How can NSW allow new coalmines while committing to net zero emissions? It’s bizarre

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

New mines won’t boost world demand for Australian coal — but they will cannibalise jobs from existing coalmines The New South Wales government is simultaneously committed to a net-zero emissions target for 2050 at the same time as new coalmines in the Hunter Valley with the capacity to produce 10 times more coal than Adani’s

Why we should pause approvals of new coal mines

featuring Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss

Why are new coal mines like melting ice cream? In today’s episode, Richard Denniss explains the economics of coal, why Malcolm Turnbull has been in trouble with the Liberals and why we need to pause approvals of new coal mines. Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director, the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennett Guest: Richard Denniss, chief economist,

Is Malcolm Turnbull the only Liberal who understands economics and climate science – or the only one who’ll talk about it?

by Richard Denniss in The Conversation

Yesterday, former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was unceremoniously dumped as chair of the New South Wales government’s climate advisory board, just a week after being offered the role. His crime? He questioned the wisdom of building new coal mines when the existing ones are already floundering. No-one would suggest building new hotels in Cairns to help

March 2021

Australia has shown you can take on big companies – and win

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Big companies are always threatening to take their bat and ball and leave our shores, and Australian politicians usually beg them to stay. Whether it’s cutting company taxes or promising weak IR and environmental laws, for decades the Australian government has behaved like a lonely kid who worries the cool kids won’t talk to them

February 2021

The Liberals’ agenda is bad for regional Australia – but the Nationals play along anyway

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

The National party represents many electorates which have high rates of unemployment and people receiving government support payments, and a high proportion of workers on the minimum wage. So you can see why they spend so much time attacking industrial laws, renewable energy and “urban elites” – creating blame is a lot easier than creating

Google and the use and abuse of economic modelling

featuring Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss

In its efforts to avoid regulation, Google commissioned economic modelling showing that Google providing tens of billions of dollars in benefits to Australia – but the figures quickly fell apart on closer inspection from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. In this episode, chief economist Richard Denniss talks us through some of the assumptions

Scott Morrison knows setting a net zero target means picking a fight with the National party

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

The prime minister’s initial target of beginning the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines “as soon as January” is in tatters and mid-February is looking shaky. Likewise, the target of “fully vaccinating” some 26 million Australians by October. But just because someone fails to hit a target doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have set it. On the contrary,

January 2021

Save lives or save the economy? That’s a false choice – and it’s obscene

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

For the past year Australians have heard politicians, business leaders and conservative commentators argue that we need to balance the benefits of protecting Australians from Covid-19 with the costs of those protections to “the economy”. Should we close down risky venues or keep them open? Should we worry about the elderly who might get sick

Which jobs and what growth?

by Richard Denniss in The Monthly

We need to talk about the economy For decades we have talked about the size of the economy, but it is time we talked about its shape. For decades we have been told that if the economy grew faster it would solve all our problems, but it’s time we talked about which parts of the

December 2020

Stop believing in fairytales: Australia’s coal industry doesn’t employ many people or pay its fair share of tax

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Just as people in the Middle Ages mistakenly believed the sun revolved around the Earth, many modern-day Australians mistakenly believe our economy revolves around the coal industry. Of course, such misunderstandings aren’t an indictment of those who have been misled, but those who did the misleading. Galileo was imprisoned for life for the “heresy” of

Until recently, pressure on Australia to drop carryover credits had little impact. But times change

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss [Originally published by Guardian Australia, 09 December 2020] Political pressure makes the impossible inevitable. Unfortunately, so much has been written about how democracy is broken, that it can seem churlish to point out that sometimes it works just as it is designed to: slowly, imperfectly and then suddenly. Take, for example, Scott

An unprecedented year: reflecting on 2020 with Richard Denniss

featuring Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a bit of a nightmare. This week, in our final episode of the year, Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss revisit some of the Australia Institute’s predictions back in March 2020 and reflect on the way Australia’s economy and politics have changed this year in response to the pandemic. Mild

Digital Giants, Market Power and Media Diversity

featuring Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss

Australia’s news media is one of the most highly concentrated in the world. Since 2019, more than 157 newsrooms have closed in Australia and many local, community and rural newspapers have ceased printing or gone digital only. It was in this climate that in 2018 the federal government tasked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

November 2020

Instead of taxing electric vehicles, heavy vehicles should pay more for the damage they cause

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 25 November 2020] The purpose of the tax system isn’t just to collect revenue, it’s to shape society in ways we see fit. It’s no accident that fresh food is excluded from the GST and it’s no accident that the tax on alcohol is higher than the

The best way to help Australian manufacturing? Stop exporting gas

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 12 November 2020] While it might seem heretical to suggest we stop exporting gas, it’s important to remember that we only started exporting gas from Australia’s east coast in 2015. But since that fateful day, the wholesale price of gas has risen from around $3 to $4 per

Is Scott Morrison angry that public servants got Cartier watches – or that the public found out?

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 29 October 2020] Cartier watches, free rent and taxpayers picking up the tab for $118,000 worth of personal tax advice — Australia’s best paid public servants have been on quite the spending spree and the prime minister has made it clear that he is very, very angry.

October 2020

Thank you, Victoria – Australia as a whole is healthier and wealthier because of you

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Richard Denniss [Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 01 October 2020] Thank you, Victorians. Your determination to crush the second wave of Covid-19 has delivered me, and the rest of Australia, enormous health, social and economic benefits. Your resolve, your patience and your sacrifice, means that the rest of Australia has been able to open

September 2020

Morrison’s tax cuts are not temporary or targeted – they are ideological and inequitable

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by the Guardian Australia, 16 September 2020] At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic the Morrison government was adamant that – because the economy would “snap back” once the virus passed – their stimulus spending would be temporary and targeted. Well, you don’t hear much about “snap back” anymore and there is absolutely

Phasing out gas would benefit Australian manufacturers and households

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by the Guardian Australia, 03 September 2020] Rather than drill new fracking wells into prime farmland, the quickest, cleanest and most economically efficient way to boost the supply of gas in Australia is to stop wasting it. According to the Australian Industry (AI) Group’s budget submission, “Ramping up support for manufacturers to

August 2020

How Neoliberalism is Spreading Covid-19

featuring Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss

In this episode we talk to Dr Richard Denniss about the role of neoliberalism in spreading Covid-19 and how decades of privatisations, outsourcing and cuts to government spending have left Australia vulnerable during this pandemic.The Australia Institute // @theAUSInstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Richard Dennis, chief economist at the Australia

The spread of coronavirus in Australia is not the fault of individuals but a result of neoliberalism

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by Guardin Australia, 20 August 2020] Neoliberalism is spreading coronavirus faster than any “reckless teenager” ever could. Privatised guards at quarantine hotels, private aged care centres that put profits ahead of staffing levels, and the fact that those in charge neglected to have their health professionals appropriately evaluate the risk of the Ruby

The Australian government is putting economic storytelling ahead of evidence

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by Guardian Australia, 05 August 2020] Australian economic debate relies more heavily on metaphors than it does on evidence, experience or expertise. While the prime minister, treasurer and self-appointed business leaders drone endlessly about what the economy “needs”, they simply refuse to provide any evidence that they know what they are

July 2020

Let it rip

featuring Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss

Some economists have renewed calls to lift restrictions and simply ‘let it rip’, that is to let Covid-19 rip through the population in order to protect the economy. But are economist the right people to ask about this? In this episode we explore the limits of economics with chief economist at the Australia Institute Richard

Unpacking the Mini-Budget: What you need to know

featuring Ebony Bennett, Richard Denniss and Matt Grudnoff

In this episode, Richard Denniss and Matt Grudnoff, chief and senior economists at the Australia Institute unpack what you need to know about the Mini-Budget delivered by the Treasurer and answer your questions. The Australia Institute // @theausinstitute Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennett Guests: Richard Denniss, chief economist at

The Australian government’s decision to cut benefits is based on feelings, not facts

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by Guardian Australia, 22 July 2020] In Australia, policy is far more likely to be based on feelings than facts. While there is much talk about the importance of evidence-based policy, ironically, there is scant evidence that such an approach exists. Take the government’s decision to cut the incomes of around

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