What crisis?

Big mining, big hyperbole 

We’re more than half way there!!! Huge thanks to all of you who responded to Richard’s message on Monday. We’re more than half way to having enough to win the subsidies debate and, going by all the attacks on us this week, big mining’s not happy. If you want to help out, you can do so by becoming a monthly donor – donations are tax deductible & very much appreciated.

Big mining & the minerals councils who represent them have gone from saying that they get no subsidies, to asking for subsidies, to admitting to getting some subsidies but being unable to put a figure on them.

Outrageous claims, such as those that question TAI’s independence by saying we’re directed by a political party, are untrue and defamatory. More than that, they don’t shed any light at all on how much big mining receives from state governments, and how much they think they’re entitled to.

We think it’s time that the big companies the minerals councils represent – companies like BHP, Rio Tinto and Adani Mining should explain why their industry association is making attacks on the Institute.

These companies should join us in calling on Treasury Departments at state and federal level to do a full, annual and independently verified audit of mining subsidies, so that these matters can be properly discussed. 

If we get 100 new monthly donors, we reckon we’ll win the subsidies debate. If you’ve got $10 a month burning a hole in your pocket, use it show big mining that they’re not the only ones who can dig deep when it counts. Become a monthly donor.

Richard will be speaking at the Coal & Democracy Forum next week:

  • Date: Wednesday 24 September
  • Time: 5:00-8:00pm
  • Venue: General Lecture Theatre N205, The Quadrangle, University of Sydney

You can see more about it here. Sydney Democracy Network Festival of Democracy

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Budget saves its biggest hits for women

There’s been a lot of talk about the inequity of the Abbott Government’s budget in the four months since it was released.

Up until recently, the debate has focused on the burden being asked of the poorest Australians, as we draw the curtains on what the Treasurer refers to as the “age of entitlement”. But there’s a side to the budget that hasn’t been looked at. Who are these disadvantaged Australians? They are being asked to foot the bill, after all. It’s only polite to learn their names.

Using NATSEM modelling results, ABS household surveys and the most recent census data, The Australia Institute revealed that across the board, it is women who are most disadvantaged by this budget. In every income quintile, women are asked to shoulder more of the savings burden than men. Women in the poorest 20 per cent of Australian households are left $2566 worse off as a result of the decisions made by this government. This compares with the poorest males in Australia, who are $1847 worse off. 

Across the board, women are bearing 55 per cent of the brunt of the budget’s impacts.

It’s no secret that women face disadvantages that Australian men simply don’t. Women earn on average 17.5 per cent less than what a man would doing the same job. Women, on average, retire with less than two-thirds the savings of men. Today, there are 16 per cent more women than men living in poverty.

If the Abbott government wanted to depict the country as being in bad shape, it did not need to confect an imaginary “budget emergency”. Gender equality is a problem crying out for a solution, and finding one is a matter of national urgency.

But our research reveals that the Abbott/Hockey budget has instead taken aim squarely at women, compounding an already bad situation into bigger one. It’s asked the country’s poorest single mothers to tighten the purse strings to the tune of $4,242 while proudly trumpeting its wealth transfer to the country’s richest.

The government has professed a commitment to “equality of opportunity”, not “equality of outcome”. For women, it seems, it’s a case for equality for some.

Extending the Pension Loan Scheme to all retirees

The Australian Government currently offers banking services, and should extend this role. Our latest research, Boosting retirement incomes the easy way – Extending the Pension Loan Scheme to all retirees, shows that the government is currently willing to lend to wealthy retirees through low cost ‘reverse mortgages’ using Centrelink’s Pension Loans Scheme.  Expanding the Pension Loans Scheme would not only be fairer, but would help retirees boost their own incomes at a low cost to themselves, and at no cost to the government.

Unlike the $36 billion spent this year on superannuation tax concessions, which are an unfair and expensive way to boost future retirement incomes, an expanded Pension Loans Scheme would boost the retirement incomes of current retirees while costing the government nothing. Despite all the attention on the financial services sector, governments can offer simple financial services on terms that are competitive and that cause less financial stress. The Pension Loan Scheme offers interest rates substantially below market rates. Governments should be offering more of these sorts of banking service.

63 of Australia’s leading economists agree. There is no budget emergency.

Over 60 economists from universities and institutions around Australia have signed a statement calling on the government to stop citing a ‘budget emergency’ in Australia. 

The statement reads that “Australia does not face any present or imminent debt crisis” – despite what the Government’s rhetoric would have the public believe. The language of crisis has been used to justify a federal budget that unnecessarily cuts government programs, and undermines the proper role of government in the economy, especially in times of relative economic weakness. You can read the statement here.

TAI in the media

If it looks like a mining subsidy and acts like a mining subsidy
Extended interview with Richard Denniss – The Business
‘We are burning our trust’: Abbott’s climate denials winning Australia no friends
Boosting retirement incomes the easy way
Betting on mines doesn’t secure our future



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