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Federal Budget 2013

Analysis and Comment (38)

Australia’s foreign aid commitments play an integral role in the nation’s ‘soft power’ and regional security. Australia’s foreign aid commitments play an integral role in the nation’s ‘soft power’ and regional security. Marion Doss

Why soft power is so hard: the impact of aid cuts on regional security

Amidst the controversy over Julie Bishop’s Guardian interview earlier this week, many of the interesting facts about foreign policy under a putative Coalition government were lost. Notably, the opposition’s…
Playing politics with transport will only lead to a train wreck. Playing politics with transport will only lead to a train wreck. Flickr/awmalloy

Keep them off the rails: politics and transport don’t mix

The 2013-2014 Federal budget includes billions of dollars allocated to transport, including a new Melbourne rail tunnel. At the same time the Victorian State government has plans for a different tunnel…
Tony Abbott’s budget reply was a considered economic strategy amid fiscally challenging times for Australia. Tony Abbott’s budget reply was a considered economic strategy amid fiscally challenging times for Australia.

Strong rhetoric underpins Abbott’s budget strategy

In last night’s budget reply, Tony Abbott crowed he will “put the house back in order” and that the “budget will be in better hands under a Coalition government than under Labor”. It was a very measured…
In his budget reply speech, Tony Abbott made the unpredicted announcement that he would maintain carbon tax compensation but still abolish the tax. In his budget reply speech, Tony Abbott made the unpredicted announcement that he would maintain carbon tax compensation but still abolish the tax. AAP/Alan Porritt

Abbott’s balancing act: keeping the compensation while axing the carbon tax

In his federal budget reply speech, opposition leader Tony Abbott announced that a putative coalition government would maintain the revised tax-free threshold and other associated carbon tax compensation…
The harms from over-diagnosis and over-treatment mean that not everyone benefits from breast cancer screening. The harms from over-diagnosis and over-treatment mean that not everyone benefits from breast cancer screening. Ian Hunter

Breast cancer screening needs to make more than economic sense

A recent article in The Conversation’s Health Rationing series endorsed the government’s decision to extend the BreastScreen program to women aged 70 to 74 (from 50 to 69), based on the results of a 2009…
How to deal with our demographic future of an ageing population? One was is the status quo - hike taxes - but the other requires the courage to grapple funding to health and the elderly. How to deal with our demographic future of an ageing population? One was is the status quo - hike taxes - but the other requires the courage to grapple funding to health and the elderly. AAP

Australia’s choice: keep hiking taxes, or grapple with our spending on health and the aged

More than a decade ago the federal treasury produced the first Intergenerational Report (IGR), warning of the challenges facing the Australian economy due to demographic change. The IGR warned that the…
The rollout of the NDIS will place considerable pressure on the disability workforce. But are 457 visas the answer? The rollout of the NDIS will place considerable pressure on the disability workforce. But are 457 visas the answer? AAP

Reliance on 457 visas blunts the vision of the NDIS

With the legislation now through both houses of parliament, The National Disability Insurance Scheme, or DisabilityCare, is law, and will quickly become a defining feature of Australia’s social policy…
Wayne Swan’s budget has been disappointing for Labor’s education legacy. Wayne Swan’s budget has been disappointing for Labor’s education legacy. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Does the budget make us a clever country?

The last Labor budget has seen the top half of the Education Revolution fizzle. The ideals that powered the 2009 Gillard policies are in fragments. Demand-driven higher education will survive until the…
Lame duck, dying swan - headline writers have had fun with the treasurer’s sixth budget, but the fact is this budget will be remembered for its fiscal irresponsibility. Lame duck, dying swan - headline writers have had fun with the treasurer’s sixth budget, but the fact is this budget will be remembered for its fiscal irresponsibility. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Swan’s budget is a lame effort from a dying government

It has been pretty difficult to get too excited about the latest budget – it is a lame Swan effort from a dying government. It will mostly be remembered as a monument to fiscal irresponsibility. The budget…
No more Baby Bonus: Labor has further tightened family payments to rein in expenditure, but the danger is low-income families will feel it most. No more Baby Bonus: Labor has further tightened family payments to rein in expenditure, but the danger is low-income families will feel it most. AAP

Middle class welfare - are we hitting the target?

When it comes to welfare spending in the budget, the federal government has given with one hand and taken with another. Funding for support of disability services (NDIS) and schools the (Gonski reforms…
This year’s federal budget failed to provide any hint of meaningful tax reform for businesses and individuals. This year’s federal budget failed to provide any hint of meaningful tax reform for businesses and individuals. Image from www.shutterstock.com

A budget for citizens — but where is the tax reform vision?

Budget night has come and gone again. For those sad folks (I count myself among them) who follow tax and fiscal policy obsessively, it’s the most glamorous night of the year. But the budget does matter…
Is the falling carbon price as dangerous as everyone is saying? Is the falling carbon price as dangerous as everyone is saying? caribb/Flickr

Australia’s ‘carbon budget black hole’: fact or political fiction?

Discussion of the federal budget has featured much doom-mongering. This is exemplified by forecasts of a A$6-8 billion black hole in 2015-16, when the carbon tax switches to an emissions trading scheme…
We’re understanding more about how the school funding reform will work, but there is one important question that goes unanswered. We’re understanding more about how the school funding reform will work, but there is one important question that goes unanswered. Money image from www.shutterstock.com

More money for the classroom - or for bureaucrats?

Last night’s federal budget had few big spending items, but one standout area was the A$9.8 billion school funding reform. With most states still yet to sign on to the package, the budget papers reveal…
Small tax, or Big Picture? Labor wants to be seen as low taxing, but are actually big spending reformists. Small tax, or Big Picture? Labor wants to be seen as low taxing, but are actually big spending reformists. AAP

Has Labor’s tax aversion left them on the verge of electoral defeat?

Regardless of the result of the next election, the ALP will hold an inquiry into what went wrong. How on earth, they will ask, could a government presiding over low unemployment, low inflation, low levels…
Last night’s budget edges closer toward equity but a broader view of health is required if we are to make real progress. Last night’s budget edges closer toward equity but a broader view of health is required if we are to make real progress. winnifredxoxo/Flickr

Small tilt toward health equity in the federal budget

Health took a back seat in this year’s federal budget. While the proportion of money being spent on health is increasing in 2013-14, the bulk of it is due to spending commitments made in previous budgets…
Despite the notorious unreliability of forward estimates, the government has included projections for a 10-year period in this year’s federal budget. Despite the notorious unreliability of forward estimates, the government has included projections for a 10-year period in this year’s federal budget. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Government takes a punt on rubbery forward estimates, while ignoring tax reform agenda

When assessing some of the assumptions underpinning Wayne Swan’s 2013 federal budget, two things spring to mind: the Henry Tax Review and the notorious inaccuracy of forward estimates. History shows it…
Are we seeing an education revolution or counter-revolution? Are we seeing an education revolution or counter-revolution? James Bowe

On academic efficiency and the 2013 federal budget

As you may have noticed, the 2013 federal budget is out and, despite his best efforts, Euromoney’s “2011 Finance Minister of the Year” Wayne Swan has missed his earlier predicted budget surplus by almost…
The Federal Budget has attempted to fill a A$6 billion revenue hole left by the collapse of the EU carbon price - but has cut into renewables as a consequence. The Federal Budget has attempted to fill a A$6 billion revenue hole left by the collapse of the EU carbon price - but has cut into renewables as a consequence. John Goodridge

Budget defers renewable energy development when it’s needed most

The decision to link the Australia’s carbon price to the European Union emissions trading scheme has wiped A$6 billion from the federal budget. Treasurer Wayne Swan has dealt with that loss of revenue…

Surplus hopes pinned on heroic assumptions

As a recent Grattan Institute report showed, Australian governments face a decade of deficits unless governments make tough decisions to both reduce expenditure and increase taxes. How does the 2013-14…
Wayne Swan delivered his sixth budget. Wayne Swan delivered his sixth budget. AAP/Alan Porritt

Federal budget 2013: The slow road to the black

What is almost certainly the Gillard government’s last budget delays the attack on the deficit and concentrates on entrenching “legacy” programs, for which Labor hopes to be remembered. Dealt a difficult…
Federal treasurer Wayne Swan’s election year budget has to reconcile huge revenue writedowns with spending promises for schools and the disability insurance scheme. Federal treasurer Wayne Swan’s election year budget has to reconcile huge revenue writedowns with spending promises for schools and the disability insurance scheme. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Federal budget 2013: expert reactions

Australian Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has handed down his sixth budget, facing an almost impossible task: how to reconcile an enormous revenue shortfall with big spending promises, all while keeping…
Treasurer Wayne Swan has unveiled an $19.4 billion deficit, but promises to be back in surplus by 2016-17. 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…
Today’s budget will not be a typical big-spend budget. Today’s budget will not be a typical big-spend budget. AAP

The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ budget

Softening up voters for harsh measures, Julia Gillard observed a fortnight ago that “Tuesday 14 May will be no old-fashioned pre-election budget night”. The budget would not be a “political pamphlet” but…
If you’re a family or a business, you’ll get a look-in on Budget night. But what if you’re a Western Swamp Turtle? If you’re a family or a business, you’ll get a look-in on Budget night. But what if you’re a Western Swamp Turtle? Sascha Grant

On budget night, humans will trump other species, again

Last year the Australian governments (federal and state) spent AU$6.23 billion on the budget line “climate change and environment”. This probably seems a reasonable amount to most taxpayers, compared to…
Looming cuts to expenditure and probable tax increases mean there will inevitably be winners and losers. But just how should these be chosen? Looming cuts to expenditure and probable tax increases mean there will inevitably be winners and losers. But just how should these be chosen? Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

ALP’s real budget balancing act is picking the winners and losers

The government is facing two options to tackle its budget deficit: significant cuts in government expenditures or increasing taxes to close the gap with spending. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has already…
What is the “optimal” level of public debt? Persistent deficits do not automatically lead to a situation where the government resembles a household under mortgage stress. What is the “optimal” level of public debt? Persistent deficits do not automatically lead to a situation where the government resembles a household under mortgage stress.

Debts and deficits: why a string of deficits does not necessarily spell the end of the world

The debate about long-term public finance and the role of government is one that is most definitely needed. However, there are two aspects to this debate that are often conflated. First, there is the issue…
Ah, the freedom of the open road! Ah, the freedom of the open road! Walter Parenteau

New freeways cure congestion: time to put the myth to bed

Although the national budget is now apparently $12 billion in debt, a welter of state governments are pressing the federal government for support to build new freeways. The Victorian Government has just…
What sort of economic legacy did the long-serving Howard-Costello prime minister-treasurer double act really leave? What sort of economic legacy did the long-serving Howard-Costello prime minister-treasurer double act really leave? AAP/Alan Porritt

Howard’s end: how the Coalition’s last budget created the ground for the current deficits

The good times are over. That’s the message both parties are sending out ahead of the budget and September’s election. Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey promises major cuts to spending and welfare if the coalition…
A myopic focus on short-term cyclical business cycles has meant successive governments have failed to carry much needed structural reform. A myopic focus on short-term cyclical business cycles has meant successive governments have failed to carry much needed structural reform. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Beyond the boom: have we frittered away our opportunities?

No sooner had Treasurer Wayne Swan accused the Europeans of “mindless austerity” a month ago than he embarked on a resolute but most likely counter-productive search for cost savings in the coming May…
While the blame game for the deficit continues, the economy remains vulnerable to future turbulence. While the blame game for the deficit continues, the economy remains vulnerable to future turbulence. AAP/ Alan Porritt

Why deficits leave us ill-prepared for future shocks

Labor has said all options are on the table to address Australia’s structural deficit and falling tax revenues, following disclosure this week of a $12 billion revenue shortfall, just weeks from the federal…
Tony Abbott’s attack on Australia’s debt and taxation levels is sorely misguided. Tony Abbott’s attack on Australia’s debt and taxation levels is sorely misguided. AAP/ Alan Porritt

Abbott’s budget bluster highlights a deficit of social responsibility

Today’s announcement by the government that it has a $12 billion “black hole” had the status of a confession. It needn’t have. All talk of “black holes”, “revenue shortfalls” and “structural deficits…
Governments have been increasing expenditure, despite shrinking tax revenues. But our structural deficit is unsustainable and must be tackled. Governments have been increasing expenditure, despite shrinking tax revenues. But our structural deficit is unsustainable and must be tackled. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Federal Budget 2013: Why our unsustainable structural deficit must be tackled

All Australian governments, and ultimately all Australians, are faced with making tough decisions in their budgets. Without significant reductions in government expenditures and the services they provide…
Prime Minister Julia Gillard will today announce significantly lower than estimated tax revenue. Prime Minister Julia Gillard will today announce significantly lower than estimated tax revenue. AAP/ Shane Eecen

New hit to budget revenue

The estimate of budget tax revenue collection for 2012-13 has been further slashed, with the Treasury now saying it will be $12 billion less than forecast in October. The revision is another blow to a…
The kind of tax reform being called for by groups such as the Business Council of Australia can only come about if politics and vested interests are put aside. The kind of tax reform being called for by groups such as the Business Council of Australia can only come about if politics and vested interests are put aside.

Meaningful tax reform? Only if everything is on the table

There can be no dispute with last week’s call from the Business Council of Australia for meaningful tax reform. This is a larger issue than both the looming budget and September’s election. However, it…
Without considerable changes to Australia’s fiscal policies, both state and federal governments are likely to face significant budget deficits for the next ten years. Without considerable changes to Australia’s fiscal policies, both state and federal governments are likely to face significant budget deficits for the next ten years. AAP

Australian governments face a decade of budget deficits

Structural changes in the economy are likely to leave Governments across Australia facing budget deficits of around 4% of GDP for at least the next decade, according to research released today. The Grattan…
Climate Minister Greg Combet has played down the European decision. Climate Minister Greg Combet has played down the European decision. AAP/Alan Porritt

Grattan on Friday: Carbon budget blow from Europe

So much for Julia Gillard’s hope that the carbon tax debate would fade once the scheme was bedded down in the middle of last year. The issue has erupted again, hitting the government where it hurts at…

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