THE LAST GASP: Not so super

Despite all the bluster super is still complicated for the administratively challenged, no one says much about coal seam gas and Barnaby Joyce comes face to face with youth.

The Last Gasp is a wry take on the week’s news, every week. This week, the superannuation debate made a major oversight, the CSG debate didn't say much at all and Barnaby Joyce faced his nemesis - youth.

The superannuation debate dominated the week in business news so you’ve probably heard enough and we won’t go on about it here, except to say that in all the bluster, Gasp is disappointed there still seems to be no talk of an automatic rollover function, for the administratively challenged. Seems nothing will stop those old Host-Plus contributions evaporating to nought.

Coal seam gas was also on the agenda this week as ABC TV’s investigative flagship Four Corners highlighted flaws within the approval process for the resource’s extraction. Since Gasp has always been weak at chemistry – Breaking Bad wasn’t around when we were at school – this part of the column will be outsourced to the better minds on Twitter. Here are the three funniest and most insightful tweets about the CSG debate:

Umm, as it turns out, there were none. Too early, it seams, to be joking about CSG.

Here instead are our three favourite tweets from Monday night’s Q&A:

Umm, apparently it was all about religion and that also doesn’t make for good laughs either, these days. (Another job for Francis.) We’ll try the Twitter thing another time.

Moving on, Barnaby Joyce’s opposition for Nationals preselection in the seat of New England – famously occupied by independent Tony Windsor, a key plank of the minority Gillard government’s authority and an ex-Nat himself – turned out to be just one: brave school teacher David Gregory, 34.

The big story here was not how local Nats’ first-choice candidate Richard Torbay was dumped several weeks before nominations closed and is now being investigated by the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption, but rather the revelation the National Party boasts a 34-year-old – ie. young – person in its ranks who is also a school teacher – ie. Labor voter. Who’s next for the Nats, a city private-school educated pen-pushing accountant?

Speaking of politics, Wayne Swan showed his deft touch this week when he chose leaders for the top roles at the Reserve Bank and Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, reappointing Glenn Stevens and appointing Wayne Byers, respectively. The decisions were greeted with mostly warm applause from the financial class; the top end of town is now much more confident that Swan has the ability to fill the coveted national treasurer’s spot successfully. Just not with himself, obviously.

In another big week in NBN news, still lots of people haven’t accepted that the FTTP plan was a massive waste of money and a failure in policy but that, because the NBN plan is already in motion – and the deals done with Telstra and so forth – the Coalition’s FTTN alternative is now a massive waste of money and failure in policy. Long may the debate continue.

Among the highlights in markets news this week was the decision by ratings giant Standard and Poors to re-rate some hybrid corporate securities it had originally declared as 100 per cent equity-ish to something slightly less; say zero to 99 per cent equity-ish with the remainder debt-ish. It seems the rating agencies still haven’t got their heads around those pesky parceled up financial products but that’s OK, the last time they got it wrong was not such a big deal (as the Depression).

In other international news, reports from unreliable news agencies said some Europeans with nostalgic collections of francs, lira, deutschmarks, and so on, had been topping up their purses/satchels/money clips with the old currencies as any day now could be the one the euro goes kaput leaving them short for their Carlsberg/Campari/Coteaux du Layon at the local inn on the way home. Speaking of which, it’s the weekend. Ciao.

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