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

November 2011

October 2011

Rise of the ‘glibertarians’

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Nobody gets an easier run in Australian political debate than the modern “libertarian”. You know, the politicians and commentators who are the first to cry “freedom of speech” in the face of what they see as political correctness and the first to say “individual responsibility” when someone proposes regulation such as those designed to make

September 2011

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

Searching for transparent online competition

by Josh Fear in ABC The Drum

We’ve heard a lot recently about how the internet is changing the retail landscape. Despite the extreme lethargy with which many of Australia’s largest bricks-and-mortar retailers have embraced online opportunities, consumers are increasingly turning to the web to find more products at lower prices, and without needing to go anywhere near a Westfield. What hasn’t

Who has power over the internet?

by Josh Fear in On Line Opinion

In 1922 Herbert Hoover, United States Secretary of Commerce, declared at the first National Radio Conference in Washington, D.C: “It is inconceivable that we should allow so great a possibility for service, for news, for entertainment, for education, and for vital commercial purposes to be drowned in advertising chatter.” By the time Hoover became President

July 2011

Economic road map failure

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Economics is often called the dismal science. The accusation was justly made after Thomas Malthus predicted that “misery and vice” were the only check on world population growth. Of course these days many economists argue the exact opposite and suggest that population growth is essential for community wellbeing, but despite the U-turn the dismal tag

June 2011

Accounting for a super mystery

by David Richardson

We’ve all heard that the Australian Public Service’s superannuation schemes are generous, and a look at the budget papers would seem to confirm this, revealing that the Government is spending $14.1 billion on this entitlement. Put another way, public servants’ super appears to be a staggering 73 per cent of the $19.2 billion spent on

May 2011

April 2011

Supermarkets too big to fail

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Picking teams in Australian policy debates used to be as simple as picking sides in old movies; the good guys wore white, the bad guys wore black, and the audience knew where everybody stood. But life just isn’t that simple especially when we consider the milk price war that is raging at the moment. Am

March 2011

Let the shopping spree begin

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

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,

January 2011

July 2010

For the love of profits: Australia’s skills shortage

by Richard Denniss in ABC The Drum

Big business loves rapid population growth for the simple reason that they profit from having more potential customers. Governments seem to love rapid population growth because they benefit from having more taxpayers. But neither big business nor government wants to invest in the essential infrastructure that all those extra customers and taxpayers require. While the

May 2010

Populate or perish

by Richard Denniss in On Line Opinion

Should Australia increase its population to 36 million? In this era of evidence-based policy, it seems strange that for all the government inquiries that have been held there is yet to be a major scientific, social and economic analysis of the impact of rapid population growth in Australia. While it might be hard to agree

March 2010

Redressing the balance for members

by Josh Fear in The Australian Financial Review

A lot of people in the superannuation industry are very worried at the moment. This is not because they see another market crash on the horizon; things are generally back on track in that sense. They’re worried because things are about to get much better for millions of ordinary working Australians at the expense of

February 2010

Taking from the Banks to Give to the Worthy

by Jo-anne Schofield in The Age

Originally printed in The Age.  Nearly 800 years after celebrated rogue Robin Hood and his entourage of bandits launched raids from their Sherwood Forest hide-out – redistributing wealth from a greedy and corrupt aristocracy to the starving peasantry – he has been recruited to a new campaign. This month, 350 prominent economists, including Nobel Prize-winner

January 2010

October 2009

Super slick

by Josh Fear in ABC The Drum

Most of us like to complain about the banks from time to time, but compared to some parts of the superannuation industry the banks seem like the good guys. That’s because many commercial super funds are profiting enormously through excessive fees on the savings of ordinary workers.

March 2009

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