January 2012

Pointless politics of gesture

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Summer is a terrific time to build political mountains out of molehills – policies that are not really meant to be acted on H ands up if you support social exclusion. No? Then by the Federal Government’s logic, that means you must support social inclusion. And if you support social inclusion, you must be appalled

December 2011

At home with contradictions

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

It is impossible for politicians to satisfy the conflicting desire for housing affordability while trying to keep home owners happy. Political priorities are often contradictory in Australia. We support individual freedom and liberty, but we accept that, in the war against terror, we must sometimes be searched or delayed at random. We support individuals taking

Green ideas gone bad

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

The road to fiscal recklessness is paved with green intentions as poorly designed climate policy could cost ACT taxpayers millions. It is rare in public debate that you can enter a fight knowing that you can’t possibly lose. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the taxpayers of the ACT, who will likely waste hundreds

November 2011

Government’s surplus fetish reveals poor priorities

The announcement today of a $20 billion dollar hole in the budget is a storm in a teacup and only proves that the government’s pursuit of a surplus has more to do with politics than economics, according to The Australia Institute’s Executive Director Dr Richard Denniss. “Australia’s GDP is more than $1,400 billion per year,

History suggests undertakings to protect Foster’s brand might be worthless

The history of takeovers in Australia suggests that the undertakings SABMiller PLC gave to retain Foster’s iconic Australian identity are likely to be worthless, according to The Australia Institute. SABMiller PLC, the foreign buyer, has undertaken that: •Operations will remain in Australia •Production facilities will not be moved offshore •Foster’s iconic brand portfolio will be

October 2011

Sick Australians forgoing medication as out-of-pocket expenses mount

Australians are paying more than $1 billion each year in out-of-pocket expenses for GP visits, pharmaceuticals, pathology and diagnostic testing despite Medicare’s pledge to provide ‘fair and affordable’ health care, a new study by The Australia Institute reveals. The study also confirmed that many Australians are forgoing treatment, with almost a quarter of survey respondents

Threat to our carbon efforts

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

As with all complex financial products, when it comes to emissions trading, all is not what it seems. Common sense tells us that banks would never lend money to people who have little chance of repaying it, but the collapse of the American banking system taught us that they do. Common sense tells us that

September 2011

Abbott out of step on carbon

by Matt Grudnoff in On Line Opinion

The list of friends for Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Plan continues to shrink. The Australian Industry Greenhouse Network (AIGN) which co-ordinates, among others, the mining and manufacturing industry’s response to climate change issues has rejected the Opposition’s plan saying it would cost far more than the Coalition has claimed. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott responded by

Asylum-seekers a distracting non-issue

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

One of the main roles of a prime minister is to determine the priorities of their government. Should we focus on tackling climate change or on indigenous disadvantage, should we focus on making it easier for employers to sack their workers or should we focus on asylum-seekers? Of course with the entire machinery of the

August 2011

Carbon tax: for Abbott it’s appalling policy or appalling hypocrisy

by Matt Grudnoff in Crikey

A rather small convoy of constitutional confusion today rolled into Canberra calling for a double-dissolution election. The impending carbon price, the ban on live exports and the imminent threat of one world government were all cited by participants as motivating their demands. But no matter how sincere their confused calls for a double-dissolution election, they

Big has become beautiful

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

For all the talk about the rising cost of living in Australia it is amazing that there isn’t more concern expressed at the high mark-ups that big Australian retailers charge. Australians pay far more for clothes, computers and most other consumer goods than customers in the rest of the world. There are two main reasons

How increasing population is making the task of government harder – Kelvin Thomson MP – 25 August 2011

The Australia Institute and Sustainable Population Australia will host a talk by Kelvin Thomson MP on the evening of Thursday 25 August 2011. Kelvin will discuss the topic ‘The witches hats theory of government: How increasing population is making the task of government harder’. Providing food, water, energy, housing, education, jobs, health, liveable cities and

Abbott reads from Mao’s little green book of nonsense

by Richard Denniss in The Punch

Australian politicians have spent more than 20 years thinking up reasons not to tackle climate change, but the latest from Tony Abbott really must take the cake. According to the Opposition Leader, it now seems that until Communist China introduces a market-based mechanism to reduce their emissions, Australia shouldn’t either. That should buy us some

Direct Action will need more public servants than the Department of Climate Change

The Australia Institute today called on Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey to outline how many public servants they will require to administer their ‘direct action’ climate change plan, in light of his comments about disbanding the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Mr Hockey has said that the Coalition is considering disbanding the Department

July 2011

Direct Action: Good politics, bad policy

by Matt Grudnoff in Analysis & Policy Observatory

Last week Tony Abbott branded the Government’s target to reduce emissions by five per cent by 2020 as ‘crazy’, but the crazy thing is that the Coalition has the same target. Was this just Mr Abbott getting over excited in his attacks on the Government? A slip of the tongue similar to when he told

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