Most Australians aren’t aware of a trade deal which could risk environmental laws, increase the cost of medicines and enable corporations to sue Australian governments, according to a new survey by The Australia Institute. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is currently under negotiation and establishes a free trade area including Australia, the United States of America,
Free trade is overrated and collective ownership is underrated. It’s not the lefties and the greenies saying that, that’s what the Coalition government and some of the biggest businesses in Australia are saying. While most people pretend to support free trade “in principle”, in practice most of them lose their enthusiasm.
At the moment the Abbott government’s position on foreign investment is being put to the test. GrainCorp is subject to a takeover bid by American company Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). This bid has received approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and we now await the decision of Treasurer, Joe Hockey.
The issues of coal seam gas and free trade are combining to create a perfect storm for the National Party, and in turn, the Coalition government. Tony Abbott obviously saw the clouds on the horizon before the election and responded by declaring that a Liberal would hold the Trade portfolio for the first time since
The Coalition’s newly announced trade policy leaves the federal government vulnerable to legal action from international companies, according to The Australia Institute. Hours before voters head to the polls, the opposition has announced it would use investor-state dispute settlement clauses in free trade agreements. The move would give foreign companies the right to take action
Australia used to have very high protection rates for its manufacturing industries. Historically tariff quotas on motor vehicles meant that Australian car prices were double the prices for equivalents overseas. Many other manufactured goods were sold at multiples of the prices in overseas markets. Australia like many other countries imposed very high tariffs on most
The faith of Australian policymakers and business leaders in communist China to keep delivering record growth is touching. Just as they assume the sun will rise tomorrow, so too do they believe those responsible for setting China’s exchange rate, making five-year plans and running their vast state-owned enterprises will keep doing a great job. When
The Nationals are worried about Chinese farm ownership yet it’s European mine ownership that’s harmed farmers Australians, it seems, don’t like selling off the farm. And the National Party really doesn’t seem to like selling them to the Chinese. But while the Nationals have a long, if not always proud, history in Australia it is
The federal government spent $374 billion last year providing services to its citizens, but it’s amazing what the government doesn’t know about those citizens. It is only every five years that we accurately measure the population through the census, and it’s only every six years that we get an accurate indication of what households spend
The Rio+20 gathering in Brazil last week was little more than a self-indulgent festival of environmental inaction. The idea of holding a summit to mark the 20 years since the world leaders last pledged to save the planet is like holding a lavish anniversary party to celebrate a failed marriage.
The standard excuse for why Australians pay far higher prices than Americans for clothes, consumer goods and cars is to highlight the high transport costs associated with the tyranny of distance. So what is their excuse for more expensive music and software downloads? Dearer data costs due to longer cables? You might assume that because
THE mining boom in Queensland might be big but it certainly isn’t broad. While the mining industry tries to suggest otherwise, the simple fact is millions of Queenslanders bear the pain of the mining boom without receiving any of the gain. Yes, the mining industry employs people and yes, they spend some of their money
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
The Defence establishment must find it pretty hard not to chuckle when they hear people talking about climate change policy. Climate change has been described as a fundamental challenge to democratic decision making. The problem, we are told, is that while the costs are up front the benefits are both uncertain and will arise in
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to give U.S. President Barack Obama an iPod of Australian music speaks volumes about the ongoing evolution of the strong relationship between Australia and the United States. While successive leaders have demonstrated their warm commitment to the international relationship, it is hard to imagine John Howard, or even Kevin Rudd,
In October 2010 the Australia Institute conducted an online survey of 1294 Australians. Survey respondents were asked questions about a range of social issues, including their views on the labelling of products made in Australia. A media release commenting on these findings is also available.
Three in four Australians are confused about the meaning of the term ‘Made in Australia’, despite a new advertising campaign to encourage people to buy locally-produced goods. Survey results released by The Australia Institute show that people’s desire to buy Australian made is often not matched by their understanding of how to do so.
Proponents of a new debate about the role of nuclear power stations in Australia should start with a discussion about their location, said The Australia Institute.
This edition of the Institute’s newsletter looks at the mining super profits tax, a charter of human rights, Australians missing out on government assistance, the war in Afghanistan, free trade agreements and the PBS, the Institute’s Measuring what Matters project, and peak oil.
The Government wants to allow meat from countries with Mad Cow disease into Australia. And our loose labelling rules mean you won’t know the difference, writes Hilary Bambrick.
Between the Lines is the Institute’s selective analysis of the policies and politics affecting the wellbeing of Australians. This edition considers: the strange argument for carbon price compensation; buying power stations vs compensating them; an uncharitable act; and, bank profits.
The Senate debate about the CPRS is getting close, and with views as diverse as those of Steve Fielding and Bob Brown it’s likely to be a cracker. Unfortunately, while there might be plenty of heat in the debate, whether the CPRS gets up or not will make no difference to global temperatures.
1. Electricity and pricing signals ”¦ 2. ”¦ How is our behaviour affected? 3. The Australian home: a sacred site for tax policy? 4. The slippery slope of the war on terror
Denticare: making a mountain out of a molar. Dissent is a dirty word. A fair-weather friend: Australia’s relationship with a climate-changed Pacific. Extract from author Ben McNeil’s speech at the launch of ‘The Clean Industrial Revolution’.
Australia is at risk of failing its Pacific neighbours on climate change if the Rudd Government doesn’t move beyond rhetoric to concrete action on mitigation, adaptation and, ultimately, migration, according to a new report by The Australia Institute. The report, ‘A fair-weather friend? Australia’s relationship with a climate-changed Pacific’, finds that despite Labor’s strong commitments
Edited extract from Senator Christine Milne’s address to the National Press Club. Poverty and sustainability in developing countries: the impact of international trade in carbon. Australia’s Government debt: how does it stack up? Five disease outbreaks that are worse than swine flu.
The science is becoming more alarming by the month, and so are the impacts of global warming itself. The demand for decisive action can only intensify over the next three years; it will require far-sighted policies to bring about a wholesale transformation of the nation’s energy economy, a structural change on a par with that
Turbulence ahead by Andrew Macintosh and Christian Downie Universities and fossil fuel capture by Christian Downie Silencing dissent: The Federal Government strikes by James Arvanitakis Grassroots campaign against sexualisation of children by Julie Gale See Paris and Die? by Steve Biddulph Academic economists call for Kyoto ratification by Clive Hamilton Insuring against catastrophic change by