Australia for sale: Investment bankers cashing in on Tony Abbott’s infrastructure push

You don’t necessarily sell your farm to finance building a road that won’t produce revenue leading back to the very same farm that is now not yours unless times are extremely hard. This compromise of Australian national security is likely a good buying opportunity for the Chinese who would love to purchase more influence in Oceana. The implications of this will span generations — all for a short-term gain.

 

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is turning out to be an investment banker’s best friend.

His center-right government is in the midst of an unprecedented push to build public infrastructure — and to finance the program, regional authorities are busy selling off state assets, creating a boon for bankers just as Australian corporate mergers and acquisitions slow. Banks including Macquarie Group Ltd., Morgan Stanley and UBS AG have been hired to sell everything from ports to electricity grids, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Advisory fees from the biggest asset sales may reach about $100 million, almost triple the total haul for government-related work last year, estimates Jeffrey Nassof, an analyst at New York-based Freeman & Co. Continue reading

The Navy Is Tracking Some Strange Sounds Coming from the Ocean

In a retired shore station for transpacific communications cables on the western coast of Vancouver Island sits a military computer in a padlocked cage.

It’s the sort of cage you might otherwise use to lock up automatic rifles or expensive electronics at a big box store, but this cage is protecting data—classified signals intelligence gathered from underwater microphones called hydrophones that sit on the ocean floor. These hydrophones are part of an undersea Internet-connected scientific research network of sensors and video cameras called NEPTUNE, operated by the nonprofit group Ocean Networks Canada. Much to the delight of researchers world-round, the hydrophones record the distinct sounds of whale songs, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. But to the chagrin of the United States and Canadian militaries, they detect the passing movements of military submarines through the Juan de Fuca Strait, too.

And so, on occasion, someone in a nearby Canadian military base, sometimes by U.S. request, will push what I like to imagine is a big red button, and the hydrophones deep off the coast of Vancouver Island effectively go dark—hydrophone data is re-routed from NEPTUNE’s scientists and researchers to the computer in the locked cage. Continue reading