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We'd very much like to extend our thanks to everyone who attended our Jobs for Australia online symposium on Friday 29th May. The event marked the 75th anniversary of the Curtin White Paper on Full Employment and the launch of our own project on full employment: Jobs for Australia. Taking inspiration from the postwar Labor Governments of John Curtin and Ben Chifley, our Jobs for Australia project is rooted in the explicit purpose of reducing inequality and constructing an economically and ecologically sustainable world. Please find the recordings and slides from the day linked below, and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be kept up to date with the project. If you are one of those fortunate enough to still be in secure work, and have the capacity to contribute to this important project, please consider making a tax deductible donation to Per Capita’s research...

The extraordinary public health measures taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in the biggest economic shock Australia has ever experienced. Unemployment is expected to rise to levels not seen for more than a generation, and the government has rightly taken on significant public debt to support jobs and incomes while a large proportion of the nation’s economic activity has been temporarily shut down. As we emerge from the immediate crisis, attention is beginning to turn to how we will rebuild our economy, restore jobs and livelihoods, and pay down that debt, which has been described as a massive burden on future generations. It is important to recognise that it is not the debt itself that poses a risk to our future: it is how we choose to respond to it. What comes next is critical. The decisions taken in the aftermath of this crisis will have a material impact on the...

To the followers of Per Capita and the readers of our work, This letter is being written at my dining room table, as I and the rest of the Per Capita team are in our second week of working from home to avoid spreading the terrible virus that has upended our world. The devastation to lives and livelihoods has been swift and widespread, and our primary focus, like everyone’s, is getting our families and communities through the immediate crisis. All we can be sure of right now is that our society, and our economy, will never be the same again – although that need not be a bad thing, in the long run. Of course, in the immediate future, the outlook for many people is ruinous. The COVID-19 pandemic will result in a world-wide economic downturn unseen since the Great Depression almost a century ago. Global recession is inevitable; a depression (a recession...

Homelessness and the house of lies Don Dunstan Foundation's Homelessness Conference, Adelaide, 07 August 2019 Dr John Falzon Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice I remember learning an important lesson From a young woman experiencing homelessness in Melbourne. Everyone was walking past her, refusing to meet her eyes. She wasn’t asking for somewhere to live. She wasn’t even asking for something to live on. All she was asking for was just enough to buy some breakfast. But everyone just kept walking past and the angrier she got the wider the berth they gave her and the faster they moved past her.   I’ve been here since five this morning, she said. I just want some coffee and something to eat. And then she said: I didn’t choose this life, you know.   In this simple utterance, She summed up so much of what is wrong With the way homelessness is defined In the guts of the neoliberal nightmare.   I didn’t choose this life, you know.   Neoliberalism is presented by its purveyors As the...

Our deepest thanks to all the young people who entered the Per Capita Young Writers' Prize 2019. We had more entries this year than ever before, from young people aged 16-24 in school, university, and work. It's time to announce the winners! First Prize - $1500 First prize was awarded to Alexander North, aged 24, who proposed a federal job guarantee. The judges gave Alexander the following feedback: "The judges agreed that your essay is a superb paper on how to achieve full employment by implementing a federal job guarantee. They found your argument coherent and well researched, with the copious footnotes showing the wide array of sources on which you draw. Your argument for a policy of full employment based on government being an employer of last resort, automatically increasing and decreasing ‘buffer stock’ jobs according to the cyclical rhythms of the private sector capitalist economy, was clearly and effectively presented. The judges...

Speech to the COTA Australia National Policy Forum National Press Club, Canberra, 13 June 2019 Emma Dawson, Executive Director, Per Capita I begin by acknowledging that we meet today on the land of the Ngunnawal people, and pay respects to their elders past, present and emerging. This is, and always will be, Aboriginal land, land which was never ceded. Thank you to COTA and the Benevolent Society for inviting me to speak to you today about the economic impacts of ageism. Per Capita has long standing and valued relationships with both of you, of course, and we, like all Australians, greatly value the work you do to advocate for older people and improve the lives of all our citizens. It’s a particular privilege for me to be a member of the steering committee for the “Every Age Counts” campaign, which is doing such important work combatting ageism in Australia. As has often been noted, Ageism...

MEDIA RELEASE: Per Capita calls on Opposition and Senate cross bench to #StopStage3 Having won the election, the Coalition government will be pushing hard to legislate its tax plan when Parliament sits again in July. That tax plan comprises three stages: Stage 1 increases the low and middle income tax offset (LMITO) from $530 to $1080 and will come into effect immediately; Stage 2 raises the top threshold of the 19% tax rate from $41,000 to $45,000 and will come into effect in 2022-23; and Stage 3 lowers the 32.5% tax rate to a flat 30% for people earning $45,000 to $200,000 and will come into effect in 2024-5. Per Capita’s position is that Stages 1 and 2 are necessary to stimulate our stagnant economy and should be passed with immediate effect. However, Stage 3 is a measure that will massively exacerbate inequality and insecurity in this country. It will give billions in tax...

[caption id="attachment_2134" align="alignright" width="514"] Photo: AAP[/caption] Warwick Smith is our Senior Economist. On twitter he’s @RecoEco. At the 2019 federal election Australians were offered a starker choice than usual. The differences between the policies and rhetoric of the major parties was greater than it has been for decades. One way to characterise the two major parties is that the Coalition want to make Australia more like the United States, and Labor want to make us more like the social democracies of northern Europe. The United States is the most prominent exemplar of Liberal Party values of personal freedom, social conservatism, small government and the primacy of the market. The argument goes that governments are inefficient and the drivers of economic success are entrepreneurs and businesses. Therefore, we should minimise government by cutting services and giving tax cuts to businesses and rich people. This will create the right incentives for businesses to thrive, unemployment to...

Dr John Falzon is our Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice. He was national CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society from 2012 to 2018. [caption id="attachment_2124" align="alignright" width="550"] Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images[/caption] Those who breed insecurity are quick to prey on the insecure. We saw this writ large in the Australian federal election of 2019. As political economist William Davies explains: "Neoliberalism treats competition as the crucial and most valuable feature of capitalism… Through the process of competition, it becomes possible to discern who and what is valuable. Competition separates the winner from the loser, the striver from the skiver." We are afraid of losing value, afraid of losing jobs, or hours of work, or pay, afraid of losing pride, afraid of being losers. The neoliberal message, which Prime Minister Morrison communicated ably, was that things are actually pretty good. It’s just a matter of joining in to get a taste of...