A hard way to make two bucks

A hard way to make two bucks

Could it be that the kind souls behind Freelancer.com have a solution to the rampaging unemployment currently ravaging Tasmania's youth? Namely, writing 300-word articles for $2. Not $2 each, $2 for five. Or 0.133ยข a word.

CBD knows the cost of living is lower in Hobart than in Sydney or Melbourne, but that still seems hardly a living wage.

But when CBD looked last week the offer was a genuine one, advertised on the Freelancer.com website, which connects freelance workers with employers.

"I need them done within next three hours," the advertiser wrote. "I will pay $2 for all articles as it is a low budget project. Serious bidders only."

According to Freelancer's PR flack, Ellen Lewis, the youngsters of the Apple Isle are particularly afflicted by joblessness but "training and encouraging entrepreneurship in Hobart's young people can help tackle this problem head on".

By helping people write articles for next to nothing? Not so, according to regional director Nikki Parker, who came to Freelancer from NBN Co in May.

"I would not recommend that someone from Australia bid on this type of project as there are countless other projects where the employer is willing to pay a higher price for improved quality," she said.

Er, but what about the boast on the bottom of every single Freelancer.com page that "the average job size is under $200"?

"Whilst the average job is $200 we have also had a job that was well over $300,000 and numerous jobs that are well into the thousands of dollars," Parker said.

Another big gripe expressed (at length) by users of the site is that it has a policy of charging fees to both freelancer and employer before any work or payment changes hands. At the minimum fee of $3, an Australian freelancer would be a dollar down just by taking on that $2 article-writing gig.

Parker said the fees can be cancelled within seven days and there are "numerous channels and opportunities for freelancers and employers to address any issues with fees".

Freelancers may be in line for $2, but it appears those behind the website are doing a trifle better for themselves. In company documents, CEO Matt Barrie gives an address on Kiaora Road, in swanky Double Bay - although he almost certainly doesn't live there any more, as the house, which belonged to Woolworths, was demolished in January to make way for a new shopping centre.

Meanwhile, key investor Simon Clausen reportedly splashed $45 million on 15 luxury Sydney properties in 2010.

These days Clausen seems based in tax haven Switzerland, although associated company Startive Holdings is registered in another tax haven, the British Virgin Islands.

A company document filed last year gives Clausen's address as a building on the Quai du Mont-Blanc in Geneva, overlooking the lake.

Glenn's funny side

The last time RBA governor Glenn Stevens made a joke about monetary policy at a speech, he sent the Australian dollar tumbling by half a cent.

So it was perhaps a bit of a surprise when Stevens chose to joke again at another speech on Tuesday - this time about his well-published quip. He also took the chance to have a dig at business newswire Bloomberg, whose news flash on his words that the RBA board "deliberated for a very long time" at its July meeting sent the currency market into a frenzy.

"I think this is the eighth year doing these lunches, and this is the largest audience we've had," Stevens said to a Sydney audience.

"So I figure you're here for the jokes already. Note to Bloomberg - that was humour."

Only a Little error

It's not just whether peptide AOD-9604 was pumped into players that's uncertain at under-siege AFL club Essendon; the Bombers also seem discombobulated as to the status of new chairman Paul Little.

On Monday, a club press release referred to Little as a director of Toll Holdings, which he isn't. (He stepped down as managing director at the start of last year.)

It's easy to see how there could have been a Little confusion at Bomberland: current Toll chairman Ray Horsburgh was chairman of Essendon until 2010, when he was replaced by stockbroker David Evans, who resigned on Saturday and was in turn replaced by Little. Phew.

A Bombers spokeswoman said the club's website would be updated to correct the error.

Risky business

Some may think Sky News Business is closely associated with Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, but freedom to criticise Murdoch scion Lachlan and his BFF James Packer is alive and well, if an effort by broadcaster Janine Perrett on her Perrett Report is any guide.

Perrett's traditional show-opening rant featured Who Killed Channel 10, a mooted sequel to Australian Casino Review scribe Pamela Williams' Killing Fairfax.

"Yes, while Packer and Murdoch juniors are being unfairly credited with having killed off Fairfax, as though it's a good thing, it could be argued their real crime is killing off our third commercial television network," Perrett said.

She pointed out the pair were better known for "destroying their own media investments and other people's money, not just daddy's" - between them, they own 17 per cent of the ailing Ten - and was even rude enough to mention their failed telco, One.Tel.

She also praised The Sydney Morning Herald's weekend editorial for stating "we're not actually dead yet, or to put it another way - if you're reading this we must be still alive".

If all that doesn't sound very Murdoch-esque, it's worth remembering News has an effective stake of just 13 per cent of Sky News.

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