Author Archives: Michael Keating

Michael Keating

About Michael Keating

Michael Keating is a former Secretary of the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Finance and Employment, and Industrial Relations.  He is presently a visiting fellow at the Australian National University. 

We still need to provide adequate retirement income.

The current early drawdowns of superannuation balances will reduce those workers’ retirement incomes. It would therefore be desirable to allow and encourage them to restore their superannuation balances as and when they can.

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The Reagan and Thatcher legacies: sorting truth from fantasy.

Neo-Conservatives want to believe that Reagan and Thatcher achieved smaller government, lower taxes, and a booming economy. The reality, however, is very different.

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The Government’s economic response to Covid-19.

The Government’s long-awaited update of the fiscal and economic outlook contains no real surprises. But what we still need to know is what the Government intends to do next when the present economic support measures run out.

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The Prime Minister’s reform agenda for skills

Although it is good that the Prime Minister has recognised the importance of skills, missing from his reform agenda are two of the most important issues: the nature of skills and how they are taught, and the use of skills … Continue reading

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The Grattan Institute’s Fiscal Recovery Plan

The economy is presently receiving an unprecedented, but time-limited, level of fiscal support. The report just released by the Grattan Institute provides a very good analysis of what is now needed to sustain the economic recovery.

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Universities and jobs – the Government’s changes are neither fair nor sensible

The Government’s proposed changes to the fee structures for university degrees are not fair, and contrary to the Government’s assertion, nor do these changes respond to the needs of the labour market.

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National Cabinet to replace COAG: Part 2 of 2.

Part 1 of this article yesterday discussed the reasons why National Cabinet has been successful so far. Today, Part 2 will discuss how replacing COAG seek to define the future mandate of the National Cabinet and its revamped ministerial committees, … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. National Cabinet to replace COAG: Part 1 of 2.

Scott Morrison has decreed that “COAG is no more” and will be replaced by his new National Cabinet. Part 1 of this article below, discusses the reasons for the initial success of both the National Cabinet and COAG.

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MICHAEL KEATING.. What should we do with the $60 bn left over from JobKeeper?

The discovery of an error of $60 bn in the costing of JobKeeper raises the issue of what should be done with this money? However, as JobKeeper was always incomplete these deficiencies should be the first call on this extra … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 5 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Why the coronavirus shouldn’t stand in the way of the next wage increase (The Conversation 26.5.20)

Wage increases are widely believed to pose a threat to employment. But this ignores their role in supporting demand growth. Instead, wage increases consistent with maintaining an equilibrium distribution of income are necessary to sustain economic growth and employment.

Posted in Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

MICHAEL KEATING. When should the budget deficit be unwound?

Australia’s present budget deficit is unprecedented, but it represents an appropriate response to the recession. The resulting debt does not present a future problem, and the deficit should only be unwound as private demand recovers.

Posted in Economy | 10 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Covid-19: What we need to know.

An international inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 virus misses the main point: what the world really needs is an inquiry into the effectiveness of the response.

Posted in Politics | 9 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Update on the economic outlook

The government and its advisers expect this recession to be relatively short-lived, but the recovery may well be less complete than they anticipate and are planning for.

Posted in Economy | 3 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Covid-19 and inter-generational equity

The increase in public debt in response to Covid-19 will not result in an unacceptable debt burden on young people. Instead, anyone seriously concerned about inter-generational equity would support action to reduce climate change and to improve the availability of … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 6 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Economic Policy post Covid-19. Part 2.

Today I address (i) how best to support aggregate demand, and (ii) how quickly to restore budget balance. In Part 1 of this article yesterday I concluded that these are the two key issues for future economic policy.

Posted in Economy | 12 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Economic Policy post Covid-19. Part 1.

This article considers economic strategy post Covid-19. In Part 1, today, it is argued that the principal requirement will be to generate a faster rate of increase in aggregate demand, and that Morrison’s proposed business-friendly policy settings will not help. … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 3 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING supports Pearls and Irritations.

Pearls & Irritations is the best blog I know to find articles that keep me up to date with the findings of policy-relevant research and expert independent evidence-based assessment and comment on a wide variety of critical policy issues.

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MICHAEL KEATING. Covid-19 and Future Fiscal Policy

Covid-19 will have a big impact on fiscal policy over the next few years. The Budget balance is estimated here to show a deficit equivalent to 4½ per cent of GDP this year and as much as 10 per cent … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 3 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Covid-19 and the Economic Outlook

The Government’s unprecedented cash splash to shore up the economy will save us from what could have been a much worse recession. This makes it doubly strange that the Government is so uncommunicative about the future economic and fiscal outlook … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 3 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. -Covid-19 and the role of expert advice

The response to Covid-19 has raised an important question about the role of expert advice in the formulation of public policy, and whether it can and should be independent advice.

Posted in Politics | 9 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING.- The Third Economic Response to the Coronavirus

The latest economic response to the coronavirus is the third economic package announced in less than three weeks. Clearly more should have been done earlier, but the structure and scale of the Government’s overall economic response now seems more commensurate … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 3 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING.- Good health policy is good for the economy

The Government seems to think that it must balance the needs of the economy against the actions needed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In fact this is not true, and Australia’s future economic capacity will fall if the … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Health | 6 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING.- The latest economic response to the coronavirus

These are very uncertain times, but the Government seems to be playing catch-up, both with our health and the economy. In addition, there are continuing questions about the structure of the Government’s economic response and the effectiveness of some of … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Health, Politics | 2 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. The Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus.

The Government’s economic stimulus package has generally been welcomed. But how good is it, and what are the implications for the longer-term economic outlook?

Posted in Economy, Politics | 4 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Continuing economic stagnation

Wednesday’s release of the national accounts for the December quarter reported better economic growth than many of the pundits feared. But there is no cause for celebration.

Posted in Economy | 4 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. How good is the labour market?

The Australian economy has been stagnating for the last five years, with annual GDP growth averaging only 2½ per cent, and only 1¾ per cent for the last four quarters ending last September.

Posted in Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

MICHAEL KEATING. The Gaetjens Report: a footnote

The Government has refused to release the Gaetjens report which purportedly exonerates the former Minister, Bridget McKenzie, and thereby the Government from charges of political bias in the distribution of the Community Sport Infrastructure grants. But why this refusal to … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 7 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Scomo and the Public Service: How Bad Can It Get?

The Report by the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Phil Gaetjens, into Bridget McKenzies’ handling of the Community Sport Infrastructure grants fails to address key questions and raises serious concerns about the relationship between the Government … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 16 Comments

MICHAEL KEATING. Scott Morrison’s Policy Agenda

As is frequently observed, Scott Morrison’s Government has a remarkably thin policy agenda. This article explores why this lack of ambition – indeed resistance to change – makes perfect sense from Morrison’s point of view.  

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

MICHAEL KEATING. Dwelling construction is still falling despite record low interest rates.

Monetary policy has lifted the prices of the most expensive dwellings, but this impact is yet to flow through to the rest of the housing market. This experience reinforces doubts about the effectiveness of monetary policy when inflation and therefore … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Housing | 1 Comment