Call to overhaul fishy seafood labelling

Label My Fish: Frank Camorra, executive chef of the hatted MoVida restaurants, is calling for better labelling on seafood products. Photo: Eddie Jim
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Label My Fish: Frank Camorra, executive chef of the hatted MoVida restaurants, is calling for better labelling on seafood products. Photo: Eddie Jim

Label My Fish: Frank Camorra, executive chef of the hatted MoVida restaurants, is calling for better labelling on seafood products. Photo: Eddie Jim

Label My Fish: Frank Camorra, executive chef of the hatted MoVida restaurants, is calling for better labelling on seafood products. Photo: Eddie Jim

‘Deception’: Seafood industry wants country of origin labels

Enjoy the flathead fillets dished up last night? Chances are the “flathead” was an unrelated species, bottom-trawled in Argentinian waters.

Australia’s lax labelling laws for seafood mean restaurants and retailers can withhold information on the origins and species of popular seafood, depriving consumers of the ability to make informed choices.

On Thursday, Greenpeace and the Australian Marine Conservation Society launched the Label My Fish campaign, demanding Australian laws match the European Union standards that require the origin, species and method used to catch or farm be declared on seafood labels.

“The Aussie ‘flathead’ we think we are eating may well be an imported, cheaper South American fish, of a completely different family,” said David Ritter, chief executive of Greenpeace Australia. “But there is often no labelling on your pub or fast food menu, or packet of frozen ‘flathead’, to reveal the truth.”

The Label My Fish alliance, backed by celebrity chefs, academics, and Taronga Zoo and Zoos Victoria, says clearer labelling will encourage the use of sustainable fishing methods, boost the local fishing industry and lift public health protections.

Greenpeace research shows basa, native to the Mekong Delta and not a member of the dory family, is often marketed as “pacific dory”. Two-thirds of barramundi is imported from Asia.

Pregnant women and children under six are warned by health experts to limit their consumption of certain species, such as shark (sold as flake), catfish and orange roughy, because of mercury content.

“But the labelling laws make it impossible for pregnant women to follow the warnings and that’s a big shock,” said Mr Ritter.

Restaurant and Catering Australia opposes the calls, saying the industry will lose $300 million a year to comply with such laws. The “onerous” task will require updating menus, reconfiguring back-end systems and maintaining compliance.

Its chief executive John Hart said with 70 per cent of seafood coming from overseas through “fragmented”, “irregular”, and regularly disrupted supply chains, even suppliers will struggle to offer detailed information about the product.

“There’s a long way to go before we’re even half way close to being able to meet such labelling requirements at the back door of restaurants,” he said. “Most of the suppliers don’t have anywhere near that level of information. If we don’t know, we can’t put it on the menu.”

Frank Camorra, executive chef of the hatted MoVida restaurants, changes his nuevo-Spanish menus daily and has thrown his support behind the campaign.

He says his suppliers, Joto in Sydney and Clamms Seafood in Melbourne, “know exactly who’s caught the seafood, how it’s been caught and where”, allowing him to share information readily with patrons via menus and wait staff.

“It seems common sense to me. People want to know not only which state it comes from, but almost which regions,” he said, referring to items such as surf clams, prawns and scallops.

Greenpeace says new labelling laws will also benefit local and overseas fishermen who have invested in fishing sustainably but struggle to compete with cheaper imports.

Louis Hatzimihalis, a fisherman from Port Phillip Bay in Victoria, has stopped catching arrow squid and scallops because of imports from South America and China. “We can’t afford to catch it at that price. But you just can’t compare the quality.”

Consumer advocate Matthew Evans interviewed chefs, retailers, suppliers and fishermen here and abroad to examine the impact of weak labelling laws for a three-part series called What’s the Catch?, to be screened on SBS from October 30.

“Some [fishing methods of] seafood we eat damage our marine environment, are produced by people under unfair conditions and may carry risks to our health,” he said. “What we really need is to know just what’s on our plates.”

Chefs Peter Gilmore of three-hated Quay and Tom Kime of Fish & Co have also joined the demand for labelling reforms. Academics from the Australian National University, Sydney University and the University of NSW have also given their support.

A Senate inquiry into seafood labelling is underway and will deliver a report on December 4.

EDITORIAL: Reforming electoral donations

Mike Baird in Newcastle last month. TRUE to his word, NSW Premier Mike Baird is ensuring the state’s voters go to the polls next year with an improved electoral donations system.
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Mr Baird was under pressure to make changes, following the catastrophic impact of the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s Operation Spicer on the Coalition’s parliamentary standing.

Revelations about abuses of the donations laws sent 10 Liberals MPs to the cross-benches and prompted the members for Newcastle and Charlestown to quit Parliament.

No doubt the reforms as announced won’t go as far as many would like. They stop short, for example, of a fully publicly funded model.

But some aspects will be universally welcomed. The requirement that all donations be published for voters to scrutinise before they cast their ballots is a case in point.

It has been a galling feature of the system to date that details of who bankrolled whom haven’t been available until months after it really mattered.

Under the new scheme, at least voters will have a chance to change their minds about voting for a particular candidate or party if they believe certain donations might adversely influence outcomes in important areas of policy.

Spending caps on donations and on electoral communications will also be imposed, ideally cooling the ‘‘arms race’’ between parties for the costliest and most pervasive campaigns.

Donations to political parties will be capped at $5000 and the cap for individual candidates will be $2000.

Spending caps for electoral communications will also be fixed at $100,000 per party for every seat contested.

Unions will be covered by third party spending caps, which will fall from more than $1million to $250,000.

Politicians caught using slush funds and scams similar to those uncovered by ICAC could face up to 10 years in jail.

It is not entirely clear whether it will still be possible for parties to encourage donors to direct funds to federal offices, from whence they may be able to distribute the money at ostensible ‘‘arm’s length’’. Since donations at the federal level are relatively unregulated and since both major parties have demonstrated a powerful determination to prevent the creation of a federal corruption watchdog, this might still be a tempting option for those wanting to avoid problems with the new NSW law.

Mr Baird has acknowledged that more needs to be done to repair a system that has become badly corrupted.

He has promised that the measures now announced are only a first instalment, with more to follow once the independent panel, chaired by former public servant Dr Kerry Schott, reports back to Parliament later this year.

For now, the first steps are welcome.

GREG RAY:’A great day for the world’

Image from Getup杭州龙凤论坛‘‘A GREAT day for the world’’, happened this week, thanks to an event in Australia.
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So our Prime Minister, Mr Abbott, said.

Wow, what does it take to be a ‘‘great day for the world’’ in the eyes of Australia’s paramount leader?

World peace? Hahahaha. Pull the other one.

A vaccine for Ebola. Sighhhh. Not really.

Advance in clean energy? Sit down you twit.

Something that saves lives? Nope.

Something that saves jobs? Awww, sort of looks like that a bit, but not really.

Well what then?

A new coalmine.

Seriously, a new coalmine sent our PM into such a state of rapture that he felt moved to describe it as ‘‘a great day for the world.’’

Yes indeed, a new coalmine jointly owned by BHP Billiton and Japanese giant Mitsubishi. It’s in Queensland, it’s called Caval Ridge, and it will produce 5.5 million tonnes of high-quality hard coking coal a year for however long it lasts.

It will be operated by a fly-in, fly-out workforce whose members will stay in a purpose-built village, and BHP said more than 30,000 people applied for 950 jobs in the mine and its sister operation, Daunia.

Clearly, the announcement is good news for people who want jobs in the mine.

Only last month BHP/Mitsubishi cut 700 jobs from its Queensland mines and a couple of months before that it cut back operations at its Goonyella mine to keep that one in the black.

BHP/Mitsubishi, along with Rio Tinto and the rest of the transglobal mining crowd, have been desperately trying to cut their production costs.

That’s because the world, which only a couple of years ago was so hungry for coking coal that it was prepared to pay more than $US300 a tonne for the stuff, is now practically swimming in oversupply and the price has dropped to about $US113.

Ummm, so how come – you want to know – BHP/Mitsubishi is opening a new mine that will add millions more tonnes to an already oversupplied market?

It’s a signal to its smaller, weaker competitors in coal that BHP/Mitsubishi plans to be the last man standing.

The low prices will send some competitors broke, force mines to close and put hundreds of miners out of work. Those who can’t get their production costs down are doomed, unless prices suddenly surge again, which doesn’t seem likely in the near future.

That’s how it goes, in the cruel marketplace. When margins get squeezed, those with the deepest pockets survive the longest and stand the best chance of still being around when things get better. Ideally, from their point of view, those survivors can them ramp their prices right back up and, with fewer competitors to worry about, keep prices higher for longer.

It’s a bit like airline ticket price wars. A dominant airline creams off the profits for years, until a competitor sniffs the fat margins and tries to muscle in with cheaper fares to steal some market share.

The big player responds with deep discounts until the newcomer falls down dead and then prices go right back up again, probably even higher than before.

So, you might wonder, how does the opening of this new coalmine represent ‘‘a great day for the world’’?

I think we all know the answer to that. It doesn’t. It’s neither good nor bad, really. It’s just a giant mining company marking out its territory to ensure that, when the tide turns and the coking coal price starts ticking up again, it will dominate.

Why would the leader of a supposedly middle-ranking power fall over himself in a display of fawning over this piece of news?

Maybe because Labor leader Bill Shorten, having revealed that his party will go to the next election with a carbon price back on its campaign platform, has effectively painted a big target in the middle of his forehead for the mining industry to aim at, perhaps with a re-run of the expensive advertising campaign it used to stub out Kevin Rudd.

A great day for the world?

Maybe not. But maybe a great opportunity for the Coalition to cement an important ally.

If BHP/Mitsubishi wants to be the last man standing in Australian coal exports, Tony Abbott probably wants something similar for himself in the electoral stakes.

Probe into killing of diggers Robert Poate, Stjepan Milosevic and James Martin ‘not objective’, inquest hears

The fallen soldiers are farewelled. Photo: Harrison SaragossiSoldiers at a remote Afghan  patrol base where three Australian soldiers were murdered, had been asked “leading questions” during an official army probe into the killings, an inquest was told.
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The uncommon civilian inquest into the 2012 combat deaths has also heard that, despite 32 diggers dying in Afghanistan, the Defence department had only held  one high-level Commission of Inquiry into such fatalities.

Private Robert Poate, Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic and Sapper James Martin were gunned down by a rogue Afghan soldier at Patrol Base Wahab on August 28, 2012.

A Queensland coroner is inquiring into the deaths which had previously been investigated by a Defence process known as an Inquiry Officers Inquiry.

The families of the dead soldiers successfully lobbied for the inquest after being dissatisfied with the Defence Force’s inquiry.

First to give evidence on Tuesday was former chief legal officer for all Australian operations, Colonel Jim Waddell, who was quizzed by lawyers for the families and counsel assisting the coroner about the army’s official investigation process.

Col Waddell confirmed under questioning that of the 32 soldier deaths in Afghanistan, only one, which had involved a helicopter crash, had been subjected to a full Commission of Inquiry.

He said commission of inquiries into such deaths, were not often held because they were expensive costing up to $1.7 million and soldiers’ deaths in a warzone were “expected”.

Col Waddell said a commission of inquiry was only normally undertaken if there was a systemic issue, as had been the case in the helicopter crash.

The inquest was also told that the families of the three dead soldiers had been unhappy the subsequent official defence report into the deaths which was heavily redacted.

Barrister Peter Bodor QC, representing the family of Private Poate, described the level of redaction in the inquiry report released to the families as “totally unjustifiable”.

But Col Waddell disagreed, saying he “didn’t accept” the statement.

Mr Bodor also put to Col Waddell that the army was “very possessive of information that is not forced out of it” and that some of the redacted information was available in the public domain.

Col Waddell replied he  “could see how people would have that view”.

Mr Bodor also asked Col Waddell about the investigation process undertaken during the inquiry at Patrol Base Wahab.

He queried whether Col Waddell had been made aware that many of the critical questions asked of soldiers at the base had been of a “leading nature”.

Col Waddell said such information had not been brought to his attention.

He also rejected Mr Bodor’s suggestion that a commission of inquiry should have occurred into the deaths given they occurred at a time when there was a heightened threat around relating to local religious customs and while soldiers were in a relaxed disposition.

He also rejected that the officers inquiry had been of a “low level” nature.

Col Waddell said that for a commission of inquiry to be go ahead, “we would need to have a reason for needing it to have some substantial value or .. learning lessons that have not already been learned”.

“We don’t believe the inquiry officer found systemic deficiencies,” he said.

The inquest continues.

Property makes Australians the world’s richest, says Credit Suisse

‘Remarkable figures’: Property is at the heart of Australia’s wealth, Credit Suisse reports. ‘Remarkable figures’: Property is at the heart of Australia’s wealth, Credit Suisse reports.
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‘Remarkable figures’: Property is at the heart of Australia’s wealth, Credit Suisse reports.

‘Remarkable figures’: Property is at the heart of Australia’s wealth, Credit Suisse reports.

Thanks to their houses, Australians are the richest people in the world, according to the investment bank Credit Suisse.

The fifth annual study by the Swiss bank of global wealth trends found the median Australian adult was worth more than $US225,000 ($258,000) in June, well ahead of the second wealthiest population on this measure, the ­Belgians, at $US173,000.

They were followed by the Italians, French and British, all at around $US110,000.

Only 6 per cent of Australians have wealth below $US10,000, compared with 29 per cent in the United States and 70 per cent for the world as a whole.

Household wealth in Australia is heavily skewed to “real assets” – essentially property – which average $US319,700 per household, or 60 per cent of gross assets. This is the second highest in the world after Norway.

The 2014 Global Wealth Report shows global wealth is 20 per cent above its pre-crisis peak and almost 40 per cent higher than the low recorded in 2008.

Australians have grabbed more than their fair share of the growing pie. The section of the report on Australia is titled “No worries”, a headline that some economists may take issue with but which is deserved based on the rapid and almost uninterrupted accumulation of wealth over the past 14 years, as detailed in the report.

Since 2000, the net wealth of the average, or mean (as opposed to median), adult Australian has more than quadrupled, from $US103,151 to $US431,000. That makes us the second richest population on this measure, behind the Swiss at $US581,000.

Over the past 12 months, average adult wealth has grown 5 per cent.

“These are obviously remarkable figures for Australia,” Credit Suisse Private Bank chief investment strategist David McDonald said.

“We are well positioned globally in terms of wealth, as well as the spread of wealth.”

Dollar driven

The appreciation of the currency has been a considerable tailwind over the period but even in constant currency terms, average wealth has grown 145 per cent over the past 13 years to $US369,000 from $US151,000.

While global wealth has increased, the gains have not been spread evenly, with the report finding that the trend since 2008 has been one of increasing inequality, particularly in developing economies.

“The financial crisis has acted as a breakpoint in inequality, as most countries were showing a flat or declining trend before 2007,” said Markus Stierli from the Credit Suisse Research Institute, which published the report.

Australia is classified a “medium ­inequality” country by the Credit Suisse researchers, a group that includes New Zealand and is defined by the richest 10 per cent controlling between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of the country’s net wealth.

Among developed economies, Hong Kong, Switzerland and the United States are deemed to have “very high inequality”, where the top 10 per cent control more than 70 per cent of the wealth.

This is borne out by the average wealth figures of the US. Median adult wealth in the world’s largest economy stood at only $US54,000 – well out of the top 10 richest populations.

But when measured on an average – or mean – basis, the US ranked fourth in terms of household wealth at $US348,000.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch chief economist Saul Eslake attributed ­Australia’s relatively even spread of wealth in part to its love of property.

“Rising house prices tend to reduce inequality, as they make up part a greater part of middle class wealth,” he said.

But with growth in house prices and sharemarkets expected to be more muted over coming years, and with the currency weakening, growth in net wealth can be expected to slow, Mr McDonald said.

Globally, the mean average per adult reached an all-time high of $US56,000, an increase of $US3450 over the previous 12 months, driven by higher share prices.

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Sydney import Josh Childress capable of leading Kings towards NBL crown

An NBL import needs to have two things – the ability to drastically improve his team and box office appeal. Sydney Kings forward Josh Childress has both.
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Judging by his NBL debut, Childress has the attributes to improve Sydney’s chances of making the finals, perhaps even challenge for the crown, while also dragging casual fans back to the Kingdome.

He was a class above everyone else on the court in the 86-83 home win over Wollongong last Saturday night.

Childress filled up the box score, finishing the game with 26 points, eight rebounds, three steals, three assists and two blocks. More importantly, he made his teammates better, something last season’s NBA recruit, Sam Young, didn’t always do even though his own stats were usually impressive.

The former Atlanta and Phoenix veteran unselfishly did not appear to be trying to dominate but he controlled proceedings often simply with his presence. The Hawks defenders always knew where he was and their focus on Childress led to a few easy buckets for his fellow forward, Tom Garlepp, who was Sydney’s next highest scorer with 20 on 8/11 shooting.

Due in no small part to the interest created by Childress’ debut, a crowd of 6928 created a rousing atmosphere at the Entertainment Centre. They’ll all be back this season and if the wins keep coming, they’ll be joined by many more from Sydney’s unfailingly fickle sports fan base.

Encouragingly for Kings fans, it was the kind of match they would have lost last year. Repeatedly. In fact they lost all four clashes with their NSW rivals in 2013-14, usually out-hustled and out-muscled by Hawks players proudly wearing a chip on their shoulders against their higher-profile counterparts up the freeway.

Was this just a flash in the pan, yet another false dawn for frustrated Kings fans? Or was this the opening step in the storied franchise’s return to the playoffs after last season’s pathetic fade-out to a disappointing 12-16 record and sixth place.

Granted, it’s only a small sample size but these Kings look to be made of sterner stuff.

Garlepp has continued his rapid improvement from last season, new centre Angus Brandt overcame a shaky start to show he will be a presence in the paint and shooting guard Ben Madgen played his role effectively – now that he doesn’t have to handle the ball as much, he can start hitting his outside shot more regularly like he did two seasons ago when he made the All-NBL first team..

Sydney’s only sour note on opening night was the performance of their other import, point guard Kendrick Perry.

The word from the Kings camp was that Perry was extremely nervous in his NBL debut going up against the more-experience former league MVP in Gary Ervin. Perry got into early foul trouble and never found his groove with only four points on 2/9 shooting in less than 20 minutes on court. However, he did feed some nice passes into Childress, who found the bottom of the net with seven of his 11 field goal attempts.

If Perry can strike up a good combination with his fellow American so Childress doesn’t have to continually create his own shot, he will probably average more than the 26 points he dished up for his opening match in the Australian ranks.

In another good sign for the NBL’s bid to regrow the game, there was an air of unpredictability over the first round of the NBL season. Last year there was an inevitability about Perth winning the title from early in the season. It was just one loss but the Wildcats’ heavy defeat in their fortress-like home gym at the hands of the New Zealand Breakers was a good sign for the competition overall even if the 12,000 plus fans in red shirts went home with faces to match.

And nobody predicted a coach would head for the exit after the first weekend with Chris Anstey sensationally parting ways with Melbourne United after their drubbing at the hands of surprise competition leaders Cairns.

It’s never easy to predict how the Kings will fare week to week, let alone for an entire season, but the early signs were promising that Childress can be the catalyst for this team to become a legitimate title contender.

Taking it to the poll … 

The first Double Dribble poll of the new season asked who will win the NBL title  and it resulted in Perth as the clear favourite from the 1500-plus votes with Sydney, the Breakers and Melbourne the best of the rest.

Court told Daniel Fing used baseball bat in attack on female acquaintance

A 2006 file photo of Daniel Fing.A DRUG-fuelled sleepover ended badly for a female acquaintance of Daniel Fing who says she was beaten about the head with a baseball bat by Mr Fing when she tried to leave.
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The 28-year-old, Tugba Zuban, has told police she was involved in a fractured, intimate relationship with Mr Fing which revolved around the purchase and use of heroin.

She had a boyfriend at the time but she nonetheless sometimes slept with Mr Fing who was living in Belmont North at the time, in October of 2012.

According to her statement to police, tendered in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday as part of the brief of evidence, Ms Zuban, 28, said she woke up and felt sick on October 22 and announced to Mr Fing she was leaving.

As she got up to leave she allegedly felt a blow to the back of her head and she turned to see Mr Fing holding a steel baseball bat with two hands. Ms Zuban said she screamed, then he swung and hit her in the forehead.

He then swung the bat a third time, hitting her in her right arm.

Mr Fing’s mother came to her aid but she did not go to hospital straight away, she said.

When she did attend Belmont Hospital a couple of days later, requiring stitches, she said she had fallen down some stairs. It was not until five days later when she decided that Mr Fing did not show any remorse that she reported the incident to police, she said.

Mr Fing, 30, was committed to face trial in the Newcastle District Court and has not entered a plea to the charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He remains in custody until his next appearance via video link in the local court on a separate charge.

Medibank Private boss George Savvides says people paying too much for a range of surgeries

Medibank Private chief executive George Savvides says ”Australia cannot afford to let healthcare costs get out of control”. Photo: Mal Fairclough Medibank Private chief executive George Savvides says ”Australia cannot afford to let healthcare costs get out of control”. Photo: Mal Fairclough
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Medibank Private chief executive George Savvides says ”Australia cannot afford to let healthcare costs get out of control”. Photo: Mal Fairclough

Medibank Private chief executive George Savvides says ”Australia cannot afford to let healthcare costs get out of control”. Photo: Mal Fairclough

Medibank Private managing director George Savvides has said Australians overpay for common surgeries such as hip replacements and caesarean sections, as the health insurer ramps up its campaign to put a lid on private hospital costs before its $4 billion-plus float.

Across the $19 billion health insurance industry the cost of medical claims is rising faster than revenue from membership premiums. As the government-owned insurer approaches its December initial public offering, Mr Savvides has made no secret of his goal to rein in the amount it pays to private hospitals for care.

Medibank’s ability to put the squeeze on hospitals as a way to boost future earnings is expected to be a key selling point in the insurer’s prospectus, which is due to be lodged with the corporate regulator early next week.

Mr Savvides will meet potential investors next week before travelling overseas in the coming weeks to promote the float, which banks have said could reap between $4.1 billion and $5.7 billion

He also gave a presentation about the sale to staff in Sydney on Wednesday, but declined to provide further comment about the process. The float’s pre-registration closed on Wednesday.

Mr Savvides told a conference that “Australia cannot afford to let healthcare costs get out of control”.

“We’re seeing [customers] who are saying to us … ‘I’m finding it hard either to afford the constancy of health insurance premium increases, year on year, and also I’m tempted to downgrade my cover’,” he said.

Medical claims account for about 87 per cent of Medibank’s $5.6 billion in annual premium revenue.

The insurer, which has a market share of about 30 per cent, has recently begun promoting new “quality and affordability criteria” in contract negotiations with hospitals. Mr Savvides has previously said Medibank does not need to contract with all of the country’s private hospitals.

He told the Australian Healthcare Summit that the insurer’s move from just “paying bills” to having a greater say in where and how its members are treated has riled some in the medical industry. “That’s raised a few eyebrows,” he said.

Mr Savvides pointed to 2013 data from the International Federation of Health Plans, which show the average costs for a range of surgeries. He said he was “worried” that on some measures Australia is in line with the US, which spends 18 per cent of gross domestic product on healthcare, compared to Australia’s 10 per cent.

“There are some things we don’t really want to do well against in terms of US comparatives,” he said.

A hip replacement in Australia was $US26,297 ($30,116), compared to $US26,489 in the US, but just $US19,011 in New Zealand and $US19,722 in the Netherlands, according to the data.

Caesarean sections, which account for about a third of births locally, cost $US10,263. In the US the same procedure cost $US15,240, compared to $US5492 in the Netherlands.

Mr Savvides said Australia performed much better on the cost of a day in hospital, which was $US1308 last year, compared to $US2491 in New Zealand and $US4293 in the US.

But the rising claims costs faced by insurers is not just a function of hospitals charging more, which the providers argue is underpinned by the rising cost of labour and medical supplies.

The jump is also due to an increase in the utilisation of healthcare. Mr Savvides said some of that care could be avoided by having a better functioning healthcare system. Medibank is running a trial in Victoria to better manage the care of chronically ill patients.

Across the industry, patients often described as “frequent flyers” are responsible for a large proportion of an insurer’s outgoing costs. About 2.2 per cent of its 3.8 million members account for 35 per cent of hospital and medical expenditure and 70 per cent of this group have a chronic disease.

Correction: This article has been corrected to remove a reference to Mr Savvides meeting potential investors this week.

‘Name a woman’s job’: Family Feud under fire for ‘misogynistic’ question

Survey says: sexism. All eight ‘popular’ answers. Photo: Screengrab Host: Grant Denyer. Photo: Supplied
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Channel Ten game show Family Feud is facing fierce criticism after suggesting jobs for women commonly include hairdressing, reception work and domestic duties like washing clothes and doing the dishes.

During an episode broadcast on Wednesday night, host Grant Denyer asked contestants to “name a woman’s job”.

The game show’s format pits two families against each to other name the top eight most popular responses to survey questions posed to 100 Australians.

The correct answers to the question on Wednesday night’s episode included cooking, washing clothes, cleaning, nursing, doing the dishes, hairdressing and domestic duties.

When asked to name a man’s job, the top responses were builder, plumber, mechanic, carpenter and being a tradesman in general.

Viewers reacted angrily on social media, with many branding the show “misogynistic”.

“It is not a woman’s job to do the dishes or clean or do the domestic duties in general,” one said. “Women can do whatever the f— they want, not just what they’ve been told to do throughout history.”

RMIT University’s deputy dean of media and communication Lisa French questioned the integrity of the game show’s “surveying” procedure to determine the most popular answers.

“Where did they find these 100 people? I don’t think I know anyone who would respond in that way,” she said.

“Could it just be a ploy for publicity?”

Associate Professor French said the program showed sexism was “alive and well” in Australia.

“When the answer that the most popular women’s jobs are ‘washing, cooking and cleaning’ arises, it makes it clear that sexism is alive and well, and it highlights that women are still being demeaned,” she said.

“It oppresses men as much as it does women for jobs to be typecast according to gender … what we want is freedom of choice, and for those choices to be respected.”

Network Ten has been contacted for comment.

Commonwealth Bank chief Ian Narev lists reasons to be cheerful

Illustration: John Shakespeare.It’s rare to hear an Australian business leader so upbeat about everything, from the economy to politics and governments, the environment, the regulators and even gender equality.
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But the Commonwealth Bank boss Ian Narev broke with tradition on Wednesday, launching his own rendition of Reasons to be Cheerful in an almost Pollyanna-like address on Australia’s future.

There’s nothing wrong with talking up the economy – arguably there should be more of it.

But the timing is curious given the myriad of obstacles the economy is facing.

The sharemarket is dangerously close to a correction, there has been a massive fall in commodity prices since the start of the year, yet another set of poor inflation numbers came out of China this week and we are faced with an increasingly sluggish European economy.

To top it all off, Tuesday brought an extraordinarily strong warning from the assistant governor of the Reserve Bank, Guy Debelle, that there was a dangerous complacency in financial markets and we could be facing a rout on bond markets that could be relatively violent.

To the extent that Narev dished up any real criticism, it was confined to the doomsday prophets from a few years back, whose predictions of the post-global financial crisis malaise turned out to be wildly overstated.

In Narev’s defense, there is nothing to be gained by his jumping on the negativity bandwagon.

He is running a retail-based banking business that is highly sensitive to consumer confidence, which is fragile and highly influenced by negative press.

Instead, he needs to maintain and push the message to his customers and shareholders that the Australian banking system is strong and able to withstand internal and external headwinds.

He, like all heads of Australian banks, has to work his public relations message at a time when the financial services inquiry is deliberating on whether to recommend the local banks beef up their levels of capital.

(On that point, Narev stressed he believed – like his peers in banking – that his institution was perfectly well capitalised. In the past week the bank’s board was presented with management’s onerous stress-testing measures and was given a healthy report card.)

But unlike some in the industry – such as the rather more direct-speaking ANZ boss Mike Smith – Narev is trying his hardest to make his point without picking a fight with members of the financial services inquiry, and in particular its head David Murray.

Indeed, he was quick and effusive in his praise of the inquiry.

“The financial services inquiry has been an excellent process of consultation … We don’t know what the final recommendations are going to be and we can’t tell you whether we are going to agree with them but … we felt well listened to [and] we got our opportunity to present our views to a very thoughtful panel of people, and it felt like we were heard.”

The banking majors also need to navigate the potential hazard of regulators instituting macro-prudential measures that would place boundaries on lending for investment into the rampaging property market.

But there was nothing but praise for the Australian regulators, and in particular the Reserve Bank, including Debelle and governor Glenn Stevens, whose job it is to warn people of the risks.

“Guy Debelle absolutely did his job, which is make sure the economy doesn’t get exuberant and doesn’t get complacent and understands its risks … [It’s] one of the key things a good Reserve Bank can do,” Narev said.

But he doesn’t necessarily agree that the outcome is likely to be as serious as Debelle suggested.

“There is a general period of unease and there has been for a while about low levels of volatility, and the reasons we’ve had low levels of volatility is because we’ve had low levels of interest rates around the world and therefore [these] have had an effect on asset prices. There is a very wide range of views on how that will play out in markets in the near and medium term. No one knows what the answer is.”

But Narev is not sipping from that half-empty glass.

“There are ongoing risks in Europe, geopolitical risks, there are climate risks, there are risks in what the US Federal Reserve are going to do. And yes, there is a possibility any one of – or a combination of – those factors in coming months or coming years might make life quite difficult here for a period.

“We hear a lot about those but we don’t hear as much about the countervailing circumstances.”

Narev’s list of positives include living in an economy with 22 years of consecutive growth (even though that can foster complacency), the fact Australia still has GDP growth, household savings rates having strengthened, business balance sheets looking good, business credit quality looking good and a government that understands the risks of excessive borrowing.

We also have state and federal governments committed to spending on infrastructure and a central bank that manages monetary policy “exceptionally well”, he says.

And as far as Narev is concerned, the business leaders who moan about the political impotence resulting from a hostile Senate should stop complaining, start adapting and get on with the job.