July 2009

Need and social goals

by Richard Denniss in Dissent Magazine

Australia is a wealthy country. Although the current slowdown in the rate of economic growth has had a substantial impact on the government’s finances, the fact is that much of the ‘boom’ preceding this downturn was squandered through round after round of tax cuts. This occurred to such an extent that, despite the fact that

June 2009

The CPRS–Where to from here?

by Richard Denniss

The CPRS has fundamental flaws that need to be addressed. A mechanism to ensure that the efforts of individuals and state governments to reduce emissions result in lower emissions, not extra permits for other polluters, needs to be introduced. Similarly, the decision to insulate the petrol price from the introduction of a carbon price needs

May 2009

Where has all the revenue gone? To tax cuts for the rich!

by David Richardson in ABC The Drum

Right up until the end of the resources boom and the onset of the global financial and economic crisis, the government was flush with money, a result of the virtually continual ‘surprises’ as economic growth, and especially government revenue, came in way over budget forecasts in each of the years from 2003-04 to 2007-08. By

Time to reform capital gains tax

by David Ingles in ABC The Drum

There are strong equity and efficiency arguments for taxing all income from capital at the same rate; the current concessions are wrong in principle and regressive in practice. The focus should be on why the wealthy enjoy the unique privilege of having a sizeable part of their real income taxed at half the normal rate.

March 2009

Wong must cap and slice

by Richard Denniss in The Australian

The CPRS in its current form is deeply flawed. If the government wants to see the legislation passed, it is going to have to amend its proposal. In order to take advantage of every additional emissions reduction and allow every concerned citizen to make a direct contribution, the government needs to convert its ‘cap and

February 2009

An idea whose time never came

by Richard Denniss in Analysis & Policy Observatory

It is often said that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. But it seems that in the case of Minister Wong’s version of emissions trading, the so called Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), there is nothing more pitiful than an idea whose time never actually came. The targets are

Making life easier for emitters

by Richard Denniss in Analysis & Policy Observatory

The unfortunate reality is that, having waited a decade for a government to express a willingness to do something about climate change, we are now faced with a choice between a policy that locks us into failure by dictating that emissions in Australia cannot fall by more than five per cent and abandoning the CPRS

January 2009

Sloppy super

by Josh Fear in The Australian

Debates about superannuation policy are often ideological in tone.People in finance and investment circles tend to forget that the majority of Australians are profoundly disengaged from their super, at least until they approach retirement. The super system is so complicated that many workers take the simplest option – doing nothing. Governments therefore have a responsibility

Reclaiming your time from telemarketers

by Josh Fear in Analysis & Policy Observatory

Telemarketing is one form of ‘direct marketing’, along with junk mail, spam and face-to-face marketing. Direct marketing differs from ‘traditional’ advertising in making a much stronger claim on our attention. Members of the public have to take deliberate action if they wish to avoid direct marketing, but Institute research indicates that an ‘opt-in’ system would

October 2008

In a man’s working world parental leave should be about fathers, too

Originally printed in the Sydney Morning Herald. Under the Productivity Commission’s parental leave proposal, men are entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave (use it or lose it), and mothers would be allowed to transfer their 18-week entitlement to their partners. It leaves the important decision about who provides primary care up to individual families and,

September 2008

NGO Advocacy way of Future

by Gemma Edgar in The Canberra Times

Non-government organisations contribute to the Australian community in a myriad of ways, creating a rich, supportive and inclusive community. They help produce an active and vibrant democracy and they provide representation to marginalised members of the community. NGOs can also inform public debate, rendering it more substantive and less likely to be captured by business

August 2008

June 2008

Credit reform needs to go back to basics

by Josh Fear in ABC The Drum

Recent research by the Australia Institute reveals the extent of community mistrust of the financial sector. Indeed, a large majority of adult Australians hold banks and other financial institutions responsible for the current debt crisis. Although many people believe that personal responsibility in financial decision making is important, there is broad consensus that the banking

May 2008

Shifting debate of personal freedom spells trouble for Liberals

by Richard Denniss in The Age

Under John Howard, the Liberal Party was able to walk both sides of the philosophical street. On “economic” issues they were opposed to government interference in the individual’s “right to choose”, but on “social” issues the Liberals seemed comfortable with the idea that government knew best. The real issues, though, such as whether people should

A borrower nor a lender be

Australia’s love affair with easy credit has turned on itself. The price of credit has reached its highest point in 14 years, and home buyers are feeling the economic pain associated with higher interest rates. The corporate sector has tended to blame individuals for taking on more debt than they can handle, drawing on the

A question of character

A character test is traditionally applied to decide whether a person should be granted some kind of privilege – for example, a visa, citizenship, or an important job. When trying to judge character, the evidence examined usually includes a person’s past statements, activities and conduct, including any police record, criminal charges or jail terms. The

April 2008

Leave accounts: win-win solution to child care

by Jo-anne Schofield in ABC The Drum

Originally printed in ABC News. It’s a good thing for our communities if working parents are able to take time out to spend with children. This should be the guiding principle for the Productivity Commission’s upcoming inquiry into paid maternity, paternity and parental leave. The second principle is to accept that many parents want or

March 2008

Duty of MPs to stay full term

by Josh Fear in The Canberra Times

But is it acceptable for former government members to leave early purely because they have lost government? At the least, there should be recognition of the shirking of responsibility that this entails. There should also be some contribution towards the considerable costs of holding by-elections. Representing one’s constituency for the duration of the parliament is

February 2008

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