April John Cain Lunch: Mixed Fortunes – A History of Tax Reform in Australia, with Paul Tilley

April 24, 2024 12:30 pm

Graduate House, 220 Leicester Street, Carlton, VIC

Paul Tilley

Author of Mixed Fortunes: A History of Tax Reform in Australia

Shaping Australia’s tax reform policymaking

Australia’s history is sprinkled with attempts at tax reform – some successful, some not. Mixed Fortunes explores these efforts at substantive change in our tax system.

Paul Tilley takes us from the establishment of the Australian Constitution at Federation in 1901 and the 1942 unification of income tax, through the seminal Asprey review in 1975 that set up the major tax reforms of the 1980s and 1990s, and up to the lack of tax reform, at both the Commonwealth and state levels, this century. Mixed Fortunes examines the roles of foundational reviews, which establish the case for reform, and determinative reviews, which implement reform. It assesses both the political economy issues of policymaking and the quality of the tax reforms that have been achieved in Australia.

The key questions it addresses include: What makes a reform exercise work – or not? How do we assess the quality of Australia’s tax reforms? And what lessons can be drawn from these experiences to help shape future tax reform exercises?

We will have copies of Paul’s book, Mixed Fortunes, available for sale at the event (card sales preferred) and for Paul to sign. 

Please note the date is one week later than our usual third Wednesday of the month.


Paul Tilley was an economic policy adviser to governments for thirty years, working mainly in Treasury but also the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Treasurer’s Office, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University’s Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, and a Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Law School. Prior to writing Mixed Fortunes: A History of Tax Reform in Australia, he published Changing Fortunes: A History of the Australian Treasury.


Attend our in-person lunch and discussion at 12:30pm or watch the live stream remotely. Live stream will commence at:
12:30pm ACST (SA, NT)
11am AWST (WA)


Register here to reserve a seat at our Graduate House event. Your ticket includes lunch from 12:30pm followed by a discussion from 1pm.

If you purchase an Online Ticket, you will be able to watch the live stream online. You’ll receive the link by email.

Per Capita is committed to keeping its events accessible to those who may not be able to purchase a ticket. For this reason we are making a number of Concession Tickets available for unwaged/student/full age pension concessions. These tickets cover the cost of lunch plus a free ticket to the discussion.

Free tickets are available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in recognition of the fact that this event is being held on stolen land. Please email info@percapita.org.au to request a free ticket.

If you are able to and would like to help us increase the number of Concession Tickets available, please consider a donation on top of your ticket purchase. 

Graduate House, 220 Leicester Street, Carlton, VIC