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Federal Budget 2013

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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. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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…
In his budget reply, Tony Abbott has promised to keep compensation while still scrapping the carbon tax. AAP/Alan Porritt

Abbott backflips on carbon compensation in budget reply

Tony Abbott has promised a Coalition government would keep the income tax and pension compensation Labor has given even after…
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. 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. 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. 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. 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…
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. 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. 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. 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? 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. 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…

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