Opinions

September 2020

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

ACT should lead way on truth in political advertising

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 25 July 2020] With the ACT election coming this October, Canberrans are already girding themselves for the love-bombing, fear-mongering and vigorous debate that comes along with every election campaign. The press conferences, policy announcements and debates are quite enough for any person to take in. Voters shouldn’t

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

When the government prosecutes whistleblowers, it is sending a message

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 11 July 2020] We are in the midst of a public health and economic crisis, and the federal government is regularly making momentous and life-altering decisions, including exerting the authority of the state to limit (sometimes with good reason) basic civil liberties. Just when our need for integrity and

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 COVID-19 and Rio Tinto lesson: regulation is not ‘red tape’, it’s protection

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

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

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

How long the lockdown lasts is not just a medical question – it’s a democratic one

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on the Guardian Australia, 15 April 2020] Just as economists should never be used to tell Australians what kind of society we “must” live in, medical scientists, and indeed climate scientists, should never be used to tell us what we “must” do. The role of experts is to inform us about

Oversight is essential in the fast moving crisis that is COVID-19

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published by The Canberra Times, 01 April 2020] Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. State and federal governments are exercising broad new powers and deploying eye-popping public spending to manage the COVID-19 health and economic crises. But government transparency and parliamentary accountability will be crucial to preserving one all-important commodity: trust. There

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,

Coronavirus is not the villain: Australia’s economy was already on a precipice

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published by the Guardian Australia, 04 March 2020] If you thought the prime minister was slow to respond to the bushfire crisis, take a look at his response to Australia’s ailing economy. Morrison is currently trying to pivot away from the government’s economic inaction using the coronavirus outbreak as cover, but the

The Treasurer is missing the mark

by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 02 March 2020] In the summer of 2010, devastating floods hit Queensland killing 33 people, causing billions of dollars in damage, shutting coal mines, and knocking an estimated $30 billion off GDP. The then Labor Government’s promise of a budget surplus was washed away too. Fast

Stimulus is not a dirty word, so why is the government scared of it?

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 07 March 2020] It might be time to panic. Not about running out of toilet paper, the real danger is that the Morrison government will undercook its mooted fiscal stimulus package and risk sending Australia into recession to prove an ideological point. The economy has been weak

February 2020

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