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Joe hockey getting on with the job as treasurer however long he may have it




JOE Hockey seems to be enjoying getting on with the job in his position as treasurer, however long he may still have it.

Announcing a major crackdown on multinationals, the still-treasurer put on a strong performance, batting off questions about his tenure in the role, and refusing to comment on cabinet leaks.

I am not going to answer that question and no, no, I am not going speculate on it, he said when questioned whether Social Services Minister Scott Morrison might be elevated to the role.

The ABC this morning reported Scott Morrison had been offered the Treasury role, with Mr Hockey expected to be offered the Communications portfolio. But the positions have not yet been officially confirmed.

I am continuing to do my job to the best of my ability, Mr Hockey said.

He refused to comment on leaks about new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbulls performance in his first cabinet meeting, or how he felt about the new leader.

I am instinctively a loyal person, you know that, and I see the job that I have as one of being loyal to the Australian people. Thats why Im doing my job, thats what Im here for, he said.

I have always been loyal to leaders and thats not going to change.

Keen to get on with the job amid speculation of a reshuffle, Mr Hockey announced he had introduced to parliament a package of draft laws to target multinational tax avoidance.

Despite Australia having some of the toughest tax laws in the world, a few multinationals continued to avoid paying tax on Australian profits, he said on Wednesday.

This undermines the public faith in the tax system and that leaves families and small businesses to unfairly carry the taxation burden.

His legislation would implement a new multinational anti-avoidance law, stronger penalties for large companies that engaged in tax avoidance and profit-shifting, and country-by-country reporting to give authorities a greater visibility into international structures.

The measures will apply to more than 1000 large multinationals operating in Australia with annual global revenue of $1 billion or more.

The treasurer also revealed he had ordered a number of foreign buyers of Australian real estate to sell their properties within a year.

Mr Hockey said the properties, in NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, had values ranging from $265,000 to $8.1 million and involved buyers from Singapore, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and China.

The crackdown of the coalition government in relation to foreign investment continues, he said, adding there were more than 500 investigations underway into more than $1 billion worth of properties.

Mr Hockey indicated his willingness to continue in the role, admitting he could always do more to better sell his policies.

And you can always do more to strengthen the Australian economy, he said.

Labor says Mr Turnbull should be making a decision about who he wants as treasurer now, rather than waiting until the weekend. Opposition MP Ed Husic likened Mr Hockey to actor Bruce Willis in the movie Sixth Sense.

Hes talking in the parliament, hes getting impassioned, he wants people to listen to him and no ones paying attention, he told reporters.

Its like hes just standing there and no one notices hes there any more.

But Mr Hockeys assistant minister said it was right for Mr Turnbull to be taking his time to decide on his new frontbench.

It is absolutely appropriate ... and Im sure they will be very good decisions, Josh Frydenberg told Sky News.

Mr Hockey won high praise from his tax commissioner Chris Jordan for leading the international effort against multinational corporate tax evasion.

The treasurer should be acknowledged for his personal leadership of this issue, he said.

Reserve bank leaves cash rate on hold at 20 per cent




THE Reserve Bank has left the official cash rate on hold at its historic low of 2.0 per cent for the fifth consecutive month, but homeowners are being warned not to grow complacent.

The central bank last moved in May when it cut the official cash rate by 25 basis points to its lowest level in history, following an earlier cut in February.

The RBA was widely expected to hold steady at todays meeting, with Governor Glenn Stevens saying recently he was pretty content with the current settings.

Its statement on its decision was only slightly modified from the previous month.

Comparison website Finder.com.au said all 31 economists and experts in its monthly survey predicted no change, with 94 per cent predicting the cash rate would remain on hold for the rest of the year.

However, three in five experts are tipping a rate rise in 2016, said Finder.com.au money expert Michelle Hutchison.

AMP Capital chief economist Dr Shane Oliver has tipped that the RBA could be forced to cut rates even further as low growth and spare capacity in the economy put downward pressure on inflation.

This could come as early as November, when the RBA will review its economic forecasts or early next year, he said in a note on Friday.

Its a view shared by ANZ, which broke ranks with its major rivals to predict that stubbornly high unemployment would force the RBA to cut rates as low as 1.5 per cent.

Pinpointing the timing of the cuts is tricky, but we are pencilling in 25 basis points cuts in February and May at this stage, ANZ economists Warren Hogan and Justin Fabo said in a research note last month.

Handful of changes in the #RBA statement, changes in red are what has been added/taken out form last month #ausbiz pic.twitter.com/Oq2DTumHZa

HOMEOWNERS URGED TO PICK UP THE PHONE

Ms Hutchison said figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed record low interest rates had led to people borrowing more than ever before, with home loan sizes increasing to their highest ever levels in the last 12 months.

The national average home loan size is now $364,400 setting a new record and increasing by 10 per cent since July 2014, she said.

According to comparison website Canstar, the lowest standard variable rate available is 3.88 per cent, while the highest is 6.12 per cent. The lowest five-year fixed rate is 4.24 per cent, and the highest is 6.04 per cent.

Canstar finance editor Justine Davies said it was a mistake for borrowers to sit back and hope the RBA does the work for them.

Most people can save a huge amount of money, particularly if theyve built up some equity in their home, by going back to their lender and negotiating a hard bargain, she said.

If you know whats available, its a matter of going and saying, XYZ Bank down the road will give me this, what can you do to stop me from leaving?”

Ms Davies said most people treated a home loan as a set and forget thing and didnt want to go through the hassle of refinancing, but by making a phone call during your lunch break you could end up saving hundreds of dollars a month.

The trick is asking the question in the first place, she said.

For buyers looking at entering the market the message as always is to be careful. Dont get complacent about low rates and overextend yourself, Ms Davies said.

If you base your purchase price on whats only just affordable now, when rates go up 2 or 3 per cent youre going to be a basket case, both financially and emotionally.

While rates were widely tipped to remain on hold, she pointed out that we were entering a high change period over the past 25 years, November and December are two of the top three months for rate changes.

with AAP