The promised surpluses won't last unless we stop giving older Australians more and more and asking them to pay less and less.
Budgets will increasingly acknowledge that welfare is about us, rather than us versus them.
The Conversation played host to really important new ideas in 2018. Some will take years to develop. Others will never come to fruition. But they're important.
A new ANU computer algorithm can provide near instant answers about how to get the best bang for welfare dollars. It says we should boost Newstart and cut either pensions or family benefits.
Bill Shorten says Labor's plan to make super contributions on behalf of women on paid parental leave would have a "big impact". We find its impact would be be minuscule.
The pension age won't climb to 70 after all. What was it all about?
Increasingly insecure pathways to home ownership are not just a problem for property markets. The fallout is likely to hit retirement incomes, the welfare base, gender equity and the broader economy.
Retirees are often urged to downsize to free up suburban properties for the next generation and for higher-density development. What's being ignored is the costs of moving into a unit or apartment.
Any significant decline in home ownership or equity in a home impacts higher care needs: older people will not have an asset to sell to fund the bonds required to enter aged care accommodation.
Beyond debates about the avocado smash generation lies some misnomers on which generation had it better.
For the increasing proportion of people living in private rental accommodation who can expect to be dependent on the age pension, the prospects of financial and housing insecurity are grim.
Changes to the pension will affect the way people plan and behave.
Super is the wrong tool to provide an adequate support in retirement for low-income earners. Our research shows top-up measures to help this group are poorly targeted and too expensive.
Senator Jacqui Lambie told Q&A that a third of Australian age pensioners are living below the poverty line and that it's estimated to rise to two-thirds within five years. Is that right?
The proof of whether an investment approach to welfare actually does improve outcomes for the disadvantaged is still some years down the track.
The Coalition has reached a compromise to get its superannuation reform past its own party, but the changes will make it harder for women and older workers.
The current system is causing inefficiencies in housing markets, but governments seem unwilling to act.
Hoping for the best is not a budget management strategy: but Australia can set realistic goals.
The only problem with an appeal to fairness is there is no single understanding of what the word means.
Having made a commitment to reduce spending, the federal government will have its work cut out with this year's budget, which may require revisiting policy ideas that have caused it pain in the past.