publicity manager at Text Publishing in Melbourne, suggested there was often a blurring of the line between work and socialising in the industry.

“There is a culture, particularly with visiting international authors, to make sure they’re having a good time, that they enjoy themselves and that they give good reports when they go home. It’s hard for less experienced publicists to recognise the boundaries.”

She said there needed to be more structure, advice, training and understanding in the industry.

Booksellers reported harassment mainly by male customers, but also by co-workers and senior managers.

And several people who contributed to the report said harassment remained pervasive, despite the n book world being largely dominated by women. One editor commented: “This (publishing) is an industry with older, established men in the corner offices and young women working themselves to the ground in the cubicles, trying to earn themselves a break; that is, an industry where sexual harassment based on power differentials is bound to flourish.”



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The apps helping young people manage their money

When Emily Jensen* arrived home from work a few months ago, she found her housemate gone, along with all his possessions. When she checked her bank account shortly after, she found he owed her more than $2000 in rent and bills. “I was just in total shock,” she says. “I feel a bit foolish for not noticing but I just trusted him.”
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Jensen, 27, eventually got the money back but she lost two friends in the process. She has since downloaded an app called easyshare, which collects housemates’ shares of the rent and pays them directly to the landlord. It can also be used for household bills in the same way. “The app is such a good idea, because everyone has a story about someone not paying rent, or not paying for toilet paper,” Jensen says.

Moving out of home is an important step in the path to financial independence, but it is also a time when young people are vulnerable to needlessly losing money. It takes practice to know how to balance your budget, especially if you have a low or sporadic income, and experience to know how to deal with exploitative employers or freeloading – or just plain forgetful – friends. Increasingly, young people are using fintech to navigate their way through the choppy financial waters.

Nicholas Phillpott, 23, has used easyshare since he moved into a share house with a group of friends around one year ago. “It made things really smooth in the moving process,” he says.

Phillpott finds the app creates a more positive household because it removes the need for potentially uncomfortable conversations about money and notifies everyone in the house when their housemates have paid upcoming bills or rent. “You have clarity and peace of mind that all your housemates are paying on time,” he says.

The app is free to use if your payment method is bank transfer but incurs a surcharge on credit cards. It also has an “IOU” function for tracking money your housemates owe you for things like groceries or even dinner and drinks. Housemates still need to authorise to pay each other back, but it makes splitting the tab at the end of dinner or drinks easier, Phillpott says.

Phillpott moved to a new share house Sydney’s CBD about six weeks ago and has introduced the app to a new group of people. The verdict? “They love it.” IOU between friends

If that IOU function sounds like it could be good just with your group of friends rather than housemates, there’s an app for that too. Finch and Splitwise both market themselves as the financial organisers of your social life, with functions such as bill-splitting and reminders sent to your friends to pay you back.

On Finch, all you need is your friend’s phone number – and their willingness to set the app up for themselves – to organise for them to pay you back, and you can set up a running tab with friends you regularly split money with or for an ongoing expense such as a holiday and settle it later. While the kinds of payments you might settle up through these apps are likely to be small, over time they add up.

However, Tracey Sofra, a certified financial planner with Sofcorp Financial Services, says she wouldn’t part with the money in the first place. “You can’t continuously pay for people and expect to be paid back. That’s a sure-fire way to lose friendships.”

Sofra believes managing money is as simple as mastering your cash flow – that is, what’s going in and out of your account. She recommends you “pay yourself first”, by siphoning 10 to 30 per cent of your income out of your main account and putting it away as savings. “You adjust to your new level of income after that’s taken out,” she says. It’s true many people with low incomes would find that difficult but it’s a good skill to practise.

If keeping track of your cash flow seems complicated, fintech is way ahead of you. Finch is rolling out a free feature called Finsights in January designed to show you where and when you spend “social money”, such as at bars and restaurants.

Another app, Pocketbook, syncs with your bank account, showing your spending and allowing you to budget by category. However, it’s worth remembering that banks tend to frown on you giving over your online banking password. An alternative is to use apps that require you to input your spending manually, such as ASIC’s very simple TrackMySPEND app or Good Budget, which uses the “envelope” budgeting system.

Carole Tozer, the chief executive of Bridging the Gap Sydney West, says she often sees young people wind up in financial strife because of mobile phone contracts and unpaid fines; for example, from public transport fare evasion or traffic infringements. Fines can also escalate, as failing to pay them results in enforcement fees being added to the original amount.

If cash flow is an issue, it’s even more important to avoid debt, because it can grow rapidly and destroy your credit rating if you don’t pay it back on time. Credit card interest rates can be as much as 20 per cent, while payday loans are even worse.

Payday loans, whether available through a shop front or an online provider such as Nimble, advertise to instantly transfer money, often thousands of dollars, without a credit check. Tozer says the immediacy of such loans makes them very tempting to young people, especially as they may not be able to access credit cards because of their income. Tozer says services like hers, and Good Shepherd, offer no-interest loans to people with the capability to pay them back for use on certain expenses such as home appliances, but often young people don’t know about them.

*Name has been changed for legal reasons.



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Red flags on blue-chip stocks as competition hots up

Blue-chip stocks are the bedrock of investors’ portfolios. The household names that pay reliable tax-effective dividends have also produced good capital gains over the long term.
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The big banks, Woolworths and Wesfarmers (which owns Coles) have market power that makes their profits seemingly secure.

But globalisation, advances in information technology and regulation threaten even these market behemoths.

Woolies and Coles still rule the supermarket sector, yet their dominance is not what it was since the entry of competitors such as Aldi and Costco – and could be further hit if Amazon goes into fresh food.

Part of the reason the n market is becoming more attractive to foreign players is our rapidly growing population.

There’s a tendency for smaller countries to have higher levels of market concentration as they lack the scale to support too many competitors.

While is still among the ranks of the tiddlers in terms of population, its population is one of the fastest-growing among the rich countries.

A report by the Grattan Institute debunks what most of us hold to be true – that is a country whose economy is dominated by oligopolies.

In fact, the degree of dominance in is no worse than other high-income countries with similar populations, the report says.

The report confirms that, indeed, where few firms dominate a market sector, they do usually earn higher profits and customers do usually pay more than they would in a more competitive market.

But it looks as if, in some sectors at least, competition is breaking out.

We are seeing that with Telstra, whose dominance of mobile is being threatened by new players. With more than one million shareholders it’s the most widely held stock of all and has cut its dividends so it can invest more in the business.

Though the banking sector’s oligopoly appears more secure than other sectors, there could be regulatory changes to come from the forthcoming royal commission that could threaten the market power of the big four banks.

One of the most profitable sectors is that of internet publishing, which includes the rapidly growing online platforms for employment, housing and car advertisements.

As the report says, the print and broadcast media were once highly profitable but have struggled against competition from online media.

Some the best performers of the n sharemarket include these types of stocks, such as real estate site REA, jobs site Seek, Carsales苏州夜总会招聘 and travel booking site Webjet.

The report notes the cost of hosting additional searches or advertisements is low, and the value to advertisers and users of participating on a platform increases as more join it.

They are early movers who have been able to achieve scale. But even in internet publishing there are risks for investors where market dominance could be short lived.

Though barriers to entry to internet publishing are low, that can be a double-edged sword.

“These ‘network effects’ can provide strong competitive advantage, though a seemingly dominant firm can also rapidly lose its position,” the report says.

Twitter: @jcollett_money



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Falling like flies: Senate loses 13 senators since 2016 election

On Tuesday, Labor’s Sam Dastyari??? quit the Senate over revelations about his links to Chinese Community Party-aligned interests in .
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As Dastyari packs up his belongings in a cardboard box and heads for the door, he has plenty of company in the Senate’s class of 2016.

Less than 18 months ago, ns went to the polls and elected 76 senators as part of the double dissolution federal election. Since then, no less than 13 senators have quit the upper house, or about 17 per cent of those elected in mid-2016.

Just months after the federal election, Labor powerbroker Stephen Conroy surprised everyone (his colleagues included) by resigning late one night. Even though he had just been re-elected for another six years, Mr Conroy said family reasons were behind his decision to quit. Apart from West n Liberal Chris Back, who left the Senate in mid-2017 (also naming family reasons) and Nick Xenophon, who recently quit to run in the South n state election, none of the other senators (officially) left of their own volition.

Seven senators have been bounced as part of the citizenship debacle that has engulfed Parliament this year, starting with the Greens’ senator Scott Ludlam, then continuing with his colleague, Larissa Waters, Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, Liberal Senate president Stephen Parry, Jacqui Lambie and Xenophon Team’s Skye Kakoschke-Moore. And that’s not to mention Liberal Hollie Hughes, who had been expected to replace Nash but was ruled ineligible by the High Court before she could even be sworn in.

The constitution has also claimed two other senators, but not for citizenship reasons.

Family First’s Bob Day quit late last year after his building company collapsed (bankruptcy would have make him ineligible to sit in Parliament). The High Court later ruled his election had been invalid anyway due to a leasing arrangement with his South n electorate office. One Nation senator turned independent Rod Culleton was also ruled ineligible by the High Court, due to a previous conviction for theft.

It is possible, the Senate could lose another member in the new year, with Labor’s Katy Gallagher having been referred to the High Court over dual citizenship issues. Her case is due to be heard for the first time on January 19. Senators who have resigned since the 2016 federal election

Stephen Conroy (Labor)

Bob Day (Family First)

Rod Culleton (One Nation-turned independent)

Scott Ludlam (Greens)

Larissa Waters (Greens)

Chris Back (Liberal)

Nick Xenophon (Nick Xenophon Team)

Fiona Nash (Nationals)

Malcolm Roberts (One Nation)

Stephen Parry (Liberal)

Jacqui Lambie (Jacqui Lambie Network)

Skye Kakoschke-Moore (Nick Xenophon Team)

Sam Dastyari (Labor)



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Truth behind ‘fact’ that’s scared young Chinans

Simon Letch Online 13th Dec?? Simon letch opinion 13th Dec??
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For me, one of the most significant economic developments of this year was realising how pessimistic many of our youth have become about their prospects of ever landing a decent full-time job.

To be sure, some degree of frustration on their part is understandable. Although it’s true we avoided a severe recession following the global financial crisis of 2008, it’s equally true that, until recently, employment growth has been weaker than usual in the years since then.

And the burden of this weaker growth has fallen disproportionately on young people leaving education to look for their first full-time job.

What’s less understandable is the way older, and supposedly more knowledgeable, people have sought to demonstrate how with-it and future-focused they are by spreading wildly exaggerated predictions about how many jobs will be taken by robots, scaring the pants off our youth and convincing them they’re doomed to a life of “precarious employment” in the “gig economy”.

I’m sorry to say that the otherwise-worthy Committee for Economic Development of was responsible for writing on many young minds the near certitude that 40 per cent of jobs in are likely to be automated in the next 10 to 15 years.

The good news, however, is that, for once, economists were moved by all the amateur analysis they were hearing to join the debate about the future of work. Dr Alexandra Heath, of the Reserve Bank, dug out the hard evidence about how the nature of work is changing and Dr David Gruen, of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, put worries about the shrinking number of jobs into their historical context.

But the charge has been led by Professor Jeff Borland, of the University of Melbourne, one of our top labour-market economists.

With a colleague, Dr Michael Coelli, Borland examined the papers behind the claim of 40 per cent of jobs being lost to robots, and found it built on questionable foundations. In their figuring, the 40 per cent was likely to be nearer 9 per cent.

And last week Gruen rejoined the fray, giving a big speech about it in, of all places, Jakarta.

Predictions about what will happen in the economy can be based on the belief that it will respond to new developments in much the same way it responded in the past to similar developments, or on the belief that “this time is different”.

People who know little economic history are always tempted, as many people are now, to assume this time is different.

But economists have learnt the hard way that this time is rarely very different. The fact is, people have been predicting that the latest technology would reduce the number of jobs since the Luddites at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Gruen reminds us that, in 1953, the great Russian-American economist Wassily Leontief wrote that “labour will become less and less important … More and more workers will be replaced by machines.”

Borland notes that, in the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson established a presidential commission to investigate fears that automation was permanently reducing the amount of work available.

In 1978, Monash University held a symposium on the implications of new technologies, with the convenor predicting that, by 1988, at least a quarter of the n workforce would be made redundant by technological change.

Then there was Labor legend Barry Jones’ prediction in his best-selling Sleeper Wake! that “in the 1980s, new technologies can decimate labour force in the goods producing sectors of the economy”.

Gruen admits that “there is no doubt that, over the past two centuries, waves of technological change have eliminated jobs, and rendered some jobs obsolete.

“But they have also facilitated the creation of new jobs to take their place – either directly, or indirectly as a result of rising standards of living generating new demands.”

There are two processes at work, he says. One is that technology takes jobs away – this is the bit we can all see. What we can’t see is the second process, the invention of new complex tasks, leading to new jobs.

The history of technological advance over the past 200 years has shown the second process has broadly kept pace with the first.

Computers have been changing the way businesses do their business – and destroying jobs – since the early 1980s. If that’s all there was to it, there ought to be far fewer jobs today.

But the number of ns with jobs has increased by a factor of 2.7 since the mid-1960s, while the average number of hours worked per person has remained broadly stable. Fact.

Like the economists, I find it hard to believe this relationship is about to break down because “this time is different”.

What’s true is that the nature of work has been changing – slowly – for the past 30 years or so, and this trend is likely to continue. It may accelerate, but it hasn’t yet.

Using research by Heath, Gruen says routine cognitive jobs (such as office assistants, sales agents, brokers and drivers) and routine manual jobs (factory workers, construction, mechanics) are in less demand, whereas non-routine manual jobs (nurses, waiters, security staff) and non-routine cognitive jobs (engineers, management, healthcare, designers) are in increasing demand.

It’s the changing nature of work, not a fall in the amount of it, we should be preparing for.

Ross Gittins is the Herald’s economics editor.



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Will I lose my pension if I sell my house?

I am single, aged 67 and my only income is the age pension. My only asset of note is a valuable house. I would like to move, and after transaction costs, should find myself with around $500,000 plus $50,000 in furniture and personal possessions. I understand that as a single I can have $250,000 of assets and still qualify for the full pension but if I downsize I will be $300,000 over the threshold. Is there any way I could invest that $300,000 and be able to qualify for the full pension. If not, I would be terribly disadvantaged by downsizing.
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By downsizing you have converted a non-assessable asset, your home, to assessable assets. If you kept the $500,000 in financial assets, and revalued your personal items down to $10,000 which may well be secondhand value, your pension should drop to about $63 a week, which should be $384 a week less than you are getting now. As a result, your income should drop by about $20,000 a year.

However, if you take advice about a diversified portfolio, you would have income from the investments, and you could simply make up the difference between what you are getting now and what you will need, by drawing down on your capital. As your capital reduces, your age pension should increase. The good news is that you would have released the equity in your home and could enjoy the money while you are still alive.

In one of your replies you mentioned there is no gift duty in . I have a friend who wants to give me a large amount but I read that once it hits my bank account they will report it to the Tax Office and it would be taxed. Can you clarify please?

There is no gift duty as such, but the earnings on money gifted will be subject to normal tax rates in the hands of the recipient. And yes, the banks now have stringent reporting requirements and in certain circumstances may report transactions to the Tax Office. However, the reporting itself should not affect the tax treatment.

You have often spoke about the benefits of investing in insurance/investment bonds but I wonder why anybody would prefer them to superannuation when the income tax rate paid by the fund is just 15 per cent a year and withdrawals are tax-free after age 60.

For many people super is not a realistic option. Think about a high-earning professional in their 30s. Any money placed into super would be inaccessible for 25 years or more. But by investing in an investment bond they can still enjoy a low tax environment without loss of access. Then, when the time is right, the funds could be withdrawn from the bond and transferred to the superannuation structure.

Also there are many investors who can no longer contribute to super because they do not meet the work test rules, or because they are aged 75 or more. Investment bonds enable them to enjoy a 30 per cent flat tax rate, no Medicare levy, and no need to create other structures such as family companies.

Investment bonds are also much more attractive for estate planning than super. Money in super is distributed at the discretion of the trustee of the fund and is often open to challenge resulting in years of litigation. A binding death nomination can alleviate this, but the downside is that it may remove the ability of the estate to distribute the funds in a tax-effective manner.

In contrast, money in investment bonds passes tax-free to the nominated beneficiary and is not open to challenge.

My wife’s father retired at age 68 with superannuation of $120,000. He owns his house and a holiday unit on the Sunshine Coast. He has told me he would like his two girls to inherit the unit but I am concerned this might not occur. I believe that if he dies the remaining spouse would lose the pension as the government would want the asset sold so the remaining spouse could be self-funded. Is this true and, if so, is there any way the asset can be kept and pension won’t be affected?

What you say is partly true but the solution is to take good advice. When one partner dies the surviving spouse might well lose their pension because the value of the holiday unit would be assessed under the assets test, which is much harsher for a single than a couple. The simple solution is for him to leave the unit to his two daughters in his will – it will then pass directly to them and will not affect the pension of the survivor.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature. Readers should seek their own professional advice before making decisions. Twitter: @noelwhittaker



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