Articles on Federal Budget 2014

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Robert Menzies may be a Liberal hero for John Howard and his successors in the current government, but his budgets fit their definition of ‘disaster’. AAP/Alan Porritt

Menzies, a failure by today’s rules, ran a budget to build the nation

Robert Menzies left Australia in far worse financial shape than he found it, at least according to current treasurer Joe Hockey’s favourite debt and deficit benchmark. Having inherited budget surpluses…

Where to now for the Higher Education bill?

This morning the government revealed the details of the higher education reform package it is taking to parliament. As anticipated, the legislation closely mirrors the announcement on budget night. There…
Every treasurer should be aware of the ultimate cost of government spending to taxpayers. Alan Porritt/AAP

In defence of fiscally conservative treasurers

Many highly distinguished economists such as my friend Geoff Harcourt come from what is commonly known as the Post-Keynesian school. This means they believe the theory of economics and fiscal policy applied…
A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office could help Joe Hockey sell his budget. Nikki Short/AAP

Paid parental leave weighs heavily in government spending forecast

Growth in government spending on big-ticket items including Medicare, public hospitals and the aged pension is expected to…
When faced with an economic policy agenda, the public must be persuaded on two fronts: that it is justified both by evidence and morally. AAP/Paul Miller

The government can sell the budget if it gets its story straight

It is now more than three months since the Abbott government released its first budget. Amid the subsequent wrangling over controversial measures such as the A$7 GP co-payment and re-indexing the fuel…
What future for the Parkes radio telescope amid the CSIRO cutbacks? CSIRO/Wayne England

Australia’s astronomy future in a climate of cutbacks

The future looks very bright for Australian radio astronomy but it was somewhat clouded earlier this year when CSIRO’s radio astronomy program took a dramatic hit in the Australian federal budget. CSIRO…
It has been predicted middle-tier universities will “wither on the vine” in the wake of fee deregulation, but they have a unique opportunity to bloom and thrive if they go about it the right way. Flickr/Austin DeArmond

Middle-tier universities in Australia aren’t doomed to wither and die

The “future of universities” has been the subject of much speculation in recent years. Online learning, declining government support, global competition between universities and the rise of universities…
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey is facing the prospect of a budget blowout, thanks largely to a hostile Senate. Lukas Coch/AAP

Infographic: Hockey’s mounting budget black hole

The Conversation has undertaken a stocktake of the major budget savings measures opposed, at risk, or yet to be legislated. According to our analysis, which has been verified by Grattan Institute chief…
Referring long-term issues to ‘depoliticised’ processes such as commissions of audit does not solve the challenges of political management for governments. AAP/Lukas Coch

To revive long-term democratic thinking we have to innovate

The 2014 federal budget was informed by the need to think long term and was accompanied by austerity rhetoric. Regardless of where you stand on the merit of austerity policy in affecting economic recovery…
The government’s attempt to introduce a $7 compulsory co-payment for visits to the doctor and pathology services has drawn widespread criticism. AAP Image/NEWZULU/PETER BOYLE

GP co-payments: why price signals for health don’t work

Arguments against health co-payments proposed in May’s federal budget will come to the fore again shortly as the Senate considers whether it will pass the necessary legislation. The government’s attempt…
US president Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare Bill into law in 1965, one of a suite of policies aimed at ending poverty in America. LBJ Library

How crusade to end ‘age of entitlement’ replaced ‘war on poverty’

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of president Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” in the United States. Whatever people might think of Johnson’s actions in southeast Asia, it’s worth pausing to remember his…
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has been anxious to maximise his profile on border protection. AAP/David Crosling

Grattan on Friday: Abbott government needs to acquire an empathy gene

What is offensive about this government is not that it is pursuing tough policies, but that it is trashing accountability and is so lacking in empathy. The boats did need to be stopped; the budget does…
In the 27 years since the Hawke government came up with a public service efficiency dividend, the evidence has mounted against it. National Archives of Australia

Getting more bang for public bucks: is the ‘efficiency dividend’ efficient?

Every now and again in public policy debates a consensus emerges on some particular point among policymakers, stakeholders and commentators. These moments are distressingly rare. It is even more distressing…
A formal, transparent and public assessment of infrastructure benefits and costs is the only way to ensure the right decision are made. Dan Peled/AAP

Realising Abbott’s infrastructure dream will need state support

One of the many challenges facing the Australian economy over the next decade or two concerns investment in transport, electricity, water, communications, health and education, and other infrastructure…
Christopher Pyne and Joe Hockey say taxpayers are paying to send kids to uni who will go on to earn more than them. Is this the case? AAP

Students versus taxpayers: decoding the Pyne-Hockey script

With notable exceptions, higher education leaders seem ready to accept the latest funding cuts. But the Group of Eight’s Michael Gallagher has gone further, strongly endorsing the reforms as “logical…
The uncertainties of young Australians’ lives already present many challenges. Any harm done by making things tougher cannot easily be undone. Flickr/Bernard Oh

Pain now, rewards later? Young lives cannot be relived

The federal government’s proposed budget measures are particularly harsh on young people, particularly the most vulnerable. A raft of measures, if introduced, will reduce young people’s access to income…

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