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https://vimeo.com/266809009 This speech was given by Per Capita Senior Economist Warwick Smith at an event held by the Victorian Fabians on 18 April 2018. Warwick tweets @RecoEco. Transcript: I’d like to begin by acknowledging the tradition custodians of this land, the Wurrundjuri people of the Kulin nation and pay my respects to their elders; past, present, and future. There can be no meaningful talk of inequality in this country without acknowledging and discussing the profound inequality between indigenous Australians and most of the rest of the population. I’m not only talking about economic inequality. Indigenous child mortality is still double that of the non-indigenous population and there are too many other damning statistics to rehearse them all here today. Despite being an economist myself, I think it’s fair to say that pretty much every important economic question has a political answer. There are, however, a lot of economists out there who would deny this. They believe...

As the Turnbull Government pushes hard to secure the votes needed to pass its company tax cut for large corporations, minor party senators would do well to heed the actions of big business when it comes to local investment and wage increases for workers, rather than listening to their well-crafted words. On Tuesday, Pauline Hanson declared she was considering reversing her opposition to extending the cut to companies with a turnover of more than $50million a year, saying she had visited the Pilbara to talk to mining companies, and been told that they “want to invest in Australia”. And on Wednesday, Steve Martin, who replaced Jacqui Lambie in the Senate last month, was apparently persuaded that supporting the tax cut would achieve his goal of “strengthening Tasmania’s global export markets, bolstering jobs creation, wages growth and building sustainable communities”. So far, it looks like Matthias Cormann’s temporary engagement of former Minerals Council chief executive Brendan Pearson as...

Due to technical difficulties, we were a little late sending out our annual Progressive Summer Reading List, and even later getting it up on the website, but here it is. We've got some terrific suggestions to ease you back into the working year ahead. Our thanks to staff, Research Fellows, Research Committee Members and Board Members for these suggestions.​ Fiction The Last Man in Europe by Dennis Glover April, 1947. In a run-down farmhouse on a remote Scottish island, George Orwell begins his last and greatest work: Nineteen Eighty-Four. Forty-four years old and suffering from the tuberculosis that within three winters will take his life, Orwell comes to see the book as his legacy – the culmination of a career spent fighting to preserve the freedoms which the wars and upheavals of the twentieth century have threatened. Completing the book is an urgent challenge, a race against death. A terrific first novel by Per Capita Research Fellow Dennis Glover,...

Thank you to all those who entered the 2017 Per Capita Young Writers' Prize. We had a strong field of entries, from Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland, writing essays on subjects as diverse as mental health and wellness, political education, taxation policy, energy and environment policy. In 2017, the judging panel decided that there were three equal first prize winners: Benjamin Maltby for his essay Power to Australia: "An Incremental Energy and Environment Policy for Australia"; Andrew Silk for his essay "Adding Positive Economic Incentives to Australia’s Health Policy Toolbox"; Michael Dello-Iacovo for his essay "Effects of Livestock Industry on Climate Change and the Environment". These essays were well written and put forward well-constructed arguments on their topics....

Thank you to all those who entered the 2016 Per Capita Young Writers' Prize. We had a strong field of entries, from every state in Australia, with our entrants tackling subjects as diverse as our ageing population, university funding, challenges to our democracy, rights and our Constitution, and environmental issues. The winner of the 2016 Per Capita Young Writers’ Prize is Hayley Pring, whose essay Australia’s Silver Economy was, it was agreed by all judges, a compelling and well-constructed argument for focusing on the benefits and opportunities to be found in the ageing population, and made a strong case for reframing our policy approach to ageing in Australia. The second-prize winner is Hugh Hutchison, who wrote An Imperfect Inheritance: The Double-Edged Sword of Australian Political Parentage. This was an original and thought-provoking assessment of Australia’s political structures and institutions, which contained interesting prescriptions to address issues facing our democracy. A special environmental award was made to Victoria McGlynn, whose...

Through our Social Democracy in Focus series, we try to go beyond the theory of public policy, and look at real life outcomes of government decisions. We want to take a closer look at the real world consequences when specific policies, concepts and ideas are implemented. It's been a while since our last edition, but given the debacle over #CensusFail last week, we thought it's a good time to have a look at a specific concept that we're hearing a lot "efficiency" and the influence this is having on democratic institutions. The "Efficiency Dividend" Governments invoking efficiency as an intrinsic good is nothing new. The Commonwealth "efficiency dividend" was introduced by the Hawke government in 1987, and was supposed to reap the benefits of technological advances. It is an annual reduction in funding for the running costs of an agency, and is not supposed to compromise output. The problem with this very blunt...

Malcolm Turnbull - a new kind of progressive politics for Australia? Our Social Democracy in Focus Series is designed to look closely at the policies of progressive governments, and see how they translate into practice to implement a progressive policy agenda. Given the change in federal leadership, we thought we'd take a moment to evaluate our new PM, now over a month into his leadership, given that he is so often described as having "progressive" views. The transition September 15th 2015: "There has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian", proclaimed our new PM as he took over the reigns of government.  He declared that a "government formed under his leadership, is a government for the 21st Century". Not since "Kevin 07", has such optimism flooded over our polity, a welcome respite from the constant fear mongering, three-word slogans and divisive politics that defined Tony Abbott's Prime Ministership. After 30 consecutive negative Newspolls,...

  We've got some great progressive reading suggestions to keep you busy over summer. Our thanks to Research Fellows, staff, Research Committee Members and supporters for these suggestions.​   Time for a New Consensus Tom Bentley and Jonathan West (2016, Griffith Review 51) In an in-depth and insightful analysis of the Australian political and economic landscape, West and Per Capita Board Member Tom Bentley investigate the growing sense of stagnation in Australia’s approach to public policy and economic reform. They argue that the current sense of political inertia comes from the fact that the whole discussion is taking place within the parameters of a political consensus that was forged in the 1980s, and which has now passed its use-by date.DOWNLOAD THE EBOOK HERE   Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets Svetlana Alexievich (2016, Random House) Alexievich won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature for this and other oral histories, which document the tragedy of modern Russia. In this book, her interviewees describe what...

We've got some great progressive reading suggestions to keep you busy over summer. Our thanks to Ideas at Per Capita subscribers and the Per Capita Circle for these suggestions. An Economy is not a Society Winners and losers in the new Australia, Dennis Glover (2015, Black Inc books) A wonderful and personal account of the "winners and losers" in the new Australian economy. Glover takes aim at our policymakers and political leaders who prize productivity above all else, while paying scant attention to what happens to communities.  Economic rationalists have reduced communities to nothing more than economic inputs. Through the story of the decline of his own community of Doveton, Glover calls for a broader conversation about the kind of society we want to be - what kind of lives, jobs and communities to we want to build. The Eighties: The decade that transformed Australia, Frank Bongiorno (2015, Black Inc) It's a decade full of big characters and...