In this week's essential reading guide Kohler makes a budget submission, Bartholomeusz explains why telcos may come to despise the NBN and Burgess spotlights the Greens leader who knew too much.

Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors
Alan Kohler
Ralph Norris may think the government's surplus promise is mindless, but it's politically critical and internationally symbolic. If only Wayne Swan could fudge the economic parameters instead of looking to more tax increases to deliver it.

Turnbull's NBN warning to telcos
Stephen Bartholomeusz
The national broadband network's already fragile economics are under pressure as the project falls behind schedule, and if Malcolm Turnbull is right it's telcos and their customers that will be paying the price for three shaky government pledges.

$9 trillion reasons the market is smiling
Karen Maley
Global monetary policy is still easing and the combined balance sheet of the four major central banks, at $9 trillion, gives the stockmarket an upward bias.

The Greens leader who knew too much
Rob Burgess
Christine Milne has marked herself as the leader who will try to knit economics with environmental conservation. Her challenge will be to avoid splitting the Greens by doing so.

Gillard's clean energy mission: impossible
Keith Orchison
Given the fate that awaits it, where the Clean Energy Finance Corporation chooses to put its money is near irrelevant. But if the fund could survive it would create new problems for clean energy players.

Toyota's tragic mining collision
Alan Kohler
The mining boom is only hardening the resolve of manufacturing companies like Toyota which, faced with cheap imports and a high Australian dollar, can no longer afford to offer voluntary redundancies.

The Bondi house that China built
Robert Gottliebsen
The importance of Chinese capital to local property construction is growing, but governments can take other, easy steps to boost the industry.

TECHNOLOGY SPECTATOR: Googling deception
Nigel Phair
When the ACCC reprimanded Google for deception with its AdWords system in Australia this month it opened a can of worms around Google's primary source of revenue.

Cameron Clyne's messy breakup
Karen Maley
NAB decisions on when to scale back and when to boost home lending mean it is much more exposed to funding cost strain than rivals. Now Cameron Clyne is under growing pressure from NAB's big shareholders who
don't like the bank's 'break up' campaign.

A budget to make or break
Alister Drysdale
The 2012 budget will end up as the final and decisive marker in the current political contest, and beyond the 'dodgy surplus' Gillard and Swan need a powerful narrative to sell it to the country.

CLIMATE SPECTATOR: Green tape and Abbott's blood oath
Tristan Edis
Australia must find a plan B for reducing carbon emissions, because when Labor loses the next election, we won’t have a carbon price to fall back on.

PRODUCTIVITY SPECTATOR: A burning manufacturing platform
Jackson Hewett
There’s a short window of time for Australia's beleaguered manufacturing sector to start producing value-added products before China and India close the gap.



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