Category Archives: Economy

NICOLE GURRAN & PETER PHIBBS. How the Property Council is shaping the debate around negative gearing, taxes.

We see their spokespeople quoted in the papers and their ads on TV, but beyond that we know very little about how Australia’s lobby groups get what they want. 

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DOUG CAMERON. Commonwealth can, and must, do more on housing and homelessness

The failure of the market to provide housing for all who need it is compounded by several political failures.  

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DAVID JAMES. Trump’s pro-globalisation critics miss the key questions

The most pressing question: Is the global system there to serve people, or are people there to serve the global system? They also never address a central contradiction of globalisation: that capital is free to move, but for the most part … Continue reading

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HAROLD LEVIEN. Solving our Housing Problem.

Housing investors have largely crowded out first-home-buyers from the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets. The Coalition Government has not simply failed to address this problem; its policies have been the principal cause.  

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CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. South Australia’s gambling tax highlights the regulatory mess of online betting.

The South Australian government  will introduce from July a “point-of-consumption tax” to claw back some of the gambling tax revenue it is seeing disappear over the border. The new tax is a reasonable response to a growing problem, and probably won’t … Continue reading

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JIM COOMBS. Do We choose reason and proportion or “Economic Reform” ?

So long as government vacates the field, the balance between rich and poor lurches further towards the rich. 8 individuals control half of the world’s wealth. Is that Balance or proportionate ? 

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PAUL BUDDE. Australia needs a proper NBN.

Regrettably it appears that on both counts – proper infrastructure plans and the need for affordable services – the government and the nbn company, despite spending something like $50 billion, have failed to come up with the right solution for … Continue reading

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WAYNE SWAN. Coalition energy policy.

It’s a lost decade we couldn’t afford on climate change and energy policy – but when the consequences are felt in years and decades to come, it’s incumbent upon us all not to forget the political opportunists and charlatans who … Continue reading

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MICHAEL SAINSBURY. A shonky affair.

Here lies the exquisite dilemma for the Packer lobbyists: help push the Chinese side to get a better deal, perhaps an exchange program for their incarcerated staff, or strike another deal, leaving all those ill-gotten gains sloshing around Sydney and … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN, OLIVER FRANKEL, JOHN MENADUE. Upcoming series on Making Housing Affordable.

After Easter, Pearls and Irritations plans to publish a series ‘Making Housing Affordable‘ addressing key aspects of the housing crisis and recommending solutions, with contributions from a range of experts and other key stakeholders, including economists, planners, demographers, housing providers … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Making housing affordable. Vancouver’s new “Empty Homes Tax”

Vancouver’s response to the housing affordability crisis,  now includes a new Empty Homes Tax at 1% per annum of the value of each empty home covered. Australian reports suggest that there may be 90,000 empty dwellings in Sydney and 83,000 … Continue reading

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CAROLYN WHITZMAN. States drag feet on affordable housing, with Victoria the worst.

Moral panic over recent increases in visibly homeless people in central Melbourne has brought to the fore the critical shortage of affordable housing across the metropolitan areas of Australia’s wealthiest cities. But living on the street is only the tip … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. A trans-Tasman story out of school

The Gonski recommendations were our best chance to create something better, but it didn’t happen in the way the review envisaged. As one of the Gonski architects puts it, instead we are just on a path to nowhere.  

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ROSS GITTINS. Outlook for Australian politics and government in 2017.

The area of economic reform where the government’s performance has been most egregious is on policy to ease our transition to a low-carbon economy and honour our commitments at the Paris conference. Leaving aside Abbott’s role in our policy regression, … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The Abbott and Turnbull legacy on climate change and energy policy.

Let’s be clear, the Coalition and particularly the Liberal Party and Malcolm Turnbull are responsible for the current mess and impasse on electricity prices and reliability and supply. This is the result of years of policy and political failure. We … Continue reading

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PETER PHIBBS and NICOLE GURRAN. Why housing supply shouldn’t be the only policy tool politicians cling to.

If politicians were serious about the affordability crisis, they would be trying to support the important but underfunded affordable housing sector. Better targeting tax breaks towards new and affordable rental housing, rather than fuelling demand for existing homes, would also … Continue reading

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IAN VERRENDER. Coal-fired generators have no future in Australia.

From an economic perspective, it would be far more efficient to eliminate subsidies altogether and to put a price on carbon that reflected its true cost. Private investors then would be able to choose which technology was most efficient.  

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KAREN WILLIS AND SOPHIE LEWIS. Increased private health insurance premiums don’t mean increased value.

A topic of discussion at many barbecues this summer will inevitably be private health insurance. Is it worth it? Do we need it? Every year it gets more expensive. The average 4.8% increase in premiums just announced will have more … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Media ignorance of disrespect for parliament and people

It is a shame that at a time when government is so hollow, only a handful of journalists can escape the cliché and find a basis for critical analysis of policy, which ought to be the basis for judging a … Continue reading

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TIM AYRES. What We Leave Behind: The Case for Universal Inheritance, including an inheritance tax.

Older Australians are enjoying a growing share of Australia’s wealth; the wealth of younger Australians has stagnated. Structural changes to the labour market threatens to leave more young people in low wage, precarious work than any generation before them, and … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Malcolm Turnbull on climate change and coal.

Unfortunately the storms and the heat waves are making it clear to reluctant voters that climate change is not going to disappear. Sooner or later the message will filter through even to the recalcitrants of the coalition. But by then … Continue reading

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RYAN MANUEL. Belt and road: less than meets the eye

The recent unravelling of world affairs has seen many argue that China may lead closer global economic cooperation. Xi Jinping’s recent speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos encouraged this rather surprising turn of events. Xi opined that protectionism, … Continue reading

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Conservatives push carbon tax to address climate crisis.

Conservatives push carbon tax to address climate crisis By John Upton on 9 February 2017  Climate Central With President Trump and Republicans in Congress moving swiftly to repeal regulations that slow global warming, a group of prominent conservatives on Wednesday touted a … Continue reading

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DAVID PEETZ. Why everybody knows CEOs are overpaid, but nothing happens.

That CEOs are overpaid is something, as Leonard Cohen would say, “everybody knows”; including the directors and shareholders who ultimately decide their pay. Yet firms are unwilling to do anything about it, because to do so would damage internal relations, … Continue reading

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MICHAEL LESTER. ‘Draining the swamp’ : the ‘Businessman’ President

Donald J Trump is called the ‘businessman’ President. The ethics and practices of ‘private’ business, and the nature and ‘business models’ of activities undertaken, are arguably, neither consistent with the established accountabilities of ‘corporate governance’ nor with the innovative future … Continue reading

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RICHARD ECKERSLEY. The Trump imbroglio: confusion and contradiction everywhere

Global consumer capitalism, is reducing quality of life: stripping our lives of intrinsic worth and meaning; weakening communities; undermining health and wellbeing; creating grotesque inequities; destroying the natural environment; and undermining our faith in humanity’s future.  

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IAN McAULEY. What lies beyond capitalism?

This a review of Wolfgang Streeck’s book ‘How will capitalism end?’. Communists of the world, relax! Don’t spend your efforts trying to bring down capitalism, because it’s going to bring itself down.  

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JOSEPH CAMILLERI. The Politics of Paralysis: Australian style

It is hard not to conclude that our major parties have been the primary stumbling block. They seem singularly ill equipped to envisage, let alone manage, the institutional changes called for by a globalising and increasingly interdependent world. If innovation … Continue reading

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FRANK JOTZO. New coal plants wouldn’t be clean, and would cost billions in taxpayer subsidies.

Following a campaign by the coal industry, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has argued for new coal-fired power stations in Australia. But these plants would be more expensive than renewables and carry a huge liability through the carbon emissions they produce. … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Focusing on supply only will not solve the affordable housing crisis

There is now widespread recognition in the echelons of government, both Federal and State, that we face an affordable housing crisis. However, there is still no consensus about how to solve it.   The Coalition insists the problem can be … Continue reading

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