April 2020

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”

November 2019

Morrison doesn’t like it when the quiet Australians start to speak up | Integrity Commissions | Governance & Government Agencies | Climate Change

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 02 November 2019] In his government’s latest free-speech crackdown, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has vowed to outlaw civil society groups campaigning against Australian businesses that work with companies with dubious environmental, human rights or ethical records. Morrison’s plan would criminalise, for example, the thousands of young people

October 2019

Scott Morrison is a master at shifting responsibility. But even God can’t help him now

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 16 October 2019] When Barnaby Joyce starts making more sense about inequality than Scott Morrison, you know the Coalition is heading for choppy waters. In July, the former Nationals leader suggested that the unemployment benefit needed to rise significantly. “Certainly $555 or thereabouts a fortnight is difficult, especially

Attack of the clones: Australia’s reign by older white men is an offence on us all

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on The Guardian Australia, 02 October 2019] Teams full of similar people underperform. While sameness can create cohesion, cookie-cutter teams can’t successfully compete with diverse teams that can draw on a broad range of talents, perspectives and insights. At least that’s what empirical data from lefty organisations including McKinsey, Credit Suisse and the IMF have to

September 2019

If Alan Jones is free to speak, in a free market his sponsors are too

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on The Guardian Australia, 04 September 2019] Are free markets more important than free speech? We aren’t supposed to ask such questions because each of those libertarian goals was supposed to reinforce the other. But they clearly don’t, so it’s time to take a closer look at what “freedom” really means

August 2019

Conservatives hate red tape – unless it’s to regulate the behaviour of their enemies

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on Guardian Australia, 08 August 2019] Australia needs more regulation of the banks, more regulation of the aged care sector, more regulation of property developers, more regulation of the mining industry and more regulation of the way we use the water in our rivers. But conservatives are still calling for a

July 2019

Problems with the Murray-Darling Basin can’t be skimmed over

by Maryanne Slattery[Originally published in The Canberra Times, 13 July 2019] The Murray-Darling Basin is broken. Literally. As in its parts aren’t joined up anymore – the Darling River/Barka hasn’t flowed into the Murray since 2017. The Murrumbidgee isn’t flowing into the Murray either and will be disconnected from the rest of the basin more

Australia’s business lobby has mastered the art of dressing self-interest up as national interest

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on The Guardian Australia, 10 July 2019] The only time the business community pretends to take economics seriously is when they want to slash their taxes – or other people’s wages. The economic evidence to support the case for multimillion CEO bonuses is as weak as the economic evidence that cutting

June 2019

Modern conservatives don’t fear social change, they just oppose it when it undermines their friends

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on The Guardian Australia, 26 June 2019] The modern conservatives often seem afraid of new technology. They act as though renewable energy, battery storage and electric cars will take us down the path to blackouts, economic ruin and, of course, the end of weekends as we know them. But if recent

May 2019

What’s ‘left’ and ‘right’ in Australian politics today? The lines are shifting

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally Published on Guardian Australia, 29 May 2019] While Australian political debate has never seemed more sharply divided, the philosophical lines between left and right have never seemed more blurred. The economy is always in transition, and people are always losing and finding jobs, but – after decades of the right being contemptuous

Fossil fuel’s win may be Coalition’s loss

by Richard Denniss[Originally published in the Australian Financial Review, 27 May 2019] There’s no doubt the Adani coal mine helped the Liberal National Party win votes in North Queensland but there’s also no doubt it helped them lose a lot of votes – and economic credibility – in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. And while the triumphalism of

Bob Hawke leaves behind an important environmental legacy

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 17 May 2019] Bob Hawke is perhaps credited most often for his economic reforms, but he also leaves a tremendous legacy of protecting Earth’s wilderness. Without Bob Hawke, Antarctica would be a quarry, Tasmania’s iconic Franklin River would be flooded and Queensland’s Daintree rainforest would be a

Preferences matter for Senate voting. Here’s how to make your election vote count

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss[Originally published on The Guardian Australia, 02 May 2019]  Australians are asked to either vote ‘above the line’ in the Senate by expressing a preference for at least six political parties, or vote ‘below the line’ by expressing a preference for at least 12 individual candidates. Photograph: Paul Crock/AFP/Getty Images You can’t name

March 2019

Australia’s gun lobby and its political donations laid bare

by Bill Browne in The Sydney Morning Herald

The footage was shocking: One Nation figures meeting with the National Rifle Association in the US in search of political donations, media support and strategic advice. Australians may be surprised to discover the gun lobby in Australia rivals the NRA in size and spending, according to Australia Institute research commissioned by Gun Control Australia. Most people have

February 2019

It’s time to rein in CEO pay to curtail banks’ culture of greed

by Ebony Bennett in The Brisbane Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in the Canberra Times, 8 Feb 2019] One of the first things you learn as a child is not to be greedy. It’s a fairly straightforward lesson. Yet, greed is the ultimate culprit identified by Justice Kenneth Haynes in his banking royal commission report. Worse still, the current hysteria surrounding franking

January 2019

Australia, we have bigger issues to tackle than boardies and thongs

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally published in The Canberra Times, 26.01.19] Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and forcing 537 councils to conduct citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day. And it’s stinking hot. What could be more Australian than a nationwide ban on shorts and thongs as we confer citizenship on our newest Aussies during

October 2018

The Coalition’s (non) disclosure bill

by Richard Denniss, Chief Economist at The Australia Institute. [Published in the Australian Financial Review 02.10.18] Was the campaign by the banks to prevent a royal commission into their behaviour “political” in nature? Was the campaign by the Catholic Church to oppose same-sex marriage “political” in nature? And was the campaign by the mining industry to repeal

September 2018

Our regulators fail to protect the vulnerable from the greedy. Let’s find out why.

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss. [This article originally appeared on The Guardian Australia 19.09.2018] The royal commission Australia really needs is one into the spectacular – almost complete – failure of our regulators to protect the vulnerable from the greedy. While it is clear that many of our so-called watchdogs are little more than lap dogs, what

August 2018

July 2018

The ABC needs fixing, not ‘saving’

By Richard Denniss – Chief Economist at The Australia Institute.   [This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 24 September 2018] Wars are expensive and culture wars are no different. Indeed, the opportunity cost of Australia’s culture war is enormous as it comes at the expense of developing meaningful energy, broadband and tax

Symbolic fights make sense when you’re losing the real ones

By Richard Denniss, Chief Economist at The Australia Institute. [Read in The Australian Financial Reiew here] Confidence is silent and insecurities are loud. How else could you explain Sky TV commentator Rowan Dean’s need to credit “Western values” for the Thai junior soccer team’s successful rescue? In case you missed Dean’s comments – because, like most

The Abbott doctrine of dumping deals

By Richard Denniss, Chief Economist at The Australia Institute. [View this article in the Australian Financial Review] Having abandoned the principles of small government, the right of Australian politics are now urging Australia to embrace Donald Trump’s attack on international agreements. Is there any institution these so-called “conservatives” aren’t willing to wreck in pursuit of

How ‘free marketeers’ killed Neoliberalism

By Richard Denniss, Chief Economist at The Australia Institute [Read in the Sydney Morning Herald here] Economic rationalism and neoliberalism are dead in Australia. In an unexpected twist, the idea that markets are good and governments are bad was killed by the right wing of Australian politics, who simply couldn’t resist the desire to shovel

January 2018

Forget the populists, Australia is well overdue for more politicians

With a seemingly never-ending string of negative narratives about how poorly our politics is performing, we are now overdue for some more structured thinking about what needs to be done. The “anti-politics” sentiment now risks hardening into something more dramatic as the electorate turns away, not just from the current crop of politicians – but potentially from

November 2017

The National Party’s 1950s identity politics are costing the Coalition dear

Three years after Campbell Newman suffered the biggest swing in Australian political history, the Liberal National Party (LNP) just lost another 8 per cent of Queensland voters. [This article was first published in the Australian Financial Review – here] Remarkably, senior conservatives are already demanding greater distance between their party and the vast majority of voters

Media Enquiries

Anna Chang Communications Director

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anna@australiainstitute.org.au