Senator Arthur Sinodinos has launched a discussion paper that explores the disclosure issue

Funds face anxious wait for super review

Systems refresh projects hang in the balance.

The Australian Government has hinted that it may ease some of the technology cost burdens on Australia’s $1.7 trillion superannuation industry, by softening legislation that had aimed to offer transparency to regulators and consumers.

Under an exposure draft of rules the former ALP government released for consultation earlier this year, registered super entities faced portfolio disclosure obligations requiring investment in costly and sophisticated reporting systems.

The proposal was one of number derived from the Cooper review of Australia’s savings retirement industry, which recommended that consumers and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) be given better visibility of super fund assets.

However, under a series of proposals being considered by the newly-crowned assistant treasurer Senator Arthur Sinodinos, these reporting requirements could be scaled back dramatically.

Senator Sinodinos has launched a discussion paper that explores the disclosure issue, as part of a wide-ranging review of the current super regulation scheme.

In it, the federal treasury made note of “submissions from across industry” that “raised various concerns”, particularly around the requirements to disclose commercial-in-confidence and market sensitive information, the degree of look through involved and the requirement to disclose disaggregated data.

William Fraser, head of esolutions for investor services at J.P. Morgan, welcomed the government’s new approach.

“The practicality of it is part of what this review is trying to look at, because just providing information for information’s sake puts a tremendous amount of cost and burden on the various providers and it needs to have an outcome that’s going to deliver value.

“That’s what’s really driving this – let’s not disclose data for data’s sake, let’s look at the value and what the purpose of this is going to be,” Mr Fraser said.

Mr Fraser said that under one of the previous scenarios being considered, the industry faced obligations to report up to 10,000 lines of data. This, he said, was “just silly, because no-one is going to get value from that”.

Under current legislation trustees are only required to disclose details of investments valued in excess of five percent of their total assets.

Under the proposal favoured by the former Labor government, super funds and their custodians were facing highly granular portfolio disclosure rules including reporting on assets they did not own directly, such as collective investment vehicles. Had the rules been accepted they would have been in place from July 1, 2014.

Rhys Octigan, head of business development for superannuation technology specialist DST Global Solutions said that full portfolio disclosure became complicated once offshore fund managers became involved.

“Where that information is offshore with an international fund manager, that fund manager is not subject to the same regulations as Australian fund managers and it’s more difficult to get,” Mr Octigan said.

A materiality threshold is one of the proposals now on the table for consideration.

David Haynes, executive manager of policy and research at the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees said that the materiality threshold was an area in which the super industry needed clarity to avoid over-investing in technology.

“Government needs to provide some level of certainty so that funds don’t put together unnecessary systems which then aren’t required to be put in place.

“There are costs involved with building systems to disclose each and every discrete element in your holdings,” he said. “If there is a materiality threshold in place – so that you only need to disclose holdings worth more than say, a million dollars or one percent of your holdings – that might be a completely different solution.”

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Senator Xenophon challenged Mr Joyce to show one dollar of profit since setting up Jetstar Asia and other offshoots


Abbott to mull Qantas proposals

The Australian government will consider any proposal the nation’s struggling airline puts on the table but has stopped short of meeting calls to change foreign-ownership laws.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it is important for Qantas, including staff, management and shareholders, to fight its own battle.

Qantas, facing a sinking share price and plans for 1000 job cuts, has appealed to the Commonwealth to ease the 1992 Qantas Sale Act.

The act limits foreign ownership in the airline to 49 per cent.

According to media reports on Sunday, a Qantas pilot is considering an employee bid for up to 25 per cent in the iconic airline, known as “the flying kangaroo”, to keep it viable.

Meanwhile, The Australian Financial Review has reported that a government guarantee is under serious consideration, which would involve a fee of around 1.5 per cent for the provision of a standby debt facility.

Mr Abbott said staff and shareholders “should fight for survival and prosperity of the business”.

“We are perfectly prepared to consider whatever proposals Qantas puts to us,” he told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

“But in the end there is no proposal that government will successfully implement if Qantas is not prepared to fight for it.

“We need to see Qantas staff, management and shareholders doing everything they humanly can to get Qantas’ house in order so this great and iconic Australian business can have the kind of flourish and future we all want for it.”

He denied he was critical of the airline’s management.

“I am not critical of Qantas management or staff. I am just saying that no one will fight harder for the survival of Qantas than its managers, its workers and its shareholders,” he said.

However, Mr Abbott told the Australian Financial Review at the weekend that Qantas’s desire for easing of the Qantas Sale Act was not “unreasonable”.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce had said the airline was not competing on a level playing field, with competitor Virgin receiving a $350 million injection from its foreign owners Etihad, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines.

But independent Senator Nick Xenophon said it was not the Qantas legislation which needed to be changed but the management and board.

Senator Xenophon challenged Mr Joyce to show one dollar of profit since setting up Jetstar Asia and other offshoots.

“If the CEO Alan Joyce and the chairman Lee Clifford go, that will transform the airline because they have presided over monumental strategic mistakes including the failed Jetstar experiment in Asia where they have burned hundreds of millions,” he told AAP.

“The airline is now vulnerable to a private equity takeover because the share price is so low. The private equity buccaneers are now circling the airline.”

Meanwhile, Labor remains unconvinced about the need to alter legislation, with MP Matt Thistlethwaite saying the restrictions in the Qantas Sale Act existed for a good reason.

“Given what happened to private equity in the global financial crisis you could probably fairly say if we didn’t have the Qantas Sale Act…..Qantas would not be here today,” he told Sky News.

Liberal Josh Frydenberg said Qantas was an iconic Australian brand which should survive and proper.

“It would be negligent of us not to investigate the various ways we could help Qantas to survive and prosper,” he told Sky News.

“Ultimately if you were to change the ownership restrictions, that would be an issue for the Australian parliament.”

A spokesman for Qantas welcomed the acknowledgment of an uneven playing field.

He said the company was in ongoing talks with the government about how it could be levelled.

“But we’re not in a position to comment on those discussions other than to say we’re certainly not looking for a handout from taxpayers,” he said.

The spokesman said Qantas had previously called for review of the legislative framework distorting the Australian aviation market.

“Access to foreign capital has become a major factor in this market and Qantas is denied the same access as its competitors. But ultimately, the Qantas Sale Act is a matter for Parliament,” he said.

Alex Perry dumped from David Jones


Alex Perry dumped from David Jones

DAVID Jones has celebrated the signing of designer Martin Grant after having “deleted” high-profile designer Alex Perry.

David Jones has held an intimate fashion parade at its Elizabeth Street Sydney flagship store, showcasing a collection of elegant, black outfits and modern geometric patterned dresses, created by Melbourne-born Paris-based designer Martin Grant.

Outfits by Martin Grant, who designed the new Qantas uniforms, will be available at the department store from February, while the Alex Perry brand will be “exited” from August.

Alex Perry joined David Jones after defecting from Myer in 2007, but a David Jones spokeswoman said sales of the brand have declined over the past three years.

“The deletion of this brand enables David Jones to reallocate this floorspace to new brand Martin Grant and to high performing brands such as Camilla World and Rachel Gilbert,” group executive merchandise Donna Player said on Monday.

Meanwhile, Martin Grant, who attended the launch event, said he was honoured to have secured representation in his home market, adding that he is “excited that my collections will be available locally in Australia.”

Martin Grant’s designs are worn by actors and celebrities, such as Cate Blanchett, Juliette Binoche, Blake Lively and Kate Hudson and are stocked in high-end department stores around the world, including US stores Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue.

The King of Colour Napoleon Perdis conquers Myer

by Napoleon Perdis

Live makeup installations, Greek dancing, and a tank? That’s right! The King of Colour arrived on a military-style tank in a bright blue suit designed by Gypsy Taylor for the launch of his makeup collection in MYER.

Guests enjoyed lunch while five models were transformed into couture makeup looks by the Napoleon Perdis Creative Team.

In the style of a proper emperor, as his name suggests, the official launch of makeup maestro Napoleon Perdis’ collection at Melbourne’s Myer last Tuesday was an epic one, as he entered Bourke Street perched on an ex-military tank.
Joining the King of Colours’ grand entrance to the Myer store, that blocked traffic and saw thousands of shoppers join the spectacle, was former Miss Universe and face of Myer Jennifer Hawkins.

Between a four course meal that included lipstick and eye shadow-like garnish, Napoleon, dressed in a metallic blue leather suit, celebrated the launch of his collection in Myer like a proper Greek son.
To the rhythms of DJ Krazy Kon, Napoleon, his wife Soula-Marie and model Jennifer Hawkins led a Zorba dance around the tables, joined by VIPs and media heavyweights as Greek music filled the retail giant’s Mural Hall in Bourke Street.
Born to Sydney immigrant parents and takeaway food store owners John and Liana Perdis, Napoleon Perdis built his $100 million worth cosmetic empire from scratch.
Today, his cosmetics are sold in 23 countries, in some of the world’s best retailers, including Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.
In Australia, his brand was available only at David Jones where it was the top selling cosmetics brand. In July, the retailer’s exclusive contract with Napoleon Perdis ended, as the makeup king decided not to renew the agreement. That’s when Myer’s management took over – and with Tuesday’s epic launch of the Perdis collection, the rest is history.
At the launch, Myer CEO Bernie Brooks said $10 million had been allocated to get the Napoleon brand rolling at Myer, and counters are now in 61 Myer stores.

See below for a glimpse into the magnificent event, and be sure to check out our Facebook Album for even more behind the scenes photos.


The grand entrance!


MYER CEO Bernie Brookes, The makeup master, and Jennifer Hawkins.


Makeup as art at the MYER launch.


Not your typical media lunch! Napoleon and Jennifer Hawkins leading a Greek dance.


Bernard Tomic, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis ready to dominate tennis after the Australian Open final


Australian tennis prodigies Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios after the Australian Open final.

Australian tennis prodigies Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios after the Australian Open final. Source: News Limited

IT HAS been seven long years since an Australian man was in the world top 10.

But the boss of tennis in this country can see three of them on the horizon.

Bernard Tomic, the world No.51, you know about.

Nick Kyrgios, the 18-year-old Victorian who won the Australian Open juniors last summer and has since turned heads at the French and US Opens, has blown his cover through performances this year which have him ranked No.182.

Thanasi Kokkinakis, a 17-year-old from Adelaide, was runner-up of the Australian and US Open juniors in a year in which he needed time off due to stress fractures of his back.

Kyrgios has been given a wildcard into the main draw of the Brisbane International, which starts on December 29, and with the urgency of youth says he relishes the idea of a draw to play one of his heroes, Roger Federer.

It was June 2006 when Lleyton Hewitt last checked out of the top 10. His Newcombe Medal win this month as the year’s most outstanding player, at the age of 32, has been used by many as the latest stick to bash Australian tennis over the head for its ability to generate top players.

Nick Kyrgios is one of the top ranked juniors in world tennis.

Nick Kyrgios is one of the top ranked juniors in world tennis. Source: News Limited

Craig Tiley, the Tennis Australia chief executive who was TA’s director of tennis prior to his promotion in October, knows the statistics say only one player, Sam Stosur, is in the men’s or women’s top 50.

But he insists programs for young professionals are making progress, with changes made over the past five years.

“Kyrgios and Kokkinakis are the two best players under the age of 20 in the world,” Tiley said.

“I say that for a number of reasons, including the respect I have for the comments of people like Pat Rafter, John McEnroe, Brad Gilbert and Paul Annacone about them.

“Nick’s coach Simon Rea has done a magnificent job with him. He has jumped like 600 places this year.

“They are both tall, very athletic, love playing tennis, want to compete and have each other to compete against. There are other Australian players who are pushing them as well.

“Everyone is in place. They may make big jumps early.

Thanasi Kokkinakis showed rapid improvement during 2013.

Thanasi Kokkinakis showed rapid improvement during 2013. Source: News Limited

“They have to be healthy, keep improving, keep having a good attitude. That’s up to them, but based on where they are, they are tracking to be future stars of the sport if they do the hard work.”

While Australia has a history of producing Grand Slam winners and runners-up in juniors, supporting those teenagers through to ATP Tour careers has been much more difficult. That battle has led to several changes in elite squad programs over the past 15 years.

Tomic, at No.51, is the highest ranked male player in the world under the age of 22.

While Spain, the nation with the most depth in the past decade, has 14 men in the top 100, only one is under the age of 25.

The 190cm Kyrgios, ranked No.1 in world juniors during the year, possesses the requisite weapons of a big serve and big forehand.

Of Greek-Malaysian extraction, he was more keen on basketball until settling finally on tennis at age 14.

Bernard Tomic and his sister Sara are both seen as the future of Australian tennis.

Bernard Tomic and his sister Sara are both seen as the future of Australian tennis. Source: News Limited

Kyrgios was a late withdrawal from this week’s Australian Open playoff series in Melbourne Park with an elbow injury, but it is not expected to prevent his Brisbane appearance.

In his Davis Cup debut in Poland in September, Kyrgios teamed with Chris Guccione in a five-set doubles loss to Poland before he notched a first win in a dead fifth rubber when Pole Michal Przysiezny retired.

“Talent wise, he’s up there. It’s fantastic,” Rafter said.

“We’ve got one of the great Davis Cup players coming up right now.”

Rafter said with Tomic to be joined by “Nick and Thanasi, the next three or four years, it’s going to be a really strong team”.

A Challenger title win in Sydney in March and his French Open first round win over the crafty Radek Stepanek won the attention of top coach Gilbert.

“Any time a 17-year-old wins a challenger you take notice. This young Aussie has a big game and he showed it,” Gilbert tweeted after the Sydney win.

Tiley said statistically it took three times as many years for a top-100 male player to reach that milestone than it required 10 years ago, and the average tenure was double what it was then.

“We’ve realised it does take a long time and you cannot let politics get caught up in the decision-making, which has to be long term,” Tiley said.

A New Rising Talent in Literature Will Kostakis from Sydney


Bamboozled: Why I am quitting Tropfest

Scene from Tropfest winner Bamboozled

Photo: Matt Hardie (l) in a scene from his short film Bamboozled, which won the December 2013 Tropfest. (

Will Kostakis was only 19 when his first novel for young adults, Loathing Lola, was released. It went on to be shortlisted for the Sakura Medal in Japan and made the official selection for the Australian Government’s 2010 Get Reading! programme.

In 2005, Will won the Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year for a collection of short stories.

Now 23, Will spends his time working as a freelance journalist, writing his sophomore novel, due in early 2013, and touring Australian secondary schools.

Will Kostakis (Photo credit: Marina Pliatsikas)

Photo credit: Marina Pliatsikas

By this author

Book Cover:  Loathing Lola
Coming soon
Book Cover: The First Third

Teaching Notes for The First Third by Will Kostakis

A comprehensive unit of work is now available for Will Kostakis’ brilliant new contemporary novel, The First Third. With links to the Australian Curriculum, assessment tasks and a plethora of activities, Laura Gordon has provided all you need to teach this brilliant novel in your classroom or library.

Download the teaching unit for free HERE.

Tropfest’s winning film this year is an unintentionally poignant reminder that we have a long way to go when it comes to treating the LGBTQI community as ‘equal’, writes Will Kostakis.

Ugh, Tropfest.

I go to Tropfest each year expecting to be disappointed. There always tends to be two or three films I like, and a lot more with too much ‘typically Australian’ humour for me to stomach (lots of bodily functions and fluids). The latter kind always do better in judging than the former, but I leave knowing I’ll come back next year.

Two films into Tropfest 22, I knew I didn’t want to come back next year.

I didn’t even want to stay for the rest of this year’s.

Now, I understand comedy is subjective, and I’m certain that others would consider a lot of the comedy I appreciate offensive (If It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia were food, I could live off it), but Matt Hardie’s Bamboozled was… soul-crushing. Capping off a weekend that saw the nation’s first legal same-sex marriages, it was an unintentionally poignant reminder that we have a long way to go when it comes to treating the LGBTQI community as ‘equal’, rather than ‘other’.

In Bamboozled, Pete bumps into his ex at a bus stop. The twist? His ex has had a sex change (a really tasteful use of the year’s theme, ‘change’) and is now a man. They catch up over a few (hundred) drinks, rehashing the two years they spent together. Their connection is clear. The next morning, Pete wakes up next to his ex (a man) and he clearly regrets his decision. Yes, their shared history and obvious chemistry is null and void because, ‘Ew, gross, I slept with a boy.’ Cue audience laughter. Then, he finds out it’s an ‘elaborate hoax’, and instead of sleeping with a Helen-turned-Harry, he’s just slept with a Harry. And he’s shamed for it. Cue more audience laughter.

“We got you, man! We got you!” Harry howls.

As if things can’t get any worse, in comes Helen, his real ex. “How do you like that, Pete?” she asks. “And now, you slept with a guy!”

“You totally banged me, man. You totally banged me!” Harry continues. He adds a, “He loved it!” as he high-fives his co-conspirators.

So, yeah: Ugh, Tropfest.

Director Matt Hardie has defended the film as a parody of the media in an interview with ABC.

“The punchline really is a comment on media and how the world may have homophobia, but the lead character, and what I was saying, he was completely willing to go with either gender, he was in love with the person,” he says.

Right, okay. I don’t know what media he’s commenting on. Yes, reality programmes like 2003’s There’s Something About Miriam were vile and exploitative, but they were also in 2003. Since then, we’ve seen positive, sensitive portrayals of the LGBTQI on the small screen thanks to reality TV. I’m no fan of Big Brother, but there’s no denying it’s done some good in this regard.

Let’s be honest here, if Hardie’s character Pete really was “completely willing to go with either gender”, his first words when waking up next to an affectionate man wouldn’t have been, “What the F?” In fact, the whole scene wouldn’t have been framed like every other morning-after-drunken-regret scene committed to film.

Hardie says the punchline is two-fold. It’s a commentary on a media (that may or may not actually exist), and “how the world may have homophobia”. I’m assuming he means Helen’s gleeful, “How do you like that, Pete? … You slept with a guy!” This is perhaps the most problematic part of his explanation. The world having homophobia isn’t a punchline.

There’s nothing particularly funny about being intimate with someone of the same gender. That, in and of itself, is not humorous. And neither is shaming them for it. That’s othering anyone who doesn’t identify as heterosexual, pointing at them and laughing (literally, in this case).

If selecting the film as one of 16 finalists wasn’t – wait for it – bamboozling enough, it went on to win. In the short term, it’s disheartening. In the longer term, it may have a positive effect. It may have inspired someone who was sitting in Centennial Park who wasn’t laughing to pick up their camera and tell a story we didn’t see on the big screen tonight.

Cr Jim Grivokostopoulos elected Manningham mayor for 2013-14


Manningham gets first Greek Aust mayor

Jim Grivokostopoulos, Mayor of Manningham City Council.

Manningham Cr Jim Grivokostopoulos, with Grade 5 and 6 students at Templestowe Heights Primary School earlier this year, has bee

Manningham Cr Jim Grivokostopoulos, with Grade 5 and 6 students at Templestowe Heights Primary School earlier this year, has been elected as the new Manningham mayor. Picture: Josie Hayden. Source: News Limited

COUNCILLOR Jim Grivokostopoulos has been elected as Manningham’s Mayor for 2013-14.

The Heide ward councillor was elected unopposed at last night’s council meeting, with Cr Sophy Galbally snaring the deputy mayor role.

Cr Grivokostopoulos said he looked forward to working with councillors and the community during the next year.

“We all need to work smarter to make the ratepayer’s dollar go further, and working as a team we can do this,” Cr Grivokostopoulos said.

Cr Galbally said she would work hard to increase awareness of people with disabilities in the area.

“(People with disabilities) have a voice on other issues as well and I ask people to look beyond the disability and at the person,” Cr Galbally said.

Cr Grivokostopoulos has lived in Manningham for more than 15 years and would like to see this Council move forward as a united leadership team and continue to make Manningham a great place for all families, the elderly, community groups and local business.

He believes Council needs to look at the future growth of Manningham and ensure the transport needs of our growing community are met.

Cr Grivokostopoulos is the Co-Publisher of OPA! as well as the Co-Producer of TV show World of Coffee. Jim has 22 years experience in the telecommunications industry. He is also involved with the Australian Hellenic Cultural Council, a community group that brings together a number of multicultural communities and celebrates our diverse cultures.

Outside of Council, Cr Grivokostopoulos enjoys being with his family, spending time with his nine year old daughter. He also enjoys a great coffee in good locations, supports the Collingwood Football Club and Melbourne Heart Football Club as well as various outdoor activities.

Greek police arrest Pakistani gang that allegedly kidnapped Syrian migrants


ATHENS, Greece –  Greek police have arrested four Pakistani citizens and are searching for three more for allegedly kidnapping 10 Syrian migrants and keeping them chained in a house for several days after enticing them with promises of help to get to Italy.

Police said Sunday the Pakistanis lured the Syrian migrants from various places in Athens and led them to a house in the suburb of Koropi, near the Athens airport east of the Greek capital. They had agreed that each Syrian would pay 2,000-3,000 euros ($2,700-$4,000) for help in getting to Italy. But when the Syrians were led to the house, they were stripped of their money and phones, chained and beaten, police say.

Two Syrians managed to escape Saturday and alerted the police who arrested four of their captors.

Unprecedented success in trialling new adult leukaemia therapy

Source: ACRF

A new, potentially life-saving drug has raised new hope for patients in advanced stages of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia – one of the most common types of adult leukaemia in Australia.

In many cases this cancer becomes resistant to traditional treatment methods such as chemotherapy. This is because of its high levels of a “pro-survival” protein called BCL-2 that render cancer cells, according to Walter and Eliza Hall Institute haematologist Prof. Andrew Roberts “basically indestructible”.

This new drug, currently in phase one clinical trials, targets this BCL-2 protein and breaks down the leukaemia cancer cells with-in the patient’s body creating a positive outlook for many patients battling the advanced stages of this disease.

Results from the trial reveal the cancer has become completely undetectable in almost a quarter of patients and in 61 per cent of cases the patient has gone into partial remission.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre chair of haematology, Professor John Seymour, said while trials were at an early stage, the drug’s success was unprecedented. “Patients on the trial were typically incurable, with an average life expectancy of up to 18 months, so to see complete clearance of cancer in nearly one quarter of these patients after taking this single therapy is incredibly encouraging,” he said.

The protein and its significance in leukaemia – as well as several other cancers including some lymphomas, breast and prostate, was first identified by scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in 1988. Professor Andrew Roberts said it had long been a target of scientists trying to develop anti-cancer drugs.

The drug, taken as a pill, also shows promise for the treatment of these other types of cancer, which are also reliant on the BCL-2 protein.

Melbourne patients with advanced stages of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia were the first in the world to receive this new therapy developed in partnership with the WEHI. Trials have been run by the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. The ACRF is very proud to have provided significant funding to each of these three research centres in Melbourne.

A phase two trial to establish the drug’s safety and effectiveness in a larger group of patients in Australia, the US and Europe is under way and could lead to approval for wider use by regulatory authorities within three years.

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