May 2022

Higgins Polling Research Shows Landslide Support for Truth in Political Advertising Laws

New polling in the federal seat of Higgins shows a tight race between the Government and Opposition, with respondents indicating a substantial drop in the Liberal Party primary vote. “This poll demonstrates landslide support for truth in political advertising laws (92%) in a campaign which has been marred by allegations of dishonesty and misinformation,” said

An Australian COP29

featuring Ebony Bennett, Richie Merzian and Allan Behm

Australia has never hosted a United Nations climate conference (COP) and the recent proposal from the Labor Party to bid for the 2024 COP in partnership with the Pacific could shift Australia’s reputation from climate laggard to regional leader. Hosting a COP would also have a number of economic, diplomatic and security co-benefits. This was

Polling: Integrity a Key Issue to Voters

The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,002 Australians about integrity’s role in the 2022 election. The results show that integrity is important to most Australians in this election. Overall, three in four Australians (76%) either say that integrity issues are more important (30%) this election than last or that integrity issues are

With falling real incomes and rising prices many people don’t believe the story of prosperity Scott Morrison is preaching

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

While it makes economic and political sense to suggest, as Anthony Albanese has, that the minimum wage, and indeed most wages, rise inline with the rate of inflation Scott Morrison has suggested such a move would be ‘reckless and dangerous’. What’s far more dangerous and reckless is letting real wages and consumer spending fall just

Wages Will Continue to Lag Without Targeted Wage-Boosting Measures: New Report

A comprehensive review of Australian wage trends indicates that wage growth is likely to remain stuck at historically weak levels despite the dramatic disruptions experienced by the Australian labour market through the COVID-19 pandemic. The report finds that targeted policies to deliberately lift wages are needed to break free of the low-wage trajectory that has

Why commentary that wages growing in line with inflation will drive up inflation is completely misguided

by Greg Jericho

Today the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese was asked about wages in the following exchange: Journalist: “You said that you don’t want people to go backwards. Does that mean that you would support a wage hike of 5.1% just to keep up with inflation? Anthony Albanese: “Absolutely”. Any other response would be to suggest that real

Inflation Good for Budget but Bad for Voters

Surging inflation is driving record increases in government tax revenue while simultaneously pushing down workers’ real wages, according to new Australia Institute analysis of Treasury forecasts released today. As the figure below shows, Treasury forecasts of Commonwealth spending are well above the spending forecasts made pre-covid and, more significantly, well above the levels forecast in

Facebook Revelations an Attack on Democracy

“Today’s revelations in the Wall Street Journal confirm what we suspected at the time: that Facebook’s takedown was a deliberate attack on Australian democratic institutions, deployed as a negotiating tactic to avoid paying for news content,” said Peter Lewis, Director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. “The fact that this global corporation was

Hosting UN Climate Summit Could Ease Pacific Tensions: Report

A new research report released today has found that by hosting the UN’s largest climate event (COP29 in 2024) in partnership with Pacific neighbours, Australia could ease diplomatic tensions in the region, in addition to tackling climate change and stimulating local tourism and hospitality. The report comes as Australia’s relations with the Solomon Islands have

Pandemic Workforce Crisis Requires TAFE Investment in Early Childhood Education to Boost Economy: Report

A new report has found pandemic workforce shortages should be tackled through investment in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) to boost employment, unlock productivity and support life-long development outcomes for children. The research report launched today, ‘Educating for Care: Meeting Skills Shortages in an Expanding ECEC Industry’ has called for the sector to be

Restoring Integrity in the Carbon Market

featuring Ben Oquist

Speech delivered by Ben Oquist, executive director of the Australia Institute, to the Smart Energy Conference 2022, 5 May 2022 E&OE transcript I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, on whose stolen land we meet, and pay my respects to elders past and present. And I extend this respect to all Aboriginal

Renewed Call for Review of $4.5 Billion Carbon Credit Scheme

The Australian Government’s controversial $4.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) has today come under renewed calls for a root-and-branch review. The call comes following revelations by the former chair of the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee that up to 80% of Australian carbon credits lack integrity. A new research report, launched today by the

How do Nordic countries make housing affordable?

featuring Andrew Scott and Ebony Bennett

Australia’s housing affordability crisis results from over- reliance on just two options – private home ownership and private renting. To tackle it, a wider repertoire of policies is required. Nordic nations’ widespread provision of public housing and housing co-operatives, priority for homes to live in rather than invest in, and effective reduction of homelessness, show

Unwarranted ‘Kangaroo Court’ Attacks on Integrity Commissions Undermine Crucial Accountability Role in Our Democracy

“Attacks on integrity commissions as ‘kangaroo courts’ show a misunderstanding of the role they play in our democracy,” said Bill Browne, Head of the Australia Institute’s Democracy & Accountability Program. “Every state and territory in Australia has an integrity commission, and none has turned into a ‘public autocracy’ because of it. Premier Dominic Perrottet was

Goldstein Polling Research

New research reveals that the Coalition MP for Goldstein, Tim Wilson, is under serious pressure to retain his seat according to a uComms opinion poll conducted on the 27th of April. The poll was conducted with a sample size of 855 people via telephone, with a margin of error of 3.34%. The poll is Australian

April 2022

It is time to talk about truth in political advertising

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

Before a vote has been cast, one election verdict has already been delivered. The campaign has been too light on policy and too heavy on misleading scare tactics. Our democracy is suffering for it. In just the first weeks of the election campaign, we have seen heated accusations of misleading claims from all sides. Waleed

Deus Ex Machina

featuring Peter Lewis

Humans embrace technology with a child-like optimism, but what are the threats Artificial Intelligence poses our society if its impacts are not thought through? Burning Platforms dives deep into the amorality of AI with a special discussion with Professor Toby Walsh, author of the new book ‘Machines Behaving Badly’. Recorded live 29th April 2022. Regular

Housing Affordability Crisis Requires Nordic Policy Solutions: Experts

The key driver of Australia’s acute housing affordability crisis is its over-reliance on just two housing options – private home ownership and private renting. New research from the Australia Institute’s Nordic Policy Centre shows that Nordic countries have a wider repertoire of policies, and Australia can learn from policies that are already in practice in

Australia 91% reliant on foreign oil: Research Report

A new research report by The Australia Institute has revealed the country has only increased its reliance on imported transport fuels since the federal government released its dire interim Liquid Fuel Security Report in early 2019. The research finds that Australia’s transport fuels are highly vulnerable to international prices and supply chains and yet demand-side

$7.4b Dam Announcement Doesn’t Hold Economic Water: Research

New research has found that the Federal Government’s announcement that it will spend $7.4b on dams does not deliver value for money and provides less employment and GDP growth than if the same amount were invested in other parts of the economy. The research reveals that if the $5.4b announced for the Hells Gate Dam

Allegations of Political Lies Underscore Need for Truth in Political Advertising Laws

In just the second week of the federal election campaign, voters are already seeing heated accusations of lying from all sides, underscoring the need for federal truth in political advertising laws. Key Points: South Australia has had truth in political advertising laws since the 1980s. The ACT Legislative Assembly passed similar laws prior to the

Government Energy Claims Don’t Stack Up

“Australia’s electricity grid is not fit-for-purpose and requires additional investment. The long-term benefits include a more stable grid and cheaper power prices thanks to onboarding more renewables,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute. “The evidence shows that wholesale electricity prices have increased in every jurisdiction in the National Electricity

Canberra is increasingly outsourcing its national role. That needs to stop

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

In the final days before the federal election was called, the new South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas came to Canberra to deliver a blistering National Press Club address. One seasoned journalist described the speech as Obama-esque. While Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese criss-crossed the country visiting the states to make local announcements in the then

New Police Powers a Threat to Civil Society: Research Submission

The Tasmanian Government’s proposed law for a police crackdown on peaceful protest has been criticised as anti-democratic and a threat to civil society, in a submission by independent think-tank the Australia Institute, Tasmania. Key points in submission: Bill undermines freedom of expression, association and assembly for the Tasmanian public Bill contains unclear, broad and discretionary

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