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

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

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

Yes, lockdowns mean lost jobs. But data shows that not locking down causes much more economic damage

by Jim Stanford in Toronto Star

With new stay-at-home orders covering many parts of the province, Ontarians are settling in for a month (at least) of daunting isolation. Restrictions are also being tightened in other provinces to slow the spread of COVID-19, until vaccines can turn the tide of the pandemic. Despite accelerating infection and overflowing hospitals, many oppose the new restrictions on

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

Gas-fired recovery a massive employment dud

by Richie Merzian and Mark Ogge in The Newcastle Herald

by Richie Merzian & Mark Ogge[Originally published in the Newcastle Herald, 18 November 2020] A gas-fired recovery from the economic damage caused by Covid-19 will not help the Hunter region.  In fact, a gas-fired recovery will struggle to employ anyone, except the gas executives that proposed the idea. The bottom line is, creating jobs in

November 2020

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

Working from home, once a novelty, is now wearing thin

by Alison Pennington [Originally published in The Age, 05 November 2020] Lockdowns in Victoria have made job polarisations starker than in other states. Entire layers of workers, previously interacting in the flows of the daily commute, the morning coffee, dropping kids off at school, were suddenly pulled apart and isolated from each other. Connected only

October 2020

Austerity Would Damage Queensland’s Economic and Social Recovery

by Dan Nahum and Jim Stanford in Medium

by Dan Nahum & Jim Stanford[Originally published via Medium, 26 Oct 2020] Like governments around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession knocked a huge hole in Queensland’s state budget. Big losses in revenues from the recession, combined with extra costs of fighting the pandemic, turned a planned $234 million operating surplus for this

This Morrison government decision could set women back generations

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett [Originally published in the Canberra Times, 03 October 2020] Pioneering feminist Susan Ryan sadly passed away this week, not long after United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While Ruth Bader Ginsburg pursued American women’s equality and freedom through the courts, Susan Ryan pursued it through the parliament, running on a

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

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

Australia is about to get ripped off by the gas industry, and it’s not the first time

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published by the Canberra Times, 22 August 2020] The same geniuses who hiked up domestic gas prices, raked in the profits and left Australia with bupkis to show for it are trying to convince us (once again) that Australia has a gas supply shortage requiring huge taxpayer subsidies. So, let me explain

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

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

Though painful to admit, conservatives know Australia’s tough Covid-19 response is better than the US

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally publishged on the Guardian Australia, 07 July 2020] Only 16 weeks ago, prime minister Scott Morrison told a bemused Australian public that he was off to the footy to see his beloved Sharks play, and only 15 weeks ago, the same prime minister berated those who went to Bondi Beach for “not

June 2020

My degree taught me to spot the flaws of the university funding overhaul

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Orinigally publsihed by the Guardian Australia, 24 June 2020] If conservatives really believed that the most important thing a young person could do was become “job-ready” then why are they so keen for Australia’s best and brightest students to study the works of Shakespeare and Thomas Aquinas, as part of a degree in

Leverage lazy public balance sheet

by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 26 June 2020] The Australian Government is, by any measure, significantly under leveraged. The Commonwealth Government’s lazy balance sheet and its underspending on productivity boosting services like preventative health, childcare and environmental protection will harm Australia’s prosperity for decades to come. BHP has been in debt

The Coalition dishes out jobs for the boys while women carry coronavirus’ economic burden

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally Published on Guardian Australia, 10 June 2020] Not only have women been hardest hit by the response to Covid-19, they have got the least out of government assistance and stimulus packages. Monday’s announcement that the temporary provision of free childcare is about to end was just the latest in a long line

May 2020

Australia’s unemployment figures mask a deeper reality

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published by the Canberra Times, 16 May 2020] This week, the federal government announced Australia’s biggest monthly rise in unemployment since the Australian Bureau of Statistics started publishing labour force statistics, shooting up to 6.2 per cent from 5.2 per cent just a month earlier. But, in a classic case of expectations

Australian business can’t lead us out of this recession – the government must step up

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on Guardian Australia, 13 May 2020] The government is telling us that if we don’t open up the Australian economy soon, we will do lasting harm to it. But the forecasters at Treasury and the Reserve Bank are relying on economic models that assume the deeper the recession we have, the faster our

Here’s how we can avoid the ‘bathtub scenario’

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in The Canberra Times, 03 April 2020] It’s not every day I get up at 6am to talk about inequality with a Nobel Prize winner, but hosting the Australia Institute’s Economics of a Pandemic webinar series afforded me that opportunity this week. Before dawn on Thursday, Professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, joined

April 2020

What should we keep from the old economy, and what should we build anew?

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 18 April 2020] There is hope in sight for the COVID-19 crisis. Australia’s curve appears to be flattening, and the numbers are looking so promising that the Prime Minister is talking about what needs to happen for restrictions to be eased – though the current rules will

Scott Morrison needs to target his spending at significant problems or he will only be remembered for debt

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by The Guardian Australia, 1 April 2020] The Coalition just announced a $130bn wage subsidy when the budget is already in deficit. As that sinks in, try to absorb the fact that the $130bn wasn’t targeted at any vulnerable group and had absolutely no “mutual obligations” attached to it. It was not “funded”

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