Robert Carling

Senior Fellow, Economics Program

Robert Carling

Expertise: taxation, government spending, fiscal policy, federalism

Robert Carling is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies. Robert is researching and writing about fiscal policy, taxation and federalism. Robert’s recent reports include Voting for a living: A shift in Australian politics from selling policies to buying votes? (with co-author Terrence O’Brien) and Too Little; Too Late: Personal Income Tax Reform in Australia.

Prior to joining the CIS, Robert was Executive Director, Economic and Fiscal at the New South Wales Treasury from 1998 to 2006. Previous position have been with Commonwealth Treasury, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He holds academic qualifications in economics and finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Georgetown University and the University of Queensland.


Featured Publication

  • The Economic Challenge of Covid-19 08 July 2020 | PP32
    Even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the Australian economy was under-performing its potential and in need of reinvigoration. Economic growth in per capita terms had slowed to a crawl and business investment and productivity growth were depressed. Policy changes that…...
    Even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the Australian economy was under-performing its potential and in need of reinvigoration. Economic growth in per capita terms had slowed to a crawl and business investment and productivity growth were depressed. Policy changes that…
    READ MORE

Media & Commentary

  • Has federalism failed us in the pandemic? 24 September 2020 | Ideas@theCentre
    Disparate government policies within Australia in response to the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic have highlighted strengths and weaknesses in our federal structure. The recent actions of state governments serve as a reminder that the states are sovereign entities with strong powers. This…
    Disparate government policies within Australia in response to the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic have highlighted strengths and weaknesses in our federal structure. The recent actions of state governments serve as a reminder that the states are sovereign entities with strong powers. This…
    read more
  • What do Victoria and New Zealand have in common? 18 September 2020 | Spectator
    Victoria and New Zealand are similar in size and population. Their current leaders, Premier and Prime Minister respectively, although of different gender, also share a distinctly leftist (they would say ‘progressive’) orientation and an ardent devotion to every woke cause. In 2020 they have both emerged as anti-COVID zealots, willing to sacrifice any quantum…
    Victoria and New Zealand are similar in size and population. Their current leaders, Premier and Prime Minister respectively, although of different gender, also share a distinctly leftist (they would say ‘progressive’) orientation and an ardent devotion to every woke cause. In 2020 they have both emerged as anti-COVID zealots, willing to sacrifice any quantum…
    read more
  • New data shows pandemic’s economic impact 10 September 2020 | Ideas@theCentre
    With many countries, including Australia, having reported their national accounts for the April to June quarter, we have further quantification — if any was needed — of the enormity of the economic toll from the pandemic, its health impact and…
    With many countries, including Australia, having reported their national accounts for the April to June quarter, we have further quantification — if any was needed — of the enormity of the economic toll from the pandemic, its health impact and…
    read more
  • Revealed: new analysis shows the true cost of mismanaging the corona crisis 08 September 2020 | Spectator
    With many countries, including Australia, having reported their national accounts for the April to June quarter, the initial economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is now a matter of record — with the emphasis on ‘initial’.   Although a partial recovery is likely…
    With many countries, including Australia, having reported their national accounts for the April to June quarter, the initial economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is now a matter of record — with the emphasis on ‘initial’.   Although a partial recovery is likely…
    read more
  • Coronavirus Australia: Lockdowns and border closures hurting, but Gladys Berejiklian’s showing the way 03 September 2020 | The Australian
    Six months ago, the national COVID-19 strategy was to “flatten the curve” to buy time for the health system to cope. It succeeded; new infections dropped to almost none in April. This led to most states and territories adopting a more ambitious…
    Six months ago, the national COVID-19 strategy was to “flatten the curve” to buy time for the health system to cope. It succeeded; new infections dropped to almost none in April. This led to most states and territories adopting a more ambitious…
    read more

Publications

  • State Finances after the Pandemic 28 May 2020 | PP29
    The strength of Australia’s government finances is an important dimension of economic performance as it helps set the foundations for the delivery of public services, the flexibility governments need to respond to unexpected events and a stable fiscal environment for private sector investment. This strength is being severely tested by…...
    The strength of Australia’s government finances is an important dimension of economic performance as it helps set the foundations for the delivery of public services, the flexibility governments need to respond to unexpected events and a stable fiscal environment for private sector investment. This strength is being severely tested by…
    READ MORE
  • Myth vs Reality: The case against increasing Capital Gains Tax 05 March 2019 | PP18
    Australia’s capital gains tax (CGT) policy has been largely settled for almost 20 years. However, it has come under renewed scrutiny as a result of the Australian Labor Party’s federal election platform proposal to halve the 50% CGT discount and thereby effectively increase the tax by 50%. If the objective…...
    Australia’s capital gains tax (CGT) policy has been largely settled for almost 20 years. However, it has come under renewed scrutiny as a result of the Australian Labor Party’s federal election platform proposal to halve the 50% CGT discount and thereby effectively increase the tax by 50%. If the objective…
    READ MORE
  • Dividend Franking Credit Refunds: principle vs revenue 12 February 2019 | PP16
    Under Australia’s dividend imputation system of taxation, since 2000 taxpayers whose franking credits exceed their tax liability have been paid a cash refund of the excess. The Labor opposition’s policy is to continue with the imputation system but to abolish cash refunds of excess franking credits, subject to a carve-out…...
    Under Australia’s dividend imputation system of taxation, since 2000 taxpayers whose franking credits exceed their tax liability have been paid a cash refund of the excess. The Labor opposition’s policy is to continue with the imputation system but to abolish cash refunds of excess franking credits, subject to a carve-out…
    READ MORE
  • Voting for a living: A shift in Australian politics from selling policies to buying votes? 05 September 2018 | PP9
    This paper explores the hypothesis that growth of government has become self-sustaining through the emergence of a segment of the population that both enjoys sufficient direct support from government and is large enough that political parties shape policies to curry its favour. The researchers use the Australian Bureau of Statistics’…...
    This paper explores the hypothesis that growth of government has become self-sustaining through the emergence of a segment of the population that both enjoys sufficient direct support from government and is large enough that political parties shape policies to curry its favour. The researchers use the Australian Bureau of Statistics’…
    READ MORE
  • Too Little; Too Late: Personal Income Tax Reform in Australia 13 June 2018 | PP5
    The main thrust of the Government’s proposed personal income tax changes announced in the 2018-19 Budget is welcome, but they could be improved to better promote economic efficiency. Also, implementation should be brought forward, with the earlier revenue losses offset by tighter expenditure management. Specifically, the government’s proposal should be…...
    The main thrust of the Government’s proposed personal income tax changes announced in the 2018-19 Budget is welcome, but they could be improved to better promote economic efficiency. Also, implementation should be brought forward, with the earlier revenue losses offset by tighter expenditure management. Specifically, the government’s proposal should be…
    READ MORE