Category Archives: Taxation

MICHAEL KEATING. Why Blame Neo-Liberal Economics: A Response

My previous article on Why Blame Neo-Liberal Economics, which argued that neo-liberal economics was not a main cause of increasing inequality, drew an unusually large and mostly critical response. While it is not feasible to respond to all the detailed … Continue reading

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MICHAEL WEST. Goldman Sachs & News Corp tax tricks as Canberra claims battle won

Peering at the local accounts of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Goldman Sachs … is the government’s claim to have sorted multinational tax avoidance correct? As they gaze down from their glass eyries, partners of the Big Four accounting firms … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Moral hazard in modern democratic politics

While all Western democracies accept the need for social safety nets, conservative governments point to moral hazard to justify less generous public provisions, while progressive parties prioritize more assistance to the needy over additional minor inconvenience to the better off

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IAN BERSTEN. Tax policy and reducing financial barriers for small business in Australia.

There is much discussion about the benefits of reducing tax so that Australia can be competitive with other countries in the world. This is only of consequence to multinational companies considering where to establish their headquarters. All small companies and medium-sized … Continue reading

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IAN MCAULEY. The budget – still tough on the young

The Commonwealth’s budget has a Keynesian boost for a sluggish economy, and is based on an optimistic, or even heroic, assumption that economic growth will deliver a fiscal surplus within a few years. We have heard similar claims from treasurers, … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. The 2017 Budget – A welcome change in direction. Part 1 of 2

This Budget represents a welcome change in direction. Forget the politics, it deserves to be supported. This latest Coalition Budget finally reflects a realistic appraisal of Australia’s fiscal needs. 

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MICHAEL KEATING. The 2017 Budget – A welcome change in direction. Part 2 of 2

Budget repair was never going to be easy. That is one reason why it has taken so long with quite a few false starts. While some of the individual decisions in this Budget are debateable, overall the quality of the … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. The Liberal Party’s French Connection

The political future of Kelly O’Dwyer, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services (presently on maternity leave) is uncertain, as Liberal Party members in her electorate move to disendorse her. On one level this conflict can be seen as the shenanigans … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. How has education come to this?

For a country that prides itself on the egalitarian ethos of a ‘fair go’ for all, the latest results from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) are a distressing reminder that many are not getting a fair go … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Capital gains taxes: Keating got it right in 1985

Most commentators on the crisis in housing affordability correctly attribute the problem, in part, to the Howard Government’s decision in 1999 to “halve the taxation of capital gains”. But that was only one aspect of the 1999 change: the other … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Another distraction, but what a distraction.

The starting point is putting a price on carbon – some form of emissions trading policy. But this is total anathema to the coalition party room – worse even than negative gearing. 

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DAVID PEETZ. How tax minimisation affects CEO pay

Firms whose executives behave ‘unethically’, as proxied by not paying any company tax, are also likely to pay their CEOs an average of around a fifth more than firms of similar size and circumstances who do pay company tax.  

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Disadvantaged Students Denied Adequate Funding by Massive Tax Concessions for the Wealthy

The latest Tax Expenditures Statement shows that Australia can easily afford the Gonski funding plan to bring under-resourced public schools up to the national standard and reduce the large proportion of disadvantaged students not achieving expected benchmarks. It is simply … 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

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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. 

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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

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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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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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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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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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DAVID JAMES.Wage inequality is a bigger threat to workers than robots

he issue of jobs cannot be seen as separate from wealth distribution. The problem is — as Henry Ford understood when he paid his workers well so they could buy his cars — that too much social inequality means insufficient … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country – Introduction

John Menadue – introduction to Ian McAuley Series. Many have been surprised and even horrified by the Brexit and Trump results. These events are likely to be followed by similar outcomes in elections in other countries this year. Serious issues … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, 2016

The Government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) released yesterday contains few changes and no surprises. The critical question is whether the path back to surplus is actually credible, especially given the many failed promises in the past. This post … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. George Brandis is a dead man walking.

What is not clear is whether George Brandis was genuinely ignorant of the implications of the tax case or whether he deliberately ignored them. In either case, he should immediately have resigned.  

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LAURENCE TROY. Sydney needs higher affordable housing targets.

  The release this week by the Greater Sydney Commission of city-wide draft plansmandating some measure of affordable housing in new developments is a step in the right direction. However, the target of 5-10% on rezoned land is too low … Continue reading

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GEOFFREY HARCOURT. The pluses and minuses of globalisation

  Donald Trump’s victory in the American Presidential election has brought into prominence greatly divergent views concerning the merits or demerits of globalisation. Here we set out the criteria that need to be met before globalisation can be regarded as … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. What’s Next After Neo-Liberalism?

The evidence is now irrefutable that the neo-liberal project that has dominated public policy across the major economies for nearly four decades now has been an unmitigated disaster. If nothing else, those who voted for Donald Trump have made that … Continue reading

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ROSS GARNAUT. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Part 2.

The Challenge of Globalisation. This is the second of a two-part series of extracts from an address which Professor Ross Garnaut gave to the Sydney Democracy Network, University of Sydney, 7 September 2016.  The full text of his address can be … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Trickle down.

  The economic theory known as supply side is better known as trickle down, because it goes something like this. You give large sums of money to those who already have it, because they know the best way to handle … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE and IAN McAULEY. The future of globalisation.

Rescuing globalisation from cheer leaders and populists. If we cannot make globalisation work for all, in the end it will work for none.  Kofi Annan Last week John Menadue raised the issue of globalisation, welcoming comment from other people in … Continue reading

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