In this week's essential reading guide, Kohler checks the vital signs of Australia's CEOs, Gottliebsen reveals his own cabinet leak, Bartholomeusz examines Telstra's move towards more competitive pricing and Maley uncovers the huge strain weighing on China's banks.

CEO PULSE: Swinging corporate voters
Alan Kohler
Unfortunately for both major parties, but particularly the Coalition, Australia's CEOs will follow the policy rather than the party line, according to the Business Spectator Accenture CEO Pulse survey.

TV trumps talkfest
Alan Kohler
There were two winners in last night's debate between Gillard and Abbott: the concept of 'me too' and the all-powerful television industry.

Rudd's fatal diplomatic blunder
Robert Gottliebsen
It seems Julia Gillard will be unable to install her predecessor as the new foreign minister, should she win the election. A series of diplomatic mistakes by Kevin Rudd will rule it out.

How Rudd betrayed Gillard
Robert Gottliebsen
Kevin Rudd's capitulation to the union movement on IR reform – and his rejection of his deputy's policy – was undoubtedly a factor in his removal as prime minister.

Bulls on the sidelines
Robert Gottliebsen
A huge pile of cash is potentially underpinning the current rise in the market. If stable conditions prevail, a big slice will shift to equity.

Telstra's new game plan
Stephen Bartholomeusz
With its promise to slash fixed-line broadband prices and offer value-for-money iPhone 4 plans, Telstra is clearly moving towards a price-competitive footing.

Stress relief for Europe
Stephen Bartholomeusz
The cynics are right to be sceptical about the positive outcome of Europe's stress-testing of its banks, but the process could nonetheless be successful in restoring confidence in the continent's financial services sector.

China's European wobbles
Karen Maley
Forget Europe's stress tests for a moment – China's banks could be facing losses on about $US250 billion of loans.

The busy banking bullies
Karen Maley
Powerful bank industry lobbyists have scored a series of recent wins, including the softening of Wall St reforms, a sunny outcome from Europe's stress tests and the scaling back of a new prudential regime.

A trivial pursuit
Michael Gawenda
In the days before Gillard's earlobes became an election issue, an economist of international renown gave his thoughts on the Australian situation. It's a pity neither party was listening.

Soul-mate debate
Michael Gawenda
In their former political roles, Gillard and Abbott both displayed elements of the conviction politician. Neither can rightly claim the title now.

POLL POSITION: The Greens' free-market fudge
Rob Burgess
The Greens' concern for public transport has been serendipitously underlined by chaos in Melbourne, but their 'free-market' policy for fuel efficient cars still has a big hole in it.

The race to mediocre
Natasha Stott Despoja
Neither Gillard nor Abbott managed to cut through in last night's debate. In fact, it all seemed a disappointing, contrived publicity stunt.

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