In this week's essential reading guide Kohler canvasses Japan's threat to Australian manufacturing, Bartholomeusz looks over Marius Kloppers' legacy, Gottliebsen says Bill Shorten could be prime minister and Gawenda spotlight's Kevin Rudd's payback plan.

The dead hand of government policy
Alan Kohler
No doubt the government believes its new jobs policy can't hurt polling, and may even help it. But there's precious little other benefit the plan could possibly bring.

The Greens have boosted Labor's chances
Rob Burgess
Amid press gallery madness, it's largely been missed that Christine Milne's anti-mining stir-up is likely to damage the Coalition. Meanwhile, Greens preferences will continue to flow back to Labor.

Kloppers leaves an even Bigger Australian
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Despite a drop in interim profit, the reign of Marius Kloppers will be remembered as a successful one, where BHP Billiton expanded and diversified amid conditions that upended its peers.

Can Mackenzie lift Kloppers to glory?
Robert Gottliebsen
The way Marius Kloppers is remembered will be largely dependent on the shareholder returns Andrew Mackenzie generates from his US shale acquisitions.

Rudd's red-hot payback plan
Michael Gawenda
Kevin Rudd's burning determination to punish those who ended his prime ministership looks set to reach its climax, with devastating consequences for his party.

Why Shorten can be Labor's next PM
Robert Gottliebsen
A year ago, Labor politicians were open that Julia Gillard would stand down if polling stayed poor. With Bill Shorten as her likely replacement, the election may be closer than expected.

The Japanese threat to manufacturing
Alan Kohler
Japan's inflation target will have the same effect as deliberate currency devaluation – a low yen, record-high Aussie dollar and a world of pain for manufacturers.

Fairfax hits targets in the great transition
Ben Shepherd
Cost management has helped Fairfax deliver a result which keeps it well and truly alive and kicking as it makes the transition to new media. But Greg Hywood remains coy on plans for digital growth.

Awakening to a decade of defence failure
Robert Gottliebsen
Now others are finally catching up with the fact that Australia's JSF program is in deep trouble, there's no excuse for politicians not to act. But there's also a solution Four Corners did not canvass.

BrisConnections runs out of road
Stephen Bartholomeusz
Privately-financed toll roads require heroic assumptions about the amount of traffic they will carry. The BrisConnections miscalculation looks set to end the buiness model for now.

A long, ugly list of house price precedents
Philip Soos
The historic pattern of Australian property valuation compared to key economic measures shows this cycle certainly is different – but not for the reasons usually given.

An energy menace to bank balance sheets
Robert Gottliebsen
The outlook for the medium term is positive, according to Commonwealth Bank chief Ian Narev, but he worries that an energy-sparked dollar shift could expose Australian business and bank balance sheets.

Keeping up with the insider traders
John M Green
Insider traders often get caught in the most unorthodox ways – in bed with a mistress or acting as a regulator intended to protect a deal's integrity. Since the GFC, the game has gotten tougher.

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