More space, more people, more …

We have moved, please note our new address and contacts as below:

Suite 1803 Level 18
109 Pitt Street 
Sydney NSW 2000
t:  +61(0)2 9232 8392
f:  +61(0)2 9233 3591
e: info@ hillmanlawyers.com.au
w: www.hillmanlawyers.com.au

A new lawyer

Joining us is Alex Forbes-Harper, another lawyer on the team.

Alex completed his law studies at Melbourne University with honours. His intellectual capacity moved the University to offer him a scholarship. His strong interest in social issues propelled him into family law. His experience has broadened his practice to areas of commercial law.

Myth of the middle classes and egalitarian society –

What are the results of the French Revolution of 1789? It’s too early to tell"

Zhou Enlai, Chinese Prime and Foreign Minister to Henry Kissinger 1971

Conventional history and economics that follow tell us that the French Revolution was all about the empowerment of the middle classes, the opening up of society to meritocracy and the consequent development of democracy.

Economist Thomas Piketty’s acclaimed work “Capital in the 21st century” turns this conventional belief on its head. His studies on capital and income show that the 20th century was an aberration brought about by the introduction of income tax, World War I, the Depression, World War II and needed post war growth to give the chimera of middle class supremacy and the levelling of income distribution. The reality is that super salaries and returns to capital are rising faster than economies in developed countries are growing.

It was the best of time and the worst of times”

Charles Dickens, “Tale of Two Cities”

Statistics from the 18th century to date show that the move in Western economies has been to increase differences in income so that in 1910 1% of the population received 20% of national income. In 1970 this had dropped to 10% of income to 1% of the population, but now is back at 20%.

Ain’t we got fun?”

Gus Khan and Raymond Egan

While the 1% feasting on 20% of national income may be happy with this, the other 99% may be less so. As Piketty shows, the 20% of wealth tends to be in passive investments, such as real property, and so neither stimulates economic activity nor gets redistributed. Not only do “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” but the middle classes are going backwards in real income terms. And when the majority ceases to have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo …

Australia felix – “The sky is falling?”

Chicken Little

We are told that governments are like households – they need to balance their budgets. This is not correct – governments need to issue bonds and borrow, not only to raise funds but also to stabilise markets and interest rates. But going on a false premise – Commonwealth debt is equal to about 10 months’ revenue, something that most households with mortgages could only dream of. According to the OECD Australia’s gross government debt is the third smallest, after Luxembourg and Estonia.

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head”

Hal David and Burt Bacharach

Blogger Greg Jericho writes: “… Australia which has become the envy of the world (is perceived by the Commission of Audit to need) to be drastically changed. Notions of equality and fairness which have underpinned our health, education and welfare systems should be replaced with a view that efficiency trumps all.”

Besides the inequality produced by the “efficiency”, economic activity is reduced by reduction in purchasing power.

Continuing from the last Bugle, tips to start ups and small and medium enterprises …

Employment and independent contractors-  “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need?”

Louis Blanc, “Organisation du Travail”

Employment agreements are subject to the Fair Work Australia Act 2009 (Cth) and various State laws concerning holidays and long service leave.

Particular attention needs to be paid to requirements for dismissal of personnel for whatever reason, and the classification of workers for permanent employment, part time employment, fixed term employment and casual employment.

Some persons may be contracted as independent contractors so that general employment laws do not apply to that relationship, but again this requires careful definition and conformity with the Fair Work Australia legislation.

Privacy - “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member"

Groucho Marx to Friar’s Club of Beverly Hills

In March 2014 important changes were brought into the Federal Privacy Act. These are designed to cut down on the gamble we all have to take in communication of information to business and government on an everyday basis, and include the 13 principles setting out the rights of individuals and obligations of private and public entities for access and correction of information of information gathered, kept and used.

Being aware of the risks - informed consent

Tips for punters are:

+ Read the policy that the entity must now provide on information collected.

+ Know that you can deal anonymously, except for identity requirements for transactions that involve receipt of funds from and for you, credit, payments to you, etc.

+ If you choose, you may opt out of marketing and ask that your information remains confidential.

+ Check that your information, as acquired and stored, is correct.

+ Know that credit and payment history may be swapped and made available to providers, other than telecommunications and utilities providers.

+ Know that cross border expedition of your information needs your consent – think Cloud.

Confidentiality and intellectual property - "Listen, do you want to know a secret?

John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Negotiations, unsuccessful or successful, designed to lead to a business arrangement frequently require giving access to confidential information and intellectual property. Protection of confidentiality and intellectual property needs to be secured at the time of negotiations and any subsequent business relationship through clear and enforceable agreements.

Back issues of the Bugle

If you want to catch up on issues in previous Bugles, you can check them out on our website (www.hillmanlawyers.com.au) where you will find a whole orchestra of them.

Brian Hillman

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is not intended to be legal advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained on the website without first obtaining legal advice. Please contact us for further assistance. Click here to view the Hillman Laywers Privacy Policy.