January 2017

Billionaires get more leeway than vulnerable citizens. It’s obscene

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

When politicians spend taxpayers money flying themselves to fundraising parties or flying to their own weddings, we leave it up to the politician to decide if their claim is “outside of entitlement”. First published on The Guardian – here When it comes to income tax we allow people to claim $300 worth of tax deductions without receipts because

December 2016

Government debt would be zero if we had Howard tax levels

by Ben Oquist in Crikey

This op-ed was first published on 19 December on Crikey here > https://www.crikey.com.au/2016/12/19/rudd-gillard-and-abbott-cut-taxes-a… The debate surrounding MYEFO and whether Australia has a credible path back to a surplus should start by remembering how we got here. If Scott Morrison had delivered much of Peter Costello’s taxation ratio the budget would not be in deficit today. This

Revenue the key to budget problems

The Australia Institute have today published Taxing times: The impact of the GFC on tax revenue in Australia which models the sharp decline in Australian budget revenues against a scenario where pre-GFC tax ratios were maintained. This research shows that the main factor leading to the post-GFC deficits and the accumulation of government debt has

The notion of evidence-based policy in Australia is dead

The notion of evidence-based policy in Australia is dead. While it’s been in poor health for some time, it was finally killed by the Coalition backbench last week and replaced with “gut instinct” and “the pub test”. First published by the Australian Financial Review – here When Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was recently quizzed

Australia half-way to first recession in 25 years

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a larger than expected fall in GDP, putting the economy into negative growth at -0.5%. GDP at the lowest rate since 2008 at the height of the Global Financial Crisis. The biggest single culprit to the fall in growth was reduced government capital expenditure. Government capital spending, which

November 2016

World’s largest sovereign wealth fund called on to dump offshore detention operator shares

New research from The Australia Institute has revealed that Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, known as ‘Oljefondet’, has US$280 million invested in Ferrovial. After its takeover of Australian company Broadspectrum, Spanish company Ferrovial is now responsible for the biggest contract to run Australia’s offshore detention camps. The offshore detention camps are notorious for human rights abuses,

ABCC will do nothing for housing prices: Report

As the Senate continues to debate the proposed Australian Building and Construction Commission, new research from the Centre for Future Work challenges the government’s claim that construction labour costs have pushed up Australian housing prices. Prime Minister Turnbull blamed construction workers and their union for the high cost of housing, when he re-introduced the ABCC

Interest always trumps ideology

In the modern version of “the battle of ideas” political interests trump political ideology nearly every time. Take, for example, the alleged supporters of “small government” who have been strategically silent as the Australian resource industry pushed for a $100 billion, wholly government owned, nuclear waste dump in South Australia. First published by the Australian Financial Review

Some jobs are more equal than others

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

When Tony Abbott promised to shed more than 13,000 full time jobs from the public service there was a deafening silence from the Australian business community about the impact of job loss on Canberra communities and families. Likewise, you could hear crickets when Campbell Newman sacked 10,000 teachers, nurses and other Queensland public servants. [First

Economic Models

featuring Ebony Bennett, Rod Campbell and Richard Denniss

Economic models are like a lot of things in life: What you get out of them depends on what you put in. But therein lies the problem. When reporting focuses on the ‘findings’ without looking at what assumptions underpin politically influential economic models, it leaves us vulnerable to what Richard calls the ‘peak-stupid of econobabble’.

October 2016

Interest Rates

featuring Ebony Bennett, Richard Denniss and Matt Grudnoff

Interest rates may be one of the most discussed and least understood area of economics in Australia. Our Chief Economist and Senior Economist discuss the whats and whys of Reserve Bank policy and how interest rates really effect people and the broader economy. Contributors: Richard Denniss – @RDNS_TAI  Matt Grudnoff – @MattGrudnoff Ebony Bennett – @ebony_bennett.  Produced by

Denying The Downside Of Globalization Won’t Stop Populism

by Jim Stanford in The Huffington Post

The rise of anti-globalization sentiment, including in Australia, poses a big challenge to mainstream politicians who’ve been trumpeting the virtues of free trade for decades. [This article was first published by the Huffington Post – here] Treasurer Scott Morrison recently started pushing back, delivering a staunch defense of globalization to an audience in Sydney. Like other world

September 2016

Barnett and Costello: how to waste a boom

Successful investors let their winning bets run while quickly cutting their losses. But while the strategy of “spreading your bets” and “failing fast” might work for venture capitalists, it doesn’t work well for prime ministers. A chief executive that shuts down an underperforming factory is decisive; a PM who abandons Tasmania or regional Western Australia is divisive.

August 2016

Tasmanians want salmon boom to be sustainable, regulated

Statewide polling shows Tasmanians want the fast growing industry of intensive fish farming to be better monitored and regulated. New polling of 1,310 Tasmanians conducted by ReachTEL for The Australia Institute shows 70% support for establishing an independent watchdog on intensive fish farms and 61% support for an independent investigation into the impacts of the

Prominent Australians urge PM: Don’t cut Newstart

Comedian Corinne Grant, former Liberal leader John Hewson, award winning author Anna Funder, and businessman John Menadue AO join a list of 32 prominent Australians signing the open letter. The letter reads opens quoting the Business Council of Australia from their submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Adequacy of the Allowance Payment System for

Budget repair for the poorest, tax cuts for the wealthiest

As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull prepares to deliver an address regarding ‘budget repair’ his government is proposing unprecedented austerity for the poorest Australians but generous tax cuts for the wealthiest companies and individuals. At the heart of the PM’s plan to repair the Commonwealth Budget is a plan to slash the budgets of Australia’s poorest

Don’t cut the dole: Poll

New polling shows very low support for Government policy to cut welfare benefits by removing the clean energy supplement. The poll of 1,310 residents across Tasmania showed 60% opposed cutting Newstart, while just 25% supported the move. (see poll below) “There has been mounting evidence of the inadequacy of the unemployment benefits.  To cut them

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