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
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
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
The ACT is the home of progressive politics in Australia, leading the nation on climate policy, tax reform and truth in political advertising (among other things). In this episode we explore the broader implications of the ACT election results – which saw a swing to the Greens, a swing against the Liberals and the Labor
by Ben Oquist [Originally published in the Sydney Morning Herald, 06 October 2020] The Treasurer famously declared that ideology was dead when it came to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and insisted the government was only focused on what works. Unfortunately, for aged care residents, the idea that removing “red tape” is the best way
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
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
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
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
This article was first published in The Australian. I did not vote for Scott Morrison. But like so many Australians I am willing him to succeed in the fight against COVID-19. And he is. The squashing of the curve to date has been one of the great public policy successes of our time. When the