Per Capita undertakes research and develops policy recommendations in a number of focus areas. Our overarching focus is fighting inequality in Australia. Once our ideas are developed, they are subjected to rigorous peer review, and then communicated widely, both in the public domain and through our own extensive network of senior decision makers in government, industry, and the public service.
Our track record in developing new policy approaches that have been subsequently adopted by government demonstrates our influence.
- Work and Workers
- Progressive Economics
This report is part of the Evidence Based Policy Analysis Project, now in its fourth year. Per Capita was commissioned, alongside the Institute of Public Affairs, to provide analysis of a number of Australian policies introduced at a state and federal level over the last year.
An analysis by Per Capita for National Disability Services for the Teamwork Works campaign.
Per Capita strongly advocates that the Committee recommend to the Senate that the policy to privatise the NBN be reversed, and that the network be maintained in perpetuity as a publicly owned, wholesale communications infrastructure network.
This report outlines the case for a significant increase in the minimum wage, which will flow through to higher take-home pay for the more than 2 million Australian workers who rely on award wages.
Now in its 11th iteration, the 2021 Survey comes after perhaps the most extraordinary year in living memory, during which every aspect of life was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession.
Per Capita was excited and gratified to see the Victorian government announce the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build in 2020. As our advocacy has made clear, we believe that an investment in social housing construction of that scale or more is not only desperately needed to begin to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis in this state, but also represents one of the most effective and efficient forms of economic stimulus that we could employ as we recover and rebuild from COVID-19.
The provisions of this Bill would not only fail to solve the problems it claims to address, but would actively entrench job insecurity and low wage growth for millions of working Australians.
The social guarantee is a means of acknowledging and addressing the reality of manufactured precarity.
This report is the project’s third annual instalment. In 2020, in light of the extraordinary policy-making times we find ourselves in, the project’s Steering Committee consulted with Professor Kenneth Wiltshire to revisit the methodology.
The $4 billion JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme (the Scheme) is an example of the lack of vision and ambition for Australia’s future that characterized the budget as a whole. While apparently focused on the laudable goal of restoring employment to young workers who have been particularly hard hit by job and income losses in 2020, its design means that it almost certainly will not encourage the necessary corrections to the labour market that are needed to reverse the decline in job security and living standards that have plagued young Australians for more than a decade, and is in fact likely to entrench and exacerbate them.
Based on the evidence we have analysed we can only conclude that this bill will exacerbate inequality and act as a means of further marginalising people who are already experiencing social exclusion.
In this discussion paper for Together Queensland, we look at some mechanisms for improving the equity and efficiency of stimulus spending.
This paper argues for a significant government investment in the care economy, to create jobs for women, to improve the pay and conditions of essential care workers already in the system, and to improve the quality, affordability and accessibility of care for all Australians.
This is the third paper in Per Capita’s series examining the operation and effectiveness of Australia’s employment services system, known as jobactive, in the context of the profound labour market disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tenth annual Per Capita Tax Survey provides an unparalleled insight into the views held by Australians of all ages, from across the country, about the role of tax and public services in our national life. For the first time, we have conducted two surveys in 2020 – one in February, immediately before the effects of COVID-19 were widely felt, and a second six months later, in August, when the impact of the pandemic on our society and economy was beginning to be understood.
This report looks at the history of superannuation for Australian women, marks its progress towards equity, and identifies what more could to be done to improve the system in order to mitigate women’s vulnerability to poverty in retirement.
This discussion paper makes the case for the creation of a public bank in Australia by providing Australia Post with an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution (ADI) licence, and moving in time to establishing PostBank as a full national savings and loan bank.
In this fourth Home for Good policy brief, we explore ways to build ‘communities for wellbeing’. By this, we mean the ways in which good housing outcomes extend beyond individual housing circumstances to the context of neighbourhood and broader community.
Australia Post is a treasured national institution, essential to Australia’s prosperity and security. Its future must be safeguarded and strengthened in the interests of all Australians.
This submission recommends a new national housing and homelessness strategy and the setting up of a permanent, dedicated national housing authority to coordinate it. It also argues that the Commonwealth government can address homelessness by addressing poverty and protecting people against rental arrears, housing crisis, and eviction; and unpacks the issue of unaffordable housing. recommending a two-pronged strategy of de-commodifying our housing market and rebuilding our public housing.
In this discussion paper we argue that we cannot return to the system of mutual obligation that was in place before the lockdown. The current mutual obligation framework is inflexible and ineffective: a return to this system would impose strict job search requirements that are unreasonable in a labour market where competition for jobs will be fierce.
This report looks at the state of youth unemployment and underutilisation in Australia both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and forecasts a likely trajectory for youth unemployment in the months and years ahead.
This new discussion paper estimates the economic cost of underemployment in Australia, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this, our third policy brief, we turn our attention to Australia’s social housing sector. In the context of declining home ownership and growing housing insecurity among older Australians, we ask whether social housing can provide the three critical functions of home as we age.
This discussion paper recommends that the government undertake a consultation to gather views on the options to adapt employment services to meet the needs of the post COVID-19 unemployment scenario.
It is critical that the decisions taken in the months ahead are based on facts. What follows are some facts about debt that address the myths that have been circulated, for far too long, about the nature of our economy and its capacity to support a high standard of living for every Australian.
We argue that the government must take wage theft seriously, and that a strong interventionist approach must be taken to ensure the security of work for an entire generation of Australians.
If Australia is to capture the gains of the ongoing technological revolution and translate those gains into high quality jobs and equitable economic prosperity, we believe a systematic and broad rethink of R&D schemes is required. We go further, making a range of recommendations regarding a broader range of R&D issues.
This policy brief, the second in a series looking at housing options for an ageing population, draws on the work of Per Capita and TACSI, to explore and propose new and innovative pathways for private rental housing.
Gendered data matters. Regular, transparent reports on performance against an agreed set of indicators are critical if we are to achieve the goal of gender equality. Without accountability, closing the gender gap in Australia and across the globe will remain merely an aspirational goal, rather than an achievable target. This report is intended to provide the foundation for a long-term project to produce a national, comprehensive longitudinal study of the progress towards gender equality in Australia.
This policy brief is intended to restore the idea of home as both a psychological and social asset to our discourse on housing, rather than just a financial asset. It is specifically concerned with the role of the home as we age, positing that successful ageing is dependent on a person’s access to a home that provides security, community, safety and autonomy.
This report, and the accompanying calculator, allows individual workers to assess what the impact of the delay in increasing the SG rate to 12% has been, on both their wages and their super savings, over the last five years and, therefore, is likely to be over the next five.
The submission will address three key concerns we have with the existing policy framework: the fundamental lack of affordable housing, the inadequate income support available to people experiencing financial difficulty, and the weak regime of tenants’ rights that leaves too many Victorians vulnerable to eviction into homelessness.
This report is an analysis of the industrial profiles of Mackay, Central Queensland and the Hunter Valley by economist Shirley Jackson. It reveals that forcing workers in the coal mining sector out of their jobs, without ensuring alternative employment with similar wages and benefits, would have devastating consequences for those local economies. If coal mining were shut down now in these three regions without managing industrial change effectively, over $66million in weekly wages would be taken out of three communities in regional Australia. This equates to an economic loss of almost $3.45billion annually.
This report is part of the Evidence Based Policy Analysis Project, administered by the newDemocracy Foundation, and now in its second year. Per Capita was commissioned, alongside the Institute of Public Affairs, to provide analysis of a number of Australian policies introduced at a state and federal level over the two years from July 2017 to June 2019.
It’s well past time for our political leaders to grasp the mettle of structural reform to deliver a sustainable tax base to support the wellbeing and future prosperity of the Australian people.
The income support payments to the unemployed, such as Newstart and related payments, are inadequate and do not allow people to maintain an acceptable standard of living.
Our unique country, with a vast land mass and low population density, requires unique regional development solutions.
A triple threat is looming in relation to ageing in Australia, one with particular implications for women. While access to secure and affordable housing can mean the difference between poverty and a decent life in older age, full homeownership in Australia is increasingly a privilege.
The competing tax policies of the Coalition and Labor Parties at the 2019 federal election present voters with the starkest choice on offer for decades. For the first time in a long time, the decision the Australian people make on 18 May will result in markedly different economic outcomes for the country in the decade ahead.
This paper outlines the context within which the flexible ongoing proposal arose, the WorkPac vs. Skene decision. It examines the nature of casual work in Australia and provides an analysis of how the proposed flexible ongoing category would affect workers in Australia.
Every year, progressive think tank Per Capita releases its fantasy budget: a set of budget priorities that, if implemented, would progress Australia towards a more equal society. Here are our budget priorities this year.
Since we published Working It Out: Employment Services in Australia last year, both the Government and the Opposition have announced packages of reforms to Jobactive. In this follow-up report, we compare the platforms to each other and analyse them against the recommendations we made in Working It Out.
Per Capita is proud to release its 2019 Tax Survey, now in its ninth year. We all pay tax, but this is the only comprehensive, regular survey of Australians’ attitudes to taxation and public spending. It provides information about how we’re thinking now, and how our attitudes to tax and public spending are changing and evolving.
This research paper asks whether there is an established ‘way in’ to Parliament, whether MPs overwhelmingly come from the same demographic backgrounds, schools, and career paths, and whether this might have implications for policy. It also tracks how these trends have developed over the last thirty years, and asks whether Parliament has become more representative in response to advocacy for quotas and other redistributions of power and influence.
This report addresses the problem that policymaking in Australia is falling short of best practice. Policies are often built “on the run” as quick reactions to the political issue of the day, designed to capture the interest of the 24-hour news cycle or motivated by short-term political advantage. This can result in failed policy implementation and poor results for citizens, politicians, and society at large, especially when it undermines public confidence in policymaking.
The purpose of this report is to critically examine the current mainstream employment services system, jobactive, and assess the experience of unemployed workers with the system against its stated objectives and promised services. A key aim of the research is to bring the voices of unemployed workers in Australia into the public conversation about employment services and about unemployment more broadly.
Public broadcasting exists to serve the interests of the public as citizens, not as consumers.
Emerging Ageing: co-designing responses to positive ageing for new and emerging migrant communities. A report by Per Capita's Centre for Applied Policy in Positive Ageing, in partnership with the Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria.
Per Capita is proud to release its 2018 Tax Survey, now in its eighth year. We all pay tax, but this is the only comprehensive, regular survey of Australians’ attitudes to taxation and public spending. It provides information about how we’re thinking now, and how our attitudes to tax and public spending are changing and evolving. A majority of Australians want to see more government spending on social security. They believe that the wealthy and big business are not paying their fair share, and support for the government’s tax cut for big business is weak.
On Tuesday 13 March, Per Capita's Executive Director, Emma Dawson, and Research Fellow, Tim Lyons, testified before the Senate Select Committee inquiring into the future of work and workers in Melbourne.
In a landmark report released on Monday 26 March, undertaken by Per Capita for Anglicare Australia, we revealed that the wealthiest Australians cost the rest of us a staggering $68 billion a year.
In a new discussion paper, Per Capita Research Fellow Tim Lyons seeks to address how unionism might undergo the sort of transformative change necessary not just to survive but to build the new organisations we need for workers to win.
Last week, Per Capita made a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australian Government Contract Reporting - Inquiry based on Auditor-General's report No. 19 (2017-18).
The government must intervene to secure the hard-fought-for right of Australian workers to receive a living wage in return for their labour.
A new discussion paper by Per Capita Research Fellow Tim Lyons, prepared for last year's Per Capita Progressive Economics Roundtable, argues that the regulations and institutions governing work in Australia are in urgent need of repair.
Women make up 46 per cent of the Australian workforce, but in every industry and sector, women are under-represented in leadership positions. This is true for the corporate sector as well as the co-operative and mutual sector.
Enabling women over 50 at risk of poverty to create financial wellbeing through micro-enterprise
In June 2017, Per Capita joined representatives from resident advocacy groups, universities, industry, ombudsman schemes, government agencies and regulators met at an Experts' Forum in Melbourne to discuss the future of retirement housing regulation in Victoria.
In a significant research collaboration, Per Capita and the Australian Services Union have looked at the way the the super system is failing women.
Australia, along with the other developed economies, is grappling with the implications of an ageing population. Concerns about increasing welfare costs and shortfalls of labour supply have brought with them calls to prolong working lives. However, current public policy is inadequate if the nation wishes to make the best use of its ageing workforce.
Per Capita's annual survey into Australians' attitudes towards taxation and public spending.
Australian children’s screen content is facing an existential threat as a result of several distinct, but interrelated factors. This paper outlines these challenges and proposes a way forward for the ongoing support of original Australian children’s screen content in the digital age.
Maintaining full employment in Australia was once considered a top priority of state and federal governments. Keeping unemployment low was seen as a collective responsibility. In this report, Warwick Smith looks at the shifts in unemployment policy in Australia in the 20th and 21st centuries.
We believe that a combined and integrated focus on productivity, inequality and sustainability is essential to ensure sustained high quality of life for the Australian population. Per Capita endorses the broad scope of this review, in particular the inclusion of non-market areas, domestic productivity and inequality.
The Age Pension in Australia is inadequate. It fails to provide a decent standard of living for approximately 1.5 million older Australians who rely on it as their main source of income.
Our services are under threat. Hospitals, schools, TAFE, Medicare, disability care - they are our public services but they can be privatised by politicians and run by companies to make a profit. Communities should have a say over how our services are run, and for whose benefit.
A co-design project enabling women at risk of poverty to create financial wellbeing through microenterprise.
These findings offer a clear expression of the Australian public's preferred fiscal policy. They'd like taxes raised to fund more spending on services, rather than see spending cut to reflect falling revenues. They'd like to see taxes increased and concessions reduced in ways that increase the overall fairness of the tax system, and they think that corporate tax avoidance in particular is the place to start.
Melody Barnes served as Assistant to US President Obama and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council from 2009 to January 2012. Melody is now the Chair of the Aspen Institute's Forum for Community Solutions. Per Capita brought Ms Barnes to Australia for a series of events on building economic growth through social policy, cities and innovation, and insights into her community-based work at the White House.
Consolidation via absorptions and amalgamations has been a common response to situations of crisis for unions across the developed world.
While much public debate (and attention of policy makers) is devoted to the quantity of jobs available in our economy, this inquiry brings a welcome focus on the quality of jobs available to Victorians.
4 December 2015: Per Capita's submission to the National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination against Older Australians and Australians with Disability.
November 2015: In this report, Emily Millane finds that our current benchmarks for measuring retirement income are inadequate as they exclude housing costs.
6 August 2015: Tim Lyons looks at the Productivity Commissions' Draft Report on Workplace Relations.
June 2015: Per Capita's annual survey into Australians' attitudes towards taxation and public spending, by David Hetherington.
April 2015: In this report, Emily Millane looks at real life ways to increase the participation of older Australians in the workforces and the broader community.
April 2015: In this report, David Hetherington analyses wage data back to the start of the 2000s to find what is driving the fall in wages growth. The report finds that previous high wage growth can be explained by strong labour productivity, but that these two factors have become increasingly disconnected due to the erosion of the bargaining power of workers.
13 March 2015: Per Capita's Submission to the Productivity Commission's Workplace Relations Review
Housed within Per Capita, CAPPA creates a permanent research capacity on longevity and ageing, to identify emerging issues for older Australians now, as well as anticipating the opportunities challenges for future generations of Australians.
January 2015: This report shows how we can make our homes places which improve health and quality of life as Australia ages. By Emily Millane.
December 2014: We call for better leadership and a policy response on asylum seekers that is sustainable and effective on the long-term. By Graeme Innes AM and Allison Orr.
Australia’s retirement income system is becoming unsustainable. This is not because too much money is spent on the age pension. Australia spends an average of 3.5 per cent of its GDP on age-related spending against an OECD average of 7.8 per cent. Per Capita’s detailed analysis shows that unsustainability and inequality are the two emergent trends in Australia’s retirement income system. The changes being proposed by the federal government will make both of these problems worse because they ignore the role of private wealth in shaping people’s chances later in life.
The Longevity Forum will continue the momentum of the Blueprint for an Ageing Australia.
In 2014, Per Capita launched the Blueprint for an Ageing Australia. It sets out the steps that must be taken to ensure that ageing is an asset, not a liability. Longer lives present Australia with an enormous opportunity: longevity is a gift, but only good if you can live well. We could be doing more to ensure longevity isn’t just enjoyed by the well-educated, the well-healed, and the well-housed. We have to remake our social structures to make the most of the great gift of longer lives.
The Blueprint is the report of the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing. The Advisory Panel was constituted in 2011 with a three-year mandate to produce a comprehensive policy review on the opportunities and challenges associated with an ageing Australia. In November 2013, the funding of the Panel was discontinued, and Per Capita entered into a partnership with four members of the Panel to re-establish the Panel and complete the Blueprint. The Blueprint was published in 2013 and outlines seventeen practical and important policy recommendations across seven policy areas that can make ageing a positive experience for all. The Blueprint is built around the idea that living longer is a good thing, that the rising average age of our population is a vindication of advances in science and health policy, and that the best way to approach it is to look for ways that older Australians can participate more effectively in our society and our economy to the best of their abilities.
There has been a marked turnaround in Australians' attitudes to public spending and tax over the last 18 months. By David Hetherington.
Children's education has become the new topic du jour in Australia. This report measures and explores the attitudes of Australians towards public education. By Verity Firth and Rebecca Huntley.
The paper looks at how a number of significant social changes, both before and during the lives of the baby boomers, have produced specific policy challenges in increasing longevity and an ageing society. By Emily Millane.
How does one 'price' a well-educated child or a rapidly cured patient? This report argues that that we should look to the not-for-profit sector to measure social return on investment. By David Hetherington.
Per Capita evaluates the experience of contestability in vocational training in Victoria. By David Hetherington.
Public Attitudes towards Taxation and Government Expenditure. Australians' attitudes towards tax and public spending are getting tougher...
This report examines our banking debate through the prism of market design. It analyses the major faultlines, identifies enduring market failures and proposes a policy response. By David Hetherington.
Australians will need to choose a new economic strategy to bring together the three sectors of its economy. By Daniel Mookhey.
In this paper, we examine ten years of Commonwealth Budget papers to answer the questions: how did Australia spend its mining windfall? By David Hetherington and Dominic Prior.
Australians continue to desire a more progressive tax system which sees higher income earners and big business making a greater contribution.
This paper investigates the cost of living in Australia, an issue that has dominated recent political debate. It evaluates whether cost of living complaints are justified in light of economic reality and household consumption patterns. By Tim Soutphommasane.
This paper examines the barriers to the provision of adequate care and support to people with disabilities in Australia, and proposes a high-level outline for a National Disability Insurance Scheme to be complemented by improved coverage within existing accident insurance programs. By David Hetherington.
A look at the data and analysis about the impact of fiscal stimulus during 2008/09 to examine why Australia was virtually alone among IMF economies in not experiencing a recession during this period. By Chris Barrett.
This report examines state of Australia's quality of life, and finds that, despite concerns, Australians have very little reason to feel a sense of crisis. The paper argues that it is important to understand quality of life as something related to a broader conception of wellbeing. By Tim Soutphommasane.
This paper explores the role of distributed gas-fired power generation in Australia's transition to a low-carbon economy. It uses the framework of market design to consider why a technology which is cost-effective and readily available, has not penetrated the Australian electricity market to the extent it has elsewhere in the world. By David Hetherington and Tom Foster.
The report, published after the 2010 election of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, explores how a progressive agenda can incorporate the building of a stronger, fairer, and more prosperous Australia. By David Hetherington and Tim Soutphommasane.
This paper argues that in Australia, good choices are those which promote the individual and common good, based on the progressive values of prosperity, fairness and community. By Jack Fuller.
Climate change politics in Australia has been defined by incendiary rhetoric and increasing public disillusionment. This paper outlines three lessons progressives can draw from Australiaâ€™s climate change debate. By David Hetherington and Tim Soutphommasane.
This report presents the results of a Survey undertaken by Per Capita on public attitudes towards taxation in Australia.
October 2009: This paper argues that we need to reposition tax as a public good. It demonstrates how taxation provides valuable economic and social returns, which can empower both the individual and wider society. By Katherine Gregory.
July 2009: This paper takes a functional approach to taxation and provides principles that can guide better tax policy development - a policy approach that focuses on needs over interests. By Jack Fuller
July 2009: Report from a workshop in 2008 with representatives from the non-profit sector to discuss social innovation. By David Hetherington.
June 2009: This report argues that share schemes should seek to incentivise investment in employee-owned companies. By David Hetherington.
October 2008: This background paper offers an overview of social innovation and three case studies of successful social innovation projects. By David Hetherington.
Training is important to wider social and economic policy questions - but it is not done well enough at the moment and this needs to change. This paper argues that the case for reforming vocational education and training in Australia is strong. By Mmichael Cooney.
This report applies a full-cost economics approach to climate change adaptation, using the aluminium industry as a case study to illustrate the complexity of the policy challenge. The report examines the positive value of jobs within the upstream aluminium industry, and the negative value of carbon emissions from the sector. By David Hetherington.
The goal of this short paper is to explain why labour parties must rethink their approach to the place that work has in all our lives - and in a wider progressive narrative. By David Coats.
This paper makes two arguments; first, that progressive parties cannot afford to be neutral about the role of organised labour and second, that a determined effort must be made to improve workplace employment relations, by encouraging effective employer-union co-operation. By David Coats.
This paper argues that a job's value exceeds its nominal wage, and includes health, justice system and intergenerational benefits. Critically, this value is shared between worker, employer and the community. By David Hetherington.
This is an updated version of a report first written after the 2007 election of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. It proposes a new progressive governing project. We call this project the Investing Society: a renewed investment in sustaining our prosperity and in strengthening our communities. By David Hetherington and Tim Soutphommasane.
The Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing was originally constituted in 2011 with a three-year mandate to produce...
The Sleeping Giants of Public Policy. Increasing longevity will be the biggest social change in Australia over the next 30 years. It will change...