New research from the Australia Institute shows that the number of political appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has skyrocketed. In this episode Ebony unpacks the largest and most comprehensive domestic study of the practice of cronyism in relation to appointments to a government agency ever conducted, with Ben Oquist and Bill Browne. This was
Speech delivered by Ben Oquist, executive director of the Australia Institute, to the Smart Energy Conference 2022, 5 May 2022 E&OE transcript I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, on whose stolen land we meet, and pay my respects to elders past and present. And I extend this respect to all Aboriginal
Before a vote has been cast, one election verdict has already been delivered. The campaign has been too light on policy and too heavy on misleading scare tactics. Our democracy is suffering for it. In just the first weeks of the election campaign, we have seen heated accusations of misleading claims from all sides. Waleed
In the final days before the federal election was called, the new South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas came to Canberra to deliver a blistering National Press Club address. One seasoned journalist described the speech as Obama-esque. While Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese criss-crossed the country visiting the states to make local announcements in the then
We are entering the great era of carbon fraud. Instead of rushing to end fossil fuels, there is going to be a gold rush for carbon offsets, dirty hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS), all designed not to stop climate change, but to actually drive up the consumption of coal, oil and gas. There
Australians are confused about the Senate. That is the unmistakable conclusion of the Australia Institute’s national poll of Australians on their knowledge of and attitudes towards the upper house, the largest and most comprehensive poll of its kind. However, that does not mean the Senate is not important in the public’s democratic engagement. In fact,
It is budget season already, and not a Canberra autumn leaf in sight. Omicron has ended early March election speculation, meaning the early budget in March will go ahead instead. So much of the March 29 budget will already be in place, and some final decisions are being made right now. Much is made of
It was a shock when the 2010 election result produced a hung parliament, but no one will be surprised if the 2022 election delivers the same. The seven-member-strong crossbench is already large in historical terms, and well-resourced, blue-ribbon independents are running in several more seats. If independents do win balance of power next year, what
On the eve of an election, without consultation and without scrutiny, the Morrison government, with the support of the Opposition, rushed retrospective amendments into the Parliament that will squash charities’ right to advocate, effectively stomping on our democracy. The Australia Institute’s Ben Oquist unpacks what happened and what the impacts will be for the Australian
It is the biggest attack on the Australian charity sector you have never heard of. On the eve of an election, with no notice, no public explanation, not even a media release, the Morrison Government has rushed retrospective amendments into the Parliament that would squash charities’ right to advocate, stomping on our democracy. Instead of
In an eight-day sprint at the end of the parliamentary session, the government is attempting to ram a charity-crushing bill through with almost no public debate.
Sitting in Rome ahead of the G20 this week, got me wondering. It seemed unlikely that anyone – outside a handful of journalists and public servants – knew the G20 was about to take place. Certainly, as a nation, we seem to have forgotten that Australia helped build this integral piece of the world’s diplomatic
Sometime this month Scott Morrison will announce a net zero by 2050 emissions-reduction target for Australia. This announcement will be made with the expectation of praise. However, much like the world was indifferent when Australia signalled it would no longer be using Kyoto credits to meet its Paris targets, so too will this announcement be
In the middle of a pandemic, through the middle of a recession, Australia has undergone a secret wealth explosion. When the national accounts were released on Wednesday, there was a collective sigh of relief. Australia was not on the brink of a double dip recession. However, a much bigger story was missed. While everybody recognised
Tax is good. The fact that such a statement will raise eyebrows signals just how feeble Australia’s political debate on revenue has become. Taxes create space in the economy for a thriving and robust public sector. They allow us to educate our children and have a world-class healthcare system. They make a dignified retirement possible
Canberra resident and economist David Richardson has been attending the Budget ‘lock-up’ for the Australia Institute for 13 years. This year, he was banned. The lock-up is where journalists, the opposition and crossbenchers, business groups, non-government organisations and other experts are given access to the details of the Federal Budget ahead of time. However, they
Eighteen months after Scott Morrison delivered his “negative globalism” diatribe, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to flout the law by refusing an Australia Institute freedom-of-information request that seeks to get the background and reaction from foreign diplomats to the Prime Minister’s now infamous speech. At this rate, the “negative globalism” doctrine will
It is not that the Treasurer did nothing for arts and culture in his budget that is so disappointing. It is that we expected nothing. It has been nearly 50 years since Gough Whitlam put art and creativity at the centre of government decision-making, and over 25 years since Paul Keating’s famous Creative Nation push.
There has never been a worse time to be a centre-right economist. From the IMF to the World Bank, Australia’s RBA, the US Treasury and now our very own Josh Frydenberg have all abandoned talk of budget and government restraint. For 40 years, the anti-debt and deficit rhetoric held much of centre-right economic orthodoxy together. Of course,
The one thing we can say for sure about Australia’s economic recovery is that it has not been gas-fired. This week the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed that employment in Australia has recovered to better than pre-COVID levels. This noteworthy achievement is made all the more remarkable by the fact that over the course of
Premier Mark McGowan’s thumping victory at last weekend’s WA election was well deserved, but it also risks becoming a terrible result for democracy. A massive 60 percent of the primary vote translated into Labor winning almost 90 per cent of the lower house seats, all but wiping out the Liberals. If Western Australia had a
Much has changed in the 24 years since the Federal Parliament voted to prevent Canberrans from deciding for themselves whether they support voluntary euthanasia. Australia has had six prime ministers, hosted an Olympic Games, participated in four wars, and endured a global financial crisis and a global pandemic. What has also changed is the assumption
Scott Morrison spent the summer in the Canberra bubble and both he and our democracy are better for it. After finally spending some quality time in the Lodge, it would be good if he made it permanent. Until the 2019–20 bushfires, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had made Kirribilli House in Sydney his family home—modelling himself on
In our summer special series, we bring you some of our favourite guests from the Australia Institute’s webinar series in 2020. In this episode, Ben Oquist talks to The Guardian’s chief political correspondent Katharine Murphy about her Quarterly Essay ‘The End of Uncertainty’ and what the pandemic revealed about Australia, Scott Morrison and his government.
In our summer special series, we bring you some of our favourite guests from the Australia Institute’s webinar series in 2020. In this episode, Ben Oquist talks to ABC 730’s chief political correspondent Laura Tingle about her new Quarterly Essay: The High Road – what we can learn from New Zealand. Hosted by Alex Sloan.
by Ben Oquist [Originally published by the Canberra Times, 26 December 2020] On climate policy, both the election of Joe Biden and the acrimony from China should make Australia’s transition away from coal easier, though more urgent. Likewise, the strains that democracies are under around the world, especially in the United States, make the case
by Ben Oquist[Originally Published in the Canberra Times, 28 November 2020] Suddenly it seems diplomacy is important. The Foreign Minister has praised the role Australia’s diplomats played in the release of Kylie Moore-Gilbert; the Prime Minister is defending the use of an Air Force plane to help get Mathias Cormann elected to the plum post