May 2021

Artificial intelligence must enshrine fairness

by Peter Lewis in The Australian

The Human Rights Commission’s call for a pause on the development of Facial Recognition Technology and the placing of guardrails around the development of other AI products could be the kickstart the Australian tech sector desperately needs. While Australia plays perpetual catch-up with the tech superpowers of the US and China, scrounging for government support

Not all doom and gloom: let’s celebrate the wins we’ve seen recently

by Ebony Bennett in Canberra Times

It’s easy to feel like achieving change is impossible. After all, the federal government just delivered another $2.6 billion in post-budget handouts to the fossil fuel industry. Despite promises from the Attorney General, Australia still has no federal independent anti-corruption commission. The national vaccine rollout is way behind schedule and the Prime Minister isn’t in

Federal budget 2021: What will Treasurer Josh Frydenberg deliver?

by Ebony Bennett in Canberra Times

Last year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered what was described as a “Bloke’s Budget”, that targeted stimulus spending in male-heavy industries, while neglecting investment in industries that support women’s employment-including healthcare, education and social services – even though women bore the brunt of last year’s recession. But the fact is every budget is biased towards men

April 2021

This Anzac Day, lest we forget the brave Afghans who supported our military venture

by Allan Behm in Sydney Morning Herald

On ANZAC Day we remember lives lost in the strategic failure that was Gallipoli – a salute to Churchillian hubris and a newly emerged ex-colony only too keen to prove itself in defence of the “mother country” and her Empire. On this ANZAC Day, we prepare ourselves for another strategic failure, just as we did

We should be funding stress leave and high-quality PTSD care for all victims of abuse

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Australian ministers suffering stress are provided with more taxpayer support than victims of violence Practical support for the thousands of Australian women who are sexually or physically assaulted by men is not simply woefully inadequate, it is nonexistent. If you are a casually employed woman in Australia who is raped or assaulted you are entitled

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

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

Facebook and Google having too much market power is a threat to democracy

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

Forget about how much you loathe Rupert Murdoch for a minute. The well-earned ire for the media mogul’s empire is muddying the waters in the huge battle over the news media bargaining code, a battle Australia cannot afford to lose. At stake is the future of public interest journalism, as well as the ability of

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

November 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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”

March 2020

Put the jobless on public payroll

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by the Australian Financial Review, 31 March 2020] After a $62 billion shot of adrenalin designed to keep businesses going through the coronavirus crisis, the Morrison government has finally ditched its strategy of “targeted and temporary” measures based on existing policies. Instead, it now wants to put large parts of the Australian

Coronavirus: Telling people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps doesn’t cut it during a public health crisis

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published by the Canberra Times, 21 March 2020] After a summer of unprecedented bushfires and a billion animals dying, Australia now finds itself in the midst of an unprecedented public health pandemic with an economic crisis to match. While the $17.6 billion economic stimulus program was welcome for an already sluggish economy,

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