Revenue Summit 2023

Australian Parliament House - Theatre

The Australia Institute’s Revenue Summit 2023 saw economists, taxation experts and politicians coming together to discuss and explore how we meet Australia’s growing public spending needs over the coming decades.

Our Revenue Summit 2023 was held at Parliament House, Canberra on Friday 27th October 2023.

Keynote Addresses & Speeches

Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, and Assistant Minister for Employment
“Multinational Tax Fairness”
Watch the speech | Speech transcript

Senator Barbara Pocock AM

Greens Spokesperson for Finance, Employment and Public Sector; Senator for South Australia
“Money for Nothing: Big Consultants and the Future of the Public Sector”
Watch the speech | Speech transcript

Dr Mike Keating AC

Former Head of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
“A Civilized Society Needs More Revenue” 
Watch the speechSpeech transcript

Emeritus Professor Bruce Chapman

Emeritus Professor, College of Business and Economics, Australian National University
“Lessons from the pandemic:  Fairer financial assistance for business”
Watch the speech | Speech transcript

Greg Jericho

Chief Economist, the Australia Institute
“Stage 3 Better”
Watch the speech | Speech transcript

Professor Patricia Apps

Speech delivered by Dr Richard Denniss.
Professor Apps is a Professor of Public Economics at the University of Sydney. Dr Richard Denniss is the Executive Director of the Australia Institute.
“Stage 3, inequality, and the gender pay gap”
Watch the speech | Presentation | Speech transcript
Richard delivered Professor Apps’ presentation, we thank Professor Apps for her time and contribution to Revenue Summit 2023.

Dr Richard Denniss

Dr Richard Denniss is the Executive Director of the Australia Institute.
“Revenue Summit 2023 – Closing Remarks”
Watch the speech | Speech transcript

Panel Discussions

Crossbench Panel

  • Senator David Pocock – Independent Senator for Australian Capital Territory
  • Dr Monique Ryan MP – Independent Member for Kooyong
  • Dai Le MP – Independent Member for Fowler

Chaired by Paul Karp – Chief political correspondent, Guardian Australia

Watch the video | Panel transcript

Panel: Revenue for Public Services

  • Professor Peter Yu AM – Vice-President, First Nations Portfolio, Australian National University
  • Dr Lachlan Clohesy – NTEU ACT Division Secretary
  • June Riemer – Deputy CEO First People Disability Network
  • Maiy Azize – National Spokesperson, Everybody’s Home
  • Annie Butler – Federal Secretary, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation

Chaired by Rachel Withers  – Contributing editor, The Monthly

Watch the video | Panel transcript

Panel: Tax Is Good for the Economy

  • Professor John Quiggin – UQ Laureate Fellow, School of Economics, The University of Queensland
  • Dr Mark Zirnsak – Spokesperson, Tax Justice Network Australia
  • Assoc. Professor Elise Klein OAM – Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University
  • David Sligar – Director, Egality

Chaired by Ebony Bennett, Deputy Executive Director, The Australia Institute

Watch the video | Panel transcript

Australia has emerged from the pandemic facing high inflation and escalating interest rates, triggering a cost-of-living crisis. Meanwhile, companies in several key sectors enjoyed windfall gains, driving a profit-price spiral. Within this context, the Government repeatedly affirmed its commitment to fiscal restraint, and delivered a budget surplus in excess of $20 billion.

However, as the pandemic showed, public services and government support are crucial both in times of crisis and in addressing the needs and challenges of a modern society. These challenges are only set to grow. Tackling climate change, addressing the housing affordability crisis, improving childcare and aged care accessibility and quality will all require more government spending. With this bigger role for government comes the need for more revenue.

For many decades now both governments and the media have overwhelmingly focused on spending cuts, efficiency dividends, ‘budgetary emergencies’ and falsely linking the budget balance with economic management. It is time to face up to the reality that as one of the lowest-taxed countries in the developed world, Australia lacks the solid revenue base needed to deliver all the programs needed to deliver a fair society.

We need a tax system that fits with the needs and desires of Australians for a fair and equitable society.

This year, the Australia Institute will host its annual Revenue Summit, bringing economists and taxation experts together to discuss revenue-raising options to meet Australia’s public spending needs. The Summit is an opportunity to discuss current taxes, explore potential new means of revenue, contextualise debt, challenge paradigms and reassess public spending priorities.

Now that inflation is beginning to cool, debates about the role of revenue and taxation are ramping up. Is a budget surplus really — in Prime Minister Albanese’s words — “responsible economic policy”? Can we now need shift from the mantra of a government “living within its means” given the threat of a slowing economy and the ongoing demand for government services? And what is being ignored when we emphasise the budget bottom line as the litmus test for economic management?

Taxation shapes the society we want to live in. It facilitates the provision of public services and is a key policy lever to reduce inequality. Too often the decision of how and who we tax — or do not tax — is shaped by vested interests rather than asking what is best for most Australians. With the $20bn Stage 3 Tax Cuts set to come into place in July 2024, and windfall profits continuing in several key sectors of the economy, the time has never been more urgent to produce a better and simpler tax system that would result in more revenue, stronger public finances, and a fairer society for all.


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Australian Parliament House - Theatre
Parliament Drive
Canberra, ACT 2600


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