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Treasurer Joe Hockey said that Australia’s heavy reliance on income taxes ‘may be unsustainable’. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Tax paper shows bracket creep is stalking Australian taxpayers

The government's long awaited tax discussion paper says Australia has a relatively low tax burden compared to other developed countries but its system faces "challenges from a changing world".
Can everyone be a winner from comprehensive tax reform? Image sourced from Shutterstock.com

Tax reform - can we ALL win?

Just what are the issues we need to watch when it comes to tax reform? Read this explainer.
Political, not legal hurdles, stand in the way of the Australian Prime Minister increasing the GST. Lukas Coch/AAP

Why the Commonwealth can change the GST without the states

Under Australian law, changes to the GST are said to be not permitted unless the states agree to the changes. In reality, the GST lock-in mechanism is legally meaningless and unenforceable, though it may…
History tells us it’s better for countries to get their GST right to start with, rather than try to broaden the base later. Natalie Boog/AAP

What can other countries teach us about GST reform?

Value added tax (VAT), virtually non-existent before 1960, has been the predominant form of consumption tax since the mid-1980s. Given that more than 160 countries now have a VAT, it is hardly surprising…
Many stubbornly believe a bigger pot of GST revenues, like the magic pudding, will regenerate. PeraCultured/Flickr

Selling a GST rise will be easier if we can follow the money

Australia’s latest GST debate may be the political version of The Magic Pudding. We stubbornly believe that a bigger pot of GST revenues will regenerate – in whatever flavour is desired – like Alfred the…
Shifting the tax burden to wage earners in the middle is a costly and outdated approach to tax reform. Dave Hunt/AAP

Expanding the GST would hit the ‘middle’ and women the hardest

Many developed economies have experienced a significant increase in inequality in recent decades. Survey data for Australia show that the share of the top 10% of the income distribution, and more markedly…
Australia’s GST is considered a regressive tax, so the idea of extending it to fresh food is considered unfair. A more detailed analysis reveals it’s not that simple. Charlotte90T/Flickr

Making the case for GST on fresh food

With the federal government’s review of taxation about to get underway, many are expecting Australia’s Goods and Services Tax to be up for change. In this GST series we take a closer look at the evidence…
The first incarnation of the now-gone mining tax focused on economic rent. Is targeting powerful rent seekers too hard? AAP/Kim Christian

How’s this for fundamental tax reform? Target the rentseekers

Tax is back in the spotlight with coalition MPs and the Australia Institute talking about getting rid of some of the exemptions to the GST. There has also been a lot of talk about whether or not corporate…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott needs to contain the backbiting and discontent in the higher reaches of his government. AAP/Lukas Coch

Grattan on Friday: Being a ‘better government’ will be a big job

After getting a serious bollocking from Ray Hadley on Thursday, Tony Abbott told the Sydney shock jock that he’s determined to be “a better prime minister with a better government and a more effective…
To prevent future pain, the government can’t put off tough decisions on tax. Lukas Coch/AAP

Why it’s time to hike the GST and levy an inheritance tax

The government’s recent budget outlook (MYEFO) confirmed that the Australian government budget is rotten at the core. The government is hopelessly living beyond its means, with expenditure greater than…
Clive Palmer was totally opposed to the government’s ‘'direct action’‘ climate policy only a few months ago. Now he’s voting for it. AAP/Alan Porritt

Grattan on Friday: Abbott government gets some wins – and gives the odd hostage to the future

In a move that channels John Howard, Tony Abbott has put changing the GST on the political agenda, just over a year after assuring the public it would not be altered, “full stop, end of story”. In the…
A review of federalism and taxation should begin with recognising the value of what we have created as a nation. Flickr/Ross Thomson

Why we should consider ourselves a nation first, a federation second

The reform of Australia’s federation is under review. So far in our special series, leading Australian academics have discussed the future of the federation when it comes to taxation, education and health…
The way we are governed has changed radically from the world of the Constitutional founders. Flickr/Alison Young

Renewing Australian federalism

The reform of Australia’s federation is under review, with a White Paper process currently underway. In partnership with the Australian National University’s Tax and Transfer Policy Institute at the Crawford…
There have been instances of successful federalism - how do we return to these? Flickr/monkeyc.net

How we can reinvigorate the Australian Federation

When our two major levels of government work in partnership, our Federation can function well. The standout period for cooperative federalism was the Hawke/Keating term of government, producing the National…
An unintended consequence of competitive federalism has led states to abandon high benefit-cost ratio projects for inferior ones. AAP/Alan Porritt

Beggar bowl politics blocks Federation’s potential

Calls to lift the GST rate to placate the states financial challenges will serve to only exacerbate an already severe vertical fiscal imbalance and prolong a deeply unsatisfactory chapter in Australia’s…
Realistic reforms to federal-state financial relations are possible with the right amount of political will. AAP/Alan Porritt

Could ‘hard budget constraints’ fix the federation’s fiscal feud?

The federal budget reignited debate over federal-state relations with a decision to cut $80 billion funding for the state responsibilities of schools and hospitals over the coming years. So how can federal-state…
Most Australians already fail to meet the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables. Strikkelise/Flickr

Adding GST to fresh food is a recipe for poor health

Recent calls by Australian government ministers and senior officials to broaden the goods and services tax (GST) base to include fresh fruit and vegetables would make the population’s diet go from bad…
Australia’s state premiers are avoiding a GST discussion. Daniel Munoz/AAP

GST reform a golden opportunity, soon to be missed by the states

This past Tuesday was another bad day for Australian federalism: the Abbott government’s first budget announced the axing of the COAG Reform Council and the withdrawal of a promised A$80 billion from health…

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