August 2021

The Coalition’s track record shows why its opposition to a Covid vaccine cash incentive is inconsistent

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Scott Morrison’s government loves financial incentives when they’re for CEOs and high-income earners As any parent or child knows, sometimes threats work, and sometimes bribes work. Despite the Morrison government planning to spend $180bn on tax cuts to those earning above $200,000 per year as more incentive to work hard, the Coalition are arguing that

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

Khaki creep betrays lack of plan

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s repeated offer to deploy troops to help control people’s movements in Sydney’s lockdown areas has found acceptance – not by Gladys Berejiklian, but by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller. The commissioner likes a bit of fear in the community, and with a couple of regiments of soldiers in cams, he’ll have it.

July 2021

Coming soon: The carbon taxes that cannot be repealed

by Richie Merzian and Frank Muller in The New Daily

Carbon taxes are coming to Australia whether we like it or not. They are coming despite the triumphant ‘axing of the tax’ in 2014. They are coming despite the updated but equally loud ‘technology not taxes’ sloganeering from the Morrison government in 2021. They are coming despite our government’s refusal to commit to a net-zero

Costello exaggerated the costs of ageing. Why won’t the Coalition face up to the costs of the climate crisis?

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Ministers are spending millions to fight the ruling that they must think about future generations when making planning decisions The environment minister, Sussan Ley, has announced she will spend millions of dollars appealing a federal court judgment that she has a duty of care to protect Australian children from climate harm. She’s not alone in

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

Australia should look to the Nordics for policy tips

by Rod Campbell and Andrew Scott in Financial Review

Not only are the Nordics among the world’s most prosperous nations, they have also dealt with many of the issues that Australia finds so difficult. As Australia starts to peek at a future beyond COVID-19, where should we look for inspiration on how to take our country, community and politics in a better direction? Scott Morrison’s

The fight for a healthier Murray-Darling must continue

I’m a fifth-generation farmer. My family have run properties alongside the Darling/Baaka River for almost a century. We have watched as the once mighty river system that runs through the heart of our nation has suffered due to government mismanagement and over-extraction upstream. I’ve always said the red dirt of home runs through my veins,

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

Richard Denniss explains why he’s returning his alumni award for National Leadership the University of Newcastle in the wake of Mark Vaile’s appointment as chancellor

by Richard Denniss in Newcastle Herald

You can’t be a leader if you follow people down the wrong path, which is why, with a heavy heart, I am returning the alumni award for National Leadership the University of Newcastle bestowed on me in 2017. I cannot understand how the council of a university whose motto is “I look ahead” could appoint

Why freedom of the press matters

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

Australia has a robust democracy, but it has become clear that freedom of the press is under attack. Whether it’s starving the public broadcaster of funding while forking out millions to Foxtel, the further concentration of media ownership in Australia, or the frequency with which journalists, media organisations and whistleblowers are being raided and arrested

Public Sector Informant: National cabinet secrecy hurts energy policies

by Bill Browne in The Canberra Times

Last week, Senator Rex Patrick challenged the secrecy of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s National Cabinet. In the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, parties argued whether the National Cabinet belongs to the Westminster tradition, with its expectations of cabinet confidentiality, solidarity and collective responsibility. The controversy cuts to the core of our system of government. Eventual court decisions

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

Australian subsidies give oil refineries the whole carrot farm while electric vehicles get the stick

by Richie Merzian in The Guardian

The only viable long-term solution to our liquid fuel insecurity is to get off fossil fuels. Instead we are giving them taxpayer handouts When I was a kid, every year in early December we would go to the Geelong oil refinery in Corio. The refinery’s fire engine would cruise around, flash its lights and hand

Josh Frydenberg’s wages trap

by Richard Denniss in Australian unions

Josh Frydenberg is playing us all for mugs – and I’m not talking about those ridiculous “Back in the Black” coffee cups he had made in 2019. With his third Federal Budget, Frydenberg has delivered on Matthias Corman’s strategy, which he revealed when he let the mask slip in an interview with Sky News on

The government’s embrace of ‘clean hydrogen’ helps no one but the fossil fuel industry

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

Nothing captures prime minister Scott Morrison’s approach to climate change better than his embrace of “clean hydrogen” – a BS marketing term that delivers nothing but obfuscation and helps no one but the fossil fuel industry. Tellingly, this approach isn’t even new: Morrison has simply dusted off an old polluter playbook and changed a few

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

Scott Morrison’s climate summit speech was littered with downright dodgy claims

by Richie Merzian in The New Daily

I have sat through countless speeches on climate change from world leaders, both working for the government and outside it, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s rant at President Joe Biden’s climate summit last night was one of the worst performances I have ever seen. Technical glitches and the dreaded mute button were the least of Morrison’s worries,

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