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Federal Budget 2012

Analysis and Comment (33)

A clear-headed analysis of the budget must delve beyond the buzzwords and political rhetoric. A clear-headed analysis of the budget must delve beyond the buzzwords and political rhetoric. AAP

Making sense of a bootstrap budget

Each year the budget is like an annual health check on a patient with many complexities. In a black coat, not a white one, the august Treasurer reports the nation’s temperature, provides much-needed tonics…
Post-budget analysis has largely ignored the government’s achievements in aged care reform. Post-budget analysis has largely ignored the government’s achievements in aged care reform. Ernst Vikne

Navigating Australia’s bumpy road to aged care reform

Much of the budget analysis over the past week has concentrated on the shuffling of expenditure for 2012-13 back to this financial year in order to achieve a surplus. It’s true that $17.6bn of such transfers…
Labor is out of touch with the attitudes of 21st century Australians. Labor is out of touch with the attitudes of 21st century Australians. AAP/Dan Peled

‘Class warfare’ or not, Australia has moved on from Labor’s old-fashioned rhetoric

“Class warfare” is an emotive term that would seem to belong to a bygone age when there also existed, as in the minds of many people, something called the “class struggle”. It would seem strange that in…
Try telling sacked Toyota workers we live in a classless society. Try telling sacked Toyota workers we live in a classless society. AAP/Julian Smith

Class warfare in Australia? We should be so lucky

The idea that Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan have launched a “class war” in Australia through last week’s federal budget is a huge joke. I don’t believe The Australian’s editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell even…
System 1 thinkers on the left, System 2 thinker on the right? System 1 thinkers on the left, System 2 thinker on the right? AAP

Budget 2012: Why the experts will get it wrong

It’s an old joke, but hard to resist around Budget time. That is, that economic forecasting was invented to make astrology look respectable. Over the past few days we’ve heard a lot about how notoriously…
Tony Abbot’s budget reply speech was rife with contradictions. Tony Abbot’s budget reply speech was rife with contradictions. AAP/Alan Porritt

Ghosts of ideologies past hover around Abbott’s budget reply

To quote American baseball manager Yogi Berra, it was “déjà vu all over again” last night when I listened to Tony Abbott’s budget reply. I was back in the 1970s but without the big-collared shirts and…
The increased provisions for welfare spending are partially symbolic, but also lay the foundations for a more progressive tax and welfare system. The increased provisions for welfare spending are partially symbolic, but also lay the foundations for a more progressive tax and welfare system. AAP

Class warfare in the budget? That’s a bit rich

The Treasurer Wayne Swan has described the 2012 Budget yesterday as “a Labor budget to its bootstraps”, and commentators have variously seen it as “a big taxing, big spending budget, including a big increase…
Swan would have an easier time if he were more honest with voters about what Labor is trying to achieve. Swan would have an easier time if he were more honest with voters about what Labor is trying to achieve. AAP/Lukas Coch

Swan struggles to help the poor in a straitjacket of his own making

Labor’s budget continues a path set since 2007. It shows the technocratic skill of a government clever at policy detail; but also one unable, or perhaps unwilling, to challenge the economic straitjacket…
Much of the media commentary surrounding the budget has seized upon so-called “cuts” to Australia’s aid program. Much of the media commentary surrounding the budget has seized upon so-called “cuts” to Australia’s aid program. AAP

The politics behind the ‘cuts’ to foreign aid

Reporting on the federal budget has been replete with commentary about “cuts” to foreign aid. But the fact is that the aid program was not cut in any meaningful sense of the word. In nominal terms, aid…
Swan may be appealing to a voting bloc that doesn’t exist. Swan may be appealing to a voting bloc that doesn’t exist. AAP/Alan Porritt

Labor’s populist turn unlikely to succeed

The 2012 budget came at a particularly challenging time for Labor. The government has sought to achieve two distinct (if related) political goals: bolster Labor’s “economic management” credentials and…
While the budget proved somewhat of an empty shell for corporate Australia, small businesses had reason for cheer. While the budget proved somewhat of an empty shell for corporate Australia, small businesses had reason for cheer. tiny banquet committee

A political shell game for small business?

The 2012 federal budget offers to return a modest surplus of $1.5 billion over the financial year 2012-2013, with the hope of further surplus budgets in the following years. In normal circumstances, this…
At the end of the four years, only 5% of Australians with a disability will be covered. At the end of the four years, only 5% of Australians with a disability will be covered. Flickr/afri

NDIS funding a start but limited trial means a long wait for most

Last night’s budget contained an important step towards realising a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with $1bn allocated over the next four years. Of these funds, $342.5 million will pay for…
Treasurer Wayne Swan is chuffed about the surplus, but it pays to take a deeper look at the numbers. Treasurer Wayne Swan is chuffed about the surplus, but it pays to take a deeper look at the numbers. AAP

Accounting “tricks” behind the federal budget surplus

Government budgets are increasingly becoming more political documents. This has been particularly evident with the federal government’s pledge to return the budget to surplus. However, budget numbers are…
Swan’s budget targeted the Labor base, but it may not be enough. Swan’s budget targeted the Labor base, but it may not be enough. AAP/Alan Porritt

Will Wayne win over the battlers or is it too late for Labor?

“Walk into the local pet shop and the resident galah will be talking about microeconomic reform.” So Paul Keating once famously quipped about the significance of the government’s microeconomic reform agenda…
More effective aid has been the focus this year. More effective aid has been the focus this year. AAP/Australian Defence Force Petty Officer Damian Pawlenko

Government postpones aid target, but ramps up aid effectiveness

The government has postponed its foreign aid target by a year as part of its 2012 Federal Budget, but has announced a raft of new measures to monitor the effectiveness of Australia’s aid programs. The…
There’s good news in the Budget for the one in three adults who have delayed or avoided visiting a dentist in the last year because of cost. There’s good news in the Budget for the one in three adults who have delayed or avoided visiting a dentist in the last year because of cost. illuminaut/Flickr

What the budget means for dental care in Australia

The Federal Budget includes $515.3 million dentistry package that will go some way to easing some of the problems with dental care in Australia. Of this total, $345.9 million will be used to treat patients…
The Battler’s budget: Will Wayne Swan’s budget help win back an electorate? The Battler’s budget: Will Wayne Swan’s budget help win back an electorate? AAP

Federal budget 2012: expert reaction

Labor has made a $5 billion pitch to true-believers with a $1.5 billion surplus, cash hand-outs and tax breaks for low- and middle-income earners in the federal budget. And the opinion-makers are on the…
Is the Budget politically driven, or is it sound economic policy? Only time will tell. Is the Budget politically driven, or is it sound economic policy? Only time will tell. AAP

Federal Budget 2012: short-term political gain or long-term economic strategy?

Good policy should be free of surprises. Households have to make decisions about how much to spend, how much to save, how to finance their retirement, whether to take out health insurance, and so on. Businesses…
Wayne Swan handed down the 2012 budget after a truly remarkable day in Australian parliament. Wayne Swan handed down the 2012 budget after a truly remarkable day in Australian parliament. AAP/Alan Porritt

Swan has the final word on a budget day like no other … but is anyone listening?

As Treasurer Wayne Swan approached the despatch boxes tonight, the nation’s political focus was finally fixed on the Gillard government’s second budget. His speech ended a budget day like no other, with…
As the government scrambles to balance the books, the business community has voiced its fears that Treasurer Wayne Swan will renege on his promise of a 1% reduction in the corporate tax rate. As the government scrambles to balance the books, the business community has voiced its fears that Treasurer Wayne Swan will renege on his promise of a 1% reduction in the corporate tax rate. AAP

Corporate tax cuts at risk - but are they really required?

In the last 24 hours, we have heard mutterings about the possibility that an earlier commitment to cuts in the corporate tax rate may not go ahead in the budget. Some in the business community have, unsurprisingly…
AusAID’s future funding is in play tonight. AusAID’s future funding is in play tonight. Australian Civil-Military Centre

A guide to aid funding in the 2012 budget

The 2012-13 budget has been the subject of an unusually intensive amount of media and sectoral speculation and debate in the past few weeks. This piece sets out what we should look for in tonight’s budget…
“And then there’s this…” Will there be any surprises in store for this year’s budget? “And then there’s this…” Will there be any surprises in store for this year’s budget? AAP

Wish list for Wayne Swan: what the experts want from the budget

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan will be busy tonight handing down the Federal Budget with all the policy settings we’ll need to ensure Australia’s future prosperity (and not simply as a re-election platform…
Wayne Swan’s responsibility to the citizens of Lilley may conflict with his role of treasurer. So why don’t we separate them? Wayne Swan’s responsibility to the citizens of Lilley may conflict with his role of treasurer. So why don’t we separate them? AAP/Alan Porritt

Treasurer or Member for Lilley? Perhaps Wayne Swan doesn’t have to be both

Australia is on the eve of receiving one of its most anticipated budget announcements. Wayne Swan and the team within the Treasury have put together a pillar from which the Labor Party will draw strength…
Improving the transparency and evaluation of major infrastructure projects is one way to increase productivity. Improving the transparency and evaluation of major infrastructure projects is one way to increase productivity. AAP

Budget provides a chance to carve out the path to higher productivity

Productivity growth results in more valued output per unit of production input, or the same output for fewer inputs. Growth of productivity requires changes involving the adoption of new technology, better…
Given the RBA’s decision to slash the cash rate by 50 basis points, it’s hard to justify Treasurer Wayne Swan’s pursuit of a budget surplus. Given the RBA’s decision to slash the cash rate by 50 basis points, it’s hard to justify Treasurer Wayne Swan’s pursuit of a budget surplus. AAP

Cutting rates, then tightening fiscal policy? Trying to make sense of the quest for a surplus

The former Governor of the Reserve Bank, Bernie Fraser, hit the nail on the head the other night when he found it absurd that the Reserve Bank could be reducing interest rates one day, while a week later…
Caring for a disabled child currenlty requires battle after battle for basic equipment and services. Caring for a disabled child currenlty requires battle after battle for basic equipment and services. bellisg

The NDIS is worth the investment – here’s why

The government has announced its commitment to the introduction of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with money to be set aside in next week’s federal budget for a 2013 start-up in four locations…
Size does matter: rather than be concerned about achieving a surplus or a deficit, the government should be focusing on how to manage its debt. Size does matter: rather than be concerned about achieving a surplus or a deficit, the government should be focusing on how to manage its debt. AAP

Don’t forget the debt: there’s more to fiscal prudence than a return to surplus

Treasurer Swan’s commitment to bring the government budget into surplus in 2012-13 may be a political imperative, but is not good economics. The focus for prudential fiscal management should instead be…
“Every Australian Counts” has organised rallies in capitals cities across the country. “Every Australian Counts” has organised rallies in capitals cities across the country. phonakins/flickr

Lessons for the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Grassroots disability services campaign group, Every Australian Counts is holding rallies in capital cities all over the country today, calling for the creation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme…
Parlous states: despite staring down the barrel of recession, Victoria is set to deliver a budget surplus. But is this the right move for a stagnant economy? Parlous states: despite staring down the barrel of recession, Victoria is set to deliver a budget surplus. But is this the right move for a stagnant economy? AAP

Is surplus the key to lifting Victoria out of its parlous state?

The Victorian government is set to hand down its budget this week. Premier Ted Baillieu is committed to returning Victoria back into the black, after it spent the first six months of this year in a $341…
A fairer and more sustainable system is being proposed. A fairer and more sustainable system is being proposed. flickr/louisa_catlover

Moving in the right direction for better aged care

The Government’s aged care reforms are a landmark for setting valuable directions for better care. It’s the first such major initiative in more than 25 years – but there’s a long and uncertain road ahead…
Political, rather than economic: economists say there is no direct link to surpluses and lower interest rates. Political, rather than economic: economists say there is no direct link to surpluses and lower interest rates. AAP

Can surpluses lead to lower interest rates?

The Federal Government is continuing its pre-budget surplus sell, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard directly linking its plans to return the budget to surplus to lower interest rates. Gillard will use…
Gillard may encounter some tough talk from Coalition MPs at today’s COAG meeting. Gillard may encounter some tough talk from Coalition MPs at today’s COAG meeting. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

COAG could hurt the Gillard Government

The Coalition state premiers going to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting today smell blood. The Gillard government is in a weak position with constant leadership speculation, the Craig…
The ability of our politicians to achieve a surplus or balance the budget is spuriously taken as a measure of fiscal responsibility. The ability of our politicians to achieve a surplus or balance the budget is spuriously taken as a measure of fiscal responsibility. AAP

Returning to surplus: the policy wall our politicians can’t see over

The Federal Government’s quest to return the budget to surplus raises many questions and not just about what immediate rationale there is on economic grounds for this strategy. It also raises deeper questions…

Research and News (3)