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Abbott: One rule for farmers, another for manufacturers. Andrew Meares/AAP

Moving beyond the agriculture of entitlement

The announcement of drought relief funding for farmers by an Australian prime minister would not normally be a cause for surprise. But last week’s A$324 million drought package comes amid a concerted push…
Treasurer Joe Hockey’s declaration of an age of personal responsibility is welcome, as long as the principle applies consistently to all. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

If this is to be the age of personal responsibility, let it be universal

Federal treasurer Joe Hockey has announced that the age of personal responsibility has begun. Personally, I’m glad to hear it. I’ve often felt a swelling of pride at the achievements of CEOs or sportspeople…
Treasurer Joe Hockey wants the G20 Finance Ministers to agree to hard economic growth targets, but not everyone is on the same page. Daniel Munoz/AAP

Hockey’s G20 growth targets can’t be one size fits all

Treasurer Joe Hockey this week revealed plans to push for quantitative economic growth targets from the G20 Finance Ministers, who are meeting in Sydney this weekend. But it’s unclear whether this mission…
Last year’s G-20 knees up. This year expect the taper, the IMF and corporate tax evasion to be the main themes. Flickr

We are all spillovers now: G20 finance meeting explained

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 major economies will meet in Sydney this week. A lot of troubled financial waters have flowed under the bridge since this group last met…
Qantas is poised to receive some form of government assistance, but will it act in the national interest? griffs0000/Flickr

Qantas can’t have it both ways on foreign ownership

The Federal Government appears ready to “throw a lifeline” to Qantas, which has been seeking a government-backed debt guarantee and a lifting of the 49% foreign ownership limit in the Qantas Sale Act…
The National Commission of Audit has an extension of time for its first report, but the issues are complicated. AAP

Just how much can we really expect from the National Commission of Audit?

News that the National Commission of Audit had been granted an extension of time shouldn’t be a surprise given the complexity of issues in the scope of its first phase. The questions it is examining around…
Commissioners of the Abbott government’s Commission of Audit Robert Fisher, Tony Shepherd, Amanda Vanstone and Peter Boxall faced a Senate hearing yesterday, but little was revealed. AAP/Lukas Coch

Audit Commission’s secrecy and haste makes for bad policy

Treasurer Joe Hockey expected yesterday’s public hearing into the Commission of Audit would be a “show trial” and a “stunt”. And at face value he was right. Those who hoped Tony Shepherd or the other Commissioners…
Is selling public infrastructure assets to fund government projects a good idea? AAP

Open for business: selling off public assets to fund infrastructure

When Tony Abbott stepped up to claim victory for the Coalition in September, he declared Australia was “under new management and once more open for business”. One hundred days on, we look at the open for…
There was no plan in treasurer Joe Hockey’s MYEFO to get the economy out of a slump, and it looks like staying there for some time. AAP/Alan Porritt

MYEFO: how can the Abbott government fix Australia’s economy?

Sooner or later, the Abbott government will have to stimulate the economy using fiscal policy – just like the Rudd government did in response to the global financial crisis and the Howard government did…
Treasurer Joe Hockey has sent some mixed messages on foreign investment, but it’s critical a level playing field is applied. Alan Porritt/AAP

Open for foreign investment … conditions apply

When Tony Abbott stepped up to claim victory for the Coalition in September, he declared Australia was “under new management and once more open for business”. One hundred days on, we look at the open for…
Deficits in the longer term are not sustainable. AAP

Structural deficit is Hockey’s elephant in the room

Media reports preceding the mid year economic and fiscal outlook suggest we should expect a deficit of just under A$50 billion, a further deterioration of Australia’s budget position since the pre-election…
Treasurer Joe Hockey has flagged competition issues after rejecting the ADM takeover of GrainCorp, but he failed to say how he would fix the GrainCorp monopoly. Alan Porritt/AAP

Hockey’s GrainCorp decision opens competition can of worms

When Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey quashed the acquisition of GrainCorp by Archer Daniels Midland on national interest grounds, his stated reasons were based on competition. Despite it being five years…
Australia’s debt level is currently pegged at A$300 billion, but should the debt belt be tightened or dropped altogether? John Pryke/AAP

Debt ceiling is a belt when we already have braces

The Australian Parliament is deadlocked on a bid by the government to increase the debt ceiling from A$300 billion to A$500 billion. The Greens have flagged a willingness to drop the ceiling entirely…
GrainCorp has long been a target for US interests - because it has been effective. AAP

GrainCorp must now weigh its options

A lot of the current response to Treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision to block ADM’s A$3.4 billion takeover for GrainCorp is political rhetoric and doesn’t have to be taken seriously. But as Jeffrey Wilson…
Treasurer Joe Hockey has blocked the A$3.4 billion bid by US giant Archer Daniel Midlands for GrainCorp. AAP

Hockey kills GrainCorp takeover by ADM: experts react

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has rejected the proposed takeover of GrainCorp by US grain handling giant Archer Daniels Midland, arguing the takeover would not be in the public interest. Mr Hockey said…
Treasurer Joe Hockey admits the government’s ‘open for business’ promise must be followed up with action. Alan Porritt/AAP

Abbott’s ‘open for business’ honeymoon is over

From a three-and-a-half year high last month, business confidence data for October shows the post-election honeymoon is over, with business conditions continuing to underperform in non-mining sectors…
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says Hockey wants a big heft in debt ceiling so he won’t have to come back to Parliament again. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Labor plays hardball on debt ceiling – as well as on mining tax and carbon price

The opposition is going into the new parliament with something of the “relentlessly negative” frame of mind that it used to attack in Tony Abbott. It will try to deny the government its way on the three…
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey on Q&A’s National Economic Debate.

FactCheck Q&A: do women under 50 make up just 2% of people on $100,000 a year?

“The biggest beneficiaries [of the Coalition’s Paid Parental Leave scheme] are the women of Australia. Of all the people earning A$100,000 a year under the age of 50, 2% are women. Just 2% are women. How…
Buying power doesn’t always stack up as the best measurement for who we are and how far we’ve come. Shutterstock/ MaleWitch

More pie in the sky - economic progress no slice of life

In the verbal volley between Gillard and Abbott, Swan and Hockey, there is a conversation that we are not hearing. It bubbles below the consciousness of mainstream Australia, a conversation that is old…

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