Articles on Federal Government

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Many seniors pay less than younger workers on the same income as a result of special tax breaks for seniors. www.shutterstock.com

Why special tax breaks for seniors should go

The federal government could save about A$1 billion a year by changing three unfair tax breaks for older Australians, a new report says.
A March 21, 2014 photograph of asylum seekers behind a fence at the Manus Island detention centre. AAP/Eoin Blackwell

Same old rhetoric cannot justify banning refugees from Australia

The government's message to asylum seekers is already clear: you are not welcome, and you will not be resettled in Australia. Surely that message does not need to be any harsher.
A relative of asylum seekers being held on Nauru cries at a press conference to launch an Amnesty International report. Reuters/David Gray

Robert Manne: How we came to be so cruel to asylum seekers

It has been the absolutism embedded in Australian immigration culture of control that helps explain our hardline policy history on asylum seekers.
Research shows that poor and wealthy retirees spend about the same during their retirement. www.shutterstock.com

Poor and rich retirees spend about the same

Giving rich households superannuation concessions is not justified according to new research which says these retirees spend as much as their poorer counterparts.
The Federal Budget is put together by the Department of Finance and Treasury, unlike PEFO. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Australia needs a better independent fiscal agency

The Pre-election Fiscal Outlook shows two things, the ridiculousness of 10 year forecasts and that we need a tougher Parliamentary Budget Office.
Customers have the most to gain out of a review of the powers of the Financial Services Ombudsman, which sits under ASIC. Sergio Dionisio/AAP

Stronger role for ombudsman is the key to protecting bank customers

Out of the many changes the federal government has made to ASIC, the review of the Financial Ombudsman will have the biggest impact on customers.
When Treasurer Joe Hockey presents the budget next week it will be worth reviewing the language he and Prime Minister Tony Abbott use about government spending. Lukas Coch/AAP

Busting the myth that Australia has ‘big government’

Despite the rhetoric that Australia needs to reign in government spending, we're actually out of step with other developed economies.
Are Queensland’s cassowaries being let down by Canberra’s officialdom?. Dave Kimble/Wikimedia Commons

Cassowaries and chaplains: how to avoid Canberra’s conservation overreach

What do school chaplains and cassowaries have in common? Both highlight the degree to which federal governments struggle to devolve quality public decision-making to the right level. Our schools and our…
Furniture retailer Harvey Norman has been targeted by activists, in a campaign described by the federal government as dishonest. AAP Image/The Last Stand/Matthew Newton

Boycotts are a crucial weapon to fight environment-harming firms

In October 2000, I was driving through downtown Boise, Idaho, and nearly careered off the road. Just in front of me was a giant inflatable Godzilla-like dinosaur, well over 30m tall. It was towering over…
Tony Abbott has promised a new way forward for federal-state relations if the Coalition wins government. But will he find the federal lever of power too tempting not to pull? AAP/Alan Porritt

Federal-state reform: is Abbott offering the real deal?

Opposition leader Tony Abbott announced on the weekend that a government he leads would adopt a new approach to relations between the Commonwealth and the states. He has promised to meet with the state…
Treasurer Wayne Swan has unveiled an $19.4 billion deficit, but promises to be back in surplus by 2016-17. AAP

A long slide towards debt leads to Wayne’s budget swansong

How did the Australian economy, which boasts the best performance of the major advanced economies, end up with an estimated budget deficit of A$19 billion this year and an estimated debt of $178 billion…

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