Last updated: 24 November 2015
Except for a few newspaper articles that appeared late in 2013, the links previously on this page are now at:
Earlier links are at the top of each section
Grattan Institute, First Book Launch, City Limits: Why Australia’s Cities Are Broken and How We Can Fix Them, by Jane-francis Kelly and Paul Donega. Details and transcripts of speeches made at the book launch are available at: http://grattan.edu.au/events/city-limits-book-launch-melbourne-and-sydney-events/.
Michael Bradley, “Press Freedom Sidelined in Pursuit of Security,” The Drum, 23 September 2014. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-23/bradley-press-freedom-sidelined-in-pursuit-of-security/5761364. “One of the most profound consequences of the new round of national security laws will be a major loss of press freedom. And that's passing through almost without protest, even from the media itself.”
Raymond Bonner, “Civil Liberties in Peril Down Under,” The New York Times, 27 November 2014. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/28/opinion/civil-liberties-in-peril-down-under.html?ref=opinion. “Australian anti-whistle-blower laws, [similar to] President Obama’s anti-leak investigations, is certain to have a chilling effect. Of course, such steps are always explained as a result of a careful balancing between national security and civil liberties. What is becoming increasingly clear is that political self-interest — which serves no one except the powers that be — is just as important a factor.”
Oliver Milman, “CSIRO Scientists Say Warmer World Wager with Maurice Newman a Safe Bet,” The Guardian, 17 January 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/17/csiro-scientists-say-warmer-world-wager-with-maurice-newman-a-safe-bet. “Some of Australia’s top climate scientists, including those from the CSIRO, have said they will be willing to bet Tony Abbott’s business adviser Maurice Newman $10,000 that the world will warm over the next 20 years.”
Lenore Taylor, “Tony Abbott ‘Launching a Full-Frontal Attack’ on Renewable Energy Industry,” The Guardian, 6 February 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/06/tony-abbott-launching-a-full-frontal-attack-on-renewable-energy-industry. “Labor accuses Coalition of backtracking on election promise as industry grows fearful renewable energy target may be abolished.
Peter Wilson and Jonathan Swan, “IMF Chief Christine Lagarde in Veiled Criticism of Government’s Climate Role,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 February 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/national/imf-chief-christine-lagarde-in-veiled-criticism-of-governments-climate-role-20140214-32r9u.html. “Speaking in Paris before her first visit to Australia as IMF chief next week to attend a G20 meeting, Ms Lagarde said previous Australian governments had played an important role in international debates about climate change” and urged the Abbott government not to abandon Australia’s role as “what she calls ‘a pioneer’ in the debate on climate change.”
Tom Arup, “Climate Sceptic Dick Warburton to Head Tony Abbott Review into Renewable Energy Target,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 February 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/climate-sceptic-dick-warburton-to-head-tony-abbott-review-into-renewable-energy-target-20140217-32vve.html. “The Abbott government has launched a formal review of Australia's 20 per cent renewable energy target, choosing senior business figure and climate change sceptic Dick Warburton to head it.” The review is expected to focus on the impact to targets on electrify prices, the renewable energy sector generally and on manufacturing.
Lenore Taylor, “Ross Garnaut: Climate Debate Has become a Martian Beauty Contest,” The Guardian, 7 March 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/07/ross-garnaut-climate-debate-martian-beauty-contest. The article reports on a submission to a Senate committee investigating the government’s direct action policy in which Garnaut urged the Senate “to stick with a floating carbon price until the Coalition comes up a sensible alternative.”
Lenore Taylor, “Carbon-Taxed Companies Cut Emissions by 7% in Past Year, Investor Group Says,” The Guardian, 7 March 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/07/carbon-taxed-companies-cut-emissions-by-7-in-past-year-investor-group-says. Information brought before the Senate committee investigating the government’s direct action policy suggests that funding for low-carbon projects is “going abroad” since the direct action policy is not “investor grade.”
Suzanne Goldenberg, “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report: Climate Change Felt ‘on All Continents and Across the Oceans,” The Guardian, 28 March 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/28/ipcc-report-climate-change-report-human-natural-systems. The article reported that a leaked copy of the IPCC’s report (still waiting for nearly 500 people to sign-off on the exact wording of the summary) concluded that climate change has already been felt.
Peter Hannam, “Wilder Winds, Less Rain, as Roaring Forties Become Furious Fifties,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 May 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/wilder-winds-less-rain-as-roaring-forties-become-furious-fifties-20140511-zr9b1.html. “The Roaring Forties, the Southern Ocean winds which once bore European sailors to Australia and the East Indies, are becoming more like the Furious Fifties as climate change triggers a shift in key weather patterns poleward, an Australian-led team of scientists has found.”
Justin Gillis, “A Price Tag on Carbon as a Climate Rescue Plan,” The New York Times, 30 May 2014. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/30/science/a-price-tag-on-carbon-as-a-climate-rescue-plan.html?hpw&rref=science. The articles describes how the state of California is initiating a “cap and trade” scheme and a system of carbon offsets within its jurisdiction. A feature of the process is how the state is benefiting from the mistakes of other attempts at carbon reduction.
AAP, “Climate Unity Dealt Blow as Australia and Canada Take Issue with US Stance,” The Guardian, 10 June 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/10/climate-unity-dealt-blow-as-australia-and-canada-take-issue-with-us-stance. The article reports that “Prime ministers Tony Abbott and Stephen Harper say they do not want to harm economy in the fight against climate change.” See also Tom Arup, “Tony Abbott Missing Signs of World’s Switch to Carbon Trading, Experts Say,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 June 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-missing-signs-of-worlds-switch-to-carbon-trading-experts-say-20140609-39t8q.html.
Editorial, “PM Tony Abbott’s Australia Out in the Cold Over Climate Change,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 June 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/pm-tony-abbotts-australia-out-in-the-cold-over-climate-change-20140611-zs3ko.html. The editorial comments on the remarks made by Tony Abbott while in the USA and Canada, which appear to “spin the line that solutions to climate change other than ‘Direct Action’ will, in [his] words, "clobber the economy".
Peter Hannam, “China and the UK Declare Global Warming Is ‘One of the Greatest Challenges Facing the World,’” The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 June 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/china-and-the-uk-declare-global-warming-is-one-of-the-greatest-challenges-facing-the-world-20140618-zsb6k.html. The article describes a joint statement by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his visiting Chinese counterpart, Premier Li Keqiang, which said climate change was already happening, “much of it as a result of human activity.” They called on all nations to reveal their action plans well ahead of a major climate summit set for Paris in late 2015.
Brian Robins, “Is Carbon Policy Too Tangled to Unweave to Satisfaction of All?” The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 June 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/is-carbon-policy-too-tangled-to-unweave-to-satisfaction-of-all-20140622-3amab.html. Politicians rarely let “common sense get in the way of a cheap headline, and the implications of a prolonged delay in effecting the plan to scrap the carbon price, and return monies paid to those who have paid, is not their concern.” But perhaps it should be since anything that adds to concentration is the supply of energy in Australia is likely to be harmful to the consumer.
Editorial “How Tony Abbott Can Tackle Climate Change Without a Carbon Tax,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 June 2014. Available at: 23 June 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/how-tony-abbott-can-tackle-climate-change-without-a-carbon-tax-20140623-zsij0.htm. The editorial suggests that beneficial policies could emerge from the new Senate over the desire of the Abbott government to scrap the carbon tax.
Peter Martin, “Both Clive Palmer and Tony Abbott Will Get What They Want,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 June 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/both-clive-palmer-and-tony-abbott-will-get-what-they-want-20140625-3atp6.html. Peter stated: “Clive has saved the furniture. If he gets his way (and he is almost certain to), the architecture of the emissions trading scheme will stay in place. Negotiated over seven years and running to hundreds of pages, the design of the scheme was a massive intellectual effort about to be rendered useless.”
Peter Martin, “How Tony Abbott Made the Carbon Tax Work,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 July 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/how-tony-abbott-made-the-carbon-tax-work-20140630-zsqj4.html. The author notes that “for more than a century, through two world wars and the Great Depression, Australia used more electricity each year than the year before. Then, in 2010, something changed. Ever since 2010, we’ve been using less each year than the year before.” This, he suggests is attributed more to Tony Abbotts’s insistence that electricity prices would rise than to the rises themselves – the “scare factor.”
Oliver Milman, “Zero-Carbon and Economic Growth Can Go Together, UN Study Says,” The Guardian, 10 July 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/10/zero-carbon-and-economic-growth-can-go-together-un-study-says. The top 15 emitter countries could make deep cuts to emissions while also tripling economic output, according to the study
Matt Grundorff, “Abolishing Renewable Energy Target Rewards Rich Polluters,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/abolishing-renewable-energy-target-rewards-rich-polluters-20140710-zt2v7.html. The author reports on his research for The Australia Institute that indicated a renewable energy target is likely to “decrease electricity prices, not increase them,” though there may be small price increases in the short term, until the industry adjusts to the increased competition that will emerge as a result of the more complete development of alternative energy sources.
Ross Gittins, “Carbon Tax Merely a Blip in Power Price Scandal,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/carbon-tax-merely-a-blip-in-power-price-scandal-20140715-zt7na.html. The author’s lead-in statement is: Prime Minister Tony Abbott is right about one thing: the price of electricity has shot up and is now a lot higher than it should be. It's a scandal, in fact. Trouble is, the carbon tax has played only a small part in that, so getting rid of it won't fix the problem.
Mark Kenny, “Battle Lines Drawn: Carbon Politics Are Not Going Away Any Time Soon,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 July 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/battle-lines-drawn-carbon-politics-are-not-going-away-any-time-soon-20140717-3c3s6.html. Kenny offers an opinion of post-carbon-tax-repeal politics. See also John Connor, ”Tony Abbott’s Carbon Tax Outrage Signals Nadir of Post-Truth Politics,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 July 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-carbon-tax-outrage-signals-nadir-of-posttruth-politics-20140717-ztz2b.html. John Connor is the CEO of the Climate Institute (http://www.climateinstitute.org.au) but even those who are unsympathetic to the work of the institute may benefit in reading Connor’s view as to what might be achieved without the carbon tax.
Julia Baird, “A Carbon Tax’s Ignoble End,” The New York Times, 24 July 2014. Available at: https://www.google.com.au/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=julia+baird. The article summarises the events leading up to the repeal of the carbon tax and also touches lightly on the lack of a replacement policy. The article was written mainly for American readers and is accompanied by comments mainly from Americans.
Oliver Milman, “Australia’s Investment in Renewable Energy Slumps 70% in One Year,” The Guardian, 3 October 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/oct/03/australias-investment-in-renewable-energy-slumps-70-in-one-year. “Australia’s investment in renewable energy projects has slumped below that of Algeria, Thailand and Myanmar, new figures have shown, with the sector “paralysed” by the government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target.”
Oliver Milman, “Sea Level Rise Over Past Century Unmatched in 6,000 Years, Says Study,” The Guardian, 14 October 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/14/sea-level-rise-unmatched-6000-years-global-warming. “Research finds 20cm rise since start of 20th century, caused by global warming and the melting of polar ice, is unprecedented.”
James Massola, Peter Ker and Lisa Cox, “Coal Is ‘Good for Humanity’, Says Tony Abbott at Mine Opening,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 October 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/coal-is-good-for-humanity-says-tony-abbott-at-mine-opening-20141013-115bgs.html. “Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia's coal industry has a "big future, as well as a big past" and predicted it will be the world's principal energy source for decades to come.” For additional comment, see Mark Kenny, ‘Coal Comfort for Tony Abbott,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 October 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/coal-comfort-for-tony-abbott-20141013-115h8x.html.
Mark Kenny, “Tony Abbott May Yet Be on the Wrong Side of History on Climate Change Debate,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 October 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbott-may-yet-be-on-the-wrong-side-of-history-on-climate-change-debate-20141016-116ngz.html. “Abbott began this week talking about coal as "essential for the prosperity of Australia and … the prosperity of the world … for many decades to come". True enough, but he may end his first term talking about much stronger action on climate change whether he likes it or not after being "reverse Copenhagened" in Brisbane, Lima, and Paris.”
Priyamvada Natarajan, “What Scientists Really Do,” The New York Review of Books, 23 October 2014. Available at: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/oct/23/what-scientists-really-do/?insrc=whc. The two books reviewed by Nararajan are not focused specifically on climate change, but rather they examine current misuses of scientific findings and the relative poor public understanding as to what scientists do. This has direct implications on assessing the nature of climate change.
Mark Kenny, “Deal on Direct Action Spells End to Emission Trading,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 October 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/deal-on-direct-action-spells-end-to-emissions-trading-20141030-11e763.html. “The federal government is crowing about the deal it stitched up to get its friendless Direct Action policy through a hostile Senate while killing off forever Labor's carbon price-cum-emissions trading scheme. Meanwhile, Clive Palmer, with whom said deal was hammered out, is simultaneously positioning himself as the last sentry against environmental neglect, and arguing his terms have secured what the government would not, and the Green/Labor axis could not, the retention of emissions trading as a live option in Australia. They cannot both be right. Additional analysis by Lenore Taylor, “Emissions Trading Will Be Back in the Game if Direct Action Proves Ineffective,” The Guardian, 30 October 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/30/emissions-trading-back-in-the-game-direct-action-proves-ineffective.
John Quiggin, “Direct Action is Here: Now Tony Abbott Can Finally Move on from Doomed Tribalism,” The Guardian, 30 October 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/30/direct-action-is-here-now-tony-abbott-can-finally-move-on-from-doomed-tribalism. “There are really two debates on climate change: one on action, the other on the semantics of carbon pricing. Both have been resolved, albeit in an unfortunate way.”
Lenore Taylor, “Tony Abbott Keeps Digging Himself in Deeper, and It Makes No Sense,” The Guardian, 21 November 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/nov/21/tony-abbott-keeps-digging-himself-in-deeper-and-it-makes-no-sense. The Abbott government is in untenable positions on climate change and broken election promises and it’s time it took stock.
Tom Switzer, “Abbott Will Soon Look Like a Genius for Refusing to Drag Australia to Yet Another Climate Fiasco,” The Guardian, 18 November 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/18/abbott-will-soon-look-like-a-genius-for-refusing-to-drag-australia-to-yet-another-climate-fiasco. “Defensive, embarrassing, insular, cringeworthy – this is just a sample of media comment on Abbott’s performance at the G20. But look Deeper and a Different Picture Emerges.”
Peter Hannam, “Australia Ranked Worst-Performing Developed Nation on Climate Performance,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 December 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/australia-ranked-worstperforming-developed-nation-on-climate-performance-20141208-122nk4.html.“Australia ranked 57 out of 58 nations reviewed by the survey, which has been done each year since 2005 by Climate Action Network Europe and Germanwatch. Only Saudi Arabia fared worse.” See also, Peter Hartcher, “Tony Abbott Must Shift with the Tide on Climate Change, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 December 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbott-must-shift-with-the-tide-on-climate-change-20141208-122ie7.html. See also: Mark Kenny and Gareth Hutchens, “Budget Blowout Preferable to Dent in Confidence, Hockey Decides,” Sydney Morning Herald, 15 December 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/budget-blowout-preferable-to-dent-to-confidence-hockey-decides-20141215-127mza.html.
Michael Safi and Shalailah Medhora, “Tony Abbott Says Repealing Carbon Tax His Biggest Achievement as Minister for Women,” The Guardian, 22 December 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/22/tony-abbott-repealing-carbon-tax-biggest-achievement-minister-for-women. “Women are particularly focused on the household budget and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550 a year benefit for the average family,’ the PM said.”.
Oliver Milman, “Fall in Greenhouse Emission Due to Economy Not Carbon Tax, Coalition Says,” The Guardian, 29 December 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/28/fall-in-greenhouse-emissions-due-to-economy-not-carbon-tax-coalition-says. “Mathias Cormann says below-trend growth was responsible for the 1.4% drop in emissions during the second year of carbon pricing.”
Peter Martin, “Climate Change: Why Some of Us Won’t Believe It’s Getting Hotter,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 January 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/climate-change-why-some-of-us-wont-believe-its-getting-hotter-20150110-12koa1.html. The author concludes: “It is getting hotter. […] Warming is a fact. The Bureau of Meteorology accepts it; the government accepts it and it shouldn't be beyond our abilities to accept it. Then we can talk about what to do.”
Oliver Milman, “Still No Modelling to Show Whether Direct Action Will Meet Emissions Target,” The Guardian, 24 February 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/24/still-no-modelling-to-show-whether-direct-action-will-meet-emissions-target. “Environment department head tells [Senate] estimates he cannot say whether climate policy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% of 2000 levels by 2020.”
Oliver Milman, “Amazon Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef Need Better Care, Say Scientists,” The Guardian, 20 March 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/19/amazon-rainforest-and-great-barrier-reef-need-better-care-say-scientists. “Protecting places of global environmental importance such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon rainforest from climate change will require reducing the other pressures they face, for example overfishing, fertilizer pollution or land clearing.” The study referred to is available at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150319143325.htm.
Editorial, “Energy White Paper Has Some Huge Black Holes,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/energy-white-paper-has-some-huge-black-holes-20150412-1mjflr.html. “Was it an accident or wilful blindness? The federal government's 74-page energy white paper, released last week, contained just a single reference to climate change. Given the Abbott government's self-imposed blindness on this issue, we have to suspect it was the latter. The omission renders the document deeply flawed.” See also Clancy Yeates, “Coal Makes a Comeback Thanks to Carbon Price Repeal, Emissions Rise,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April, 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/coal-makes-a-comeback-thanks-to-carbon-price-repeal-emissions-rise-20150412-1mifs6.html.
Hunter Lovins, “The Climate Denier’s Guide to getting Rich from Fossil Fuel Divestment, The Guardian, 14 April 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/14/the-climate-deniers-guide-to-getting-rich-from-fossil-fuel-divestment. “Whether you believe in climate change or not, there’s no denying the figures – taking your money out of oil, coal and gas makes good financial sense.”
Lisa Cox and Tom Arup, “Australia Should ‘Get Off Sidelines’ with 30 Per Cent Emissions Cut by 2025: Report,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-should-get-off-sidelines-with-30-per-cent-emissions-cut-by-2025-report-20150421-1mq1fe.html. For comment read Tom Arup at: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change-authority-presents-a-compelling-case-for-deeper-australian-emissions-cuts-20150421-1mpqwe.html. The Climate Change Authority’s “First Draft Report of the Special Review: Australia’s Future Emissions Reduction Targets” is available at: http://www.climatechangeauthority.gov.au/special-review/first-draft-report.
Justin Gillis, “New Study Links Weather Extremes to Global Warming,” The New York Times, 27 April 2015. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/science/new-study-links-weather-extremes-to-global-warming.html. “The moderate global warming that has already occurred as a result of human emissions is responsible for about 75 percent of daily heat extremes, and about 18 percent of precipitation extremes.”
Lenore Taylor, “Greg Hunt Hasn’t a Lot to Show for $660m Spent on Reducing Greenhouse Emissions,” The Guardian, 4 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/no-more-shortcuts-to-budget-surplus-20150503-1myets.html. “While the environment minister is proclaiming a ‘stunning’ result, the money monstly went on projects begun under the previous government.”
Lisa Cox, “New Renewable Energy Target Will Mean $6 Billion Cut to Investment: Analysis,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/new-renewable-energy-target-will-mean-6-billion-cut-to-investment-analysts-20150518-gh4ffd.html. “Bloomberg's Australian head Kobad Bhavnagri said the organisation forecast that investment by 2020 would be 29 per cent lower under the new target ‘but no resolution to the impasse meant the industry was uninvestable’”.
Giles Parkinson, “The Benefits of Solar Do Outweigh Its Costs. Some Have a Hard Time Accepting It,” The Guardian, 25 May 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/25/the-benefits-of-solar-do-outweigh-its-costs-some-have-a-hard-time-accepting-it. “A new Grattan Institute report on rooftop solar says its economic costs exceed its benefits by $9bn. That’s true only if you don’t include all the benefits.” A summary and a link to the full report by the Grattan Institute is available at: http://grattan.edu.au/report/sundown-sunrise-how-australia-can-finally-get-solar-power-right/. Grattan Institute’s response is available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/29/we-didnt-demonise-solar-the-grattan-institute-responds-to-its-critics.
Peter Hartcher, “Green Power Success Stories Take the Wind Out of Tony Abbott,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/green-power-success-stories-take-the-wind-out-of-tony-abbott-20150525-gh9bd6.html. “If Abbott wanted to, he could help Australians cut their power bills by much more than 9 per cent. The way to do it, as the German event demonstrated, is with more renewable energy.”
The Editorial Board, “The Case for Carbon Tax,” The New York Times, 6 June 2015. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/the-case-for-a-carbon-tax.html?ref=opinion. The editorial makes the claim that a carbon tax would be much easier to administer than some of the other climate change policies that many leaders have backed, but noted that getting lawmakers to adapt a carbon tax will be difficult. “Just last year, Australia repealed its carbon tax after a new conservative government came to power.”
Oliver Milman, “Coalition’s $2.55bn Emissions Reduction Fund Could Run Our Next Year – Analysts.” The Guardian, 6 July 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/06/coalitions-255bn-emissions-reduction-fund-could-run-out-next-year-analysts. “The direct action fund is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by just 11% by 2025, far less than the expected target the government is soon to unveil.”
Daniel Hurst, “Solar Power Industry Vows to Step Up Campaign to Topple Abbott Government,” The Guardian, 14 July 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/14/solar-power-industry-vows-campaign-topple-abbott-government. “Vow to expand marginal-seats campaign against Coalition comes after ban on Clean Energy Finance Corporation from financing wind and small-scale solar.”
Ross Gittins, “Time to Get the Economics of Environment Right, “The Sydney Morning Herald,” 17 July 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/time-to-get-the-economics-of-environment-right-20150717-giejry.html. “The government's role is to support the development of voluntary, industry-based sustainable certification of farms and to ensure such schemes are trustworthy. The government should also be active in the development of international sustainability standards so our exporting farmers can participate and benefit.”
Editorial, “Climate for Change: Abbott’s Cheap and Nasty Political Zombie,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 July 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/climate-for-change-abbotts-cheap-and-nasty-political-zombie-20150717-giebq3. “The real-life zombie that returned to horrify Australians this week was not Labor's carbon tax or even a triple-whammy version of the walking dead as Prime Minister Tony Abbott claimed. Rather it was the terrible spectre of cheap and nasty politics over good policy.”
Daniel Hurst, “Bill Shorten Recommits to Emissions Trading, Opposing ‘Abbott’s Society of Flat-Earthers,’” The Guardian, 24 July 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/24/bill-shorten-emmissions-trading-climate-change-labor-conference. “Labor leader’s address to party conference includes a vow not to succumb to ‘ridiculous scare campaigns’ and to insist an emissions trading scheme.”
Lenore Taylor, “Hysterical Bill Shorten Headlines Miss the Point, No Credible Climate Policy Exists,” The Guardian, 24 July 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/24/hysterical-bill-shorten-headlines-miss-the-point-no-credible-climate-policy-exists#img-1. “It’s been hard to miss the hyperventilating news coverage about Labor’s new emissions ‘aspiration’, but neither major party has a plan for climate change.”
Graham Readfearn, “How Australians Were Ready to Act on Climate Science 25 Years Ago … and What Happened Next,” The Guardian, 6 August 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2015/aug/06/how-australians-were-ready-to-act-on-climate-science-25-years-ago-and-what-happened-next. “New book investigates how corporate interests and ideologues worked to make Australia doubt what it knew about climate change and its risks.”
Alan Dupont, “Abbott Must Back Wide-Ranging Reform of Defence,” The Lowy Institute for International Policy”, 11 March 2014. Available at: http://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/abbott-must-back-wide-ranging-reform-defence. The author offered the opinion that “when Tony Abbott and his colleagues on the National Security Committee of cabinet sit down to have their first serious look at defence this week they will find a dispirited and disjointed department in need of direction and renewal.”
Ben Doherty, “Australia Buys Up, Enters Asian Arms Race,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-buys-up-enters-asian-arms-race-20140615-3a5xk.html. The author uses the database made available by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute to show that “Australian imports of major arms – large-scale military materiel such as warships, fighter planes and tanks – jumped by 83 per cent in the five years to 2013, a reaction to increasingly volatile Asian relations and fears the region is set on the path of a dangerous arms race. The database is available online at: http://milexdata.sipri.org/files/?file=SIPRI+military+expenditure+database+1988-2013.xlsx.
Andrew Carr and Harry White, “Japanese Security, Australian Risk? The Consequences of Our New ‘Special Relationship,’” The Guardian, 8 July 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/08/japanese-security-australian-risk-the-consequences-of-our-new-special-relationship. “Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe's speech to the Australian parliament was a move towards a de facto alliance. Will it involve us in a war we could have otherwise avoided?”
Peter Hartcher, “To Discredit Islamic State, Take Away Their Naming Rights,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 September 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/to-discredit-islamic-state-take-away-their-naming-rights-20140908-10e2i6.html. “A powerful draw for many of the [IS] recruits is the belief that this is not just any ordinary war against the infidels but the fight foretold in prophecy to be the battle at the end of time.”
Arthur Moore, “Australia Losing Its Middle-Power Status – Analysis,” Eurasia Review, 22 January 2015. Available at: http://www.eurasiareview.com/22012015-australia-losing-middle-power-status-analysis/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+eurasiareview%2FVsnE+%28Eurasia+Review%29. The analysis by Geopoliticalmonitor.com concluded that “current trends [in defence spending] indicate that Australia will soon lose the ability to behave like a middle power on the world stage, and even regionally, in military matters, and instead come to rely more on diplomatic initiatives.
Dennis Richardson, Secretary of the Department of Defence, ”Blamey Oration: The Strategic Outlook for the Indo-Pacific Region,” presented to the Royal United Services Institute’s 3rd International Defence and Security Dialogue, 28 May 2015. Text of the speech is available at: http://www.theage.com.au/national/defence-secretary-dennis-richardsons-blamey-oration-20150528-ghbf7w.html. The speech underscores two global developments. The first is the increasing geographic dimensions of ungoverned space which we see from South Asia to the Middle East, to relatively large parts of Africa, into which have tended to flow groups with extremist ideologies. The second is the “changing power relativities, and the shape of our own region.”
Lenore Taylor, “Tony Abbott’s National Security One-Upmanship Is About Winning –at Any Cost,” The Guardian, 12 June 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jun/12/abbott-unleashed-on-terror-is-set-to-win-the-next-election-whatever-it-takes. “The national security ‘debate’ is a response to Isis but it’s also a way for the prime minister to back Bill Shorten into the untenable position of being ‘weak on terror.’”
Latika Bourke, “Govt to Tackle Head-On Claims It Is Unfair and Say Borrowing Against Our Kids Is the Most Unfair Act of All,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 January 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/govt-to-tackle-headon-claims-it-is-unfair-and-say-borrowing-against-our-kids-is-the-most-unfair-act-of-all-20150103-12gtum.html. “Former Howard government Minister Peter Reith has attacked Tony Abbott for ‘not lifting a finger’ on industrial relations and job creation, as the federal government attempts to reset the economic debate about the fairness of its budget.”
Peter Martin, “Low 10-Year Bond Rates Are the Deal of the Century but Abbott's Not at the Table,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/low-10year-bond-rates-are-the-deal-of-the-century-but-abbotts-not-at-the-table-20150120-12tq4j.html. A $15 billion drop in infrastructure is forecast for 2015, despite Tony Abott’s self-proclaimed status as the “infrastructure Prime Minister. Peter Martin rubs the proverbial salt into that wound by noting that “the 10-year bond rate of interest is currently fixed at 2.55 per cent – an all-time low.” We missed out on the opportunity to restore and replace old and ineffective infrastructure because the Coalition remains a “prisoner of the silly things it said about debts while in opposition.”
Vanessa Desloires, “Top CEOs Raise Concerns over Abbott Government's Lack of Control, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/top-ceos-raise-concerns-over-abbott-governments-lack-of-control-20150120-12tz5u.html. A survey of 44 of the nation's leading chief executives indicated that over-regulation, the government's response to the fiscal deficit and debt and the increasing threat of rising taxes were the biggest threats to business growth.”
Editorial, “A Timely Warning that Australia’s Inertia Must End,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/a-timely-warning-that-australias-inertia-must-end-20150128-12z7fd.html. The text of Jennifer Westacott’s Australia Day Speech, referred to in the editorial, is available at: http://www.bca.com.au/newsroom/australian-unity-great-australia-day-breakfast-2015-speech-by-jennifer-westacott.
Gareth Hutchens, “Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg Says Australia Needs to Double Its Efforts to Fix the Budget,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/assistant-treasurer-josh-frydenberg-says-australia-needs-to-double-its-efforts-to-fix-the-budget-20150127-12z3wi.html. “Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says he is much more concerned about the state of the global economy after his trip to the World Economic Forum this week, and he is determined to reinforce the case for budget repair when he returns to Australia.” Commentary is available at: http://www.accci.com.au/CommentonFrydenberg.pdf.
Peter Martin, “The Economic Case for Changing Leaders,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 February 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economic-case-for-changing-leaders-20150206-1385jc.html. Peter Martin uses the Reserve Bank of Australia’s rule of thumb that two interest rate cuts would boost economic growth by about 0.25 per cent after a year to eighteen months. “It means that the associated forecasts of economic growth could be as low as 2.75 per cent for that period. “They [the forecasts] would have made Abbott’s promise of half a million new jobs in five years impossible to achieve and would have seen unemployment rate steadily rise. Note that charts outlining a similar scenario are available in the PDF commentary cited immediately above.
Ross Gittins, “RBA Channelling Hopes for Economy,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/rba-channelling-hopes-for-economy-20150213-13dptk.html. “Why did the Reserve wait 18 months before cutting interest rates to a new low? Because it knows it's running a high risk of sparking a housing boom and bust. But with the economy now so weak, it felt it had no choice.”
Heath Aston, “All Eyes Turn to Treasurer: Budget Do or Die for Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/all-eyes-turn-to-treasurer-budget-do-or-die-for-joe-hockey-and-tony-abbott-20150213-13dwoj.html. “This week Hockey told the Coalition joint party rooms that the country ‘may never get back to surplus’ the way things are going. That was before the unemployment rate jumped to its highest level in 13 years and evidence emerged that budget cuts were not even covering higher spending under the Abbott government.” Additional comment: Peter Martin, “It’s a Matter of Trust. Why Confidence is Our Biggest Economic Problem,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/its-a-matter-of-trust-why-confidence-is-our-biggest-economic-problem-20150213-13e787.html.
Mark Kenny, “Treasure Joe Hockey Hangs Tough Despite Jobs Slump,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 February 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/treasure-joe-hockey-hangs-tough-despite-jobs-slump-20150213-13eaov.html. “Treasurer Joe Hockey says his second budget will take account of a sharply slowing jobs market but has affirmed there would be no change from his tough spending cuts approach, arguing it is confidence the economy needs, not stimulus.
Ross Gittins, “Don’t Fix Budget while Economy Weak,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 February 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/dont-fix-budget-while-economy-weak-20150215-13es44.html. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/dont-fix-budget-while-economy-weak-20150215-13es44.html. Ross underscores the importance of establishing a priority when a mixture of economic policies is on the table, and favours one that is opposite to the Coalition’s.
Editorial, “Joe Hockey’s Intergenerational Report vs Voter Trust,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 March 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/joe-hockeys-intergenerational-report-vs-voter-trust-20150306-13vs32.html. “Get more people into jobs, work smarter, shore up budget revenue and get a bigger bang for the taxpayers' buck in spending.” The “2015 Intergenerational Report” is available at: http://www.treasury.gov.au/Policy-Topics/PeopleAndSociety/Intergenerational-Report.
Ross Gittins, “State Governments Need to Step Up,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 March 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/state-governments-need-to-step-up-20150306-13wrao.html. “With monetary policy (interest rates) now less effective in stimulating the economy, it would be better if fiscal policy (budgets) was doing more to help, not less.”
Greg Jericho, “Intergenerational Report: Assumptions about Government Spending Are a Confusion of Idiocy,” The Guardian, 9 March 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2015/mar/09/intergenerational-report-assumptions-about-government-spending-are-a-confusion-of-idiocy. “The report happily assumes that the government would not change any spending policy for 40 years and debt by 2055 would reach 122 per cent of GDP.”
Editorial, “Tony Abbott’s Government by Shambles: Something Has to Change,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 March 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/tony-abbotts-government-by-shambles-something-has-to-change-20150319-1m2kzx.html. “The government must think people are mind-readers or, worse, plain gullible.”
Tim Dick, “Australia’s Luck Ran Out When It Came to Leaders,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/australias-luck-ran-out-when-it-came-to-leaders-20150412-1mj7y8.html. “Australia is immensely rich, incredibly desirable and lucky enough to have two dud leaders at the same time, continuing the truth of Donald Horne's ironic observation in 1964: "Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck."
Lenore Taylor, “Who Will Lose Most from the 2015 Budget (Apart from the Government?” The Guardian, 14 April 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/apr/13/who-will-lose-most-from-the-2015-budget-apart-from-the-government. “There remains a disconnect between the PM’s new positive messaging, as it applies to the budget, and what his economic ministers are saying.”
Gareth Hutchens, “IMF Warns Reserve Bank May Have to Keep Cutting Rates,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 April 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/imf-warns-reserve-bank-may-have-to-keep-cutting-rates-20150414-1mkpy9.html. “The Reserve Bank has been warned it may have to keep cutting already historically low interest rates to prevent Australians from becoming fearful of falling wages and weaker employment prospects. […] Financial markets believe there is a 100 per cent change the cash rate will be 2 per cent by September or October this year.”
John Edwards, “Tony Abbott’s New Budget Strategy – and How Bill Shorten Will Respond,” Inside Story, 14 April 2015. Available at: http://insidestory.org.au/tony-abbotts-new-budget-strategy-and-how-bill-shorten-will-respond. “Fixing the federal budget might not be as hard as we think, argues the author. “And the Intergenerational Review shows we have the breathing space to choose how to do it.”
Jessica Irvine, “We Have to Raise Revenue, Not Just Cut Spending,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/we-have-to-raise-revenue-not-just-cut-spending-20150417-1mn16h.html. “To balance the books, Australians will have to pay more tax, the only questions being what will be taxed and how high the rate.”
Katharine Murphy, “Labor Plans to Rein in Super Concessions for Wealthy in Bid to Raise $14 Billion,” The Guardian, 22 April 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/apr/21/labor-plans-to-rein-in-super-concessions-for-wealthy-in-bid-to-raise-14bn. “Retirees would have to pay 15% on super income over $75,000 and workers earning more than $250,000 face paying more tax on contributions,”
Peter Martin, “Negative Gearers Are the Opposite of Battlers and They Don’t Build Many New Houses,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 April 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/negative-gearers-are-the-opposite-of-battlers-and-they-dont-build-many-new-homes-20150427-1msy10.html. “It is disturbing that the policy advice of the Property Council is preferred to that of the Reserve Bank.”
Ross Gittins, “No More Shortcuts to Budget Surplus,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/no-more-shortcuts-to-budget-surplus-20150503-1myets.html. “The most obvious lesson – one to be learnt not just by politicians but by all those who care about fiscal responsibility – is that if you manage to con the pollies into proposing blatantly unfair "reforms" you run a high risk of actually setting back the cause of reform.”
Nassim Khadem, “Tax the Rich and Save the Budget $1 9.5b a Year, The Australia Institute Urges,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/tax-the-rich-and-save-the-budget-195b-a-year-the-australia-institute-urges-20150504-1mz7h4.html. According to the Australia Institute If Tony Abbott stopped giving superannuation tax breaks to the rich, restricted negative gearing, scrapped the capital gains tax discount and slapped a minimum tax rate on high-income earners, he could raise up to $19.5 billion in annual revenue.”
Malcolm Maiden, “What’s Holding the Australian Economy Back? Companies,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/whats-holding-the-australian-economy-back-companies-20150508-ggwvip.html. “There's nothing inherently wrong with companies sweating their assets, and boosting earnings by cutting costs, jobs, and investment. They become more productive in the process.
Heath Aston, “Federal Budget 2015: Budget 2.0 Will Determine Future of Joe Hockey-Tony Abbott Partnership,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/federal-budget-2015-budget-20-will-determine-future-of-joe-hockeytony-abbott-partnership-20150508-ggx5si.html. “Coalition backbenchers see the budget as the opportunity for Abbott and Hockey to revive the government's fortunes.” See also: Peter Martin, “Federal Budget 2015: Reserve Bank Says Growth Will be Lower, Recovery Slower,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/federal-budget-2015-reserve-bank-says-growth-will-be-lower-recovery-slower-20150508-ggxk1c.html.
Greg Jericho, “The Budget to Repair the (Poll) Damage Done by the Last Budget – in Graphs,” The Guardian, 12 May 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2015/may/12/the-budget-to-repair-the-poll-damage-done-by-the-last-budget-in-graphs. “The 2015 Australian budget smacks of a government that has targeted spending towards improving its polling rather than growth.”
Peter Hartcher, “Bipartisan Convergence There Is – but Not on What Really Matters for the Economy,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/bipartisan-convergence-there-is--but-not-on-what-really-matters-for-the-economy-20150515-gh2rah.html. Hartcher brings out some of the hidden motives, as well as the hidden cuts, in the budget for government action during the incoming fiscal year.
Peter Martin, “Federal Budget 2015: Cut Income Tax, says Treasury Secretary John Fraser,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/federal-budget-2015-cut-income-tax-says-treasury-secretary-john-fraser-20150515-gh2zcs.html. “The head of the treasury believes that the easy days of high economic growth are over and that Australia will need big personal income tax cuts to remain competitive.” See also, James Massola, “Bringing Home the Bacon, Saving the Base,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bringing-home-the-bacon-saving-the-base-20150515-gh25qc.
Ross Gittins, “Don’t Trust the Knockers of Treasury Forecasts,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/dont-trust-the-knockers-of-treasury-forecasts-20150517-gh37i3.html. “Treasury and the Reserve Bank – whose forecasts are essentially a joint exercise – put an enormous amount of time and expertise into their forecasts […]. That doesn't mean their forecasts are likely to be right, of course. Far from it. But it does mean that, on average over time, they're likely to be less wrong than their critics.”
Michael Pascoe, “Small Business Myths Work Budget Miracles,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/small-business-myths-work-budget-miracles-20150518-gh42qq.html. “The budget seems to have miraculously achieved what it set out to do: restore the political fortunes of the Prime Minister and Treasurer. It's done so by playing upon a couple of popular myths and carefully targeting some spending.”
Ross Gittins, “Low Interest Rates Mean It’s No Longer Business as Usual,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/low-interest-rates-mean-its-no-longer-business-as-usual-20150522-gh7by8.html. Gittins comments on a recent speech by Phillip Lowe, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, concerning the often-forgotten disadvantages of low interest rates. Links to this and two other related comments from the RBA are shown here.
Editorial, “Tony Abbott Builds Australians a Tax White Elephant,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/tony-abbott-builds-australians-a-tax-white-elephant-20150527-ghae4n.html. We should be examining how to simplify and expand consumption taxes. […] It's a sad reflection of the state of political discourse when the Coalition – and Labor on issues other than superannuation taxes – feels incapable of or unwilling to explain to voters the benefits and drawbacks of important policy options.”
Mark Kenny, “Deficit Decade: Tony Abbott’s $100 Billion Black Hole,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/deficit-decade-tony-abbotts-100-billion-black-hole-20150529-ghckxn.html. “Australia faces more than decade of uninterrupted deficits according to an updated assessment by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office that shows Senate intransigence will carve a $100 billion black hole out of revenue between now and 2025-26.”
Malcolm Maiden, “GDP: Better but Still Not Good Enough,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 June 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/gdp-better-but-still-not-good-enough-20150603-ghg019.html. “This economy won't be motoring until private sector investment picks up, and when the building bulge in the housing market is stripped out, investment is weak.”
Greg Jericho, “Joe Hockey May Call Me a Clown, but GDP Growth Hasn’t Been ‘Terrific,’” The Guardian, 4 June 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2015/jun/04/joe-hockey-may-call-me-a-clown-but-gdp-growth-hasnt-been-terrific. “The treasurer talked up the DGP figures, suggesting that those who believe there are ‘dark clouds’ are ‘clowns’ However, quarterly growth numbers hide economic concerns – here is what you need to know.”
Greg Jericho, “The Dark Clouds of Australia’s Largest Ever Trade Deficit Have a Silver Lining,” The Guardian, 8 June 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2015/jun/08/the-dark-clouds-of-australias-largest-ever-trade-deficit-have-a-silver-lining. “Our exports drastically decreased due to a drop in iron ore and coal exports, and imports drastically increased due to equipment imported from Korea.”
Peter Martin, “Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens: More Infrastructure Spending Now, Please,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 June 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/reserve-bank-governor-glenn-stevens-more-infrastructure-spending-now-please-20150610-ghl1ri.html. After months of hinting the Abbott government isn't doing enough to lift the economy, Glenn Stevens has come right out and said it.” See address to the Economic Society of Australia in Brisbane, 10 June 2015 at: http://www.rba.gov.au/speeches/2015/sp-gov-2015-06-10.html.
Peter Ker, “Rio Tinto’s Mike Fitzpatrick on the RBA, BHP and Managing a Mining Boom,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/rio-tintos-mike-fitzpatrick-on-the-rba-bhp-and-managing-a-mining-boom-20150623-ghuzxj. Fitzpatrick commented in an interview on the two-speed economy in Australia during the recent boom in mining activity. “While some blamed the miners for the strong currency, Mr Fitzpatrick believed the Reserve Bank ‘left interest rates too high for far too long.’”
Ross Gittins, “Tony Abbott’s National Security Scare Campaign Hides the Truth: He’s Making a Hash of the Economy,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 June 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/tony-abbotts-national-security-scare-campaign-hides-the-truth-hes-making-a-hash-of-the-economy-20150630-gi16ie.html. “Tony Abbott and his minister are more interested in diverting our attention to exaggerated threats to national security than in fixing our economic threats.”
Katherine Murphy, “Shift from Stamp Duty to Property Levy Could Raise $7bn a Year for States – Report,” The Guardian, 14 July 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/14/shift-from-stamp-duty-to-property-levy-could-raise-7bn-a-year-for-states-report. “ Grattan Institute report proposes levy of $2 for every $1,000 of unimproved land value, or $1 for every $1,000 of capital-improved property value.” The report is by John Daley and Brendan Coats, “Property Taxes,” Grattan Institute Working Paper, 14 July 2015. Available at: http://grattan.edu.au/report/property-taxes/.
Daniel Hurst, “Australian Tax Reform: Options on the Menu for Abbott and Premiers at COAG,’ The Guardian, 22 July 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/jul/22/australian-tax-reform-options-on-the-menu-for-abbott-and-premiers-at-coag. “Increasing or broadening the base of GST? Hiking the Medicare levy? Scrapping negative gearing? Who supports which measures as political leaders gather for the COAG meeting in Sydney?”
Tom Wesland, “Is Joe Hockey Going to Bust Some Monopolies? His IP Referral Gives Us Hope,” The Guardian, 19 August 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/19/is-joe-hockey-going-to-bust-some-monopolies-his-ip-referral-gives-us-hope. “A Productivity Commission review into intellectual property is welcome news – it could help prevent Australia being fleeced in future trade agreements.”
Andrew Leigh, “Joe Hockey’s Tax Disclosure Wind-Back Is a ‘Reform’ Nobody Asked for,” The Guardian, 21 August 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/21/joe-hockeys-tax-disclosure-wind-back-is-a-reform-nobody-asked-for. “The Coalition is changing laws that require the top 2,000 companies’ tax affairs to be reported. I’m sorry – who demanded this reduction in transparency?”
Gareth Hutchens, “Abbott Government to Take Personal Income Tax Cuts to the Election,” The Sydney Morning Herald,” 24 September 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-to-take-personal-income-tax-cuts-to-the-election-20150823-gj5rgg. “Mr Hockey will on Monday set out a comprehensive economic case for personal income tax cuts in a speech to the Tax Institute and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand in Sydney.”
Mark Kenny, “National Reform Summit: Recession Wake-Up Call from Ex-Treasury Head Martin Parkinson,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 August 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/national-reform-summit-extreasury-head-martin-parkinson-warns-of-recession-20150826-gj8byi.html. “A former Treasury head has told a historic coalition of business, unions and welfare lobbyists that the equivalent of a recession is looming in the next decade unless Australia boosts productivity.”
Peter Martin, “Liberal Leadership: The Malcolm Turnbull Doctrine – Telling the Truth about the Economy,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 September 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/liberal-leadership-the-malcolm-turnbull-doctrine-telling-the-truth-about-economy-20150914-gjmfyc.html. “Malcolm Turnbull has promised to tell us the truth. He says he is offering a new style of leadership that respects people’s intelligence, that explains complex issues and then sets out a course of action”.
Greg Jericho, “Equality Is Built into Our Tax System – That's Why Morrison's Sums Don't Add Up,” The Guardian, 9 November 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2015/nov/09/equality-is-built-into-our-tax-system-thats-why-morrisons-sums-dont-add-up. “Unless the government wants to increase inequality, it’s almost impossible to keep revenue the same without increasing spending.”
Peter Martin, “Tax White Paper Will Target Superannuation, Not the GST,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 November 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/tax-white-paper-will-target-superannuation-not-the-gst-20151122-gl4xbc.html. “Forget the GST – it's tackling the burgeoning problem of superannuation that will show whether the Treasurer is serious about fixing tax.”
Daniel Hurst, “Student Visa Applications Rise Strongly After Tough Three Years,” The Guardian, 17 January 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/17/student-visa-applications-rise-strongly-after-tough-three-years. “A large increase in international student visa applications in Australia has raised the sector’s hopes of moving on from the slump caused by a ‘perfect storm’ of a series of migration rule changes, bad publicity about the nation’s safety, and the strong dollar.”
Matthew Knott, “Education Minister Christopher Pyne: Set Universities ‘Free’ to Create a US-Style System,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 April 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/education-minister-christopher-pyne-set-universities-free-to-create-a-usstyle-system-20140428-zr0vc.html. The author reported that “in a speech to a London think tank on Monday night, Mr Pyne said a new wave of deregulation was needed to stop Australia's universities falling behind the rest of the world.” Note that not all of the US-style system is considered by Americans to be ideal. Editorial Board, “Tightening Rules on For-Profit Colleges,” The Washington Post,” 28 April 2014. Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/tightening-rules-on-for-profit-colleges/2014/04/27/2b80630e-cca4-11e3-95f7-7ecdde72d2ea_story.html.
Ross Gittins, “University Fees To Be Regulated under Pyne’s Reforms,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/university-fees-to-be-regulated-under-pynes-reforms-20140530-399pd.html. Gittins begins his article with this statement: “The greatest economic puzzle in the budget is Tony Abbott's intention to ‘deregulate’ university fees in 2016. There's a lot more to it than many people imagine.”
Daniel Hurst, “Australia’s Top Eight Universities Push for Higher Fees, Fewer Students,” The Guardian, 30 July 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jul/30/australias-top-eight-universities-push-for-higher-fees-fewer-students. The author reports that “Australia’s prestigious Group of Eight (Go8) universities are likely to reduce the number of people they enrol while increasing fees for each student after deregulation, a key backer of the reforms has predicted.
Jane Caro, “Pyne’s Education Policies Hurt Women – But the Men in Cabinet Don’t Seem to Have Noticed,” The Guardian, 11 August 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/11/pynes-education-policies-hurt-women-but-the-men-in-cabinet-dont-seem-to-have-noticed. “Recent measures would have forced women to pay much more than men for degrees that were worth far less to them. With only one woman in cabinet, it’s heads men win, tails women lose.”
Jewel Topsfield and Matthew Knott, “Education Review: Overhaul of ‘Bloated’ National Curriculum Widely Supported,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 October 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/education-review-overhaul-of-bloated-national-curriculum-widely-supported-20141012-114zkz.html. “The Abbott government's controversial review of the national curriculum has failed to reignite the culture wars as expected with its recommendations receiving widespread support across the country.”
Jamie Miller. “Don’t Turn to US for University Reform When They Look to Us,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January, 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/dont-turn-to-us-for-university-reform-when-they-look-to-us-20150123-12vok9.html. The author observes that the educational funding system in the US is in crisis, yet the Coalition government is seeking to replicate it in Australia. He suggests that the government “should take its user-pays model to an election and explain why it wants more of the University of Phoenix and less of the University of Sydney.”
Daniel Hurst, “Government Based University Fee Modelling on ‘Invented’ Figures, Says Official,” The Guardian, 25 February 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/25/government-based-university-fee-modelling-on-invented-figures-says-official. “The education department’s associate secretary, Robert Griew, cast doubt over the calculations in a statement to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal opposing the release of internal government documents on the impact of the government’s higher education reform.”
Daniel Hurst, “Higher Education Bill: Abbott Government Trades Away $3.5 Billion Budget Savings,” The Guardian, 3 December 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/03/higher-education-bill-abbott-government-trades-away-35bn-budget-savings. “Christopher Pyne’s latest legislation reveals significantly scaled-down estimated savings, cutting four-year impact from $3.9bn to $451m.”
Kevin Carey, “Here’s What Will Truly Change Higher Education: Online Degrees That Are Seen as Official,” The New York Times, 5 March 2015. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/08/upshot/true-reform-in-higher-education-when-online-degrees-are-seen-as-official.html. “In the long run, massive open online courses will most likely be seen as a crucial step forward in the reformation of higher education. But their true impact won’t be felt until students and learners of all kinds have access to digital credentials that are also built for the modern world.”
Daniel Hurst, “Senate Blocks University Deregulation for the Second Time,” The Guardian, 17 March 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/mar/17/senate-blocks-university-deregulation-for-the-second-time. “‘We will not give up,’ vows Christopher Pyne after most crossbench senators vote against the government’s legislation to remove limits on student contributions.”
Matt Wade, “Joe Hockey: Why Isn’t He Being Grilled About the Unemployment?” The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 April 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/joe-hockey-why-isnt-he-being-grilled-about-unemployment-20150426-1mtb66.htm. The number of people looking for a job has now been over three quarters of a million for the past nine months – it's 18 years since Australia had that many people out of work. Last month's count of the unemployed – 768,600 in trend terms – was 60 per cent more than before the global financial crisis.”
Peter Martin, “Federal Budget 2015: ‘Glacial’ Wage Growth Puts Budget Forecasts in Doubt,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/federal-budget-2015-glacial-wage-growth-puts-budget-forecasts-in-doubt-20150513-gh0s5l.html. Budget forecasts for wages growth and interest rates on government debt are assessed as optimistic. As a consequence projected revenue for government is likely to be lower than expected for the coming financial year.
Gareth Hutchens, “Small Business Tax Cut ‘Will Not Be as Effective’ as Abbott Government Thinks,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/small-business-tax-cut-will-not-be-as-effective-as-abbott-government-thinks-20150521-gh6vwx.html. According to Saul Eslake, a leading business economist, “almost 63 per cent of small companies will derive no benefit from [the 1.5 percentage point tax cut] because they are neither profitable nor taxable.
Pete Goss and Jordana Hunter, “One-Size-Fits-All Past Its NAPLAN Use-by Date,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 August 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/onesizefitsall-past-its-naplan-useby-date-20150805-gis9zk.html. “A new approach to teaching the five-year-olds who start school in 2016 won't show up in year 3 NAPLAN results until 2019 or in year 9 results until 2025. We do know that if we keep doing the same things, we are likely to get the same outcomes. For the sake of our children, we need a better approach.”
Editorial, “ABS and NAPLAN Shows Why We Need Gonski,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 August 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/abs-and-naplan-shows-why-we-need-gonski-20150814-gizbe3.html. “School funding must be needs-based. The Abbott government must restore the final two years of Gonski funding, which NSW intends to spend mostly on disadvantaged schools. Unlocking the true potential of each child.”
Katharine Murphy, “States Should Be Given Access to Income Tax, Audit Report Says,” The Guardian, 1 May 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/01/states-should-be-given-access-to-income-tax-audit-report-says.
Greg Jericho, “Colin Barnett’s GST Rhetoric Is Finding Blame for WA’s Shambolic Budget”, 13 April 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2015/apr/13/colin-barnetts-gst-rhetoric-is-finding-blame-for-was-shambolic-budget. “The state premier ignores that for most of the past 100 years the rest of Australia has actually propped up WA.”
Daniel Hurst, “GST Debate Fires up Again with Proposal to Distribute on Per-Capita Basis,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 June 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jun/23/gst-debate-fires-up-again-with-proposal-to-distribute-on-per-capita-basis. “Discussion paper setting out range of tax options is released after government faced criticism of leaks on health and education changes.”
Michael Pascoe, “Trade Deal: Japan Wins, and Why That’s Good for Australia,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 April 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/trade-deal-japan-wins-and-why-thats-good-for-australia-20140408-36ach.html. Michael suggests that the immediate advantage Australia should enjoy will not last long as a result of global competitiveness in the agricultural products that will enter Japan more freely as a result of the agreement. Japanese consumers will continue to benefit from lower prices of these products.
Nick Dearden, “Bring on the Defeat of the EU-US Free Trade Deal,” The Guardian, 2 September 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/eu-us-free-trade-deal-ttip-transatlantic-trade-investment-partnership. “So the [UK] government is now down to its last defence: suggesting that those opposed to the treaty are motivated by “anti-American” sentiment. But it is precisely in the US where opposition to the TTIP, and its sister treaty the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has been most vociferous. Democrat opposition in Congress has even prevented President Obama from getting special “fast track” negotiating authority.”
Gabrielle Chan and Michael Safi, “WikiLeaks’Free Trade Documents Reveal ‘Drastic’ Australian Concessions,” The Guardian, 17 October 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/oct/17/wikileaks-trans-pacific-partnership-drastic-australian-concessions. “Secret negotiations over the Trans Pacific Partnership have been apparently revealed, and experts are concerned about what they show.”
Gabrielle Chan, “China-Australia Free Trade Agreement: What’s on the Table and Who Will Benefit,” The Guardian, 11 November 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/11/china-australia-free-trade-agreement-whats-on-table-who-benefits. “Tony Abbott says service industries – tourism, finance, education, law and accounting – will be big winners, but critics warn against rushing to a deal.”
John Garnaut, “Australia Wins Good Trade Deal, Reassurance from China Despite our Friendship with US, Japan,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 November 2014. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/australia-wins-good-trade-deal-reassurance-from-china-despite-our-friendship-with-us-japan-20141117-11oiqf.html. “Australia was supposed to pay a heavy price for the Abbott Government sidling closer to the United States and Japan, while pushing back against Chinese territorial misbehaviour. Instead, President Xi Jinping delivered Australian farmers and service professionals the most ambitious bilateral free-trade agreement.
Christoph Pauly, “Free Trade Faults: Europeans Fear Wave of Litigation from US Firms,” Spiegel Online, 26 January 2015. Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/eu-fears-ttif-free-trade-agreement-could-spur-litigation-a-1015013.html. “With broad public resistance and a European Parliament majority against it, EU officials are rethinking their positions on the proposed free-trade agreement with Washington. Many fear investor protection rules will wreak havoc on national laws.”
Shiro Armstrong, “The Costs of Australia’s ‘Free Trade’ Agreement with America,” East Asia Forum, 8 February 2015. Available at: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2015/02/08/the-costs-of-australias-free-trade-agreement-with-america/. “Ten years after the Australia–United States free trade agreement (AUSFTA) came into force, new analysis of the data shows that the agreement diverted trade away from the lowest cost sources. Australia and the United States have reduced their trade by US$53 billion with rest of the world and are worse off than they would have been without the agreement.”
Peter Martin, “Trans-Pacific Partnership: What’s the Deal Being Negotiated in Our Name?” The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 February 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/trans-pacific-partnership-whats-the-deal-being-negotiated-in-our-name-20150220-13jci9.html. The agreement has been “bubbling along below the radar for half a decade, it's about to become solid. It is set to deliver much more money and power to US pharmaceutical companies, to criminalise the use of technology in ways that presently don't attract jail time and to set up outside tribunals to reconsider decisions already made by Australian courts.”
Elizabeth Warren, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Clause Everyone Should Oppose,” The Washington Post, 25 February 2015. Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kill-the-dispute-settlement-language-in-the-trans-pacific-partnership/2015/02/25/ec7705a2-bd1e-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html?hpid=z4. “The provision, an increasingly common feature of trade agreements, is called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” or ISDS. The name may sound mild, but don’t be fooled. Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favour of big multinational corporations.”
Peter Ker, “Chinese Iron Ore Subsidies Raise Doubts about Free Trade Agreement,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/chinese-iron-ore-subsidies-raise-doubts-about-free-trade-agreement-20150409-1mhh5m.html. “Federal Labor has challenged the Abbott government to clarify the terms of Australia's free trade agreement with China, after the survival prospects of Australian iron ore miners were further imperilled by China's decision to cut the tax rate imposed on its own iron ore miners.”
Leon Berkelmans, “Gold Standard Trade Deal Is Littered with Pitfalls,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 April 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/gold-standard-trade-deal-is-littered-with-pitfalls-20150414-1mkktf.html. “Trade deals were once about securing global trade. So, a shift towards negotiating issues other than trade is troubling.”
Jonathan Weisman, “Trans-Pacific Partnership Puts Harvard Law School Rivals on Opposite Sides, Again,” The New York Times, 27 April 2015. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/business/trans-pacific-partnership-puts-harvard-law-school-rivals-on-opposite-sides-again.html. The battle of over the Trans-Pacific Partnership is multi-faceted, as this article indicates. For more comment on trade negotiations see: http://www.accci.com.au/CommentonTPP.pdf.
Philip Dorling, “WikiLeaks Reveals New Trade Secrets,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 June 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/national/wikileaks-reveals-new-trade-secrets-20150603-ghfycx.html. “Highly sensitive details of the negotiations over the little-known Trades in Services Agreement (TiSA) published by WikiLeaks reveals Australia is pushing for extensive international financial deregulation while other proposals could see Australians' personal and financial data freely transferred overseas.”
Peter Whish Wilson, “Australia’s Treaty-Making Process Is Broken: The China Free-Trade Deal Is a Case in Point,” The Guardian, 11 September 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/11/australias-treaty-making-process-is-broken-the-china-free-trade-deal-is-a-case-in-point. “By the time a free trade agreement like Chafta reaches parliament it has already been agreed to. Democracy demands more than a ‘take it or leave it’ approach.” See also Gabrielle Chan, “Confused about the China Free Trade Deal? Here’s What You Need to Know.” The Guardian, 3 September 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/sep/03/confused-about-the-china-free-trade-deal-heres-what-you-need-to-know.
Heath Aston, “Experts Cautious of Robb’s Trade Deals Exuberance as They Anticipate Trade-offs,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 October 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/experts-cautious-of-robbs-trade-deals-exuberance-as-they-anticipate-tradeoffs-20151008-gk4zqr.html. The author reports on views expressed by economists and legal experts that recently negotiated trade agreements may not be as beneficial to the Australian economy as was announced by the trade minister and his department. See also “Ross Gittins, “Trade Pact Is No Big Deal,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 October 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/trade-pact-is-no-big-deal-20151008-gk4s7j.html.
Peter Martin, “Trans-Pacific Partnership: We’re Selling Economic Sovereignty for Little Return,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 October 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/transpacific-partnership-were-selling-our-sovereignty-for-little-return-20151011-gk6fhw.html. The author argues that the “trade deal’s benefits may be exaggerated.”
Guardian Staff, “TPP Trade Deal: Text Published Online,” The Guardian, 6 November 2015. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/nov/05/tpp-trade-deal-new-zealand-releases-text-online. “Release offers first detailed look at 12-state Trans-Pacific Partnership, world’s largest free trade agreement.”