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Issue Analysis


Issue Analysis (IA) are shorter publications that deal with controversial and current issues.

  • Australia and the Asian Ascendancy: Why Upskilling is Not Necessary to Reap the Rewards

    19 Feb 2013 | IA137

    Government programs to upskill the Australian workforce for the Asian Century are a solution to a non-problem. With more than a million Asian-born Australians, millions of speakers of Asian languages,... Read More

  • Australia’s Future Fiscal Shock

    28 Sep 2012 | IA134

    Government is facing the arduous task of securing sustainable expenditure, revenue and debt beyond the current four-year horizon of the budget estimates, says Robert Carling in Australia’s Future Fiscal... Read More

  • Australia's Asia Literacy Non-Problem

    05 Sep 2012 | IA133

    New large-scale Asia literacy programs are not necessary for Australia to prosper in the Asian Century. There are approximately 2 billion English speakers globally, while English is spoken by about 800... Read More

  • The Henry Tax Review: A Liberal Critique

    14 Mar 2012 | IA130

    The public release of Australia’s Future Tax System—known as the Henry review—in May 2010 sparked an ongoing debate in Australia about the structure and efficiency of the country’s tax system.... Read More

  • A Waste of Energy: Why The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is redundant

    01 Mar 2012 | PM129

    The federal government’s plans to establish a Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) should be scrapped. As a commercially oriented company, it competes with private investors. As a company with a public... Read More

  • The Decade-long Binge: How Government Squandered Ten Years of Economic Prosperity

    17 Nov 2011 | IA128

    Government spending in New Zealand has increased enormously over the past decade in order to meet social goals. From 2000-2010 spending increase from $35 billion to $70.5 billion, a 57% increase in real... Read More

  • Free-Trade Ferries: A Case for Competition

    27 Oct 2011 | IA127

    Sydney needs a network of ferries that is able to cater to the city’s changing demographics but is also financially sustainable and responsible. The current state-controlled model has proved inefficient,... Read More

  • Defeating Dependency: Moving Disability Support Pensioners Into Jobs

    Jessica Brown | 30 Apr 2010 | IA120

    The focus of welfare reform efforts should be on encouraging some of the 750,000 existing disability support pensioners back into work. Read More

  • On the Right Track: Why NSW Needs Business Class Rail

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 29 Oct 2009 | IA119

    Rail connections between Sydney and neighbouring cities need to improve substantially and business class carriages would be a good first step. Jennifer Buckingham and Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich look past... Read More

  • Fiscal Shock and Awe in the United States

    Robert Carling | 21 Oct 2009 | IA118

    The relative economic standing of the United States, and therefore its place in the world, may decline as other less mature economies advance. But the US fiscal problem has the potential to hasten the... Read More

  • In Defence of Non-Government Schools

    Jennifer Buckingham | 02 Jul 2009 | IA112

    Non-government schools are providers of public education and deserve adequate public funding. The purposes and functions of public education – academic, social and civic – are carried out in independent... Read More

  • With No Particular Place To Go: The Federal Government's Ill-conceived Support for the Australian Car Industry

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 17 Mar 2009 | IA108

    With the US car manufacturing industry faltering further, the Rudd government’s massive taxpayer-funded support for the Australian car industry is doomed to fail. It would be better to phase out assistance... Read More

  • In Defence of Civil Society: The Virtue of Prescribed Private Funds

    John Humphreys | 18 Feb 2009 | IA107

    The Commonwealth government is looking to change the rules governing charitable funds which may harm philanthropic giving and consequently, undermine civil society. Given the current economic climate,... Read More

  • Are We All Keynesians Again?

    Robert Carling | 12 Feb 2009 | IA106

    The revival of activist fiscal policy ought to be highly controversial because the 1970s and 1980s saw a new consensus emerge that it was ineffective or even damaging. The lessons from that era remain... Read More

  • Million Dollar Babies: Paid Parental Leave and Family Policy Reform

    Jessica Brown | 18 Nov 2008 | IA102

    Support for the introduction of paid parental leave has been so vocal that rather than being a means to an end, paid parental leave has become the end itself. Evidence-based policy has been sidelined... Read More

  • Government Intervention in Mortgage Finance: The Case Against 'AussieMac'

    Stephen Kirchner | 08 Sep 2008 | IA99

    An Australian GSE and the mortgage securitisation industry would likely expand only at the expense of other financial intermediaries, damaging long-run competition and innovation in the industry. Read More

  • The Bipolar Pacific

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 21 Aug 2008 | IA98

    Guest-worker schemes, which have been proposed as a development solution for the Pacific, no doubt benefit the individuals lucky enough to be selected to participate. But even high guest-worker numbers,... Read More

  • Child Care and the Labour Supply

    Jennifer Buckingham | 23 Jul 2008 | IA97

    This report investigates whether child care is unaffordable and if government funding is contributing to its affordability or making it more expensive. Read More

  • A Whiff of Compassion? The Attack on Mutual Obligation

    Peter Saunders | 10 Jun 2008 | IA96

    The Rudd government is planning to water down the existing work requirements and mutual obligation policies that have helped unemployed people find jobs. Read More

  • KiwiSaver or KiwiSucker? A Critical View

    Phil Rennie | 07 May 2008 | IA94

    The promised benefits of KiwiSaver do not match the high cost of the taxpayer subsidies. With KiwiSaver and New Zealand Super combined, it is now possible for a young person on the average wage to retire... Read More

  • Child Care: Who Benefits?

    Jennifer Buckingham | 24 Oct 2007 | IA89

    Child care has gone from something that families would use sparingly and only if necessary to being an alleged human right. The research base of many claims about child care does not support their weight. Read More

  • Taming New Zealand’s Tax Monster

    Phil Rennie | 15 May 2007 | IA87

    New Zealanders now pay an extra $20 billion per year in tax than they did in 2000. There needs to be a proper review of government spending to assess its value for money, and effectively determine the... Read More

  • Reinventing New Zealand’s Welfare State

    Peter Saunders | 27 Mar 2007 | IA85

    New Zealanders are much richer than when the welfare state was founded. People’s incomes should therefore be sufficient to buy many of the services earlier generations could not afford. But reliance... Read More

  • New Zealand’s Spending Binge

    Phil Rennie | 15 Mar 2007 | IA83

    Government spending in New Zealand is now $20 billion higher than it was in 2000, yet the available social indicators show negligible improvements. Life expectancy, infant mortality, hospital outputs,... Read More

  • A Welfare State for Those Who Want One, Opts-outs for Those Who Don't

    Peter Saunders | 30 Jan 2007 | IA79

    A system of welfare state opt-outs will help increase people’s independence from government and reverse the unrelenting growth of public spending. Under the scheme, people who want to pay higher taxes... Read More

  • HELPless: How the FEE-HELP Loans System Lets Students Down and How to Fix it

    Andrew Norton | 27 Feb 2006 | IA68

    Three new loans schemes were introduced in 2005 to fix omissions in the HECS system, but a more realistic FEE-HELP loan cap needs to be implemented so FEE-HELP can achieve its stated objectives of reducing... Read More

  • Make Poverty History: Tackle Corruption

    Wolfgang Kasper | 19 Jan 2006 | IA67

    The results of the latest international survey of corruption reveal huge international differences. Poor countries tend to be more corrupt than developed, affluent countries, mainly because of foreign... Read More

  • Twenty Million Future Funds

    Peter Saunders | 21 Dec 2005 | IA66

    The government’s claim that we need a Future Fund to pay for public servants’ superannuation is bogus. In fact, the Future Fund should be denationalised and the money distributed into individual savings... Read More

  • The Economics of Indigenous Deprivation and Proposals for Reform

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 23 Sep 2005 | IA63

    For remote Indigenous communities to have productive employment opportunities with mainstream earnings, decent health outcomes, decent housing, and the same security and standards of living that other... Read More

  • The Free Market Case Against Voluntary Student Unionism (But for Voluntary Student Representation)

    Andrew Norton | 31 Aug 2005 | IA62

    The federal government plans to introduce ‘voluntary student unionism’ (VSU) into Australia’s universities by banning the current compulsory fee for non-academic services. However, market-based policies... Read More

  • Six Arguments in Favour of Self-Funding

    Peter Saunders | 14 Jul 2005 | IA61

    The welfare state served us well in the past but is decreasingly relevant to current conditions. It came into existence to provide health care, education, and income security which people needed but could... Read More

  • The $85 Billion Tax/Welfare Churn

    Peter Saunders | 07 Apr 2005 | IA57

    Given the government’s newly-won control of the Senate, most attention is focused primarily on the next 18 months, but it is important to think longer term about the kind of tax and welfare systems we... Read More

  • Only 18%? Why ACOSS is Wrong to be Complacent about Welfare Dependency

    Peter Saunders | 02 Sep 2004 | IA51

    A new report from the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) accepts that welfare dependency among working age Australians has reached 18% but denies this is a problem. It says that Australia still... Read More

  • Sweet and Sour Pork Barrelling: The Case of Queensland Sugar

    Alex Robson | 25 Mar 2004 | IA45

    For nearly 100 years, pork barrelling has propped up a recalcitrant sugar industry that has refused to reform despite evidence that deregulation would lead to higher profits. Now the negative side effects... Read More