Government Spending

Governments spend taxpayers’ money on a wide range of programmes from education to defence and from welfare to infrastructure. Yet there can be too much of a good thing, and some government spending is just wasteful. How can we ensure that taxpayers are getting value for money?


Politically-Feasible Health Reform: Whatever Will It Take?
Jeremy Sammut, Peta Seaton, Gerald Thomas, Terry Barnes
07 December 2016 | OP153

Despite the ever-escalating cost of health posing severe fiscal sustainability challenges, health reform has been dumped even more firmly in the politically too-hard basket since the ‘Mediscare’ federal election. A politically-feasible reform strategy is required to catalyse much-needed innovation in the health sector and deliver…

MEDI-VATION: ‘Health Innovation Communities’ for Medicare Payment and Service Reform
Jeremy Sammut, Gerald Thomas, Peta Seaton
02 November 2016 | RR21

Health Innovation Communities (HICs) would essentially constitute an Australian ‘Silicon Valley’ for health – hubs for research and development within which the proverbial 1000 flowers will bloom as a plurality of different providers create novel health products and solutions. The good examples and real world…

Mapping the Indigenous Program and Funding Maze
Sara Hudson
23 August 2016 | Research Report 18

There is much goodwill in Australia to improve Indigenous outcomes. However, too many programs are implemented because of their perceived benefit, rather than a rigorous assessment of what works. This research report maps the number of government and non-government Indigenous programs and potential level of…

The Role of Think Tanks: A Reply to the Critics
Jeremy Sammut
13 June 2016 | OP145

Because their aims are educational and democratic, what think tanks do and why they do it is entirely transparent: they ensure their research is publically available and seek to ensure it is disseminated via the media to as broad an audience as possible in the…

The case against tax increases in Australia: The growing burden
Michael Potter
07 June 2016 | Research Report 15

View Interactive Snapshot The tax burden imposed by the Commonwealth Government alone, and by all Australian governments, is above its historical levels and forecast to go well above these averages. Similar results are obtained if the budget deficit is included to measure the long-run tax…

Media & Commentary

How a week is not a long time in the public service
Rebecca Weisser
17 January 2017 | The Australian

At last, some good news!   Daunted by the ballooning deficit and determined to end the age of entitlement, the government has cut ministerial salaries by 20 percent.  The bad news?…

Fat cats even better fed
Rebecca Weisser
13 January 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

While most of us were tucking into leftover Christmas pudding, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was tucking into taxpayers’ pockets. With evident thoughtfulness about the timing, it slipped…

Magic disappearing money and arguments against fiscal policy
Michael Potter
10 January 2017 | Catallaxy Files

Government budget surpluses result can result in the penury of the private sector, according to a media piece this week. But this argument against surpluses can easily be transformed into…

Meet the new political year, same as the old political year
Simon Cowan
06 January 2017 | Canberra Times

The first week of a new year always feels different — unless you are still hungover, in which case it feels very familiar. But with a clear head, the sense…

Downgrades and dithering: the dismal economic narrative of 2016
Simon Cowan
24 December 2016 | Canberra Times

Tis the season to give generously, or so the tired old cliché goes. Bah humbug! Tis the season for rigorous evaluation! December means school reports, the one time of the…