The Experts

Janine Perrett
+ About Janine Perrett

Janine Perrett has a distinguished 30 year career in Australian broadcasting and newspapers. In the 1980’s she worked in London and New York as a foreign correspondent for The Australian newspaper.

In the 1990’s she worked as a television reporter for the Nine Network on the Sunday and Business Sunday programs. She also founded The Small Business Show and was presenter of that program for its nine year run.

Since then she has worked as a guest presenter on ABC radio and a columnist for News Ltd and the Sydney Morning Herald.

In 2007 she was awarded the prestigious Knight fellowship at Stanford University for a year. 

Today she can be seen on Sky News television where she hosts The Perrett Report each night and is a regular panelist and guest presenter on Paul Murray Live and other Sky programs.

Swinging egos and ‘sexist’ tweets

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

by Janine Perrett

How bizarre to watch the macho brokers and bankers with their big swinging egos, battling to defend womens' rights in the great sexism tweet scandal.

As a woman, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Well that's a joke for a start, as I certainly don't cry.

And I certainly don’t need a man to jump to defend my honour.

I’m sure the woman at the centre of the furore, Michelle Jablko, could have done without the fake chivalry either.

Her appointment as CFO of ANZ has now been overshadowed by the unseemly brawl between financial industry heavyweights, Angus Aitken of Bell Potter stockbrokers and ANZ Bank PR Paul Edwards.

It’s become all about the men, of course.

Still, this is what happens when you trumpet every female appointment.

If you are going to bask in the positive PR spin of “first female CFO of major bank”, or, as one headline said, “most powerful woman bankers since Gail Kelly”, then any criticism is seen through the same gender prism.

So, just a few thoughts to add to the avalanche of opinion from predominantly male columnists and commentators about two blokes fighting over the issue of sexism.

Firstly, I thought Angus Aitkens’ original client note was not sexist given it did not even refer to gender. On reading it without knowing the name of the new appointment, I did not realise it was a woman.

And as someone who uses colorful language in financial commentary herself, I have no issue with him calling decisions “stupid and dumb” nor pointing out that most investment bankers are “crap”.

And he did have a good point about Ms Jablko’s role in the disastrous Slater and Gordon UK deal, which was a very recent debacle and could make you question your ANZ investment.

Mr Edwards’ short snaky tweet was unnecessary and would have been even if it had been from a woman, but was positively ludicrous from a male spin doctor for a bank that is itself battling allegations of a sexist culture. Talk about an own goal.

And the fact Mr Aitken is now suing Mr Edwards for defamation is a cautionary tale not only for social media users, but for employers.

Given that Bell Potter promptly dumped Mr Aitken over the issue, he has a major advantage to every other defamation action by being able to show exactly the cost of the damage caused by Mr Edwards’ tweet.

That would be Mr Aitken’s presumably large salary as their biggest earning broker.

And lest you think I am defending the arrogant Mr Aitken, I actually think he should have been sacked – but last year, when he was censured by ASIC over front-running.

The fact that Bell Potter did not act back then over serious financial allegations, but now over a silly tweet, says everything about them and indeed the whole damn industry.


Musings on the main headlines

Friday, May 13, 2016

By Janine Perrett

It is good to remember that business actually goes on despite all the election noise.

So it is time for some musings on the main headlines in the financial pages.

Well one main one that keeps me up at night.

Woolies may or may not be being sized up by an American private equity fund group.

Rumors of a KKR takeover have been mooted this week, then denied, but since when do we believe any assurances given to our ASX. 

Continuous disclosure indeed.

Anyway I just want to say I think it would be a disaster for the company, the sector and most importantly the country.

It is not that I'm against foreign investment, even Chinese sometimes, and certainly not American; but I am highly sceptical about corporate rapists, sorry private equity groups, particularly in the retail sector.

Their modus operandi is to buy cheap, gut it, dress it up for resale, then take the profits back offshore leaving the locals to try and nurse it back to health.

Exhibit A - Myer. It is still trying to get back to its float price after the private equity owner.

Exhibit B - Dick Smith. The latest victim of the great private equity heist.

Thankfully in the case of Anchorage Capital, we are about to see a Senate inquiry to delve further into this murky story. Or maybe. (There is an election, had I mentioned?)

And let us remember that KKR were the original barbarians at the gate.

Sure Woolies' share price is in a trough at the moment. Sure the bad management of recent times has undermined a once great Australian company.

And yes the great duopoly of Coles and Woolies is constantly under fire but just wait til all those critics have to deal with the fallout of a private equity owned and diminished Woolies.

Coles will have more power which, you might want to consider, will be even worse for competition.

And please don't tell me that Aldi will fill the gap.

We currently have not one but TWO world class strong supermarket chains, locally owned, among the biggest corporate employers in the country and most importantly, paying taxes here,

The last one in itself should be reason enough to make you think and for the FIRB to take a good hard look at it.

Remember what happened with Myer - the TPG private equity types cleaned out the $1.5billion in the Australian bank account while the tax office chased them in vain.

A KKR takeover for Woolies might never happen.

But given they are all denying it, I would assume that makes it a certainty.

And every Aussie should be very very wary.

Politicians take note. 


Malcolm versus Bill

Thursday, May 12, 2016

By Janine Perrett

They say a week is a long time in politics, but in an election campaign, a day is an eternity.

Anything can change and certainly does.

The 24-hour news cycle means that commentators started assessing the winner and loser of the day from Sunday on the first day of the campaign.

If that sounds ridiculous given the election was only called at 2pm, in fact they were judged on the PM's presentation skills at his press conference announcing the poll. 

And lest you think you could hardly rate Bill Shorten on the day - all eyes were on the PM visiting the GG - you might have forgotten that he too was quick off the mark by announcing a parental leave policy on Mother's Day.

Don't worry, you probably missed it in all the excitement of day one of the campaign.

Monday was a bit of a draw. Tuesday, the pundits gave a clear victory to PM Turnbull, mainly because of the Greens being mischevous and raising the possibility of a minority goverment deal with Labor.

Oh and there was a rather messy press conference with Qld Labor candidate Cathy O'Toole who got some pesky questions about Labor's asylum seeker policy. While she mouthed the right script, some annoying journo referred to a photo of her protesting with a banner and all.

Her leader quickly jumped in and stopped the questioning which was a very bad look.

Day 3 to Malcolm.

But before they could bask in that winning feeling, came day 4 and the situation was reversed.

There was the PM heading on a train to Sydney's west for a photo opportunity with the photogenic local member Fiona Scott.

But unlike his predecessor Mr Abbott, who came under fire for calling Ms Scott a good sort, Mr Turnbull preferred to focus on her brains.

Only problem was their joint press conference went as pear shaped as Bill's one with his female candidate the day before. 

Not only was the PM under fire from his own side over retrospective superannuation changes, Ms Scott was not keen to show her brainpower on this issue and instead deferred to her leader.

It got worse when those pesky journos fired a series of uncomfortable questions about Ms Scott's vote in the leadership spill.

Retreat the better part of valour and a planned walk and photo op at a nearby shopping centre was hastily abandoned.

The official reason was a timing problem, but some observers and insiders claimed the whole Scott-Turnbull event had been a "debacle".

Hence a loss to Mr Turnbull on Day 4.

A pattern is emerging here ... the only way to win is for the other side to lose and can we keep up the scorecard for another 53 days?


The political time machine

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

By Janine Perrett

Every time one of the parties in this election talks about their ten year plan, can I just remind you that ten years ago the Howard Government was still firmly in power.

Think about that and then tell me you really have faith in anything a Government is forecasting to happen ten years from now.

Just remember what has gone on in Australian politics - not to mention the world economy - since 2006.

We all know, five different prime ministers, but basically we have gone from a Coalition government to Labor and back again and goodness knows how many changes in ideology and legislation in the meantime.

What was promised then is hardly going to be relevant today.

For a start we had a big surplus then.

But then along came the GFC in 2008 and wiped that out. Obviously no one saw that coming when they were making election promises at the 2007 election.

Nor could they foresee the tech revolution, which would decimate the heavy manufacturing sector which was still going strong. Rupert Murdoch had not even bought My Space in 2006 and Facebook was unknown. Twitter and Uber unimaginable.

It's not hard to see my point that it is very hard to make economic assumptions a decade out, even though that is exactly what both sides are claiming in this election.

Not that I don't encourage a bit of long term thinking given the ludicrous short termism of politics these days.

We can be pretty sure everyone will want lower taxes ten years from now and we can be almost certain that politicians will still be promising them and extolling the virtues for the economy.

It's just that if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.


A drinking game for the election

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

By Janine Perrett

Here's a drinking game for the election to alleviate the tedium of the long campaign.

That first sentence is the problem in itself.

A shot every time someone says it is a long campaign; the longest since the 1960's (1969), the longest EVER, according to others.

We get it. It is eight weeks long but it seems to have been going for a year already. And spare a thought for those poor Americans who have been at it since the last one four years ago.

Jobs and growth.

Warning - if you take a shot every time this banal meaningless budget line is trotted out by Senator Mathias Cormann or Treasurer Scott Morrison, you will be plastered for the next eight weeks.

On second thoughts being blithering might be a relief.

While we're at it - whatever happened to PM Turnbull's promise on snatching the leadership that we were to be treated like adults and no more three word slogans?

Another shot for every time a Labor member claims they are the underdog.

We get it. Best not to let them think you can actually win, or they might not actually vote for you at that prospect.

Just a tip then - don't run internet ads with the slogan "We Can Do It".  Don't remind them.

Another shot for every meaningless photo opportunity from small business premises (a bonus shot for every time small business is called "engine room of the economy") to factories to "ordinary" homes with photogenic families in marginal seats.

A drink to the first pollie who is pictured with an overweight smoking drinking loser with no kids in a safe seat.

I'm happy to oblige.


Shorten’s Dundee moment

Friday, May 06, 2016

By Janine Perrett 

It was Bill Shorten's Crocodile Dundee moment.

He might as well have taunted Malcolm Turnbull with "you call that a budget, I'll show you a budget".

Or more to the point a fiscally conservative, fair budget is what the Opposition claimed last night.

So now we really have a fight.

Not content with setting the policy agenda on everything from super changes to corporate regulation to smoking taxes, the Labor party is now upping the ante on fiscal rectitude.

As I noted yesterday, the biggest disappointment in the Morrison budget was not the cuts to spending but the fact it was all ploughed back into minor tax relief for the middle class; it allowed Labor to claim it was unfair and the actual amount was so miniscule for taxpayers it seemed hardly worth the pain.

The $4 billion plus it will cost the budget bottom line is not miniscule and would have made a start in actually cutting the deficit.

International ratings agency Moody’s was quick to note this point.

Incredibly the Bill Shorten proposal with its $70 billion in further cuts over 10 years should be more to their liking.

If they believe it. But then they didn't believe all the Morrison figures either.

Whereas once the government could raise doubts about the decade long projections, not after yesterday's debacle where the PM and the Treasurer could not explain their own long range numbers.

(This is expected to be remedied today with figures from Treasury, but a bit late and damage was done).

And showing that the world has indeed turned upside down it is Labor that is fighting the prospect of retrospective tax, which the Coalition would introduce under the new superannuation cap.

Do not underestimate how much staunch Liberals loathe the word "retrospective".

Some never forgave the Fraser Government for introducing retrospective tax in the Bottom Of The Harbour tax legislation over 30 years ago.

So hear we have a Labor Government playing a Liberal theme on deficit cutting and blocking retrospective tax while appealing to their own heartland with motherhood bills like enshrining Medicare.

It's not all bouquets for Mr Shorten though; the move to deny medium businesses a tax cut does not stimulate demand and will be unpopular.

Big business will be in a bind though given how they have called for serious debt and deficit repair and did not see anything significant in this budget.

And at least they get a tax cut under the Coalition, even if it takes a decade. That still seems to be sooner than they will get anything from Labor.

There were certainly some simple saves in the Shorten plan, $160 million on the same sex marriage plebiscite and the major cost saving of $6 billion in the vocational sector might be enormous but given the rorting and mess both parties have made of the sector in recent years, means something needs to be done.

There is plenty more that will come under attack in the Oppositions' incredibly ambitious, some might claim fanciful, budget proposal.

But it is shaping up to be an interesting contest for the next eight weeks.


Stop the slogans

Thursday, May 05, 2016

By Janine Perrett

A day on and the worst thing to emerge about the 2016 Budget is that damn slogan - "jobs and growth".

It is not just they way they keep reciting it so much that is quite ridiculous.

I mean no-one is even listening to the spin from messers Morrison, Turnbull or Cormann anymore as you just keep counting how many times they can put the silly phrase in each sentence.

And do not forget that the new PM came to power justifying his coup with the promise that we would move away from senseless "three word slogans".

Well here we are six months later and "jobs and growth" has already become as meaningless as "stop the boats".

But the most embarrassing part for them is that it is not even correct.

If you read their own budget forecasts and projections, growth is indeed predicted to double in only two years to 5% (with absolutely no evidence for such a fantastic figure).

At the same time the unemployment rate is predicted to barely move, staying at the stubborn 5.5% level for the same time frame.

But let us not let such a pesky little detail stop the spin cycle. 

There they were yesterday morning, the Treasurer and the PM, marching off to interviews in a staged photo opportunity on the lawns of Parliament House both in their blue Abbott era ties muttering fake small talk for the cameras. 

Obviously they learned nothing from the ridicule over their recent efforts at false bonhomie like the photo op of them getting into a car.

The day after the budget is usually the Treasurers' big media day but this time the PM managed to muscle in front and centre because after all, this upcoming election is going to be much more about Malcolm's face than any budget numbers.

Overall I thought the budget was not a bad effort except for one glaring thing, apart from that damn slogan.

The super changes, which almost matched the Labor crackdown, were better than expected.

Extended tax breaks to medium business was a great idea, not just because they have recognised the M in SME's, but because the usual pre-election love affair with small business is all very well but it is actually the larger small businesses that make more difference.

I thought it was a good idea not to offer big business corporate tax cuts the week before an election campaign although ten years is a long way off in these days off short termism.

I don't even object to the enormous hike in smoking taxes and subsequent reliance on a dwindling breed to underpin the budget numbers.

No, my biggest complaint was that some $4 billion in hard earned savings was ploughed into the itsy bitsy tax relief rather than starting to pay down the debt problem.

Sure it was an election and apparently we expect a handout in every budget but the move barely offers anything and comes at a time of such low wage growth that bracket creep is the least of our problems.

And if you wanted evidence of that you only need note that the most significant announcement of budget day was not in Parliament, but the RBA decision to cut rates.

Obviously they felt they had to do keep doing the heavy lifting to stimulate the moribund economy because they had no faith in the pollies to do it from Canberra.


Time to ban the annual budget lock-up

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

By Janine Perrett 

Spare a thought for the dozens of people who will be locked up today for no valid reason.

No not innocent prisoners, but the cream of Australian financial media and economic thinkers in the annual budget wank, sorry lock-up.

Somewhere last century someone came up with the bright idea to keep all media closeted away from the outside world from 1.30pm on the day of the budget until the Treasurer delivers his speech to the rest of the world at 7.30 pm.

It was designed to give the journos a chance to pour through the numbers and analyse them carefully so they could write well-informed stories in time for their deadline for the next morning's papers.

What is wrong with that sentence?

Of course papers and deadlines are so old hat it beggars belief that the lock-up is still in existence.

The lock-up was meant to avoid any leaks so that markets would not react to insider news.

What is wrong with that sentence?

Leaks are now so prevalent we have all drowned in them weeks if not days before it is delivered; and even this morning they keep coming, more tax cuts for small business. Indeed late last night more leaks were surfacing this time of a Google tax to add to the previous day's income tax relief tax to add to the previous day' just goes on.

In the case of the rehashed infrastructure story, the government minister was out touting the $5billion budget announcement the day before the budget; but then again it was an old allocation just re-announced.

The other ludicrously out of date assumption is that we need to be locked up incommunicado lest the markets get wind of something and someone makes a killing.

Please. Nowdays so much has leaked beforehand the markets do not give a fig what the Treasurer says or does. Budgets are largely irrelevant.

As for the papers having to meet deadlines, well at the rate the newspaper industry is shrinking and the fact everything is online anyway, it is yet another reason to abandon the archaic practice.

It was once not long ago. Labor Treasurer John Kerin (don't worry he was only there for a minute if you have forgotten) well he abandoned the lock-up and had everyone hear the speech at once just as they do in the United Kingdom.

The world did not come to an end but it was quietly reintroduced the next year.

The theory is that is so that the government spin doctors have the media captive to get their message out without external interference.

The Canberra hospitality industry would scream if it was abandoned given the killing they make with all hotels and restaurants full for the night as not just media but business leaders and lobbyists pour in for fund-raisers and other wild social events that see the capital jumping to all hours.

Despite the myriad reasons for abolishing the lock-up, the main one actually economic  - the cost to struggling media companies cannot be justified and they should work together to boycott the practice.

But where's the fun of the school outing then?


Mixed messages and the budget’s missing plan

Monday, May 02, 2016

By Janine Perrett

Thank goodness it is only a day until the budget so that this lot can stop blathering on about nothing.

You would think they would have got the message that they don't have one.

Yet that didn't stop everyone talking about the budget with nothing to say from the PM to the Treasurer to Senator Arthur Sinodinos (gawd knows what he was doing popping his head up with after refusing to talk about his own financial issues).

It was only a few weeks ago I opined whether media hungry Scott Morrison would actually spend more time on doing the actual budget than giving numerous vague interviews.

But there he was only days before it is due to be handed down with in depth profiles in the weekend newspapers, another staged photo op in jeans and checked shirt with a briefcase looking like he was walking into budget discussions and yet more television interviews.

"This is not the time to be throwing money around" thundered the AFR headline quoting Mr Tough Guy.

Except that the other headlines were all about the government throwing money around - $1 billion for schools and even a tax cut for middle-income earners.

Well some called it a tax cut but in fact it is tax relief in the form of curtailing bracket creep for those on over $80,000.

Or so we assume given the budget has not actually come out yet.

That was the point PM Turnbull made in his pointless television interview on Sunday night. Why or why are these people talking so little to say?

Yes we should wait till the budget is out and so should you.

So let's just recap on another slew of mixed messages in this latest pre-budget media mess.

No GST in this term of government assured the PM. Well that's hardly a shock given you would have to take it to an election and you've ruled it out.

Bracket creep relief that was popular for a minute seems to be now back on.

Tax cuts, I can't remember. 

What about tax reform - the big package that was promised all year but then suddenly disappeared in favor of a budget and an election.

Well Mr Turnbull did mention "substantial" tax reform in the budget, which we thought was also off the table.

Or was it.

I'm so confused but then so are they.


Bring on the budget so they actually have something concrete to spin.



The “duh” award for most obvious headlines

Friday, April 29, 2016

By Janine Perrett

Time to end the week on our irregular awards for the most obvious headlines.

Or the "duh" award.

"Former PM says he does not think Liberals will make him PM again"

Say it aint so Tony.

"It's hard to really say our system is stuffed"

Incoming ING director adds her eloquent insightful views to the banking royal commission debate.

Oh, and she added for good measure, that it would all be helped with more gender diversity. Meaning women at the top of the bank culture.

"Commonwealth whistleblower says he went to Commbank wealth boss Annabelle Spring"

That was evidence at a Senate inquiry yesterday so see previous Sherry story for silliness.

Sydney becoming like New York.

Don't get too excited - not in the way of becoming a dynamic financial capital attracting the best and brightest in the world.

More in terms of more expensive to buy a home there type of example.

Broadspectrum now decides to back Spanish takeover bid.

Might have been a good backflip given the pending closure of the Manus Island detention centre and the $1billion of Aussie taxpayer funds that flowed into the former Transfield’s coffers.



Budget lockup vs RBA

Arts funding and submarine pork barrel spending

Bank epiphanies for all but Narev

The dummies guide to ASIC changes

The culture of crook corporate cops

Are we really going to the polls?

Government finally wakes up with ASIC

How embryo journalists should write business news

China pulls up welcome mat to Aussie business

As pollies fight over white-collar conduct, Clive is in their ranks

Whyalla wipeout for Shorten if not careful

Bank bashing and Malcolm in the middle

ATO right in tax dodge cases

Tell them there’s a budget due

Market forecasts are a waste of time

Do we really need major tax reform?

Another bizarre tax reform idea

Get over yourself Scott Morrison!

One list Gina should top

No surprise in Turnbull move

Destroying Fairfax to save it

Turnbull fails on income tax cuts

Do the shonks and banks really need less regulation?

The most despicable man in Australia

Cormann’s brave proposal

Diversity and gender apartheid

Palmer makes Trump look good

Paul Ryan is the name to watch

A poor excuse for a government

Some miss Malcolm

Life support for the ambulance chaser

"Wacka" does it again!

Another fine tax mess

More Mathias please

Less talk, more action and a reform budget needed

Great expectations

More mixed oil market signals

Best "you reckon?" headlines of the day

Sunny Silicon Valley vs gloomy Wall Street

Sunny Silicon Valley vs gloomy Wall Street

GST rise all pain, no gain

It’s all about the tax laws, stupid!

Turnbull honeymoon over

GST backdown, karma and the Henry Report

Occupy White House style

Lessons for America in Clive

Law and disorder

Even the economists are confused

What Silicon Valley can learn from Australia

Tax avoiders, evaders, dodgers: just dodgy

No room for popularity

Catching up while looking out

A bumpy old week for stockmarkets

The new ideas men

Innovators get tax raids as well as tax breaks

Make Clive pay

Open your wallets this time please

Dummpy spits and sour MPs

Another private equity mess

Winning the Tim Tam price war

Two titanic floats sinking

Slater and Gordon: The ambulances are circling

Talking sense

Hard decisions will need to be made

Selling the farm

What exactly is in our national interest?

CBA's new PR spin

Innovation needs young leaders

Balancing political correctness and security concerns

Should we believe the job numbers?

It's the economy stupid

It's the economy stupid

The last mining boom in human history?

The fading triple bottom line

Nothing is constant in the finance world

Remembering a great economist

One holy scandal

Heard it all before

The tale of two retailers

Squandering the proceeds of a resources boom

The good and the bad

Woolies smacks of desperation

Science - it's not a dirty word

Hockey's age of entitlement begins

Government responds to Murray Inquiry

Back on the road again

Super rich tax tanties

The same old shtick

The glad game

Spend, spend, spend...please!

May we approach the bench?

Corporate investigator promises to investigate...

Baby did a bad bad thing

Better the devil you know?

Tony we don't care! We're over it

Malcolm's first senior moment

Is the honeymoon over already?

Don't shed a tear for the dinosaurs

Leave the salesmanship to the leader Libs

Round and round and round we go