Category Archives: Australian issues

ACT 2020 Summit

On 19-20 April, I’m fortunate enough to be a participant in the national 2020 summit. I had a prequel of what it might be like via the ACT 2020 summit today. There were 300 participants, divided into 20 groups. Not … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 14 Comments

Jobs Jobs Everywhere?

I put out a policy report yesterday, arguing that despite the ACT’s low unemployment rate, we should nonetheless be worried about the number of Canberrans (particularly low-skilled workers) without a job. This is particularly the case for families with children. … Continue reading

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Should the ACCC Break up the NSW Right?

There’s a bit of a debate now in the Labor Party over whether factions have any ideological ties, or are merely competing executive placement agencies. Frequently, factions have broken into fractions – sub-units which are even less likely to be … Continue reading

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School Fees in Reverse

With Indigenous educational levels far below non-Indigenous levels, why don’t we consider paying Indigenous children a daily allowance to attend school? Keeping people in school until they reach 15 or 16 raises their lifetime earnings, but according to one report, … Continue reading

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Brissy

From coats and gloves in Canberra on Wednesday morning to sitting by the pool sipping wine in a T-shirt and shorts in Brisbane on the same afternoon. Gotta love the weather in the Sunshine State. Still, the place ain’t perfect. … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues

Get Up!

My Imagining Australia coauthor David Madden, along with the ever-energetic Jeremy Heimans, have started GetUp!, a lobbying organisation aimed at keeping the Coalition accountable after they win control of the Senate. Their board includes Evan Thornley and John Hewson (I’m … Continue reading

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Hood Robin

Is it just me, or does it strike anyone else as odd that NSW Premier-to-be Morris Iemma has decided that one of his first decisions as Labor leader will be to scrap a tax that applies only to those affluent … Continue reading

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Money For Nothing

Fred Argy has a carefully argued piece on government advertising on the ANU’s Democratic Audit of Australia website (PDF). He notes: The current IR newspaper ads (responding to pre-emptive advertising by the ACTU), are said to cost $20m and are … Continue reading

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Are We There Yet?

Bob Carr has resigned today, and will doubtless attract well-deserved plaudits for his longevity and electoral skills. And there are a few policy successes too – it’s unlikely the week-long drugs summit in May 1999 would have happened under the … Continue reading

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United We Stand?

Big news in the US union movement today. The SEIU, the largest union in the AFL-CIO (the US equivalent of the ACTU), has announced that it’s withdrawing from the federation, along with the teamsters. Mostly, this seems to be about … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 5 Comments

Trust and Diversity

One of the thorniest issues I’ve delved into as a researcher is the relationship between trust and heterogeneity. In a piece in the AFR today, I discuss some of the findings from my research (warning: PDF with regression tables). The … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 14 Comments

A Happy Sunburnt Country

Readers may recall that I mentioned a month ago a new paper by David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald, entitled "Happiness and the Human Development Index: The Paradox of Australia" . Justin Wolfers and I have now written a reply paper, … Continue reading

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How would you spend $1,000,000,000?

What would you spend $1 billion on? Schools? Hospitals? Roads? Job training? Tax cuts? My guess is that just about anything you can name is a better use than surrogate political advertising by the federal government. I don’t mind watching … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 5 Comments

(Not) Free to Choose

A story on ABC radio this morning (can’t find it online, sorry), reported that the NSW Libs and Nats have decided that they’re firmly set against any three-cornered contests – even for open seats, apparently. What happened to that ol’ … Continue reading

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Plus ça change

John Howard, 15 September 1985: I personally see some merit in having an ID card providing the civil liberties concerns that people have voiced can be looked after and provided the Government can satisfy the community that there is some … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 8 Comments

Latham Revisionism

I’ve been surprised to see how simplistic the journalistic discussion has been about the ALP’s choice of Latham in December 2003. The assumption has been that: Beazley would probably have gotten a similar result to 1998 and 2001 (ie a … Continue reading

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Australia's Best Paid Blogger

I was just having lunch with a friend, and talking about SMH columnist Alan Ramsey’s habit of quoting liberally from other people’s writings. (Last year, Michael Danby MP told parliament "Week after week, up to 85 percent – let me … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 5 Comments

Why the Bombings Mean We Must Support My Politics

The adequacy.org 9/11 standard column (which I first read about from Chris Bertram) has been getting quite an airing lately, with versions by William Kristol in the Australian, Tariq Ali in the SMH, and  Timothy Garton Ash and Amin Saikal … Continue reading

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Government Propaganda

Fred Argy has a letter in the SMH today castigating the government for using taxpayer money to sell its IR plans. Ross Gittins ("You are telling lies but I am selling reform", Herald, July 11) has exposed the Government’s taxpayer-financed … Continue reading

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Sex and Bias

A report by Slate’s Jordan Ellenberg discusses the methodological knicker-twisting that two Heritage Foundation researchers have recently engaged in. A published study by two academic sociologists found that teenagers’ "virginity pledges" had no significant impact on sexual diseases. The researchers … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 7 Comments

Black-White Gaps in Australia

A new report out from the Productivity Commission (PDF overview) pulls together a host of wellbeing indicators for the 410,000 Indigenous Australians, and compares them with indicators for the population as a whole. It’s instructive not only for seeing the … Continue reading

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Carrots from the Premiers

I have a little piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald on welfare reform, arguing that reform will be more successful if it uses carrots and sticks. Because the feds seem reluctant to offer more than punitive policies, the states and … Continue reading

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Stiff ARM tactics

This snippet was contained in the monthly email to Australian Republican Movement members from our mild-mannered chair, John Warhurst. The saga of my correspondence with the Governor-General took a further step when he refused to see me to learn for … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 4 Comments

The Worried Well

I’ve had some bad experiences with recent Quarterly Essays, so was reluctant to pick up the latest one by Gail Bell, entitled The Worried Well: The Depression Epidemic and the Medicalisation of Our Sorrows. So if the following comments are … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 3 Comments

Progressive Essays

Craig Emerson, Bob McMullan and Lindsay Tanner today released a trio of "Progressive Essays". In their words, the essays are "designed to engender constructive debate about new policy directions". The three are by Craig Emerson (on what Labor stands for), … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 6 Comments

Quick Quiz

I spoke at Parliament House recently, alongside Ian Harris, the clerk of the House of Representatives. He asked the following question: "Who was the last member of the House of Representatives to cross the floor and vote against their own … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 2 Comments

Poll Dancing

In a working paper earlier this year, Justin Wolfers and I suggested that there was more than sampling error at work in Australian opinion polls, and that they suffered from systemic biases. The latest ACNielsen poll – showing Labor 54% … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 8 Comments

Tripping is in the Eye of the Watcher

So ALP frontbencher Lindsay Tanner is being castigated for saying that the government shouldn’t prop up uneconomic farms. Let’s hope this doesn’t herald a return to such splendid ALP policies as scrapping the Productivity Commission.  Of course, if you uttered … Continue reading

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Values + Policies

Labor backbencher Craig Emerson has neatly summed up the importance of melding broad values and precise policy proposals in a piece in the AFR. Link below. Download labor_can_mix_ideas_and_ideals.pdf

Posted in Australian issues | 1 Comment

State Wage Subsidies?

I’m currently working on an article looking at how states could engage in "healthy interstate competition", by using wage subsidies (or negative income taxes) to encourage low-skilled workers into the workforce. Given the substantial fall in male full-time employment over … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues