Category Archives: Economy

PETER WHITEFORD. ‘Them’ and ‘us’: the enduring power of welfare myths.

Despite the evidence that deliberate fraud is a tiny fraction of social security spending, it remains a mainstay of much reporting of welfare in the Australian media. The Daily Telegraph is a repeat offender.  

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JOHN DALEY and BRENDAN COATES. The latest ideas to use super to buy homes are still bad ideas.

Treasurer Scott Morrison wants to use the May budget to ease growing community anxiety about housing affordability. Lots of ideas are being thrown about: the test for the Treasurer is to sort the good from the bad. Reports that the … Continue reading

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CAMERON MURRAY. Affordable housing reform.

While the decline of our economic diversity, has failed the average worker, it has been a boon for the landlord class. Those who already own land and housing benefit at the expense of those who want access to housing for … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Housing, Politics | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

DAVID JAMES. Penalty rate cuts are the result of thinking small

 Australia is showing signs of contracting the American disease of rising inequality, which will ultimately spill over into low growth, especially when the effect of high household indebtedness has its inevitable dampening effect. In the last quarter of 2016 GDP growth … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. How the gaming of land rezoning by vested interests keeps housing unaffordable.

After Easter, we will be posting a ten-part series on making housing more affordable for all. One of the problems in housing affordability is the political muscle of some developers in gaming rezoning and reaping substantial capital gains from property. … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

MUNGO MacCALLUM. Gas bags and hydro hype.

So Turnbull gave his orders: ensure that there will be enough gas held locally if there are crises. And the bloated gas bags were only too happy to concur, at least a couple of them were, which was enough to … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

IAN VERRENDER. How the free market failed Australia and priced us out of our own gas supply

We are the landlords. The energy companies are tenants. If we had a controlling stake in the business, it would be much easier to ensure the kind of chicanery that has taken place in the past few years was never … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The litany of failed privatisations.

Ideologues ,the self interested bankers and accountants and lawyers still persist with their fixation with privatisation despite the fact that it is failing in one area after another and the electorate shows very clearly that it does not want it.  … Continue reading

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TIM COLEBATCH. Why gas prices went sky-high, and what governments need to do about it

There is an overwhelming consensus that the centrepiece should be an emissions intensity scheme, as proposed by the draft Finkel report, by the government’s handpicked Climate Change Authority, and by electricity generators and big users alike. This would give the energy industry … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Economy, Politics, Taxation, Vested Interests | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PETER BROOKS and JOHN WILLOUGHBY. A call for doctors to take a stand on the Adani Carmichael coal mine

The comprehensive investigation, published as The Adani Files  (adanifiles.com.au), provides a litany of stories of pollution, failed clean-ups of damaged environments, and allegations of corruption and of abuse of workers.  

Posted in Climate change, Economy, Health | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

HANS J OHFF. A Future Submarine bonanza for France

Seen through the eyes of an engineering contractor and shipbuilder I suggest that the French have hit the jackpot. They will be falling over themselves to sign the proposed Framework Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. The National Electricity Market: What happens when economists get involved with electricity

John Menadue has asked me to write about the National Electricity Market – the NEM.  I should be qualified to do that: my first degree and my first years of professional work were in electrical engineering and in my later … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment, Infrastructure | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

ALAN PEARS. The solution to Australia’s gas crisis is not more gas.

Eastern Australia has plenty of gas. The problem is that most of it is being exported at prices lower than some Australians are paying. And the price volatility resulting from the present shambles is making life difficult for some Australian … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

MARK BEESON. WA and the politics of the resource curse. Take on the miners at your peril!

WA is but the most glaring example of the way that Australia’s politics have been directly affected by the politics of the so-called ‘resource curse’, when a powerful economic sector uses its disproportionate influence to shape political outcomes.  

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MICHAEL WEST. Gas crisis? Or glut? Why Japan pays less for Australian LNG than Australians do.

It is bizarre that gas customers in Japan buy Australian gas more cheaply than Australians. Some of this gas is drilled in the Bass Strait, piped to Queensland, turned into liquid and shipped 6,700 kilometres to Japan … but the … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Making miners pay their fair share.

The victorious Labor Party in Western Australia has got off on the wrong foot in its timidity towards the mining sector. Its leader, Mark McGowan, has said that a Labor Government will not support a mining royalty proposed by the … Continue reading

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IAN MCAULEY. Warning from Colin Barnett: Privatisation is on the nose

The WA Government’s proposal to privatise Western Power – the government-owned electricity utility – was one of the factors contributing to the extraordinary anti-Liberal swing in Saturday’s Western Australia election. Privatisation of electricity has also been an issue in the … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. A little bit of honesty would go a long way in energy policy.

We really do need some honesty from the media on energy policy. The fact is that Coalition policies have failed for at least eight years and are largely responsible for our pending crisis. Media cover-ups for failed Coalition policies will … Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Economy, Media, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

IAN McAULEY. South Australia’s Electricity Problems: Jay Weatherill Should Follow The Coalition’s Example

Spare a thought for the people of South Australia. Large parts of Adelaide blacked out for up to 18 hours without notice. Trams stopped in their tracks across busy intersections. A bitter and partisan debate in state parliament about responsibility … Continue reading

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FRANK STILWELL and CHRISTOPHER SHEIL. The IMF is showing some hypocrisy on inequality

The IMF should practice what it preaches when it comes to inequality.  

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JOHN MENADUE. Failed Leadership in Church and State!

From my experience and observation good leadership is about creating disequilibrium and a process to galvanise the group to change. Without disequilibrium there will be no worthwhile change.  

Posted in Democratic Renewal, Economy, Politics, Religion and Faith | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

JOHN QUIGGIN. The case for renationalising Australia’s electricity grid.

The public debate over the problems of electricity supply displays a curious disconnect. On the one hand, there is virtually universal agreement that the system is in crisis. After 25 years, the promised outcomes of reform – cheaper and more … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. The Sydney metro – the doubt and mess continues.

A little more real information about Sydney rail development is coming to light. It is not dispelling the doubts about metro. A decision on Badgerys Creek rail, which would have been straightforward without the metro, is now ‘years off’. The … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Some good news on trade at last.

The WTO’s long awaited multilateral Trade Facilitation Agreement has at last received the required number of ratifications and entered into force on 22nd February. It will expedite the movement and clearance of goods at the border and at airports, and … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Foreign Affairs and Trade | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

MICHAEL WEST. Australia’s march to corporatocracy.

Confounding the familiar government narrative of reckless spending binges by Labor, the Coalition actually has the record of greater profligacy when it comes to showering billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on external consultants.  

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IAN VERRENDER. Malcolm Turnbull faces growing discontent from the middle, not just the fringes

Has there ever been a more demoralising time to be Prime Minister?  There’s been the expected sniping from the sidelines and the continued calls for the Coalition to shore up its base and prevent leakage to parties like One Nation. 

Posted in Economy, Politics, Taxation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PAUL CLEARY. How Australia wasted the mining boom.

The countries that have mastered the development of their resources, most notably Norway, worked out long ago that to truly prosper in the long run, the citizens who own these assets are entitled to share in the super profits derived … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Politics, Taxation | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. How we can do better on education. (Jean Blackburn Oration)

When you do so little to require the winners from economic change to compensate the losers, and then, whether by accident or design, you have an influx of immigrants, you end up with Trump, Brexit and the resurrection of One … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Education, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

NICOLE GURRAN and PETER PHIBBS. Housing policy is captive to property politics, so don’t expect politicians to tackle affordability.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent warnings that house prices would fall steeply under a Labor government confirm the underlying politics of housing policy in Australia. The default position for politicians is to sound concerned about housing affordability, but do nothing. … Continue reading

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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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