September 2019

May 2019

April 2019

Economics 101 for the ABCC

by Jim Stanford

The Australian Building and Construction Commission’s decision to press charges against 54 steelworkers for attending a political rally, with potential fines of up to $42,000 per person, is abhorrent on any level. No worker should face this kind of intimidation for participating in peaceful protest.

Budget 2019-20: Ooops, They Did It Again!

by Jim Stanford

You would think that after 5 consecutive years of wage forecasts that wildly overestimated actual experience, the government might have learned from its past errors – and published a wage forecast more in line with reality. But not this government. They are still trying to convince Australian workers, who haven’t seen real average wages rise in over 5 years, that better times are just around the corner. And rosy wage forecasts are helpful in justifying their equally optimistic revenue forecasts: since if Australians are earning more money, they will be paying more taxes!

March 2019

LNG: The new ‘low tar’ cigarette?

in Medium

Just as ‘low tar’ cigarettes were aimed at keeping people smoking, WA’s big gas export companies want to lock Australia into using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for decades to come. The Australia InstituteFollowMar 21  Image source: AAP by Mark Ogge, Principal Advisor at The Australia Institute. Remember when the tobacco industry was pushing low tar cigarettes as a

The Parliamentary Budget Office and debt

in Medium

David Richardson, Senior Research Fellow The Parliamentary Budgetary Office (2019) has just published a report on net debt but is really a plea for wider use of ‘net financial worth’ as a better indicator than net debt of what it calls ‘fiscal sustainability’. They say ‘net debt is widely regarded as a key budget indicator

124 Labour Policy Experts Call for Measures to Promote Stronger Wage Growth

124 labour policy experts have today published an open letter calling for proactive measures to help accelerate the rate of wages growth in Australia’s economy. The legal experts, economists, and other policy analysts agreed that “stronger wages in the future would contribute to a stronger, more balanced and fairer Australian economy,” and they proposed several broad strategies to boost wages.

8 Things to Know About the Living Wage

by Jim Stanford

There has been a lot of discussion about “living wages” in recent years – in Australia, and internationally. And now the idea has become a hot election topic. The ACTU wants the government to boost the federal minimum wage so it’s a true living wage. Opposition leader Bill Shorten has hinted he’s open to the idea. Business leaders predict economic catastrophe if the minimum wage is increased.

February 2019

Power Rule Change in Hot Demand

in Medium

The Australia Institute’s Dan J Cass explains why ‘demand response’ is proving so popular with energy market operators, Australian consumers and some of our country’s biggest businesses. Weather records have been smashed as Australia continues to swelter through one of its hottest summers on record As the heatwaves hit Australia this summer, we should be watching

January 2019

Tax cuts like shooting yourself in the foot: new data shows

in Medium

Instead of reloading the gun to do it again, perhaps this is a good time to reconsider whether company tax cuts made any sense at all The Australia InstituteFollowJan 25   The ABS released its detailed biennial survey of employment arrangements this week and, buried deep in the dozens of statistical tables, there was a very surprising breakdown. It

PM blames drought, but there’s been over 100 cases of maladministration in Murray Darling in less than one year

in Medium

Hundreds and thousands of native fish have been killed in the Murray Darling Basin. Drought is the catalyst, but mismanagement and policy failure of implementing the Murray Darling Basin Plan is the cause. The Australia InstituteFollowJan 23   ABC report on the mismanagement of the Murray Darling Basin Since allegations of large-scale water theft were first aired on Four

Trans Tarkine Track clips

Over the summer, we have been busy recording what Tasmanians think about a whole range of issues. Tassie is cool and tourism is hot – with our state having the largest rise in visitor numbers this quarter. Whilst some in the South and East are worried about over crowding and under funding of infrastructure, the

December 2018

Let’s Unpack the Government’s Anti-Corruption Watchdog Announcement

in Medium

The Australia InstituteFollowDec 13, 2018   BREAKING: the government has announced it will establish a Commonwealth Integrity Commission to investigate corrupt conduct at the federal level. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Attorney General Christian Porter this morning held a press conference where they made the announcement to set up a new federal anti-corruption watchdog. Australia Institute

November 2018

New Book: The Wages Crisis in Australia

by Jim Stanford, Andrew Stewart and Tess Hardy

Australian wage growth has decelerated in recent years to the slowest sustained pace since the 1930s. Nominal wages have grown very slowly since 2012; average real wages (after adjusting for inflation) have not grown at all. The resulting slowdown in personal incomes has contributed to weak consumer spending, more precarious household finances, and even larger government deficits.

Go Home on Time Day 2018

Wednesday 21 November is Australia’s official “Go Home On Time Day,” sponsored by the Centre for Future Work and the Australia Institute. This represents the 10th year of our initiative, to provide light-hearted encouragement to Australian workers to actually leave their jobs when they are supposed to. Instead of working late once again – and allowing your employer to “steal” even more of your time, without even paying for it – why not leave the job promptly. Spend a full evening with your family or friends, visit the gym, see a movie – do anything other than work.

6 key takeaways from Joseph Stiglitz’s National Press Club Address

in Medium

Why would the IMF put dealing with inequality at the centre of their economic agenda? Professor Joseph Stiglitz explains in his National Press Club Address. The Australia InstituteFollowNov 16, 2018 Professor Joseph Stiglitz. (photo: Sasha Maslov) 1 // Progressive economics make more equal societies. “Why would an institution like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) put dealing with inequality

October 2018

Gas & coal power has broken down 114 times so far this year, fair dinkum.

in Medium

On average, that’s one gas & coal plant breakdown every 2.6 days. The Australia InstituteFollowOct 23, 2018   Above: Yallourn W Power Station, image used under Creative Commons license. The Australia Institute’s Gas & Coal Watch has been tracking gas and coal power plant breakdowns and gas and coal power plants have broken down 114 times this calendar

The Price is Not Right — Australia’s Environment Minister and the Pacific

in Medium

The Australia InstituteFollowOct 19, 2018  The Pacific Islands will potentially suffer the worst impacts of climate change Richie Merzian is The Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program Director — @RichieMerzian When the lights are on and the cameras are rolling, most government Ministers know that they must at least pretend to believe in and care about the impacts of

Government way off mark for Paris Target: new analysis

in Medium

When it comes to meeting the Paris Target, new analysis from The Australia Institute shows the Government is way off the mark and off-message The Australia InstituteFollowOct 11, 2018  A new report from The Australia Institute debunks the government’s claims that Australia will meet the Paris target ‘in a canter’, demonstrating total emissions have been

The Emissions Data the Government Didn’t Want You To See

in Medium

The Government released it’s Quarterly Greenhouse Gas Inventory last Friday, but don’t be shocked if you missed it. The Government released its Quarterly Greenhouse Gas Inventory late last Friday afternoon, before a long weekend and the football finals, at the same time as the interim report into the banking royal commission and it was a month late. A more

September 2018

5 ways the ABC board appointment process can be reformed right now

in Medium

The crisis currently engulfing the ABC demonstrates clearly that the process for ABC Board appointments, including the appointment of the Chair, is in urgent need of reform in order to depoliticise future appointments and protect the ABC’s independence. “Revelations that many directors of the ABC’s eight-member board were directly appointed by the minister rather than

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