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Issue Analysis


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

  • Independent Charities, Independent Regulators: The Future of Not-for-Profit Regulation

    06 Feb 2014 | IA143

    Abolishing the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission is a necessary first step in fostering an independent charity sector that is regulated effectively without excessive cost to the taxpayer. Read More

  • Time to Dump Australia’s Anti-Dumping System

    05 Jun 2013 | IA141

    This report argues that Australia should scrap its anti-dumping and countervailing system. The report examines the meaning of dumping and its place in Australian law. It details the history and recent... Read More

  • Relics of a Byzantine IR System: Why Awards Should Be Abolished

    23 May 2013 | IA140

    Awards are uniquely Australian, and practically as old as the country itself. But in Australia’s modern, competitive economy, the award system is an anachronism. Along with new statutory conditions,... Read More

  • 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

  • Faraway, So Close: How the Euro Crisis Affects Australia

    23 Apr 2012 | IA132

    Europe’s economic crisis has been shaking financial markets for the past three years. Countries like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and even Italy are in danger of defaulting on their debt. The continent’s... Read More

  • Overcoming a Culture of Low Expectations

    28 Mar 2012 | IA131

    The most important thing we can do to encourage disadvantaged Australians into work – including people with disabilities, children in jobless families, and Indigenous people living in remote communities... 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

  • Towards a Red Tape Trading Scheme: Treating Excessive Bureaucracy as Just Another Kind of Pollution

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 19 May 2010 | IA121

    Government should measure the regulatory costs on the Australian economy and consider a ‘cap and trade’ scheme to manage red tape. 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

  • The Folly of Criminalising Cartels

    Jason Soon | 03 Jun 2009 | IA111

    The federal government's proposal to introduce a maximum jail term of 10 years for individuals found guilty of serious cartel conduct because it thinks that existing civil penalties alone cannot adequately... 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

  • Beyond Symbolism: Finding a Place for Local Government in Australia's Constitution

    Oliver Marc Hartwich | 22 Jan 2009 | IA104

    Local governments could provide better services, like schools and fast development approvals if they received a higher proportion of tax revenue and a formal definition in the Constitution. 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

  • Baby Steps Toward Self-Funded Parental Leave

    Jessica Brown | 18 Sep 2008 | IA100

    The debate about increasing the aged pension highlights the fact that, once again, government handouts lead to increasing burdens on taxpayers. When considering a government-funded paid maternity leave... 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

  • What are Low Ability Workers To Do When Unskilled Jobs Disappear? Part 2

    Peter Saunders | 14 Feb 2008 | IA93

    Despite low unemployment, working-age welfare dependency remains high, partly because demand for unskilled labour is in decline. Instead of more government spending on education and training, we need to... Read More

  • What are Low Ability Workers To Do When Unskilled Jobs Disappear? Part 1

    Peter Saunders | 06 Dec 2007 | IA91

    Nearly two million working-age people are on welfare benefits. The fall in the unemployment figures has disguised a displacement of jobless people into other benefits like the Disability Pension and Parenting... 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

  • Mismatch: Australia’s Graduates and the Job Market

    Andrew Norton | 23 Mar 2007 | IA84

    The Commonwealth-directed higher education system has produced a mismatch between available graduates and jobs. Australia’s centrally controlled system of allocating university places has failed to... 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

  • Why Tax Cuts Are Good for Growth

    Phil Rennie | 18 Oct 2006 | IA75

    In the wake of the government’s $11 billion budget surplus, cutting taxes could deliver a significant boost to the economy. Many voters support tax cuts because it means more money in the pocket. However,... Read More

  • How to Fix a Leaky Tax System

    Phil Rennie | 14 Sep 2006 | IA74

    The New Zealand tax system has become complicated and unfair, and its integrity corroded by the introduction of a 39% tax rate for income over $60,000. Tax evasion and avoidance widespread are widespread... Read More

  • Are New Zealanders Paying Too Much Tax?

    Phil Rennie | 15 May 2006 | IA71

    New Zealand is a highly taxed country on a global scale and has record budget surpluses. The past decade has seen huge increases in the government’s tax revenue and spending. In the 2006 Budget, the... 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

  • A Voluntary Free Trade Alliance: How to Overcome Hurdles in the Path of Traders and Investors

    Wolfgang Kasper | 09 Sep 2004 | IA52

    The 'Global Free Trade Alliance' would promote free exchanges between nations on a voluntary basis and could become a ‘World Trade Organisation Plus’ among nations that already enjoy a rather high... 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

  • How Union Campaigns on Hours and Casuals are Threatening Low-skilled Jobs

    Kayoko Tsumori | 22 Jan 2004 | IA44

    For several years now Australian unions have been waging campaigns to limit working hours and the growth in casual employment in the name of improving workers’ well-being. Yet these campaigns are little... Read More

  • Poor Laws (3) How to Reform the Award System and Create More Jobs

    Kayoko Tsumori | 10 Nov 2003 | IA41

    Despite the hype about enterprise bargaining and the individualisation of employment arrangements since the early 1990s, the award system continues to play a significant role in Australia’s industrial... Read More

  • How To Reduce Long Term Unemployment

    Peter Saunders | 11 Sep 2003 | IA40

    More than half the people claiming unemployment allowances in Australia have been on benefits for more than a year. Introducing a six-month time limit on unemployment benefits could dramatically reduce... Read More

  • Is the ‘Earnings Credit’ the Best Way to Cut the Dole Queues?

    Kayoko Tsumori | 13 May 2003 | IA35

    The 'earnings credit' proposed by the 'Five Economists' in 1998 will not sufficiently decrease joblessness in Australia, and may in fact encourage welfare dependency. The 'earnings credit' – a tax break... Read More

  • Michael in a Muddle: Michael Pusey’s Bungled Attack on Economic Reform

    Andrew Norton | 09 May 2003 | IA34

    Andrew Norton reveals many serious errors of fact and logic in his detailed critique of Michael Pusey's new book, The Experience of Middle Australia: The Dark Side of Economic Reform. The main thrust of... Read More

  • Poor Laws (2): The Minimum Wage and Unemployment

    Kayoko Tsumori | 02 Dec 2002 | IA28

    More than half the poor in Australia are unemployed. It is joblessness, not low-paid jobs, that is the biggest source of poverty in Australia. Given that the risk of being poor is far greater for those... Read More

  • Poor Laws (1): The Unfair Dismissal Laws and Long-term Unemployment

    Kayoko Tsumori | 20 Aug 2002 | IA26

    Unfair dismissal laws stifle job creation and compound Australia’s high unemployment problem. Despite a near-decade of strong economic growth, Australia’s unemployment remains persistent and our record... Read More

  • Whose Progress? A Response to the ABS Report Measuring Australia’s Progress

    Peter Saunders | 20 Aug 2002 | IA25

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ recent report, Measuring Australia’s Progress, threatens to compromise the political neutrality of the ABS, for it blurs the line dividing fact from opinion. Read More

  • Breaking the Trade Stalemate: What Are Australia’s Options?

    Wolfgang Kasper | 12 Feb 2001 | IA18

    Australia’s best hope of long-term trade liberalisation lies in signing a free trade agreement with the United States. Preferential liberalisation of trade may be the only way to break the present stalemate... Read More

  • Setting the Record Straight: Free Trade and the WTO

    David Robertson | 04 Sep 2000 | IA15

    By allowing social issues into the WTO agenda using tenuous links to trade policy, the WTO Council has placed the organisation at the vanguard of political skirmishing over globalisation. Read More

  • Noble Ends Flawed Means: The Case Against Debt-Forgiveness

    Ian Harper | 28 Sep 1999 | IA8

    Plans by the World Bank and the IMF to relieve Third World debt would have dire consequences for the very countries they are trying to help. Read More

  • Taxi! Reinvigorating Competition in the Taxi Market

    Jason Soon | 05 May 1999 | IA7

    Without drastic improvements, taxi services will not be able to service the Olympic Games. Long queues and disgruntled tourists will be very embarrassing for Sydney and Australia. Policy changes are needed... Read More

  • Why Small Business Is Not Hiring: Regulatory Impediments to Small Business Growth

    Jason Soon | 10 Feb 1999 | IA6

    Small business makes an important contribution to the Australian economy, accounting for 42 percent of employment in 1997-98. Many small firms are labour intensive, employing more workers per dollar of... Read More

  • Rear Vision on Trade Policy: Wrong Way, Go Forward

    Ron Duncan | 25 Sep 1998 | IA5

    Policies affecting trade flows do not begin or end in the international arena: Decisions about reducing protection must be implemented at home. Without increasing our competitiveness through improved technology,... Read More

  • Tax Injustice: Keeping the Family Cap-in-Hand

    Lucy Sullivan | 10 Jul 1998 | IA3

    There is a growing awareness of financial pressure on the family, together with anomalies in the interaction of family earnings, taxation and welfare benefits. Increasingly generous welfare benefits appear... Read More

  • Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value: Moving Toward, Or Away From, Wage Justice for Women?

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 26 Jun 1998 | IA2

    Concerns about equity for working women are being misused to move back to industry-wide wage fixing and its attendant dangers of increased unemployment.   Read More

  • Open for Business? Australian Interests and the OECD's Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI)

    Wolfgang Kasper | 17 Apr 1998 | IA1

    The proposed OECD’s Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), which the Australian government has been helping to negotiate, will not mean a dramatic change to Australia’s current practice in controlling... Read More