November 2021

October 2021

Scott Morrison’s ‘net zero by 2050’ emissions reduction plan will be filled with tricks and rorts

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

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

September 2021

August 2021

Tax is not a dirty word. Far from it

by Ben Oquist

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

July 2021

Trampling budget democracy

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

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

June 2021

Please watch the rhetoric, Mr Morrison. Or match it

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

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

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

Canberra’s euthanasia insult weakens democracy for all

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

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

January 2021

Summer special: The End of Certainty with Katharine Murphy

featuring Ebony Bennett and Ben Oquist

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.

December 2020

Now more than ever we should be strengthening democracy. We’re not.

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

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

November 2020

Australia’s diplomatic approach needs a major revamp

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

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

Kean’s ‘radical’ thinking is good for climate and politics

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

by Ben Oquist[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 31 October 2020] When NSW Liberal Minister Matt Kean invoked Menzies’ forgotten people this week, he flipped climate politics on its head. Speaking at the launch of the Australia Institute’s annual benchmark report on attitudes to climate change, Climate of the Nation, the Energy and Environment Minister charted

October 2020

Andrew Barr and Shane Rattenbury have become a formidable duo in Australian politics

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

by Ben Oquist[Originally Published in the Canberra Times, 21 October 2020] It takes a lifetime to become an overnight success and after 19 years in government the ACT Labor-Greens thumping win felt like it had been years in the making. Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury are surely two of Australia’s best

August 2020

Julia Gillard on the pandemic, mental health and beyond

featuring Ebony Bennett and Ben Oquist

Julia Gillard, chair of Beyond Blue and the former Prime Minister of Australia talks about mental health, women in leadership, the importance of government and she looks back on the legacy of the carbon price implemented by her government ten years ago. Recorded live on 5 August as part of the Australia Institute’s Economics of

July 2020

The war on populism and the fight for democracy with Thomas Frank

featuring Ebony Bennett and Ben Oquist

Author of the new book ‘People without Power’ Thomas Frank explains why everything you think you know about populism is wrong. [Note: language warning, a mild one] Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennett Guests: Wayne Swan // @SwannyQLD Ben Oquist // @BenOquist Thomas Frank // @thomasfrank_ Producer: Jennifer Macey Theme music: Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and

June 2020

The case for red tape

featuring Ebony Bennett and Ben Oquist

The PM has announced big plans for deregulation, but is ‘red tape’ or ‘green tape’ really impeding economic growth or is it necessary to protect us and our environment? In this episode we talk to Executive Director of the Australia Institute Ben Oquist about the protections offered by good regulation. Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of

The COVID-19 and Rio Tinto lesson: regulation is not ‘red tape’, it’s protection

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

by Ben Oquist[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 13 June 2020] While it has been widely observed that all sides of politics become Keynesians in a pandemic, if COVID-19 has taught us anything else it is that strong government regulations are not “red tape” or “green tape”, they are protection. Everyone is a legislator in

April 2020

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