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In the dark? Ignoring revenue has stymied Australia’s budget debate. Shutterstock

Without revenue, Australia can only have half a budget debate

The missing element in this week’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, and more broadly, in current government policy, stares Australians in the face. Revenue needs to be increased. Increasing taxes…
The Great Southern case was Victoria’s largest ever class action and involved 22,000 group members and individual plaintiffs. David Crosling/AAP

Great Southern class action calls for debate on lawyers fees

The failed Great Southern class action, which saw lawyers receive substantially more compensation than victims, could be seen as making the case for contingency fees. The Productivity Commission recently…
Pilots have the privilege of a birds-eye view, but should they resist the temptation to snap from the cockpit? Frans Zwart/Flickr

When ‘selfies’ extend to plane cockpits, pilots could land themselves in trouble

Last week, Quartz published an article showcasing photographs pilots have taken from the cockpit of aircraft to post on Instagram. As explained in the story, by taking these photos – many of which appear…
MYEFO increases the fall in the terms of trade forecast, meaning our income recession will deepen. AAP/Lukas Coch

MYEFO projections signal a deepening income recession

Australia is now in an income recession. A fortnight ago, when the National Accounts revealed a second quarter of negative growth in seasonally adjusted real gross domestic income, treasurer Joe Hockey…
To prevent future pain, the government can’t put off tough decisions on tax. Lukas Coch/AAP

Why it’s time to hike the GST and levy an inheritance tax

The government’s recent budget outlook (MYEFO) confirmed that the Australian government budget is rotten at the core. The government is hopelessly living beyond its means, with expenditure greater than…
This government is fond of comparing the economy to a household budget - but there is one really major difference. AAP/Lukas Koch

Why the federal budget is not like a household budget

Treasurer Joe Hockey is experiencing difficult times. Deteriorating terms of trade and an uncooperative senate mean that he cannot deliver the surplus when he said he would and he cannot continue to cut…
Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann say the government’s mid year outlook sets the path to budget recovery. AAP/Lukas Coch

Federal budget deficit climbs to $40.4bn: experts react

The federal budget deficit will blow out to A$40.4 billion in 2014-15, up from the $29.8 billion forecast in May’s budget, according to the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) released today…
Australia’s consumers are about to feel the pinch. Dan Peled/AAP

The Aussie dollar at US75 cents: good or bad?

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review last week, Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens suggested the Australian dollar might fall to US75 cents in 2015. And he intimated that it wouldn’t be…
Victoria’s new government has promised to “tear up” the contracts for the controversial East-West Link project. Courtney Biggs/AAP

Rip up the contracts? Why public-private infrastructure deals need to change

Victoria’s public-private partnerships (PPPs) are a mess. Their democratic standing has never been lower. They have always trumpeted better value for money and more timely delivery, but with the contract…
The Murray report has suggested a cautious approach to regulation around crowd sourcing, which offers both opportunities and risks. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Why slow and steady approach to crowdfunding may pay off

The Financial System Inquiry has taken a “slow and steady” approach to financial crowdfunding, despite perceptions that Australia is lagging behind in this area. While acknowledging the wide range of global…
The Financial System Inquiry says the purpose of superannuation is to provide a retirement income that can substitute or supplement the age pension. Lukas Coch/AAP

Murray pushes for fewer super tax breaks but change is unlikely

David Murray’s Financial System Inquiry may call for the removal of superannuation tax breaks but the government’s tax discussion paper, due to be released next week, is unlikely to advocate similar changes…
Protestors have been rallying for a “living wage” across the country in recent years, including at this one last month in Washington. Reuters

It’s time we revived FDR’s ‘wages of a decent living’

A noxious combination of falling wages, income inequality at its highest since the 1920s and a growing low-wage sector has caused the ranks of the working poor to swell to more than 47 million. That’s…
Big nest egg or small: shouldn’t super fund trustees meet the same professional standards as individual financial planners? Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Murray pinpoints inconsistency on financial advice and super trustees

Finally, Financial System Inquiry chairman, David Murray, has brought some consistency into two hot debates running in finance. Parliament, financial media commentators and a whole range of vested interests…
Australia’s love affair with China is grounded on more than proximity and fascination. William West/AFP/AAP

China-Australia doomsayers overlook strong fundamentals

Pop quiz: in 2014 the quantity of Australian iron ore demanded by China has: a) fallen sharply, b) fallen modestly, c) remained the same, d) increased modestly, e) increased sharply? The answer in just…
Unlike America, Australia is overbanked. Nicholas Eckhart/Flickr

Murray inquiry not made for a future with fewer banks

A key component of the Financial System Inquiry handed to Treasurer Joe Hockey this week was that “the financial system should be subject and responsive to market forces, including competition”. But on…
Australia’s children and grandchildren will not enjoy the fruits of the country’s prosperity as much as their parents. Mate Marschalko/Flickr

Young Australians set to pay for government policy mistakes

Having enjoyed continuously increasing prosperity since the Second World War, Australians have come to expect that each generation will live a better life than the last. But this steady progress may be…
Talk of a tax crackdown has Joe Hockey smiling. Lukas Coch/AAP

Australia eyes missing billions with very own ‘Google tax’

Joe Hockey has hinted he may introduce a “Google tax” as a new weapon to tackle profit shifting by multinational enterprises. The Treasurer’s suggestion is not only political as a counter to aggressive…
Australia is now the most China-dependent economy in the world – does this pose a problem for our future? AAP/Alan Porritt

Australia’s China dependence: do we need a Plan B?

If something can’t go on for ever, it won’t. – Herb Stein, chief economic adviser to former US president Richard Nixon. China’s economic rise has been a good news story for Australia. According to most…
At the recent OPEC meeting Saudi Arabia argued for oil production levels to remain stable. www.shutterstock.com

Oil prices fall as economics trumps geopolitics

As at early December, the international price of crude oil is around US$70 a barrel, depending on grade. Over the last six months, oil prices have slumped by 30% and crude oil is now at its lowest level…
Global environmental and social welfare per capita has not improved since the 1980s. www.shutterstock.com

How the world’s economic growth is actually un-economic

The focus of the recently concluded G20 summit was economic growth. The final communiqué begins: “Raising global growth to deliver better living standards and quality jobs for people across the world is…
The recent report on foreign investment in Australian property failed to address how to solve affordability issues. Joel Carrett/AAP

Foreign investment in real estate inquiry: a lost opportunity

The federal government has missed an opportunity to give serious thought to housing affordability in Australia. The House Standing Committee on Economics recently released its report on individual foreign…
Forced to defend the broken promises embedded in its budget, the government has left people worried about hidden post-election agendas. Penny Bradfield/AAP

Australia’s trust emergency will stymie year of reform

Political and business leaders are touting the next 12 months as a make-or-break year for the country’s reform agenda - and Australia’s economy. A number of big changes will be proposed and debated. These…