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

Unpacking the Mini-Budget: What you need to know

featuring Ebony Bennett, Richard Denniss and Matt Grudnoff

In this episode, Richard Denniss and Matt Grudnoff, chief and senior economists at the Australia Institute unpack what you need to know about the Mini-Budget delivered by the Treasurer and answer your questions. The Australia Institute // @theausinstitute Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennett Guests: Richard Denniss, chief economist at

JobSeeker Cut to Push 370,000 into Poverty, Including 80,000 Children

New analysis from The Australia Institute shows the Government’s announcement to cut the JobSeeker supplement by $150 per week would push 370,000 Australians into poverty from September, including 80,000 children. The specially commissioned modelling undertaken after Tuesday’s announcement also shows that the cut will result in hundreds of thousands of Australians would struggle to pay

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

JobKeeper Review: Scheme Encourages Sacking Casuals, Non-Resident Workers

A new discussion paper from The Australia Institute has shown that the JobKeeper scheme is encouraging businesses to dismiss ineligible employees, meaning casuals employed for less than a year and non-resident workers have been disproportionately affected by job losses in recent months. Key findings: Of those working for a business that received JobKeeper the number

A Better JobKeeper: Targeting Support to Workers, Businesses in Need

A new discussion paper from The Australia Institute has proposed a model for how the Federal Government’s JobKeeper policy could be reformed, allowing the package to be retained and improved while clawing back spending in situations where the payments are no longer needed. The proposal comprises a model that would see businesses pay increased tax

Cutting JobSeeker Would Put 650,000 into Poverty, Including 120,000 Children

New economic modelling from The Australia Institute has shown that if the government removes the JobSeeker Coronavirus Supplement in September it will be forcing more than 650,000 Australians, including 120,000 children, to live in poverty. The new report, from The Australia Institute’s senior economist Matt Grudnoff, also shows that if the supplement is cut, hundreds

Auditor General’s ‘Watergate’ Report Shows Need for Royal Commission

An Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report on the Murray Darling Basin has found “information relating to value for money…was limited” for water purchases worth $190 million. The ANAO found that the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE): Did not consistently apply approved policy, planning and guidance to the assessment of all limited tender

G20 analysis: Australian stimulus spending four times more on fossil fuels than clean energy

Ahead of the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting this week, 14 expert organisations from around the globe, including the Australia Institute, have launched a COVID-19 tracker of fossil fuel and clean energy stimulus. The Energy Policy Tracker shows that the world’s 20 richest countries, who together account for 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, have

How to make electricity bills cheaper

featuring Ebony Bennett and Dan Cass

In this week’s episode we explain how two changes to the rules of the National Electricity Market (NEM) will help reduce electricity bills, cut emissions, pave the way for more renewable energy and storage in the grid AND improve grid stability. It’s win-win-win-win. Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennett // @theausinstitute Guests: Dan Cass, energy

“CSIRO” report misleads on fracking risks

A study purported to be from the CSIRO that showed that fracking was “safe for the environment” was actually overseen by the gas industry, and was based on just six of Queensland’s 19,000 coal seam gas wells, according to new analysis by The Australia Institute. The report was published by the Gas Industry Social and

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

Fracking can’t fire up NT manufacturing

Research published today by The Australia Institute highlights that employment in gas-related manufacturing declined while gas in the Northern Territory was very cheap. Fracked gas will be far more expensive, making petrochemical manufacturing in the Territory unviable without massive taxpayer subsidy. Key findings: The NT Government’s Power and Water Corporation had large surpluses of gas

Consumer & Citizen Groups have Serious Concerns About Google Fitbit Takeover

Consumer and citizen groups have significant concerns that Google’s proposed takeover of wearables manufacturer Fitbit would be a game-changer not only for how people interact with the online world but also for digital and related health markets. Regulators around the world – in particular those concerned with antitrust compliance and data privacy – must therefore

June 2020

Dramatic Fall in Petroleum Emissions: National Energy Emissions Audit

New research shows that Australia’s pandemic response has reduced transport emissions by over 3,000,000 tonnes (3 Mt CO2-e), due to an unprecedented drop in the consumption of petroleum fuels during April—falling by 77% for domestic aviation, and a combined 36% drop for petrol, LPG and retail diesel. The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program has

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

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