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Federal Budget 2011

Analysis and Comment (26)

Treasurer Wayne Swan is maintaining a slimmed down surplus for 2012-2013 - but storm clouds are rolling over the global economy. AAP

Slimmed down surplus as Swan unveils mid-year budget: experts respond

The Federal Government is still aiming to deliver a slimmed down surplus next financial year, but has downgraded economic growth forecasts amid a slowing world economy and news that Europe may already…
Wayne Swan steered Australia through the GFC, but can he weather the tough times ahead? AAP

Golden Treasurer: is Wayne Swan really the world’s best?

Spare a thought for Peter Costello. His successor as Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has just been named Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney magazine. It is a bit like seeing the plodding nerd at…
Australia’s foreign aid commitment falls far short of the level promised in 1970. AAP

Australia’s aid funding: does our performance match our promises?

In the foreword to the international development assistance component of this year’s Federal Budget, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd gives cogent reasons for Australia’s position on foreign aid funding. He…
Treasurer Wayne Swan supervises journalists examining his budget. His tax plans are a “fiscal illusion”. AAP/Andrew Taylor

The trouble with ‘taxeaters’ (aka middle-class welfare recipients)

Thinking about tax policy gives individuals the opportunity to devise their own “great society”. As economics laureate James Buchanan explains “Many economists, along with other social scientists and social…
The budget doesn’t address all of COAG’s key health priorities. AAP

A tale of two budgets – but only one will be heard today

The Federal Government has a strong tale to tell about the main health initiatives announced in last night’s budget. But there’s another, untold part of the story that belongs to the bigger narrative of…
Does the budget lessen or deepen the male-female divide?

Tax, women and the Henry Review

The Budget: What does it have to do with tax reform? This year’s budget claims to “progress the government’s tax reform agenda, improving fairness and integrity in the tax system”. Does it? The short answer…
Successful: the threat of cuts led researchers to hold rallies in state capitals. AAP

Medical research funding has been saved: now we need to spend wisely

The NHMRC budget escaped the threatened $400 million cut in last night’s Federal Government budget announcement. Instead, the 4% annual increase it has received in recent years will continue for another…
The government’s targeting of welfare marks a significant policy shift. AAP

How this budget put welfare to work

Apart from the reassuring signals to financial markets about the deficit reduction, the longer term significance of this year’s budget is about restructuring the relationship between welfare and work…
Extra funds for mental health and regional hospitals balanced other budget cuts.

Budget maintains a healthy weight

We were chilled by the prospect of a radical weight-loss austerity budget, but it did not occur in health. While liposuction was applied to several programs – hearing services and general practice-based…
The government must broaden the resources tax in line with the Henry Review. AAP

The federal budget’s too-hard basket

Last night’s federal budget is a good time to analyse the government’s take on the economy and its economic policy agenda. In this budget, the Treasurer is cautiously upbeat about Australia’s medium term…
Stronger higher education spending will help Australia become a ‘clever country’.

Did universities get their fair share?

The Gillard Government has reiterated its commitment to education in this year’s budget, and universities in particular. Universities with regional campuses were the biggest winners, receiving $110 million…
Treasurer Wayne Swan will now have to sell his federal budget. AAP

Federal budget: the experts comment

Treasurer Wayne Swan has released his budget, with $22 billion in cuts and a return to surplus by 2012 - 2013, initiatives to increase workforce participation, plans to boost infrastructure investment…
The Federal Budget hoopla is largely a symbolic gesture. AAP

Reading Swan’s budget symbolism

Federal Budget night has become widely held as the most crucial event in Australia’s political calendar. After all, any statement of how more than $300 billion is going to be raised and a similar amount…
What problems? Wayne Swan meets British Chancellor George Osborne and Belgium’s Finance Minister Didier Reynders at April’s IMF meeting. AAP

Why Wayne Swan is the envy of the world right now

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan says he is set to deliver a tough budget. Julia Gillard remains committed to bringing government back to surplus by 2013. Budget day is an appropriate moment to ask how the…
Changes to the charity tax rules could impact on Gloria Jean’s among other organisations. Flickr/Edwin Tang ET

Charity tax changes to help lawyers and accountants, but no-one else

Tonight’s budget is expected to tighten a tax loophole for charities which run businesses unrelated to their charitable work. The government thinks it will increase revenue for Australia’s coffers. It…
Invest early for the best employment outcomes. AAP

Four ways to get people back into work

Tonight’s budget will bring major policy announcements directed at improving labour market outcomes for unemployed persons and welfare recipients. In her speech at the Sydney Institute on April 13, Julia…
PM Julia Gillard says there’s only way the surplus should go. AAP

Federal Budget 2011: Do we need a budget surplus?

“The right thing to do with an economy that is moving towards full capacity and full strength is to deliver a budget surplus.“ - Prime Minister Julia Gillard In collaboration with The Drum, The Conversation…
Women are most likely to depend Centrelink payments. AAP

How the surplus drains the gender balance

FEDERAL BUDGET 2011: In recent decades, the budget surplus has become a goal in itself and an obsession for governments. In the process, we have lost some perspective on what kind of social and economic…
“And then children, we returned the budget to surplus…” AAP

Why Wayne and Julia are hooked on ‘deficit fetishism’

If pre-budget statements by Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan are an accurate guide, this year’s Federal Budget is shaping up as marking a change in the direction of Commonwealth taxing and spending priorities…
“It’s cyclical, no wait…” AAP

It’s the structural deficit, stupid

In order to understand why the government has committed itself to a budget surplus, we must distinguish what is known as the structural budget balance from the cyclical budget balance. We also need to…
On a wing and a prayer for the budget? AAP

Worshipping the debt-free mantra of surplus

To understand the political uses of budget surpluses, we need to go back to the early 1980s when Australia and New Zealand governments self-imposed a fiscal straitjacket. They decided that running a surplus…
The $125m already spent on bowel cancer screening will be wasted if the program isn’t funded in the May Budget. AAP

Saving lives and money: why Australia needs bowel cancer screening

This year 17,000 Australians will be diagnosed with bowel cancer and every week 80 people will die from this disease. Meanwhile Australia’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) has run out of…

Research and News (1)